Dialogue

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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Jessi: What’s the subject? Look for the Japanese particles わ (wa) and が (ga).
Naomi: こんにちは、ナオミです。(Kon’nichiwa, Naomi desu.)
Jessi: Jessi here. OK, what did we study in the previous lesson?
Naomi: We studied particles used to list objects, such as と (to), や (ya), and も (mo).
Jessi: You mean…「と」と「や」と「も」? (‘To’ to ‘ya’ to ‘mo’?) (笑) Right?
Naomi:(笑)そうですね。(Sō desu ne.) That’s right.「と」と「や」と「も」ですね。(‘To’ to ‘ya’ to ‘mo’ desu ne.)
Jessi: So what particles are we covering in this lesson?
Naomi: In this lesson, you'll learn about the particles は (wa) and が (ga).
Jessi: In this conversation, Keiko Sato and Akira Tanaka are colleagues. Today they’re having a barbecue in the park with their families. Who is in the conversation?
Naomi: 佐藤けい子さんと田中明さんと田中ゆなちゃん。(Satō Keiko-san to Tanaka Akira-san to Tanaka Yuna-chan.)
Jessi: So we have Keiko Sato, Akira Tanaka, and Yuna Tanaka.
Naomi: 田中ゆなちゃんは田中明さんの娘さんです。(Tanaka Yuna-chan wa Tanaka Akira-san no musume-san desu.)
Jessi: Yuna is Akira’s daughter.
Naomi: はい。(Hai.)
Jessi: OK. Let’s listen to the conversation.
DIALOGUE
田中明: 佐藤さん、旦那さんは?(Satō-san, danna-san wa?)
佐藤けい子: あ、主人は、歯医者に行きました。すぐ、来ます。(A, shujin wa, haisha ni ikimashita. Sugu, kimasu.)
田中ゆな: はい、おばちゃん。これ、あげる。(Hai, oba-chan. Kore, ageru.)
佐藤けい子: これは何?(Kore wa nani?)
田中ゆな: つる!(Tsuru!)
佐藤けい子: うわー。上手。誰が作ったの?(Uwā. Jōzu. Dare ga tsukutta no?)
田中ゆな: ゆなが作ったの。(Yuna ga tsukutta no.)
佐藤: すごいねぇ。(Sugoi nee.)
もう一度お願いします。今度はゆっくりおねがいします。(Mō ichi-do onegai shimasu. Kondo wa yukkuri onegai shimasu.)
田中明: 佐藤さん、旦那さんは?(Satō-san, danna-san wa?)
佐藤けい子: あ、主人は、歯医者に行きました。すぐ、来ます。(A, shujin wa, haisha ni ikimashita. Sugu, kimasu.)
田中ゆな: はい、おばちゃん。これ、あげる。(Hai, oba-chan. Kore, ageru.)
佐藤けい子: これは何?(Kore wa nani?)
田中ゆな: つる!(Tsuru!)
佐藤けい子: うわー。上手。誰が作ったの?(Uwā. Jōzu. Dare ga tsukutta no?)
田中ゆな: ゆなが作ったの。(Yuna ga tsukutta no.)
佐藤: すごいねぇ。(Sugoi nee.)
今度は英語が入ります。(Kondo wa Eigo ga hairimasu.)
田中明: 佐藤さん、旦那さんは?(Satō-san, danna-san wa?)
Jessi: Where's your husband, Mrs. Sato?
佐藤けい子: あ、主人は、歯医者に行きました。すぐ、来ます。(A, shujin wa, haisha ni ikimashita. Sugu, kimasu.)
Jessi: Oh, my husband went to the dentist. He'll be coming soon.
田中ゆな: はい、おばちゃん。これ、あげる。(Hai, oba-chan. Kore, ageru.)
Jessi: Here you are! I'll give this to you.
佐藤けい子: これは何?(Kore wa nani?)
Jessi: What's this?
田中ゆな: つる!(Tsuru!)
Jessi: A crane!
佐藤けい子: うわー。上手。誰が作ったの?(Uwā. Jōzu. Dare ga tsukutta no?)
Jessi: Wow! It's very good! Who made it?
田中ゆな: ゆなが作ったの。(Yuna ga tsukutta no.)
Jessi: I made it!
佐藤: すごいねぇ。(Sugoi nee.)
Jessi: That's great!
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Jessi: つる (tsuru) is a crane. They’re talking about a paper crane right?
Naomi: そうです。もちろんです。(Sō desu. Mochiron desu.) Of course. (笑) おりがみのつるです。(Origami no tsuru desu.) おりがみ (origami) is origami, or the art of folding paper. ジェシーさんは折り紙作れる?(Jeshī-san wa origami tsukureru?) Can you make anything with おりがみ (origami)?
Jessi: No, not really. (笑) I’m not that good at it. How about you, Naomi? 直美先生は?(Naomi-sensei wa?)
Naomi: えーと (Ēto), when I was a kid. I used to do おりがみ (origami). And I heard that it’s also good for your brain.
Jessi: Oh really? .
Naomi: だから、お年寄りがときどきおりがみをします。(Dakara, o-toshiyori ga tokidoki origami o shimasu.)
Jessi: Oh, really! That’s the first I’ve heard of that, but I can see how it might be a good brain exercise.

