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Natsuko: おはよう、レキシントン。ナツコです。(Ohayō, Rekishinton. Natsuko desu.)
Yoshi: おはよう、レキシントン。よしです。(Ohayō, Rekishinton. Yoshi desu.)
Peter: Peter here.Okay, today’s opening location has a special meaning for Natsuko-san. Right, Natsuko-san?
Natsuko: It does.
Peter: So you will have to stop by japanesepod101.com to find out what that is. And hopefully, Natsuko-san will share that with us.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Okay, now today, we are actually – we talked about season 2 and we talked about filling in some holes of grammar points we left out. Now today, we are actually going to go back and we are going to talk about the te-form, the copula
Natsuko: です (desu)
Peter: Now this is important for many reasons. It’s a commonly used structure and we want to make sure we cover it really well. Today’s conversation will be short but we are going to go in and dissect this conversation. Now today’s dialogue is between Natsuko-san, who is speaking here?
Natsuko: Two managers.
Peter: Yoshi-san, what relationship would you say they have?
Yoshi: I think they have the same positions or they should be close with age.
Peter: Now Yoshi-san, how do you know this?
Yoshi: By the way, they are speaking to each other.
Peter: The whole key. Today’s conversation is what kind of Japanese, Yoshi-san?
Yoshi: The polite Japanese.
Peter: And how do we say that in Japanese?
Yoshi: 丁寧語 (teineigo)
Peter: Okay, so here we go.
よし (Yoshi) : 今度の昇進についてですが、誰がいいですかね。(Kondo no shōshin ni tsuite desu ga, dare ga ii desu ka ne.)
夏子 (Natsuko) : 山田さんはどうですか。(Yamada-san wa dō desu ka.)
彼は熱心で一生懸命働きます。(Kare wa nesshin de isshōkenmei hatarakimasu.)
よし (Yoshi) : そうですね。彼がいいです。(Sō desu ne. Kare ga ii desu.)
決まりです。(Kimari desu.)
Natsuko: もう一度お願いします。ゆっくりお願いします。(Mō ichi-do onegai shimasu. Yukkuri onegai shimasu.)
よし (Yoshi) : 今度の昇進についてですが、誰がいいですかね。(Kondo no shōshin ni tsuite desu ga, dare ga ii desu ka ne.)
夏子 (Natsuko) : 山田さんはどうですか。(Yamada-san wa dō desu ka.)
彼は熱心で一生懸命働きます。(Kare wa nesshin de isshōkenmei hatarakimasu.)
よし (Yoshi) : そうですね。彼がいいです。(Sō desu ne. Kare ga ii desu.)
決まりです。(Kimari desu.)
Peter: This time I’ll provide the English and Natsuko-san and Yoshi-san will provide the Japanese.
よし (Yoshi) : 今度の昇進についてですが、(Kondo no shōshin ni tsuite desu ga,)
YOSHI: About the upcoming promotion,
よし (Yoshi) : 誰がいいですかね。(dare ga ii desu ka ne.)
YOSHI: Who would be good?
夏子 (Natsuko) : 山田さんはどうですか。(Yamada-san wa dō desu ka.)
NATSUKO: How about Mr. Yamada?
夏子 (Natsuko) : 彼は熱心で一生懸命働きます。(Kare wa nesshin de isshōkenmei hatarakimasu.)
NATSUKO: He's passionate and he works as hard as he can.
よし (Yoshi) : そうですね。(Sō desu ne.)
YOSHI: That's right.
よし (Yoshi) : 彼がいいです。(Kare ga ii desu.)
YOSHI: He would be good.
よし (Yoshi) : 決まりです。(Kimari desu.)
YOSHI: It's been decided.
Peter: Okay, short conversation today.
Natsuko: Huh!
Peter: But very rich in content and we do have a lot of content to look at today, but before that, Natsuko-san, let’s ask Yoshi-san what he thought of today’s conversation.
Natsuko: よしさん、今日の会話はどう思いましたか。(Yoshi-san, kyō no kaiwa wa dō omoimashita ka.)
Yoshi: 私も早く昇進したいですね。(Watashi mo hayaku shōshin shitai desu ne.)
Peter: English please.
Yoshi: I’d like to be promoted also.
Natsuko: You got to say that to Peter.
Peter: You got to say that to me? Okay Yoshi-san, you are promoted. What job do you want? Whatever you want, you get it. Any title you want, it’s yours. Salary doesn’t really change though. That’s the only catch to this thing. Congratulations but yes that brings us to our first word. Yoshi-san, give us that first word.
Yoshi: 昇進 (shōshin)
Peter: Promotion.
Yoshi: (slow) しょうしん (shōshin) (natural speed) 昇進 (shōshin)
Peter: Now, how do we turn this into a verb?
Yoshi: 昇進する (shōshin suru)
Peter: This again can be turned into a verb by adding する (suru). Now let’s take a closer look at this word. There are two kanji, two Chinese characters that make up this word. What does the first one mean, Natsuko-san?
