Explaining Japanese Grammar in After the Birth in the Christmas Story, Part 2

It has been a few days since I wrote anything here with Japanese, so I decided it was time. I wish I had a Japanese song book so I could sent out Japanese songs, but I only have a Japanese Bible, so you get the Japanese Bible verses explained. Studying the bible a foreign language is a great way to learn the language because if you get in trouble, you have the English, and the Bible is translated into almost every language on earth. Besides that, you get to learn Bible at the same time. I have improved many of my languages by studying the Bible in that language.

Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

We studied the fist chapter of Matthew about the birth of Jesus and the circumstances surrounding it. We learned there was a prophecy written in 740 B. C. from Isaiah 7:14 that said a virgin (in Japanese, it only said a young woman, but in other languages, it says ‘virgin’) would give birth and have a son, and he would be “God with us.” Jesus wasn’t born until 33 A. D. There are more than 100 prophecies about Jesus that came true, and they are very specific. In the verses for today, Matthew is preparing us for the next prophecy that came true about Jesus.

The magi saw he new born king.a big star and came from India looking for the new born king. Photo by Luck Galindo on Pexels.com

In the first few verses of Matthew 2, the wise men came from the east (from India) following a star knowing that something special had happened. They believed in God. They arrived in Jerusalem and began asking questions. Today, we are going to see King Herod’s reaction to their questions. Remember, King Herod was an extremely bad guy. He murdered lots of people to get what he wanted. Now, we are ready for verse 3 of Matthew 2. I will only do one verse this time because it is a lot of work to understand Japanese, and I will be worn out after one verse, and probably you will be too. The grammar will be reviewed as we go because I will explain the grammar.

マタイによる福音書 2:3 – “ヘロデ 王は このことを 聞いて 不穏を かんじた。エルサレムの 人々も みな とうよ であった。

マタイによる福音書 – “The Gospel of Matthew.” マタイ is “Matthew” in katakana, the letters used for foreign words. マタイ is pronounced “mahtah-ai.” による (niyoru) is a post position particle, (に), that can mean many things, but here, the best translation is “by.” よる (yoru) means “according to.” による is all in hiragana, the basic Japanese alphabet. 福音書 is kanji, what they call “Chinese characters.” All of these kanji together mean “gospel.”  

King Herod didn’t like what he heard. Photo by Jimmy Chan on Pexels.com

ヘロデ 王は – “King Herod.” ヘロデ (he-ro-de) is katakana for “Herod.” 王 is a kanji meaning “King.” It is kanji, and the hiragana for king is お (o). は (wa) is a post position particle that tells you that ヘロデ 王 is the subject.

The magi were looking for the newborn king. Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Pexels.com

このことを – “this thing.” この (kono) means “this” before a noun. こと (koto) means “thing.” を (wo) is the post position particle that tells you that このこと (kono koto) is the direct object.

聞いて – “hearing.” 聞いて (kite) is the “te” form of きく (kiku) which means “to hear.” きく is the form you will find in the dictionary. 聞 is the kani for “hear.” If you look in the middle of this kanji, you will see 耳 (mimi), the kanji for みみ (mimi) which means “ear.” The outside of the kanji is the kanji 門 (mon) which is the kanji for “gate.” I hope this can help you see how many kanji actually make sense if you pull them apart. They have a different pronunciation in every language, but the mean the same thing. There are several things you can do with the “te” form of the verb. Usually, I would write “hearing” as 聞いています (ki-i-te-i-masu) at the end of the sentence, but this is in the middle of the sentence, so you can’t use the “imasu.”

不穏 を- “disquieted.” 不穏 is the kanji for ふおん (fu-on). を (wo) is the post position particle that points to a direct object. Usually direct objects are nouns, but this is a past participle used as an adverb, so perhaps the を is there just to connect “disquieted” to the verb that follows.

かんじた。-“felt.” Perhaps you can see this word begin with かんじ (kanji). “Kanji” actually means “feeling.” If た (ta) is on the end, it makes it a past tense verb. This is the last verb in the sentence, so it is the main verb of the sentence.

Let’s put this sentence together: King Herod hearing this thing felt disquieted.”

Jerusalem///Photo by Toa Heftiba Şinca on Pexels.com

エルサレムの人々も- “Jerusalem’s people.” エルサレム (erusarem) is “Jerusalem” using katakana, the letters for foreign words. の (no) is the post position particle that denotes possession or turns a noun into an adjective. Here, it is like an apostrophe “s” denoting possession. 人々is two kanis together. The pronunciation in hiragana is ひと びと (hito bito). 人(ひと) means “person.” 々 is pronounced “bito” (びと). This is one way of making “person” into “people.” も (mo) is a post postion particle that means “also.”

All the people in Jerusalem were uneasy. Photo by RACHID b on Pexels.com

みな – “all the people.” みな(mina) is “all,” and always referring to people. Usually, you hear them saying みなさん (mina san) which is being respectful to the people. さん (san) is simple a way of saying “Mr.” “Mrs.” or “Miss.”. However, it can be used for a group of people too for respect.

とうよで – “uneasy.” とうじょで is pronounced “to-u-yo-de) and is an adjective that describes the subject.

あった – “were.” あった (a-tta) is past tense of ある (a-ru), “to be.” The た(ta) on the end tells you that it is past tense. The small つ (tsu) is not pronounced, but it makes た have a double “t” in English, and it makes that “t” be pronounced harder, with more emphasis. あった is the last verb if the sentence.

The people in Jerusalem were uneasy. Photo by BECCA SIEGEL on Pexels.com

Let’s put this sentence together: “All of the people in Jerusalem were also uneasy.”

Okay, there you have it, one verse, two sentences, in Japanese explained. I hope I didn’t wear you out too badly. I hope you are learning to recognize the hiragana, the katakana, and some of the kanji. Recognizing the hiragana and the katakana is the most important, but I throw some kanji in because everyone is intrigued by kanji. I actually don’t know that many kanji. I always wanted to know more than I know, but never had the chance to study it. Although, I am glad my Japanese teacher didn’t emphasize kanji to me, but hiragana, katakana, and learning to put sentence together and speak. Learn the hiragana first. If you don’t know it, you can look back through my blogs and find where I teach it. It is the basic alphabet, and everything is based on it. If you want to understand the foreign words in Japanese, learn the katakana next. After that, you can play with kanji. Have fun with Japanese! Until Next time, take care.

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