Lesson focus

Jessi: In this lesson, you'll learn the difference between は (wa) and が (ga) in questions.
Naomi: Let’s start with the particle は (wa).
Jessi: As we learned in Lesson 1, the particle は (wa) is used to mark the topic of a sentence.
Naomi: Right. Such as これは魚です。(Kore wa sakana desu.)
Jessi: Literally, ‘as for this, fish is’. In natural English, we’d say, “This is fish.”
Naomi: そうですね (sō desu ne), right. Now, this is an affirmative sentence. What we’re going to learn is the usage of は (wa) in a question, right?
Jessi: Exactly. In a question, when a question word such as 何 (nani) "what" or 誰 (dare) "who" is in the predicate, the nominative (which is basically the subject) is marked by the particle は (wa).
Naomi:(笑)Well, Jessi-san, I think we’d better explain what predicate is.
Jessi That’s true! So you may remember the terms subject and predicate from your English class. The predicate is the part of a sentence that makes a statement about the subject, such as the word 'swim' in 'Fish swim' and the part 'is an artist' in the sentence 'She is an artist'.
Naomi: In the sentence これは魚です。(Kore wa sakana desu.) “This is fish”, 魚 (sakana) “fish” is the predicate. In the sentence 誕生日は十月八日です。(Tanjōbi wa jū-gatsu yōka desu.) “My birthday is October 8th”, the predicate is 十月八日 (jū-gatsu yōka) “October 8th.”
Jessi: Anyway, when a question word like the WH-word is in the predicate, the subject is marked by the particle は (wa). It sounds a bit complicated, but don’t worry. We’ll show you with some examples right now.
Naomi-sensei, how do you say “this is fish” again?
Naomi: これは魚です。(Kore wa sakana desu.)
Jessi: And how do you say “What is this?”
Naomi: In Japanese word order we say “This is what?” So…
これは何ですか。(Kore wa nan desu ka.) You have to replace 魚 (sakana) “fish” with 何 (nan) ”what” and add the question marking particle か (ka) to the end of the sentence. これはなんですか。(Kore wa nan desu ka.)
Jessi: Literally, “as for this, what is?”, and it means “What’s this?”
Please notice that the word 何 (nan) meaning “what” was in predicate and これ (kore) is marked by the particle は (wa).
Let’s look at more examples. How do you say “That person is a dentist”?
Naomi: Well…That person is あの人 (ano hito) and dentist is 歯医者 (haisha) so…あの人は歯医者です。(Ano hito wa haisha desu.)
Jessi: Now, how do you say, “Who is that person?”
Naomi: Who is 誰 (dare) and in Japanese we say “that person is who?” So… あの人は誰ですか。(Ano hito wa dare desu ka.)
Jessi: “As for that person, who is?”, which is, “Who is that person?” The subject あの人 (ano hito) “that person” is marked by particle は (wa).
Naomi: そうです。(Sō desu.)
Jessi: OK, let’s take a look at a sentence from the dialogue. In the first line, Mr. Tanaka said…
Naomi: 旦那さんは?(Danna-san wa?)
Jessi: In this sentence something is omitted, right?
Naomi: うん、そうですね。(Un, sō desu ne.) Right. The full sentence should be 旦那さんはどこですか。(Danna-san wa doko desu ka.)
Jessi: “Where’s your husband?” In the conversation, when the question word is clear from the context, the rest of the sentence after the particle は (wa) is left out.
Naomi: そうです。 (Sō desu.) So お名前は何ですか。(O-namae wa nan desu ka.) “What’s your name?” becomes お名前は?(O-namae wa?)
あの人は誰ですか。(Ano hito wa dare desu ka.) “Who is that person?” becomes あの人は?(Ano hito wa?)
And ご注文は何ですか。(Go-chūmon wa nan desu ka.) “What would you like to order?” becomes…?
Jessi: ご注文は?(Go-chūmon wa?)
Naomi: そうです!(Sō desu!)
Jessi: OK. So we talked about particles when the question word is in the predicate of a sentence. What’s going to happen when the question word is the subject? Like “Who did this?” or “Who said that?”
Naomi: In that case, you have to use particle が (ga). Basically, question words cannot be followed by particle は (wa).
Jessi: Right. When a question word is the nominative, the particle が (ga) comes after it.
