Japanese Nouns

Definition: The noun is used to identify a person, place, thing, or idea. In Japanese all nouns not have gender and usually the singular and plural form are the same.

  • English

    pencil, the pencil, a pencil,pencils,the pencils

  • Japanese

    鉛筆 = Enpitsu

The Japanese have the following rules for the use of nouns:

For Nouns Referring to People

If you use a noun referring to people, you must use the suffix たち (tachi) that indicate the plural form.

Singular Japanese Romanji Plural Japanese Romanji
Woman 女性 Josei Women 女性たち Josei-tachi
Man Otoko Men たち Otoko-tachi
Child 子供 Kodomo Childen 子供たち Kodomo-tachi
Girl 少女 Shōjo Girls 少女たち Shōjo-tachi

The Suffix "ya" (や) and The Suffix "ka" (か)

  • The suffix ya (や) is used for the store where the objects are sold or the person who sells them.

  • The suffix ka (か) is used for the person who is an expert or specialist in the designated subject.
Basic noun Noun with や (ya) or か (ka)
English Japanese English Japanese
flower shop , florist 花 屋
butcher shop, butcher 肉 屋
novel 小 説
novelist 小 説 家
bookstore clerk, bookseller 本 屋 さ ん
If you talk about a shopkeeper or clerk, you have to use the honorific san (さん).

For Compound Nouns

When you use two nouns together, you form a compound noun are joined by the particle no.

Basic noun Noun with や (ya) or か (ka)
English Japanese English Japanese
japanese / class 日本語 / クラス
nihongo / kurasu
Japanese class 日本語クラス
nihongo no kurasu
apartment / building アパート / ビル
apāto / biru
Apartment building アパートビル
apāto no biru

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