54 - I think I'll... go to sleep.

Yesterday, when I briefly mentioned that ~てみる (te miru) could mean "attempt; try to do," I said that today I was going to talk about various ways to express "trying to VERB" in Japanese.

Alas, I think I'll save that for another day.

Partly because I want to build a bit of a foundation for that lesson.

****** Sad Note ******
You'll notice that there's a somewhat saddening lack of sweet photos today. Getting carried away with photo creation has been eating away my time like crazy, so I'm trying to take breaks... every now and then.

Sorry, yo! *Much Shame* _(-_-)_
****** End Note ******

Sometimes in Japan you'll see signs that say "Let's [all-kinds-of-crazy-words].

For example, here's a webpage that says "Let's DIY:"

I'm not too sure about the rest of you English speakers out there, but I think the term "Let's DIY" sounds really strange.

Let's = Let us
DIY = Do it yourself
Let's DIY = Let's do it yourself

But "let's" in Japanese is not limited to "let us."

If I wanted to pretend that I understand grammar terms, I might say:

The Japanese volitional form is not exclusive to the first-person plural.

Rrrrgh. Grammar.

If you have a Genki or Minna No Nihongo book (or pretty much any beginner's text), they'll have a section on volitional verbs.

They'll tell you...

In polite form, 話します (hanashimasu) is "speak," and 話しましょう (hanashimashou) is "let's speak."
In plain/casual form, 話す (hanasu) is "speak," and 話そう (hanasou) is "let's speak."
( ↑ Grade 1 Verbs ↑ )

Similarly...

In polite form, 食べます (tabemasu) is "eat," and 食べましょう (tabemashou) is "let's eat."
In plain/casual form, 食べる (taberu) is "eat," and 食べよう (tabeyou) is "let's eat."
( ↑ Grade 2 Verbs ↑ )

Is that confusing?

If so, please check out the...

★☆★ Conjugation Gate of Doom ★☆★
( ↑ Link to conjugation rules for volitional verbs. ↑ )

I think conjugation rules are boring, so I'm not going to talk about them here.

Instead, let's talk about the fun stuff:


Nuances and Usage!


Because Japanese volitional is not limited to first-person plural (i.e. "we"), we can also use it when talking to ourselves.

When we do this, it means, "I think I'll VERB."

For example, I can say:

シャワー浴びよう。
shawaa abiyou.
I think I'll take a shower. // I'm gonna take a shower.
(Literally: "shower + let's bathe/shower")
(Note: It's like you're thinking out loud: "Hey, self, let's shower.")

Hold up.

If we're talking to ourselves, then why do we need to say anything at all?

Well, we're talking to ourselves in front of someone else.

Kind of like we're announcing our intentions to them, but not necessarily trying to elicit a response.

Yes, this does mean "I think I'll take a shower," but it's not as direct as saying, for example, "I'm gonna take a shower," and it's said more often than "I think I'll take a shower" would be said in English.

Rei and I use these phrases nonstop (in person, but not via text messaging), letting each other know what we're doing and about to do at various times of the day.

Here are some other super-duper common examples:

後で食べよう。
ato de tabeyou.
I think I'll eat (this) later. // I'm gonna eat this later.
(Literally: "later + let's eat")

もうちょっと寝よう。
mou chotto neyou.
I think I'll sleep a little longer. // I'm gonna sleep a little longer.
(Literally: "a little more + let's sleep")

これ買おう。
kore kaou.
I think I'll buy this. // I'm gonna buy this.
(Literally: "this + let's buy")

Wait... wait... not finished yet...


Super Ninja Level-Up Tactic.... ACTIVATE!

By adding かな~ (ka naa) to the end of these phrases, we can do two things:
#1 - Express our doubt about whether or not we should do this thing.
#2 - Give the person with us a chance to comment on the thing we're considering doing.

In this case, the nuance is probably less like, "I think I'll VERB," and more like, "Hmm... maybe I'll VERB..."

シャワー浴びようかな~。
shawaa abiyou ka naa.
Hmm... maybe I'll take a shower...
(Literally: "shower + let's bathe/shower + かな~")

後で食べようかな~。
ato de tabeyou ka naa.
Hmm... maybe I'll eat (this) later.
(Literally: "later + let's eat + かな~")

もうちょっと寝ようかな~。
mou chotto neyou ka naa.
Hmm... maybe I'll sleep a little longer.
(Literally: "a little more + let's sleep + かな~")

これ買おうかな~。
kore kaou ka naa.
Hmm... maybe I'll buy this.
(Literally: "this + let's buy + かな~")


Copious Response Options

The reason that I like these phrases is that it's such a subtle way of getting someone to give you advice.

Like, let's say we're at the store, and I'm looking at a giant family pack of fresh fruits, which appears to be uber-delicious.

But it's a bit expensive.

I might say...

A:
これ買おうかな~。
kore kaou.
Hmm... maybe I'll buy this.
(Literally: "this + let's buy + かな~")

...and it gives the person with me (maybe a close friend, family member, or loved one) a chance to say any of these...

B-1:
買えば。
kaeba.
So buy it, then.
(Literally: "if you buy it")

(Note: The nuance is, "Why don't you buy it, then?" It's not the most polite phrase in the world [though not really rude, if you're with a close friend or family member]. Note that it does not sound like the speaker cares if the listener buys it or not.)

B-2:
買いなよ
kai na yo.
Yeah, buy it.
(Literally: "buy + なよ")
(Note: We saw this grammar form in Lesson #48 & Lesson #49! This is somewhat like saying 買えば, only, in this case, the speaker appears to also believe that buying it is a good idea.)

B-3:
高くない?
takaku nai?
It's kind of expensive. // Don't you think it's a bit expensive?
(Literally: "not expensive?")

B-4:
やめなよ。
yamena yo.
Don't buy that.
(Literally: "quit/stop + なよ")
(Note: The speaker clearly thinks buying it is a bad idea.)

Or Person B has the option of saying nothing.

And I think it's always nice giving someone the option to say nothing. ^_^


Bonus Phrases

今から英語で話します。
いま から えいご で はなします。
I'm (only) going to speak English from now on.

あとで話しましょう 。
あと で はなしましょう。
Let's talk later.

話すこと無い。
はなす こと ない。
We [I] have nothing to talk about.

旅行について話そう。
りょこう に ついて はなそう。
Let's talk about traveling.

昼はいつもひとりで食べます。
ひる は いつも ひとり で たべます。
I always eat lunch by myself.

これ一緒に食べましょう。
これ いっしょ に たべましょう。
Let's eat this together.

いつ食べる?
いつ たべる?
When do you want to eat? // When are you going to eat?
Literally: when + eat?

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