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Jul 30, 2018

Japanese particle "は (wa)" - Make nouns Subject

In this article, I would like to talk about one exception to the Hiragana sound.

Basic Hiragana chart is below:
  Hiragana chart >>


The exception I would like to talk here is....







When you check the Hiragana chart, you will know 'は' makes the sound 'ha', like below:


Hiragana Romaji Meaning Part of speech
ha tooth noun
はは haha mother noun
はさみ hasami scissors noun
こはく kohaku amber noun


If you don't know what Romaji is, you can see the basic information about it in the article below:


As you can see from the table above, 'は' normally makes the sound 'ha'.




However, there is one exception to that.

The exception is below:

Hiragana Romaji Meaning
wa Make the previous word the subject of the sentence

This は is not a noun.
It is called postpositional particle.
It is used after the subject of the sentence.



Let's check the examples of it:


1.
wa ta shi wa ga ku se i de su


     Meaning :  "I am a student."
     
わたし (watashi) I
がくせい (gakusei) student
です (desu) am

In this example #1, わたし is the subject of the sentence because there is は(wa) right after it.
Like this example, は(wa) makes the noun in front of it the subject of the sentence.

If you don't know the word 'わたし(watashi)', please check the article below:
  First person representation >>

If you don't know the word 'です(desu)', please check the article below:
  です(desu) and ます(masu) >>


2.
a na ta wa shi n se tsu de su


        Meaning :  "You are kind."
     
あなた (anata) you
しんせつ (shinsetsu) kind
です (desu) are

Example #2 is same as #1.
あなた becomes the subject of the sentence because は(wa) is right after it.




Like the two examples above, when you use 'は ' as a postpositional particle, its pronunciation is 'wa', instead of 'ha', and it makes the noun the subject of the sentence. (word in front of は becomes subject)



By the way, there is one very famous example of 'は (wa)'.


It is 'こ ん に ち (ko n ni chi wa)'.

It means 'Hello'.



I will explain about Japanese greetings in the next article.
Let's talk about the details of 'こんにちは' there.


I hope this blog helps you study Japanese!
Thank you for reading!

2 comments:

  1. What about in the case of "じつは"? In this case there's no subject.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment!

      Maybe "じつは" is a different pattern because "じつは" is one word.
      "じつは" is an adverb.


      However, I think "じつは" was originally two words, "じつ" + "は".

      "じつ" means "real" in Japanese.

      So, in the old days, "じつ" was a subject, and "は" was a postpositional particle.

      But this combination was used so often.

      So they became just one word, "じつは" which means "in reality".


      Now, "じつは" can be used even if it is not the subject of the sentence.
      So I think you should remember that "じつは" is one of the special pattern where "は" makes the sound "wa".

      (こんにちは is also like this.)


      Are you Japanese?
      I am surprised that you found this exception!

      Delete