Naomi: For example, “Who said that?” is 誰が言いましたか。(Dare ga iimashita ka.)
Jessi: So notice that 誰 (dare), who, is marked by the particle が (ga).
That is because the subject of the sentence is 誰 (dare) and the predicate is 言いました (iimashita).
Let’s look at another example. How do you say “What happened?”
Naomi: What is 何 (nani) and happened is 起きました (okimashita). So…何が起きましたか。(Nani ga okimashita ka.)
Jessi: So notice how the question word 何 (nani) was followed by が (ga).
OK. Now, on to how to answer the questions. When answering these kinds of questions, the answer is marked by the particle が (ga) as well.
For example, 誰が言いましたか。(Dare ga iimashita ka.) ”Who said that?” To this question, if you wanted to say “Mr. Tanaka said that”, what would you say?
Naomi: 田中さんが言いました。(Tanaka-san ga iimashita.)
If someone asks you どのバスが空港に行きますか。(Dono basu ga kūkō ni ikimasu ka.) “Which bus goes to the airport?” and if you want to say “That bus goes to the airport,” that would be…
Jessi: あのバスが空港に行きます。(Ano basu ga kūkō ni ikimasu.) “That bus over there goes to the airport.”
Naomi: はい。(Hai.)
Jessi: But, Naomi-sensei, isn’t there an easier, shorter way to answer this question?
Naomi: (笑) ありますね。(Arimasu ne.) Right. You can also say あのバスです。(Ano basu desu.)
Jessi: “That bus over there does”. The rule for this is explained in the lesson notes so please be sure to check them out.
Jessi: And Naomi-sensei, I have one more question.
Naomi: 何でしょう。(Nan deshō.) What is it? I hope it’s an easy one. (笑)
Jessi: It shouldn’t be that bad. How would you say “Who is the company president?”
Naomi: うーん。(Ūn.) OK. 社長は誰ですか。(Shachō wa dare desu ka.) or 誰が社長ですか。(Dare ga shachō desu ka.)
Jessi: So both of those are fine?
Naomi: そうですね (sō desu ne), right, and the meaning is the same. But watch out for the particles.
In 社長は誰ですか (shachō wa dare desu ka), the question word, 誰 (dare) “who”, is in the predicate so the subject was marked by は (wa).
Whereas in 誰が社長ですか (dare ga shachō desu ka), the question word, 誰 (dare) “who”, is in the subject, so it was followed by が (ga).
It’s actually a little complicated.
Jessi: Yeah, I can see that, so if you find this complicated, I personally recommend that you translate “Who is so-and-so” as so-and-so は誰ですか (wa dare desu ka).
Naomi: そうですね。(Sō desu ne.) I think that’s the best way.
Jessi: In this lesson you learned how to use the particles は (wa) and が (ga) in questions.
Now let’s recap this lesson with a quiz.
Naomi-sensei is going to ask you a question in Japanese. Your job is to choose the appropriate answer from the choices provided. Are you ready? Here’s the question.
Naomi: 誰が言いましたか。(Dare ga iimashita ka.)
1. ジェシーが言いました。(Jeshī ga iimashita.)
2. ジェシーは言いました。(Jeshī wa iimashita.)
Jessi: OK. Can we hear the question again?
Naomi: Sure. 誰が言いましたか。(Dare ga iimashita ka.)
Jessi: ‘Who said that?’ The question word 誰 (dare) was marked by particle が (ga).
Remember, when answering this kind of question, the answer is also marked by the particle が (ga). So the answer would be?
Naomi: Choice 1. ジェシーが言いました。(Jeshī ga iimashita.)
Jessi: Right. Let’s look at other choices. Choice 2 was ジェシーは言いました。(Jeshī wa iimashita.) Well, this also means “Jessi said it” and depending on the context, it’s technically a grammatically correct sentence, but this sentence doesn’t work as an answer for 誰が言いましたか。(Dare ga iimashita ka.)
Naomi: そうですね。(Sō desu ne.) OK. Well, that’s all for this lesson.
Naomi: じゃまた。(Ja mata.)
Jessi: See you next time.
DIALOGUE
田中明: 佐藤さん、旦那さんは?(Satō-san, danna-san wa?)
佐藤けい子: あ、主人は、歯医者に行きました。すぐ、来ます。(A, shujin wa, haisha ni ikimashita. Sugu, kimasu.)
田中ゆな: はい、おばちゃん。これ、あげる。(Hai, oba-chan. Kore, ageru.)
佐藤けい子: これは何?(Kore wa nani?)
田中ゆな: つる!(Tsuru!)
佐藤けい子: うわー。上手。誰が作ったの?(Uwā. Jōzu. Dare ga tsukutta no?)
田中ゆな: ゆなが作ったの。(Yuna ga tsukutta no.)
佐藤: すごいねぇ。(Sugoi nee.)

