To express positions in Japanese, we use the particle の to link a noun to a position word. The lovable Pikachu will demonstrate these positional phrases by hiding in various places.
Before we start, let’s familiarize ourselves with the grammar involved.
Japanese is a post-positional language, unlike English, which generally uses prepositions. Both preposition and post-positions combine a noun (noun phrase). As determined by the prefix (pre/post) – the preposition comes before and the post-position comes after the noun phrase. Since Japanese uses post-positions, the noun comes first, and the position word follows. The particle の connects the two. This is the particle used when describing possession, which makes sense here.
[noun] + の + [position word] + (に or で)
Right of the Flowers – 花の右
Here Pikachu is hiding to the right of two pink tulip flowers. Using the formula above, the noun flowers (はな) comes first, then の, and finally the position word, right (みぎ).
Full sentence? ピカチュウは花の右にあります。
To be honest, I’m not sure whether to use いる (animate) or ある (inanimate) for this Pikachu. Since this one is stuffed and doesn’t move, I’ll use ある.
Sound fun? Let’s learn more! Below is a table with the most common positional words. As with most tables on my blog, you can conveniently sort and search. I’m only using the most basic nouns that hopefully you will know if you have a few months of Japanese under your belt.
|上||うえ||ue||above; over; top|
|下||した||shita||below; under; bottom|
|辺||へん||hen||around here; near|
Left of the Stone – 石の左
Next up, one of the first kanji I ever learned – 石 – stone. Pikachu is to the left of the stone.
Gawa (側) means “side”, so 左側 means left side.
When taking these pictures, I know now that I should’ve spent the extra time making the noun a different color than the positional nouns, but I had a frantic dog (you will see at the end) going crazy in the backyard wondering what I was up to.
Under the Tree – 木の下
I felt like an idiot scooting around on my belly to get this picture and make sure the lowest swooping branches of the tree were included, just like the kanji character!
In Front of the Gate – ゲートの前に
He’s small, but he’s in the picture, almost buried in leaves!
I had to stop here, this is where my dog was able to get too close to Pikachu… I don’t want this to happen…
Pikachū wa watashi no inu no kuchi no naka ni arimasu.
Pikachu is inside my dog’s mouth!
My dog thinks any stuffed animal is her domain and supposed to be ripped to shreds. 🙁
Inside the Poké Ball – ポケボールの中
Rather, let’s put him in a place where he’d be more comfortable… Until next time!
Thank you to my assistant, my lovely daughter who went around with Pikachu and a basket to place all the chalkboards while I shot the photos! Everytime I called her “Assistant”, she asked me if I was going to call her Christina next (from Stein’s Gate’s Kurisa).