cafe_kitten (cafe_kitten) wrote in linguaphiles,

basic Japanese help

Hi all! I will be leaving in about 1 month exactly to teach ESL in Japan.

Most people have told me that to know Japanese is not necessary to 'survive' or teach, but of course, being a linguaphile, I hope to learn as much as I can prior to my arrivals there.

That being said, I've been trying to teach myself, and I have a few questions / some confusion that I hope you experts can clear up :)

Sorry, I can't type using the kana but I know you'll all understand.
My main thing is trying to get these particles for wa/ga, I understand wa to be 'as for ___' so
I'd have to say Watashi wa gakusei or seito desu, because it's like, as for me, I am ___.

Now, with ga and o, I get confused. I thought that ga meant subject, and o' meant object, as in direct object. To me, If i say that I understand something, I would think that I am the subject in this case and what i Understand, is the why is it

'Nihongo-ga wakarimasu' and not 'Nihongo-o'?

Now with 'o' if it is to signify the direct object,
Am I correct if I say 'Watashi wa kohii O suki desu'
In general using the verbs 'to like' 'to dislike' 'to want' wouldn't I use o instead of ga?

So if I say..I want to buy a book...Watashi wa hon o, hitotsu kaitai desu?

Thanks so much for the help, and any advice / examples you can give will be appreciated =) this particle thing is what really does trip me up at the moment!

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