Natsuko: Rise.
Peter: Rise.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: And what does the second character mean?
Natsuko: Progress.
Peter: Rise, progress. To move up.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: When you get promoted, where do you go?
Natsuko: You move up in your career.
Peter: That’s it. It makes perfect sense.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Rise, move up.
Natsuko: Very positive word.
Peter: Very positive. Now every positive has a negative. So if Yoshi is getting promoted, then that means Natsuko-san, I am sorry to say. Someone has got to be demoted. How do we say that in Japanese?
Natsuko: 降格 (kōkaku)
Peter: And this word also is made up of two characters. Which two characters?
Natsuko: Descend and rank.
Peter: Descend rank, demotion. There is so much logic behind the words and that’s what makes Japanese so unique. Not only do they use the Chinese characters which were derived from pictures, the logic in there really makes sense but they also have katakana to adopt foreign words. So the Japanese vocabulary is constantly growing and growing and growing but these kanji provide an amazing base. Now for a sample sentence, Yoshi you gave us one when we asked you what you thought of the dialogue. Can you give us that sentence, one more time?
Yoshi: 私も昇進したいです。(Watashi mo shōshin shitai desu.)
Peter: I also want to be promoted. So Natsuko-san, can we have a sample sentence?
Natsuko: あのね、私の主人今度昇進したの。(Ano ne, watashi no shujin kondo shōshin shita no.)
Peter: My husband was promoted this time and I like that voice acting, Natsuko-san. You sounded just like a really, really proud wife.
Natsuko: You see a bunch of these on dramas.
Peter: J dramas, Japanese dramas. Okay, next we have
Natsuko: 熱心 (nesshin)
Peter: Passion, passionate.
Natsuko: (slow) ねっしん (nesshin) (natural speed) 熱心 (nesshin)
Peter: Again let’s take a look at these characters inside the word. This word is made up of two kanji, two Chinese characters. What does the first one mean?
Natsuko: Hot.
Peter: Okay. What does the second character mean?
Natsuko: Heart.
Peter: A hot heart. You are passionate about something.
Natsuko: Very straightforward.
Peter: Right, very straightforward. You have a hot heart about somebody. Your heart is on fire with love, fire with work like us, just passionate. Makes sense, so logical.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Okay, now this is an adjective and Natsuko-san, what kind of adjective is this?
Natsuko: Na-adjective.
Peter: Which means when it comes in front of a noun, we have to put in between that noun and this adjective.
Natsuko: な (na)
Peter: So Yoshi-san, can you give us an example sentence?
Yoshi: 彼女はとても熱心な人です。(Kanojo wa totemo nesshin na hito desu.)
Peter: She is a very passionate person. Next we have, Yoshi-san.
Yoshi: 一生懸命 (isshōkenmei)
Peter: With all one’s life, as hard as one can.
Yoshi: (slow) いっしょうけんめい (isshōkenmei) (natural speed) 一生懸命 (isshōkenmei)
Peter: The most popular. I call this the test word. On every single Japanese test, this word appears. It is like it’s created just to be on a test. Yeah.
Natsuko: We use it all the time.
Peter: Really, I haven’t, like, heard it so much that I’ve seen it on tests.
Natsuko: I didn’t know that. Oh really?
Peter: JLPT, all of them were there, Japanese school, college classes always there. So this is the one where you will see over and over. Let’s take a look at the characters, the Chinese characters inside this word to give us a better understanding. Natsuko-san, inside, it’s two words in here, right?
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: And inside those two words, there are two characters each. So a total of four characters. The special word for these four character kanji words.
Natsuko: 四字熟語 (yoji jukugo)
Peter: Break that down.
Natsuko: (slow) よじじゅくご (yoji jukugo) (natural speed) 四字熟語 (yoji jukugo)
Peter: Yoshi-san, what does the first word mean together?
Yoshi: One life.
Peter: What’s the first character, what’s the first kanji inside this word?
Yoshi: 一 (ichi)
Peter: Which means
Yoshi: One.
Peter: Now what does the second character mean?
Yoshi: To live.
Peter: Again one life. Made up of two characters, one life. That’s it, it’s so straightforward. This is followed by the second word with the first character in this word, meaning
Yoshi: Risk.
Peter: The second one.
Yoshi: Life.
Peter: Risk life, one’s life risk. Now this comes from the word,
Natsuko: 一所懸命 (isshokenmei)
Peter: Now if you missed it, the second, the latter, the older word has the shorter vowel.
Natsuko: いっしょけんめい (isshokenmei)
Peter: Compare it to
Natsuko: いっしょうけんめい (isshōkenmei)
Peter: The meaning of these two words is quite similar and you could take it as to do something with your very best, as hard as one can, is a good interpretation. Now in the second word with the shorter vowel, the original word, the character is しょ (sho) which means
Natsuko: Place.
