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Japan UnderGround >> Grammar Question


9/11/07 10:44 AM
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Jbraswell
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Edited: 11-Sep-07
Member Since: 07/15/2002
Posts: 5133
 
I've started teaching myself Japanese over the past month or two, using Pimsleur and Genki textbooks. I'm sure I'll get to this in the textbook eventually, but for right now, this question is nagging me. Is Japanese ambiguous between asking if a person is doing something versus asking if a person wants to do something? For example, if I want to eat, I'd use "tabetai desu," whereas if I am going to eat or am eating, I'd use "tabemasu." However, from the Pimsleur dialogues, it appears that both asking if a person is eating and asking if a person wants to eat is "tabemasu ka." Is this correct? I'm just a little OCD, and not knowing bugs me. Thanks
9/22/07 8:10 AM
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AaronU
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Edited: 22-Sep-07
Member Since: 09/26/2003
Posts: 2780
do you want to eat would be "tabetai desuka?"
10/18/07 5:34 AM
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Easytarget
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Edited: 18-Oct-07
Member Since: 03/01/2003
Posts: 957
Or often "taberu"? with a slightly rising intonation. But asking if a person is eating is "tabete imasuka"
12/26/07 12:35 PM
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lautaro
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Edited: 26-Dec-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 1301
I'd say the responses given are correct. Do you want to eat? = Tabetai desu ka? Will you eat? = Tabemasu ka? Are you eating? = Tabete imasu ka? Lautaro
12/27/07 9:13 AM
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Jbraswell
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Edited: 27-Dec-07
Member Since: 07/15/2002
Posts: 5585
Thanks for the responses guys. I've since been introduced to the te-form so "tabete imasu ka" makes sense. By the way, for anyone learning Kanji, I got the King Kanji program on a Pocket PC fro Xmas, and it rules. I can't imagine a better single tool to have for memorizing Kanji and vocab.
12/27/07 2:10 PM
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lautaro
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Edited: 27-Dec-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 1309
I picked up a book in Japan that's in English that uses pictures to aid you in memorizing hiragana, katakana and kanji. I can't remember the name of the book, unfortunately, but it helped me tremendously. With the aid of the book, I quickly learned hiragana and katakana without going through endless repetitions and also memorized a number of other kanji. The idea is simply to envision a picture in your mind that resembles the shape of the kanji. Some kanji are easier than others, of course, since they're already pictures. Others take more creativity. As an example, you can imagine the kanji for "HIKU" (pull) as being a bow and arrow. Since we know that you need to PULL on a bow to shoot an arrow, it makes memorizing the kanji much easier. Alas, some kanji require either really good creativity or really good memorization :). Ganbatte kudasai! Lautaro
12/28/07 5:18 PM
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Jbraswell
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Edited: 28-Dec-07
Member Since: 07/15/2002
Posts: 5597
Yeah, that's probably the book I used to learn Kana. I thought it was pretty good. I'll probably pick up the corresponding version for Kanji eventually, but I'm finally starting with a Japanese tutor next week so I'm going to stick with the Kanji in the textbooks she's using first. My hope is that next year I can pass at least the fourth level of the JLPT. (I'm not sure if you can do them simultaneously, but I'd like to do the third level then as well.)
12/29/07 3:07 AM
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lautaro
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Edited: 29-Dec-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 1319
If you study hard, then the 4th level should be a breeze to pass. Doing the 3rd level sounds like a challenge though... I don't think you can do it at the same time, but you can always try. Lautaro

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