Turning Japanese 1: dashi (だし), no (の) in explanations, no (の) as n (ん)

Introduction


As I promised way back, I’m also gonna try to get you an idea of how to Japanese. I will assume that you know at least the basics, so everything that GuideToJapanese has to offer you for free.

Furthermore, this will be directed at beginners. If you’ve been sailing the endless ocean that is Japanese studies by yourself for a while now, you likely already know the vast majority of what I’ve to share. If you are, however, a beginner who’s still going through the basic stuff and trying to get a hold on light novels with their own filthy claws and/or a newbie fan translator, then it might prove helpful. If you can can already read light novels by yourself then I’ve no idea why you’re reading this to begin with.

I’m no Japanese teacher, got no teaching license, no JLPT N1 (I’d guess I’m N2-ish, and if you’re willing to pay for the entrance fee and travel expenses, I’m willing to find out), and won’t claim that what I’m writing here is impeccable or conclusive. I’ll just try to give you hints that I was able to gather along the way of self-studying Japanese as a hobby.

dashi (だし)


You’ll often find this at the end of a sentence, and if you’re a beginner and look it up you’ll find out that it’s a soup. Great. Actually, it’s a combination of だ and し (particle to enumerate reasons) in this case. It basically does the same as だから with the nuance that the thing stated isn’t the one and only reason. It’d translate to “It seemed like a good idea back then…” – the ellipsis kinda implies it. With だから it’d be more like “Because it was a good idea back then!” It can also mean pretext/excuse, but then it’d be a noun and usually wouldn’t just stand alone at the end of a sentence. So chances are 99:1 that it’s the former and not the latter. If dashi’s right in the center of the sentence and in katakana or as 出し, then it’s more likely to be the noun thingy.

no (の) for further explanations


The possessive particle “no” shouldn’t be new to you, it’s very basic. One thing you might not know is that “no” can also be used to either ask for further information on something or when you’re explaining something. So asking “美味しいの?” (oishii no?) implies that you’d like to hear more than yes or no. Using it in a question’s okay for both, men and women. Putting it without a question, implies that you’re explaining something/giving reasons. “そうよ、ふわふわしとっても甘いの。” (sou yo, fuwafuwa shi tottemo amai no.) should be about right. As a guy, however, you shouldn’t use just “no” in something that is not a question. Inquiring about more details with “no” is common, stating something with just “no”, however, is considered girly. You’ll have to add a だ there. Same goes for the “そうよ”, by the way. It should be “そうだよ” for guys.

no (の) as n (ん)


Also really common, in direct speech and between friends in general, for both genders is to shorten the “no” to just “n” if it’s used in a grammatical way. It even happens when used as a possessive particle. For instance, ここんとこ (Koko n toko). But you’ll see it more often for the above mentioned explanations, especially combined with だ. “この奴は最低なんだ” (kono yatsu wa saitei nanda). There’s nothing special about it otherwise. It’s just a “no” without the “o”. “nanda” because saitei is a na-adjective and hence you’ll have to chain it with a “na” just like a noun. It has nothing to do with the “nanda” you might’ve heard in anime and the like. The one that stands alone.

Notes


That’s a first short trip on small stuff that might not be apparent to you right away, since textbooks didn’t point it out to you clearly or whatever. I tried to keep it as short, clear, and on-spot as possible, hope I’m not giving you any false ideas, and to see you around next time too.

7 thoughts on “Turning Japanese 1: dashi (だし), no (の) in explanations, no (の) as n (ん)

    • Literally yes, but it takes on the meaning of “worst” when used for people, so: “This guy is the worst.”

      最低 = worst only applies in context with people, usually you’d use 最悪 for that.

      Example: This movie’s storyline was the worst = この映画の展開は_最悪_だったよ。

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