Nouns are the easiest words to learn in a foreign language. Memorizing them all isn't easy, practical, or possible, but at least they're simple to use so long as you understand their meaning(s).
Most nouns represent people, places, events, or things. Japanese isn't related to English, but there are plenty of loanwords from English and loanwords from Japanese in English.
Nouns have no number or gender, and there are no articles. Making things nominal is very important to Japanese. So, saying nouns are either people, places, or things is no good. The definition of a noun may be difficult, but you'll learn what things are nominal.
Pluralization Note: You can generally use ～たち to make things plural, but this suffix usually points out a group of things/people. Therefore, it is extremely limited. In this sense, it is not like the simple "-s" suffix for plurals in English. We will look more into this suffix later on in IMABI.
(Group of ) women
(Group of) men
(A group of) dogs
There are many loanwords from English in Japanese. The chart below has several, ignoring those that have drastically changed. They are Japanese words now, so don't use English pronunciations.
| メートル||Mētoru|| Meter||ビデオゲーム||Bideogēmu||Video game|
Japanese has many pronouns that differ in politeness, gender orientation, etc. All pronouns come from words that refer to people. Because you don't have the framework to make sentences yet, we will only look at the most important form of "I," "you," "he," and "she." Japanese has no true equivalent to "it," so that will be omitted.
|I||Wata(ku)shi わた（く）し|| 1. わたくし is respectful and わたし is polite/neutral. |
2. Stick to わたし until you understand others.
|You||Anata あなた|| 1. The most neutral word for "you" is あなた. |
2. It is direct, so use a name if possible instead.
3. It can mean "dear" when used by women to their spouses.
4. ”You" is usually dropped. If you use anything, third person reference is preferred.
|He||Kare 彼||1. 彼 can mean "boyfriend" in casual contexts.|
|She||Kanojo 彼女|| 1. 彼女 can mean "girlfriend" in casual contexts. |
2. 彼 and 彼女 often refer to friends/acquaintances.