Photos of JapanNihongo o Narau

Lesson 2: Who is it?
Click here for the kana version.

First, we should establish who you are.  If you want to say "I am Sally." You would say: Watashi wa Sally desu.  Watashi means 'I.'  Wa is a particle which marks the subject of a sentence.  It roughly means 'as for' so, the sentence translates to "As for me, I'm Sally."  You can also just say "Sally desu." which just means 'I am Sally.'  Men and boys can also use the form "Boku wa ___ desu."  Boku also means I, but is used by males only.The word 'you' in Japanese is anata, but be careful not to use it unless you're very familiar with someone as it is slightly personal.  It's better to just use the person's name when referring to them.
Watashi wa Hana desu.
Watashi wa Smith desu.
Hana desu.
Smith desu.
Watashi wa John desu.
Boku wa John desu.
I am Hana.
I am Mr./Ms Smith.
I am Hana.
I am Mr./Ms Smith.
I am John.
I am John.

If you want to
ask someone's name, you say "Onamae wa nan desu ka?"  Namae means 'name'.  The 'o' is added to make it honorific (used only for other people, not yourself).  Remember from lesson one that 'nan desu ka 'means what is it?'  So the sentence literally means "As for your honorific name, what is it?"  To tell someone your name, you can use the above replies or you can say 'Namae wa Hana desu.' or 'Watashi no namae wa hana desu.'  The shorter form is usually used in less formal situations.  The particle 'no' in this case is similar to the English " 's ".  It indicates ownership. Watashi no namae means "my name".  Anata no namae would be 'your name.' 

Onamae wa nan desu ka?
Watashi no namae wa Heather desu.
Namae wa John desu.
Inu no namae wa nan desu ka?
Inu no namae wa Spike desu.

What's your name?
My name is Heather.

My name is John.
What is the dog's name?

The dog's name is Spike.

To ask "Who is it?" you say "Dare desu ka?Dare means 'who.'  To ask "Whose is it?" you say "Dare no desu ka?" 
Dare desu ka?
Dare no desu ka?

Who is it?
Whose is it?

To indicate ownership of an object, the possessive 'no' particle is used.


Dare no inu desu ka?
Watashi no inu desu.

Dare no neko desu ka?
Watashi no desu.

Dare no neko desu ka?
Susan-san no neko desu.

Anata no desu ka?
Iie, Mike-san no desu.

Whose dog is it?
It's my dog.

Whose cat is it?
It's mine.

Whose cat is it?
It's Susan's cat.

Is this yours?
No, it's Mike's.

Lesson 2 Vocabulary





I (used by males only)

subject marker particle

prefix added to some words to make them honoriffic

possesive particle  ('s)
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