March 19, 2008

Japanese Grammar - must verb

Ghetto grammar supplement #114


Today’s ghetto grammar lesson takes us to Kansas, where along with Toto today’s language journey will take us and show us how to say a very long, and unfamiliar Japanese bunpo(grammar) construction, 1st presented in my other article here. It only looks long and formidable at first but I’ll tell you the secret ghetto way of learning this seemingly difficult grammar. You must get into a ghetto groove and really internalize this rhythm. You will want to play with this exercise to get it just right, but in the end we are serving ourselves lanuguage gravy train, by allowing ourselves time for speech practice, and also by putting verbs into the base I + nakereba narimasen bunpo structure in Japanese for - must verb

Do you remember the song “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”? Even if you don’t,  just say the words “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” and chant it a few times to get into the right groove and rhythm yourself. Yes do it now ! Say "Follow the Yellow Brick Road. Say it again and again then after you get a feel for the rhythm of that phrase, its time to commence the Japanese bunpo construction practice session.

It is always a good idea pronounce your words with pure vowels, we want to make our choir teacher proud of our diction, and good habits now are better than bad habits later. It is highly likely if your speech tends towards pure vowels that the people we speak to in the target language may actually understand us. And that is the goal... or one of them at least...TO BE UNDERSTOOD! (Or at least get people to nod as if they understand.)

Lets say it again (Follow the Yellow Brick Road) one more time just to make sure we have just the right rhythm at a comfortable tempo. After repeating the phrase you should be able to feel tit's rhythm. What we then do is super-impose the dreaded mile long grammar structure for must verb onto the rhythm of the chant, "Follow the Yellow Brick Road.” example: iku - to go

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iku - base I - ika plug it into the grammar for must verb, Base I +nakereba narimasen remembering the rhythm of the above Phrase that you and Toto continue to chant.

I ka na ke re ba na ri ma sen. This works good with one syllable stemmed verbs like iku  where the stem becomes I so that the whole chant becomes

I ka na ke re ban a ri ma sen.  I got to go... homie!

Ikanakereba narimasen! I gotto  go... homie!

Also hanasu(to speak) works

Hanasanakereba narimasen - Ive got to speak... homie.

As do the verbs  Kaeru(to return), and kaku(to write) 

Kaeranakereba narimasen - I must return

Kakanakereba narimasen - I must write

O.K. so not all of the verbs will fit tidily into the "Follow the yellow brick road"'s 7 syllable pattern, even ikanakereba narimasen has 10 clappable syllables to our western ears. Basically "Follow the Yellow Brick Road," has 3 strong downbeats and a pickup to repeat it again. Do the same with base I verb + nakereba narimasen.

Try some of your own to the unique rhythm of "Follow the Yellow Brick Road”

Your Japanese will surely impress the masses with its new rhythmical style, and not only that, but you can now say I must verb a little easier.

Follow the yellow brick road. Ganbatte ne! Do your best! Makurasuki sensei.     

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