Improving my Japanese
With a possible trip to Japan at the end of the year with some of my friends, it’s time to polish up what Japanese I know. Probably what sparked this was when a friend asked me to help her with some Japanese homework (and she left before I could actually be of any help >.<).
(If you’re studying Japanese, I seriously recommend using Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese. I taught myself Japanese and 80% of what I know is from that site. Another useful resource is WWWJDIC, a comprehensive online dictionary.)
I often think about random things, and on this occasion I had Let’s go to the Mall from How I Met Your Mother stuck in my head. So, I thought about the first line of the chorus:
Everybody come and play
How would you say this in Japanese? I would go for something along the lines of “みんな遊びに[くる-volitional]” (which I realise now in hindsight it doesn’t quite mean the same thing - this expression would mean “everybody come (in order) to play”). And then I hit upon the realisation that I didn’t know the casual volitional form of くる. Polite form is easy - きましょう. But what is the casual form? I settled on きよう and decided to look it up. Turns out, the casual volitional form of くる is こよう. That’s an important thing to remember.
Since I was on Tae Kim’s guide anyway, I randomly chose a section to read - the X[よう]になる/する section. Turns out, it’s an extremely nifty construction that can be used almost anywhere. To express something like
I’ve decided that I will go to Japan.
Instead of saying
You can also say
There’s a slight difference in connotation, I think, but I never realised that you can use する in this manner. Another similar construction presented on the same page is the form “[verb-potential]ようになる” meaning that you can now do something that you previously couldn’t, the main focus being on the “can” (i.e., potential) aspect. For example,
Meaning “I can (now) play the piano (when I previously couldn’t)”.
To say “improve” in Japanese, you can say よくなる. Theoretically, then, I can use this form and say
“よくなれるようになった” is such a mouthful to say.