Easy Japanese, Lesson 6, あなたは どなた ですか?(Who are you?)

We have talked about the state of being verbs, now let’s use them a little.

あなたは どなた ですか? (anata wa donata desuka?) = Who are you?

私は スミスさん です。(watashi wa sumisusan desu.) = I am Mr. Smith.

私は せんせい です。(watashi wa sensei desu.) = I am a teacher.

あなたがたは どなた ですか?(anatagata wa donatadesuka.) = Who are you guys?

あなたがたは 学生 です。(anatagata wa gakusei desu.) = You guys are students.

わたしたちが きようしつ へ います。(watashtachi wa kyoushitsu e imasu.) = We are in the classroom.

あなたがたは きいて います。(anatagata wa kiite imasu.) = You guys are listening.

わたしは おしえて います。(watashi wa oshiete imasu.) = I am teaching.

私たちは 学校へ います。(watashitachi wa gakkou e ismasu.) = We are at school.


Vocabulary and Grammar: 語彙と文法 (goi to bunpo):

あなた (anata) = you////あなたがた (anatagata) = you guys, y’all/// わたち (watashi) = as the subject, it is “I,” as the object, it is “you.”/// わたしたち (watashitachi) = as the subject, it is “we”, as the object, it is “us.”// どなた (donata) = who/// スミス (sumisu) = Smith (written in katakana because it is a foreign name.)///せんせい (sensei) = teacher/// 学生(がくせい)(gakusei) = student, students (there is no difference between singular and plural.)////です(desu) = is, am, are///ですか (desuka) = “is, am, are” at the end of a question/////は (ha) or (wa) = “ha” is just a letter of the alphabet. “wa” is a post position particle telling you that the noun or pronoun it comes after is the subject.///が (ga) = either just a letter or used as a post position particle. It can be used in place of は after the subject or after を (wo) which is after the direct object. This post position particle is used for emphasis./// きよしつ (kyoshitsu) = classroom/// へ (he) or (e) = As “he,” it is just a letter. As “e,” it is a post position particle that is a preposition. As a prepostion, it means “to, at, or in.” It is interchangeable with に (nee) as a post postion particle which means the same thing./// きいて います (kiite imasu) = is, am, are listening. The basic dictionary form or infinitive form for this is きく (kiku) which means “to listen.” The form used for simple present tense is: ききます (kikimasu) which means “listen, listens, or will listen.” Simple past tense is: ききました (kikimashita) or きいた (kiita). The kanji for this verb is: 聞. ////おしえて います (oshiete imasu) = am, are, is listening. The dictionary form or infinitive form is おしえる (oshieru) meaning “to teach.” The simple present tense of this verb is: おしえます (oshiemasu) which means “teach, teaches, and will teach.) The simple past tense is: おしえました (oshiemashita) or おしえた (oshieta). The kanji used for this is: 教える (oshieru).///学校 (がっこお)= school. If you look at this kanji, it is similar to the one for student: 学生 (がくせい). The first kanji on each of them is a child: 子 with a roof over it: 学 which means “protection for the child.” The second kanji in “student” is 生 (sei) which means “life.” School is the child’s life. If you remember things like this, the kanji get easier to recognize.


あなたがたは どなた ですか? (anatagata wa donata desuka?) = Who are you guys?

わたしたちはかぞくです。(watashtachi wa kazoku desu.) = We are a family.

私は父です。(watashi wa chichi desu) = I am the father.

私は母です。(watashi wa haha desu.) I am the mother.

わたしたちは こどもたち です。(watashitachi wa kodomotachi desu.) = We are the children.

私はお姉さんです(watashi wa one-esan desu) = I am the older sister.

私は弟です。(watashi wa otouto desu.) = I am the younger brother.

私たちは うれしい です。(watashitachi wa ureshii desu.) = We are happy.

私たちは テレビを 見て います(watashitachi wa terebi wo mite imasu.) = We are watching T. V.

わたしたちは いえに います。(watashitachi wa ie ni imasu.) = We are at home.


Vocabulary and Grammar: (語彙と文法 (ごいとぶんぽ) (goi to bunpo):

かぞく(kazoku) = famly///父(ちち) (chichi) = father. The alternative word for “father,” when you are talking about someone else’s father is: おとおさん(otoosan).///母(はは) (haha) = mother. The alternative word for “mother,” when you are talking about someone else’s mother is: おかあさん (okaasan).///こどもたち (kodomotachi) = children// お姉さん(おねえさん) (one-esan) = older sister//兄さん(にいさん) (niisan) = older brother (That kanji is quite funny because it is literally a person with a big mouth on top.)//弟(おとうと)(oto-oto) = younger brother//妹(いもうと) (imouto) = younger sister.////うれいしい (ureshii) = happy, glad, joyful///テレビ (terebi) = television. This is written in katakana because it is considered a foreign word.////家(いえ) (ie) = home. Take note of this kanji because the kanji for “family” is similar: 家族(かぞく) (kazoku). Another word that is often used for 家 (home) is うち(uchi). /// 見ていますみています (mite imasu) = is, am, are watching. seeing, or looking. Look at the kanji for this one. It is a big “eye” on top of a person. 見る(みる)(miru) means “to watch,” “to see,” “to look.” 見える (みえる)(mieru) means to be able to watch, see, or look. 見ます(みます) (mimasu) = sees, see, looks, look, watch, watches, will see, will watch, will look. 見えます(みえます)( miemasu) = can see, can look, can watch, will be able to see, will be able to look, will be able to watch///見ました (mimashita) or 見た(みた)(mita) both mean “watched, saw, or looked.” 見えました (miemashita) means “could see.”

There is another longer way to say you can do something that you can use on other verbs also. You just use the infinitive form and add: ことが できます(kotoka dekimasu). 見る ことが できます(miru koto ga dekimasu) = can see, can look, can watch/// おしえる ことが できます ( oshieru kotoga dekimasu) = can teach/// くる ことが できます (kuru kotoga dekimasu) = can come// きく ことが できます (kiku kotoga dekimasu) = can listen, can hear.


As I have said before, the best way to learn this is to copy the sentences again and again saying them out loud while you copy them. The hiragana will stick better in your mind and so will the sentence patterns, grammar, and vocabulary. This is exactly how my Japanese teach taught me to speak Japanese. She just said: “go home and write.” She didn’t tell us how much. I went home and I wrote. In Japanese 2, I began speaking Japanese to everyone and saying whatever I wanted because I would write five pages every time I sat down to write. At first copy, and then after you feel like you can make your own sentences, write your own sentences. Just write, write, write, and say it out loud and make sure you understand as you are writing it. Another student in Japanese 2 only write one or two sentences as his homework, and he never learned to speak Japanese. How much you copy makes a difference.

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