Getting a text invitation
Niko here. Let’s make some Japanese sentences!
This week’s prompt
Your friend texts you to invite you to a 飲み会 [のみかい] (drinking party) next weekend. You’re free that night, but you don’t really want to go.
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Last week’s corrections
You're in a serious relationship with a Japanese significant other, and you're meeting their parents for the first time. During dinner, the father asks how long you plan to stay in Japan.
Rei’s father passed away two years before I met her, so sadly I never got to experience a situation like this. I’ve often wondered what it would have been like trying to navigate this sort of cross-cultural relationship.
From what I’ve heard of her father, I think we would have hit it off!
Anyway, here are the answers that I personally came up with, along with Rei’s corrections of them:
伶[れい]さんによります。(Rei being the girlfriend.)
まだ わかんない です。 れいさん に よります。
I don’t know yet. It depends on Rei.
Literally: still + don’t understand + です. + Rei-san + に + depends
伶 [れい] is how you write Rei’s name in Japanese. It means something like “musician” or “person who plays music.” You won’t really see it used outside of names, unless you’re looking at some rather old Japanese, perhaps. Japanese people often incorrectly assume her name is written as 玲.
Anyway, Rei was super confused by this answer at first. I was confused why she was confused, probably because saying, “It depends on Rei” sounds pretty natural in English. Apparently it would be helpful to be more clear when saying this, which is why there is that first sentence to explain why it depends on Rei.
すくなくとも にねん は いる と おもいます。
I plan to stay for two years at the very least.
Literally: at least + two years + は + be + と + think.
Man, I botched this one. I didn’t include 間 [かん] after 2年 [にねん] at first, then I went back and added it! What was I thinking?! I’m also sad I didn’t think to use は in the way she did in her correction. Adding these more subtle nuances has been a big focus of mine the last few years.
Here’s my attempt at a long answer:
いつ まで にほん に いる か は わかんない んです けど、 アメリカ に かえる き は まったく ない です。
I’m not sure how long I’ll stay in Japan, but I have no intention of ever returning to the U.S.
Literally: when + until + Japan + に + be + は + don’t understand + んです + but, + America + に + return home + spirit + は + completely + there isn’t + です.
I wrote か, then I changed it to のか. Then back to か. Then のか again. Of course I chose the wrong option in the end. Agh!
まだ きめてない です。
I haven’t decided yet.
Literally: "still + is not deciding + です".”
まだ きまってない です。
I haven’t decided yet.
Literally: “still + is not decided + です.”
What? What’s wrong with saying そうですね to buy time because I don’t know exactly what I want to say yet? Well, nothing. But it sounds kind of weird because if I haven’t decided, why do I need time to find the words to say I haven’t decided?
In contrast, saying そうですね．．．before, for example, the earlier option with 少なくとも．．． would have been fine. I’m buying time with そうですね because I’m trying to work out the answer to a problem.
Here’s my attempt at a simple one:
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