JPNS 1010

Dialogue for Presentation 6


(Supplements for the textbook
Genki: An Integrated Approach, Vol. 1)


Click here to listen to the entire dialogue.

Click on the links below to listen to each individual sentence. 


Akiko is showing John some pictures of her family.  


ジョン: あきこさんのお父さんは なにをしていますか


あきこ: 父ですか父はアメリカの会社につとめています


ジョン: そうですかあきこさんのお父さんは せがたかいですね


あきこ: ええ(pointing to another person in the picture)


ジョン: そうですかおとうとさんは、今どこにすんでいますか


あきこ: カラマズーにすんでいますウェスタン・ミシガン大学の学生です




In Chapter 7, you are learning a handful of uses of the te form followed by the verbいる (います).  Before we start the explanation of this dialogue, first we will give you a list of the possible meanings with some examples of each.  You will see different examples of these usages in this dialogue.  


(1) Showing continuation of a state of an ongoing action.  (This is the usage that you practiced in Dialogue 5.)  


               今、何をしていますか。              What are you doing now?  (What are you in the middle of doing now?)

               本をよんでいます。                        I am reading a book.

               べんきょうしています。              I am studying. 

               まっています。                                  I am waiting.


Compare the sentences above to the following sentences.

               何をしますか。                                  What will you do?  (The act has not started yet.)

               本をよみます。                                  I will read a book (not started yet) / I read books (in general).

               べんきょうします。                        I will study (not started yet) / I study (in general).

               まちます。                                            I will wait (not started yet).  


Note, you can also use the te form plus いる to show an ongoing action in the future too.  For instance, if someone in the middle of the day asks you what you will be doing at 9 pm tonight, you might answer the following.  

               べんきょうしています。              I will be studying (will be in the middle of the ongoing act of studying).

               まっています。                                  I will be waiting (will be in the middle of the ongoing act of waiting).

The point is that the speaker will be engaged in an ongoing action.  


(2) Showing repeated activity of a period of time.  


               ここでしごとをしています。    I am working here (repeated activity that happens over and over).

               まいにち、行っています。         I go every day (repeated action that takes place over and over).  

               何をしていますか。                        What are you doing?  (What are you doing over and over again?)

                                                                                      à This question is used to ask people their profession.


(3) Showing the residual effect of some action that took place in the past.


               かえっています。                             I have returned.  (I am in the state that resulted from returning home.)

   (The act of returning かえる took place in the past but the effects are ongoing.)

   (For instance, someone at home might say this on the phone to tell his friend he is back home.)  


               きています                                            I have come. (I am in the state that resulted from coming.) 

               (The act of coming くる took place in the past but the effect is ongoing.) 

               (For instance, a speaker at work might use this to tell their boss on the phone that they are at work.) 


               けっこんしています。                   I am married.  (I am in the state that resulted from getting married.)

               (けっこん meaning ‘marriage’ plus する ‘to do’ is the verb ‘to get married.)

               (The act of getting married happened in the past, the effect is ongoing.  The person is still married.)


Context is really important in determining which of the above meanings is implied when you hear the te form plus いる.  In many cases, the meaning is relatively clear, but if it is not, then you might use a question to clear up the context.  For instance, look at the following exchange, which might take place on the telephone. 


               Speaker A:          何をしていますか。

               Speaker B:          今ですか。

               Speaker A:          ええ、今。

               Speaker B:          今、本をよんでいます。


Speaker B might be confused if speaker A is asking “what do you do” (for a job) or “what are you doing” (this moment as we speak).  For that reason, he asks the question “You’re talking about right now?”  The answer cues him how to answer. 


In the dialogue above, John starts by asking Akiko what her father does (his profession).  As mentioned above, the question that Japanese use to ask about someone’s profession is 何をしていますか。  


Notice that when John speaks about her father, he uses the word (とう)さん.  (Note that here, the kanji is read とう.)  The word お父さん is the word that you use to refer to the father of someone else.  Notice that when, Akiko asks the echo question (ちち)ですか (“You mean my father?”), the character is read ちち. 