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48 Comments

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JapanesePod101.com Verified
April 28th, 2010 at 06:30 PM
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In this lesson, we went through the difference between using wa and ga in questions. みなさん、分かりましたか?

Please ask us any questions you may have here!!

JapanesePod101.com
December 29th, 2018 at 04:49 PM
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Hi Christopher,


We include a limited number of words in the [Vocabulary] section, however, to check out more words/sentences, please use our Dictionary (includes audio):

https://www.JapanesePod101.com/japanese-dictionary/


You can also create your own Custom Lists. Please check out this link for more information:

https://www.JapanesePod101.com/custom-lists/


We hope this helps! In case of any questions, please feel free to contact us.


Sincerely,

Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team JapanesePod101.com

Christopher
December 12th, 2018 at 07:31 AM
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I sometimes find it frustrating that words or phrases are mentioned in the discussion, but are not in the vocabulary for review. For studying purposes, adding words/phrases mentioned in the discussion such as おりがみ or つる to the vocabulary list would be helpful. thanks

JapanesePod101.com Verified
December 10th, 2018 at 05:04 PM
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Hi, thank you for your comments and so sorry for the late reply.


>Hi Sarah,

I'm glad that this lesson helps you! Yes, Japanese particles are really confusing, but also interesting.


>Hi Muaz,

After a question word, like "dare (who)", "itsu (when)", "doko (where)", "nani (what)", it's "ga" that always comes.

"Wa" never comes after these words.

So we can only say「誰が作ったの」.


>Hi Joe,

Yes, that's right. The particle "ga" indicates a new information.

On the other hand, the particle "wa" indicates the topic.


For example,

- あそこにいぬがいます。

"いぬ", before "ga", is the new information for the listener, and what the speaker wants to tell (what is there.)


- あそこにいぬはいます。

"います", after "wa", is the topic and what the speaker wants to tell the most (whether the dog is there or not.)


