Lesson 8 - What is its name?
Let's start off this lesson by learning a couple animal names. Uma is the word for horse. Usagi is rabbit and hitsuji is sheep. Ushi is a cow or bull and kuma is a bear. Lastly, a pig is buta.
When talking about animals and asking an animals name, you would never use the honorific "O", since you don't give animals the same respect you give people. So when asking the question "What is its name?", you would say Namae wa nan desu ka. You should hardly use that sentence alone, though, for people may not know what you are referring to. To keep it clear, be sure you mention which animal's name you are referring to. For example, if you wanted to know the name of the rabbit, the sentence would be Usagi no namae wa nan desu ka. Adding the animal name with a wa following it helps make your sentence easier to understand and easier for others to answer.
Let's have another conversation concerning our new vocabulary words. This one is between a teacher, Mr. Yama, and a student, Umino. Please note how the names come first in the sentences. In Japanese, people believe they will catch a person's attention better by saying the name first instead of last, since the person might only catch their name at the end and not the first part of the sentence.
Umino: Yama sensei, ohayou gozaimasu.
Yama: Umino san, ohayou gozaimasu.
Umino: Anata no uma desu ka.
Yama: Hai, watashi no uma desu.
Umino: Uma no namae wa nan desu ka.
Yama: Uma no namae wa Thunder desu.
Umino: Anata no ushi desu ka.
Yama: Iie, ushi wa watashi no dewa arimasen.
Umino: Dare no ushi desu ka.
Yama: Yoko san no ushi desu.
Umino: Aa, arigatou gozaimasu.
In this conversation, after the two exchanged greetings, Umino asked Mr. Yama if the horse was his. Mr. Yama replied "Yes, it's my horse". Umino then asked, "What is the horse's name?". Mr. Yama replied that the horse's name was Thunder. Umino then asked "Is that your cow?". Mr. Yama replied, "No, the cow is not mine". Umino then asked who the cow belonged to and Mr. Yama replied that it was Yoko's cow. Umino then finished by saying "Oh, thank you".
You can also ask someone what their pet's name is and you can tell people what your pet's name is. The Japanese word for pet is PETTO and it is written in Katakana. If you wanted to say "My pet is a fish", you would say Watashi no PETTO wa sakana desu. Sakana means fish. Then you can go on to say what the fish's name is: Sakana no namae wa GORUDI desu. (The fish's name is Goldie) To ask someone what their pet's name is, you would say Anata no PETTO wa nan desu ka. Let's put this in another conversation with Yama and Umino.
Umino: Watashi no PETTO wa saru desu.
Yama: Anata no saru no namae wa nan desu ka.
Umino: Saru no namae wa DURU desu. Anata no PETTO wa nan desu ka.
Yama: Watashi no PETTO wa buta desu. Buta no namae wa TONI desu.
In this conversation, Umino says his pet is a saru, or monkey. Yama asks him what his monkey's name is. Umino replies "The monkey's name is Drew. What is your pet?" Yama replies "My pet is a pig. The pig's name is Tony." Remember, the words are capitalized because they would be written in Katakana.