The curriculum lineup has been updated!

第34課: Nationalities, Languages, Fields of Study, & the Planets

This lesson is meant to be a break from hardcore grammar studies. These topics are for gathering more useful and easy to ascertain vocabulary.  


    To express nationality, simply add -じん to the name of the country or group.

 Japanese  日本人 にほんじん American アメリカ人 アメリカじん
 British イギリス人 イギリスじん Chinese 中国人 ちゅうごくじん
 French フランス人 フランスじん Australian オーストラリア人 オーストラリアじん
 Canadian カナダ人 カナダじん Korean 韓国人 かんこくじん
 Russian ロシア人 ロシアじん ? 何人 なにじん

Note: To say that someone is of a certain heritage, use 系(けい). A French American would be フランス系アメリカ人. However, a person of Japanese descent is just called a 日系人(にっけいじん).

Cultural Note: It is generally better to ask お国はどちらですか than 何人ですか. However, the latter is not rude to say.  

Nationalities in Japan

    The majority are Japanese. There are many Chinese and Korean residents and other foreign nationals. The original inhabitants of Japan were the 縄文人じょうもんじん. The Japanese ancestors were the 弥生人やよいじん. The 縄文人 descendants are the アイヌ, who mainly still live in 北海道ほっかいどう


    The name of a 言語げんご (language) in Japanese has the suffix ~. A language is sometimes a 言葉ことば, especially when similar to others in the same language family. For example, the Yaeyama and Yonaguni languages of Japan are often called "八重山言葉やえやまことば" and "与那国言葉よなぐにことば". ~語 is still OK. 


 Japanese 日本語 English 英語
 French フランス語 Korean 韓国語
 Spanish スペイン語 Italian イタリア語
 Thai タイ語 Vietnamese ベトナム語
 Swedish スウェーデン語 Turkish トルコ語
 Malay マレー語 Polish ポーランド語
 Hebrew ヘブライ語 Hindi ヒンディー語
 Cantonese 広東語 Persian ペルシア語
 Taiwanese 台湾語 Norwegian ノルウェー語
 Chinese 中国語 Portuguese ポルトガル語
 Arabic アラビア語 Greek ギリシア語
 German ドイツ語 What language? 何語
 Tokyo Dialect 東京弁 Russian ロシア語
 Romanian ルーマニア語 Icelandic アイスランド語

Word NoteKorean is 韓国語 かんこくごin reference to South Korea and 朝鮮語ちょうせんご in reference to (North) Korea. コリア is neutral.

Languages Spoken in Japan

     The national language or "国語こくご" of Japan is Japanese. However, there are other recognized languages of Japan. These languages are "aynu itak" meaning "the Ainu language", 津軽語つがるご, ケセン, 奄美語あまみご, 沖縄語おきなわご, 国頭語くにがみご, 八重山語やえやまご and 与那国よなぐに. All but Aynu itak are Japonic languages. 


     方言 means "dialect"; it's often a controversial labeling. Most dialects are labeled with ~べん. There are many dialects in Japan, but many historical differences between them are being lost as Standard Japanese is being diffused throughout Japan. Some areas are left with just a few words or なまり (accent). Some dialects are also referred to as 言葉. This is a little confusing, so if this word is used, it is usually to specific ones. 

Fields of Study 専門(せんもん)


 医学 いがく Medical science 科学 かがく Science
 化学 かがく Chemistry 数学 すうがく Mathematics
 物理学 ぶつりがく Physics 音楽 おんがく Music
 建築学 けんちくがく Architecture 工学 こうがく Engineering
 電気工学 でんきこうがく Electrical engineering 土木工学 どぼくこうがく Civil engineering
 機械工学 きかいこうがく Mechanical engineering 遺伝子工学 いでんしこうがく Genetic engineering
 電子工学 でんしこうがく Electronics 哲学 てつがく Philosophy
 言語学 げんごがく Linguistics 社会学 しゃかいがく Sociology
 法律学 ほうりつがく Law 経済学 けいざいがく Economics
 生物学 せいぶつがく Biology 地学 ちがく Geology
 教育学 きょういくがく Education 体育学 たいいくがく Physical education
 農学 のうがく Agriculture 心理学 しんりがく Psychology
 美術 びじゅつ Fine arts 芸術 げいじゅつ Art
 経営学 けいえいがく Business administration 文学 ぶんがく Literature
 天文学 てんもんがく Astronomy 宗教学 しゅうきょうがく Theology
 薬学 やくがく Pharmachology 生化学 せいかがく Biochemstry
 環境科学 かんきょうかがく Environmental science コンピューター科学 コンピューターかがく Computer science
 地理学 ちりがく Geography 国際関係学 こくさいかんけいがく International relations

Word Note: Science is 科学かがく. In reference to courses, it's 理科りか. "Science department" is 理学部りがくぶ. "Science course" is 理科系りかけい. 理系, an abbreviation, is used in expressions such as 理系の学生がくせい. 理学部の学生 is a "science major".

The Planets

 Mercury 水星 すいせい
 Venus 金星 きんせい
 Earth 地球 ちきゅう
 Mars 火星 かせい
 Jupiter 木星 もくせい
 Saturn 土星 どせい
 Uranus 天王星 てんのうせい
 Neptune 海王星 かいおうせい
 Pluto 冥王星 めいおうせい

I'm Moving!

I will moving the think tank, which is myself, to a new location this weekend and will be low on funds for a while. New lessons are still being made, but any donations at this time would greatly be appreciated.
Aside from the Donation tab, there are also two GoFundMe campaigns to help out.