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Verb Bases 2015/8/27 21:30
Hello, my name is Alexander and let me start off by saying that yes, I searched the forum. I've now been at it for about 3 weeks, learning japanese and most recently I was introduced to "Verb Bases" I'm learning Japanese via English which is my second language so it can be a challenge to sometimes keep up with the pace at which I am presented with.

This is very hard to look through because of the Japan-guide.com format, so I apologize for how messy and convoluted all of this is.
I think I have a pretty good grasp of these things, but putting them into different boxes in my mind so that it becomes easier to manage when dealing with conjugation is what has become difficult for me.

Verb Bases seem to share principles with the whole past, present, future group but instead of points in time, it seems to be catering to specific groups of situations, is that correct? It is very confusing to me, and I understand this is a massive wall of text and work for anyone who would dare to go through, but I hope someone understands my questions and can sort of give me some clarification on the true usage of verb bases and perhaps even masu and desu formal as well as informal.
(if masu has an informal at all, as I mentioned I'm unsure of whether I have categorized "informal" masu wrongfully)

Verb Bases is a system to help you conjugate verbs, now the problem for me is that I find this system slightly confusing with all the talk about formal and informal version, among other things
(I just got a good grasp of what formal and informal IS)

The first example given was how a formal version of "to eat"
たべる, conjugates into たべます (in this case I'm using present/future tense for my example) and as I hope it may seem clear by now, the idea of this system is to teach the student how to conjugate words properly since it's apparently a very significant aspect of Japanese, to be able to properly address anything and anyone depending on whether you are talking to your friends or your superiors.

This is all decently comprehensible to me, however now we are suddenly dealing with another system divided into two different Categories いちだん and ごだん (bear with me and my lack of Kanji knowledge) ごだん as I can understand follows the first 5 Japanese vowels a i u e o

So here I am thinking "wow this is gonna be easy to master with enough practice" except it's not as cut and dry...

(this is not where I am learning from, this is just reference material)

Here's one of my main questions:
Are we supposed to memorize these stems depending on how we are applying the verb? for example, taberu, becomes Tabenai in present negative informal according to this table of reference, is that correct?

Here's where the chain loosens for me; the base 2 example talks about nouns, doesn't that sort of go against the whole idea of teaching VERB bases? am I just suppose to neglect base 2 unless I'm dealing with a noun then, and if it is a noun, should I look to base 2? yet, there is clearly and example stating that base two conjugates the stem into "Shi"

I just find this text mind boggling
"Base 2: Base 2 is, in most cases, a noun when used by itself but is primarily used with the polite form of the verb. " what does a noun have to do with this at all? and used by itself, what is that supposed to mean. Such as when you point at your car and go
"くるま" ?

Then we have an example like on Base 4
"Base 4: Base 4 is most often used as "if verb" by adding -ba. (ex. hanaseba - If he'd just say something.) It can also be used by itself as a command form but it is extremely rude and I recommend not using it at all. "

This makes me think that I'm supposed to memorize what they are used for, such as a "command" base. Does that mean that I can conclude that each base comes with an explanation of what situation they ought to be used for. If I was writing a story of a boss slaving his workers around, I'd somehow come across the stem replacement that Base 4 offers, is that correct?
However, this confuses me as well, because it says nothing about what tense we are in. Past? present/future?

Then all of a sudden, we completely break away from all sense and start talking about "て" and "た" form which are two extra forms besides the 5 it covers prior to this.

Again with the situational explanation of an example

" Base "te" can be used by itself as a plain form command. It is not rude but should only be used with close friends and children. By adding kudasai it becomes the polite form command. Base "te" can also be used in other ways that we will get into in later lessons. "

Honestly I'm not sure how I am supposed to memorize this, when it is being presented to me with such specific examples.
So if I am writing a sentence that describes how I asked my mother to kindly reach me the salt, " て" should come to mind as I conjugate the verb for that sentence? I am asking literally here, please correct me if I'm wrong.

It just seems way too specific to be something that can be considered appropriate. Could it be that this specific lesson is not very well written?

In English we conjugate our verbs based on present/future- negative/positive, past-negative/positive, however for Japanese it seems that there are a whole lot more.

I've written down some referencial material in my notebook that I use to practice.

They are as follows

Present positive = だ
Past positive = たった
Present Negative = じゃたい
Past Negative = じゃなかった

Present Positive = です
Past Positive = ですした
Present Negative = ではありません
Past Negative = ではありませんでした

This is Desu, it's pretty basic to me, I understand that there is a formal way of applying the verb, and an informal way, and that it conjugates respectively, but then there's ますwhich seems to be what initiated this "verb bases" thing to begin with and has quite frankly blown me off my course temporarily.
Because as I can understand, ます is used in formal speech, and its conjugated forms as well of course, but I think I have made a mistake here in my notes seeing that I have written an informal group of masu.

they are as follows

"informal" ます
Present/future = う (る)
Present negative = ない
Past positive = た
Past negative = なかった

by Bearbudah  

Re: Need Help with Verb Bases 2015/8/28 14:43
It's the first time I encounter the term "verb base". I think you should learn Japanese using a proper textbook written by people who know what they are doing, not a random website.
by Firas rate this post as useful

Re: Need Help with Verb Bases 2015/8/28 15:33
Perhaps you want to check this other more detailed website http://www.learn-japanese-adventure.com/japanese-lessons.html

This is one of the websites which I refer to in order to have a better understanding of my Japanese lessons (in English explanations) since my lessons are conducted totally in Japanese and sometimes can be misunderstood.
by CaiDY rate this post as useful

Re: Need Help with Verb Bases 2015/8/28 21:28
Hello Firas. I've encountered this from a collective of japanese lessons that was overseen by professionals, so it's not from a random website. This website was just my source for reference.

And thank you for the link CaIDY, the problem is that I am sort of stuck with my lesson. Maybe the system I'm using is too overwhelming for getting a proper grasp of how to conjugate verbs.

Thank you both of you for reading through my thread.
by Bearbudah rate this post as useful

Re: Need Help with Verb Bases 2015/8/29 13:11
This "ichi-dan" and "go-dan" conjugation verb groups are concepts used in teaching Japanese grammar to Japanese kids. If possible, please use textbooks that are catering to teaching of the Japanese language to non-Japanese. They use different names and explanations that are far easier.

And learning different conjugations in one go is nothing I recommend - as a former teacher of the language - I would take some textbook series such as Japanese for Busy People, or other series. They give you useful dialogues, through which grammar is introduced in stages.
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Verb Bases 2015/9/1 22:52
Thank you very much mr/mrs. anomynous.
I appreciate your reply, and it seems you understand my frustration haha ^^

As of right now, I've taken a few steps away from these "verb bases" and just begun looking into conjugating words I'm using to write sentences with.

Currently in progress of learning how to use the various particles and conjugate verbs while I'm doing so.
by Bearbudah rate this post as useful

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