It is important to note that Japanese people use different words to refer to their own family members (or the family members of someone close to them) and someone else’s family members (family members that are not associated with their group).  This distinction is sometimes called the “in-group” versus “out-group” distinction.  You will learn a lot more about this “in-group” versus “out-group” business in the future, but let’s keep it simple for the moment.  When John is talking to Akiko, he is talking about her father (a father that is not in HIS personal familial group).  For that reason, he uses the “out-group” word お父さん.  Notice that the out-group word includes the polite suffix さん (the same さん that also follows people’s names).  Remember that you NEVER use this to refer to yourself or someone very close to you?  This is a hint that it is an “out-group” word.  When Akiko is talking about her own father (the father that IS in her personal group), she uses the “in-group” word (ちち).  


Below are a list of some of the in-group and out-group words for family members.  Notice that for family members, the out-group word usually contains the honorific suffix さん.


               English                               In-group                              Out-group                          

               Father                                (ちち)                                           (とう)さん

               Mother                              (はは)                                           (かあ)さん

               Younger brother            おとうと                            おとうとさん

                           Younger sister                いもうと                            いもうとさん

                           Older brother                  あに                                      おにいさん

                           Older sister                      あね                                      おねえさん


You do not have to learn all of these words now, but we will be practicing them over the course of the next several chapters so consider this a preview.  Note that there is no single neutral word for “brother” or “sister” in Japanese.  You always have to specify “older” or “younger” when talking about brothers or sisters.  


Akiko says that her father works at an American company.  The expression アメリカの会社 is ambiguous.  It could mean an “American-run company” or it could mean “a company in America.”  Since Akiko is a Japanese-American studying in Japan, probably it means the latter.  


Notice that Akiko says つとめています (is employed in).  This is an example of the third usage of te form plus いる described above.  The verb つとめる (つとめます in the long form) means “to get a job.”  Saying つとめています describes the lingering effect of the act of getting a job, in other words, “to be employed.” 


Notice that the particle that Akiko uses after 会社 (company) is .  This is typically the particle that you use with the verb つとめる.


John says, “Oh really?”  As he looks at the photo that Akiko has out, he comments, “Your father is tall, isn’t he?”  The expression meaning tall is せがたかい.  The word means “stature.”  This is followed particle and then the word たかい which means “high.”  (You have seen the same word たかい meaning “high” as in “prices are high / expensive.”)  Literally, せがたかい means “the stature is tall.”  


Akiko agrees (her father is tall).  She points to another person in the picture and says, “And then, [this] is my little brother.”  Notice that she uses the in-group word おとうと to refer to her younger brother.


John says, “Oh really?  Where does your younger brother live now?”  Notice, since he is talking about HER brother (a brother that is not in his own group), he uses the “out-group” word meaning “younger brother”: おとうとさん.  The verb すんでいます is a combination of the te form of the verb すむ (in the long form すみます), which means “inhabit,” “reside,” or “live” plus います.  People typically use this verb to describe the ongoing act of residing in a place.  (When you live in a place, it is not over in an instant, but an ongoing process over time.)  


Notice that when John and Akiko use the verb “live,” they use the particle .  This is the particle typically used with the verb すむ.


Akiko responds that her younger brother lives in Kalamazoo.  Notice the katakana spelling of the word Kalamazoo: カラマズー.  (This city name is easy for Japanese people to remember since it sounds rather like a Japanese word itself!)  She tells John that he is a student at WMU.  Notice the katakana spelling of Western Michigan University: ウェスタン・ミシガン大学.  You might notice that there is a little black dot in between the words Western and Michigan.  This dot (called a なかぐろ in Japanese) is sometimes used to separate katakana words.  Without it, Japanese who are not familiar with English might not know where the break between words comes.  For instance, foreigners often use it in separating their first and last names in Japanese.  (For instance, your trusty professor Jeffrey Angles writes his name as follows: ジェフリー・アングルス)  Without the dot, the Japanese reader might not know where the given name ends and the surname begins.  


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Updated February 26, 2008