Learn

Tweet of the Week #109: How many keyboards do you need?

Learn to use のです and んです, and why you can never have too may keyboards.

By 3 min read

Most folks would shrug at the idea of owning multiple computer keyboards. After all, it’s kind of absurd. While technophiles might say they can never have too many keyboards, one housewife in Japan has had enough.

How many arms do you have?

https://twitter.com/q_megumi_p/status/1334739550833262593?s=20

わたし「またあたらしいキーボードったん?」

おっと仕事しごとるねん」

ムカデかよ

“Me: [You bought a new keyboard again?’]

Husband: [But I need it for work…]

Is he a centipede?”

The joke wasn’t lost on Japanese tweeps. The mukade is Japan’s giant, poisonous and downright terrifying resident centipede with a whole lotta’ creepy legs. It comes straight out of your worst nightmare and is definitely one of the five Japanese bugs you’d like to avoid in summer.

Thanks. I hate it.

Folks living in Japan know too well how centipedes enjoy sneaking into your house and hiding where you least expect them to be such as your bed, cabinets and even the shower.

Not so bad, after all

However, the day after @q_megumi_p tweeted, she appeared to come around to her husband’s thinking. After trying it herself, she actually liked the new keyboard her centipede husband bought. So much so that she’s now plotting to steal it away.

https://twitter.com/q_megumi_p/status/1335107736325869569?s=20

ちなみに新しいキーボードはこちらです。 Kinesis Gaming Freestyle Edge RGB Split Mechanical (MX Brown) 私がってみたら結構けっこうったので、夫が元々もともと使つかってた Kinesis Advantage2 Quiet LF にもどったら新しいのはゆずってもらうことにしました。

“By the way, here’s the new keyboard. When I tried typing with it, I kind of liked it, so when my husband will go back to his former Kinesis Advantage2 Quiet LF keyboard, I’ll have it (the new one) handed over to me.”

The Japanese explanatory form “のです” and “んです”

Tanaka-san kekkon shitanda!

You’ll notice in written or spoken Japanese a のです/だ or んです/だ hanging around the end of a sentence. It’s a grammar form that gives emphasis to what is being said.

Grasping のです/んです is hard for Japanese learners because it conveys unspoken information. What is being said is based on shared knowledge between the speaker and the listener. To level up the difficulty, this grammar form doesn’t really have a translation—it simply adds nuance.

Let’s start with explaining that のです/のだ is formal, while んです/んだ  (sometimes ‘ん’) is more casual and mostly spoken Japanese.

With nouns and な-adjectives, you’ll need to add な to のです/んです.

  • 綺麗きれいなのです
  • 綺麗なんだ

With verbs and い-adjectives, you simply add のです/んです to the verb’s dictionary form or the adjective.

  • 新しいのです
  • 新しいんだ
  • 要るのです
  • 要るんだ

The form のです/んです serves several purposes.

Giving your reasons for something

In 仕事で要るんだよ*, the husband is justifying his new keyboard by saying he needs it for work.

(*standard polite Japanese)

In this context, んだ also hints that the wife knows he needs keyboards for work. That’s an untold but ‘shared’ knowledge.

Give your interpretation of something you noticed

You interpret something based on your observations of people, things, etc.

あめっているんだ

It’s raining (said to yourself as you see someone entering the office with a dripping umbrella).

State a discovery you’ve made

Let’s look at “また新しいキーボード買ったんだ*,” which means, “You bought a new keyboard again?”

The ん hints at the fact that her husband bought a new keyboard without her knowing and she just discovered it. It’s not the first time they’ve had a chat about him buying keyboards.

(*standard polite Japanese)

Rewording what you’ve said

You’re basically saying the same thing, but with insistence. That’s one of the usages of のです/んだ that can be translated with “in other words” or “that is to say.”

てる。怪我けがしたんだ!

You’re bleeding. (In other words) you got injured!

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
キーボード kiibodo keyboard
ムカデ mukade Japanese centipede
iru need
打つ utsu hit, but also type on a keyboard
ki ni iru dig, like
元々もともと motomoto originally
ゆず yuzuru hand over, turn over

 

Related

Learn

Tweet of the Week #114: Old-fashioned Japanese Remedies Crack Twitter Up

Should you really wear cabbage on your head to reduce a fever?

By 2 min read

Learn

Tweet of the Week #113: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

How do you talk about snow in Japanese?

By 2 min read

Learn

Tweet of the Week #112: Have a Happy Year Of The Ox!

Learn the kanji for the Chinese zodiac!

By 3 min read