Peter: Or location. The original phrase comes from a samurai saying.
Yoshi: It means I will protect this one land I was given, risking my whole life because it’s a great honor to receive a land from the lord.
Peter: However it changed as the whole feudal system was reformed and receiving land as compensation seems to exist. Still some people use
Natsuko: 一所懸命 (isshokenmei)
Peter: But the long vowel
Natsuko: 一生懸命 (isshōkenmei)
Peter: With the second character meaning life is used more commonly today. Now there is no right or wrong. Both usages are okay and many people, many Japanese people don’t even know about this. Ah can we say many, some younger ones?
Natsuko: Yes. You are supposed to learn this in school but you know, we all forget.
Peter: Or just you know, I’ve had my fair share in not paying attention. So that concludes a little wrap up into how this word came about. Natsuko-san, which one do you use?
Natsuko: I usually pronounce it いっしょうけんめい (isshōkenmei), but use the older kanji.
Peter: When you write it?
Natsuko: Aha.
Peter: That older kanji being the kanji for place.
Natsuko: 所 (sho)
Peter: Yoshi-san, how about you?
Yoshi: I use the newest one, 一生懸命 (isshōkenmei).
Peter: With the long vowel, right?
Yoshi: Yeah.
Peter: In the dialogue, what do we have, Yoshi-san?
Yoshi: 一生懸命働きます (isshōkenmei hatarakimasu)
Peter: To work as hard as one can. Okay, next.
Natsuko: 働く (hataraku)
Peter: To work.
Natsuko: (slow) はたらく (hataraku) (natural speed) 働く (hataraku)
Peter: And finally we have
Yoshi: 決まり (kimari)
Peter: It’s been decided.
Yoshi: (slow) きまり (kimari) (natural speed) 決まり (kimari)
Peter: Now this comes from which verb?
Yoshi: 決まる (kimaru)
Peter: To be decided. Okay, so let’s run through this conversation quickly and take a look at what’s going on in there and get to our grammar point. First line.
Yoshi: 今度の昇進についてですが、 (Kondo no shōshin ni tsuite desu ga,)
Peter: First we have
Yoshi: 今度 (kondo)
Peter: This time. Then we have the possessive particle
Yoshi: の (no)
Peter: Followed by
Yoshi: 昇進 (shōshin)
Peter: Promotion. This time’s promotion is the literal translation and we interpret this into the upcoming promotion.
Yoshi: についてですが (ni tsuite desu ga)
Peter: について (ni tsuite), about. The upcoming promotion about, followed by
Yoshi: ですが (desu ga)
Peter: So this phrase is commonly used when bringing up new topics. Here the
Natsuko: ですが (desu ga)
Peter: Plays the role is a set phrase used when bringing up new topics. So this sentence actually can work without it but it’s much more polite to add this in.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Kind of we are giving people time getting ready for what comes next.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Or getting ready – their mindset ready to think about the upcoming promotion. So about the upcoming promotion like a pause, get your mindset about it, followed by
Yoshi: 誰がいいですかね。(dare ga ii desu ka ne.)
Peter: Who is good, is the literal translation but we interpret this as who would be good. Interesting thing happening with the particles at the end. We have two particles, first particle
Yoshi: か (ka)
Peter: Indicating a question. Second one here
Yoshi: ね (ne)
Peter: So we have these two particles. Natsuko-san, do you have any idea why we would have かね (ka ne) rather than just か (ka).
Natsuko: This indicates that the speaker also doesn’t have a decided idea.
Peter: And he will be participating in this decision.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Yeah, I think that covered it well. Okay, and this is followed by
Natsuko: 山田さんはどうですか。(Yamada-san wa dō desu ka.)
Peter: Mr. Yamada, how about and again we just go back to front. How about Mr. Yamada?
Natsuko: 彼は熱心で一生懸命働きます。(Kare wa nesshin de isshōkenmei hatarakimasu.)
Peter: He is passionate and he works as hard as he can. Now here is today’s grammar point. The te-form of the copula. The copula is, Natsuko-san.

Lesson focus

Natsuko: です (desu)
Peter: Now we have here two possible sentences. The first sentence
Natsuko: 彼は熱心です (kare wa nesshin desu)
Peter: And
Natsuko: 彼は一生懸命働きます (kare wa isshōkenmei hatarakimasu)
Peter: He is passionate. He works as hard as he can. Now much like English, you would rather than simple sentences, it makes sense to put them together and the way we can do this is with the te-form of the copula, which is
Natsuko: で (de)
Peter: And between those two sentences, we insert
Natsuko: で (de)
Peter: And we get
Natsuko: 彼は熱心で一生懸命働きます。(Kare wa nesshin de isshōkenmei hatarakimasu.)


Peter: And there it is. Okay, so I think we are running short on time today.
Natsuko: じゃあ、また明日ね。(Jā, mata ashita ne.)
Yoshi: またね。(Mata ne.)


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