The second introductory grammar lesson, Desu and Masu, is now available. Desu is the Japanese copula, a verb meaning “to be”, and –masu is the polite verb suffix. Together with The Structure of a Japanese Sentence, this lesson covers the remainder of the bare minimum grammar needed to use formal spoken Japanese. This one was also tricky to write since I was still struggling with how much verb conjugation to introduce before the big lesson. I ended up focusing on what to make of the conjugations once you have them, saving the topic of the process itself for later.
Upcoming grammar lessons will cover word categories and conjugation of verbs and adjectives. I also need to go back and add a section on the topic marker “wa”, saving the infamous “wa vs ga” issue for a another time. The next few Beginning Lessons will involve uses of desu, and the particles “ka”, “yo”, and “ne” also deserve some attention.