Keep studying with JapanesePod101.com!


Sincerely,

Miho

Team JapanesePod101.com

Joe
July 11th, 2018 at 09:44 PM
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oh, okay i see but unfortantly it raises more questions!! 😄😄 I understand it as this Wa わmarks the topic of the sentene. like is watashi wa i know myself etc. this is mine. i know that but to ask a question for information new like... who is that? is that your dog? that is when i use ga*? as like information known to the speaker. for example if you asked is that a dog? asoko ni inu ga imasu あそこにいぬがいます。 ga is basically asking new info right? and wa is used for obvious? or stated right like - are wa boku no inu desu. i am like borderline confused hahah

Muaz
May 20th, 2018 at 09:34 AM
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こんにちは

whats the difference between 「誰が作ったの」と「誰は作ったの」?

Sarah
March 31st, 2018 at 10:47 AM
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Thank you so much for this lesson series, and this lesson in particular. While I think I'm getting better, Japanese particles can be very confusing.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
December 17th, 2017 at 05:20 PM
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> Jacob Shinn さん、

こんにちは!I'm very sorry for the late reply!!

The concept of 'subject' in Japanese grammar was actually created to make it easy for foreign learners to

understand Japanese grammar and thus it's based on foreign (i.e. English) grammar concepts.

I think 'identifier' is an interesting way to explain and would come in handy.


> Richard さん、

こんにちは!I'm very sorry for the late reply!!

Thank you for pointing it out!

You're right...助詞がありません。

And it's not appropriate to drop them in lessons like this one; no excuse.

I'll discuss about it with my team.

Thank you very much and my sincere apologies!



> 真理子さん、

こんにちは!I'm very sorry for the late reply!!

That's a very good point!

And you're right; が sounds more natural.

In this specific case, ~がいます is to state 'who' is there or 'who' exists (there) because this is a pattern

to state the existence. So, you need 'subject' to correspond the predicate います (verb, in this case).

That is marked by the particle が.

The particle は is the topic marker. Topic can be a simple topic as 'new topic of talk' or a comparison.

When we state a simple topic, that is like a 'premise' or 'foundation' of what's coming in the rest of the sentence.

If it's a comparison, topic object or person in 2 or more sentences are different and the rest of the sentence is same in

those 2 or more sentences.

To make it more simple to explain these two, you can think of a simple Q&A and see the difference.

Q: だれがいますか。

A: サラリーウーマンがいます。

Q: (そこに)サラリーマンはいますか。

A: いいえ、サラリーマンはいません。でも、サラリーウーマンはいます。

Hope this helps!


Natsuko (奈津子),

Team JapanesePod101.com

真理子
November 20th, 2017 at 11:04 PM
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i wrote this on social media under a picture of myself in a suit: サラリーウーマンが居ます。(salary woman is a word I made up, which i often do, especially for irony sake) i put サラリーウーマンは居ます。originally, but then erased it and put ga instead because it sounded wrong with wa! Can you explain the difference between the two?

Richard
October 13th, 2017 at 12:28 PM
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こんにちは!


There’s a problem with the lesson notes. The particles are missing!!! 助詞はいないです。

The lesson notes say:

あの人Ano hito 誰dare ですか。desu ka.

誕生日Tanjōbi いつitsu ですか。desu ka.

ケンKen 誰dare と 会いましたか。to aimashita ka.


You’re missing the 「は」! The whole point of the lesson is to teach the 「は」 and it’s missing. ?

And the 「は」is missing from the answer section. And the 「が」is missing from the next 2 sections.

(In case it is a tech issue, I am using iOS 11.0.2 on iPad Mini.)


It was very confusing.? I found the correct grammar inside the pdf file.

Jacob Shinn
September 13th, 2017 at 02:28 AM
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Personally, I like to call が as an ''Identifier'' rather than ''Subject'' since the word, ''Subject'' means something completely different in English grammar. Plus, calling it ''Identifier'' makes it a lot more sense and easier. So instead, I'm calling ga as the identifier for my Japanese lessons.