23 - More Sentence Hacking: The 2-Word Sentence, 第2

The last lesson was wayyyy to long. So I'll try to keep Part #2 short & sweet. We already looked at Formula #1:

"Noun + i-adjective."

For example:

1) 赤ちゃん可愛い。
akachan kawaii.
That baby is cute.
(Literally: "baby + cute.")

Now here's Formula #2:

"Time + Plain Verb."

Here are the examples from yesterday:

2) さっき食べた。
sakki tabeta.
I ate something a little while ago.
(Literally: "a while ago + ate.")

3) 明日やる。
ashita yaru.
I'll do it tomorrow.
(Literally: "tomorrow + do.")

Now, to be clear, there are probably also Formulas #2 - 86,551.

However, we're just taking it one at a time... partly because I can't bear to think about every possible 2-word sentence combo in Japanese (there are a lot of possibilities here), and partly because "1 thing at a time" is the only way to learn anything. Anyways...

Formula #2 is almost always going to be the answer to a question. That question is where we get our context from. And because we're getting lots of context, we can make these very short sentences.

So let's look at two highly likely questions that led to our examples:

2)
A: お腹空いてる?
onaka suiteru?
Are you hungry?
(Literally: "stomach + is empty?")
(Note: 空いてる [suiteru] is a casual contraction of 空いている [suite iru], which is a casual form of 空いています [suite imasu].)
(Note #2: This is also a two-word sentence! They're everywhere!!)

B: さっき食べた。
sakki tabeta.
I ate something a little while ago.
(Literally: "a while ago + ate.")

3)
A: 部屋片づけなさい!
heya katadzukenasai!
Clean your room!
(Literally: "room + clean [command]!")
(Note: This sounds like a mom talking to one of her children.)

B: 明日やる。
ashita yaru.
I'll do it tomorrow.
(Literally: "tomorrow + do.")

Tomorrow is always the best time to clean your room.

Contraction Master

I could try to break down the logic behind the contractions of these sentences (like I did yesterday), but really I think this is mostly just stuff that you get a feel for naturally.

This type of Japanese is especially easy to learn if you manage to get lots of practice and interaction with native speakers, because it's SUPER common and casual.

On a side note, notice that particles are also contracted in a large amount of casual constructions. This is a great excuse to stop stressing about them ^_^.

Sudden Side Lesson <(*o*)>

I always mix up さっき (sakki) and 先 (saki). Just before writing this, I asked Rei to explain the difference one more time. Her answer: They're completely different.

Uh... thanks for the lesson? -_-

The simplest way I can manage this explanation is this: さっき (sakki) means "a little while ago (probably under 1 hour)," while 先 (saki) means "before something else."

さっき食べた。
sakki tabeta.
I ate something a little while ago.
(Literally: "a while ago + ate.")

さっき話した。
sakki hanashita.
I talked to her a little while ago.
(Literally: "a while ago + talked.")
(Note: Are you picking up on how I'm leaving out contextual information in these casual Japanese sentences????)

These are different than something like:

お先に失礼します。
osaki ni shitsurei shimasu.
I'll see you later.
(Literally: "before + に + rude + do.")
(Note: This is pretty much a [polite] set phrase in Japan--you would say it to a co-worker if you were leaving the office before them.)

先に食べてるね。
saki ni tabeteru ne.
I'm gonna go ahead and eat without you.
(Literally: "before + に + eating + ね.")
(Note: Not formal--more so something you'd say to a friend or family member when you don't feel like waiting for them to eat with you.)

I'm kind of all over the place with this lesson, but the final point is this:

In casual conversations, leave out as many words as you possibly can... while still communicating your message fully. If you think about it, it's probably complicated. But eventually your brain will get all lazy--uh, I mean, Japanese--and it will feel natural.

Then you'll start to look at sentences like:

1) I'll do it tomorrow.
2) I talked to her earlier.
3) I ate something a little while ago.
4) OK, I'm coming.

...and you start to wonder why you can't just say...

1) tomorrow do
2) earlier talked
3) earlier ate
4) now come [go]

... because that's who our J-homies would handle it:

1)
明日やる。
ashita yaru.
I'll do it tomorrow.
(Literally: "tomorrow + do.")

2)
さっき話した。
sakki hanashita.
I talked to her a little while ago.
(Literally: "a while ago + talked.")

3)
さっき食べた。
sakki tabeta.
I ate something a little while ago.
(Literally: "a while ago + ate.")

4)
今行く
ima iku
OK, I'm coming.
(Literally: "now + go.")
(Note: Said in response to, for example, 遅刻しちゃうよ [chikoku shichau yo / "We're gonna be late."])

Super Short Lesson Mission: Failed. x_x

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