For people on their first (or one of their first) reads of native material, it can be useful to see a breakdown of grammar they may have passed over. However, some people want to avoid accidentally seeing every little detail, so I’m putting this behind “detail” clicks. Note that because of the level of detail in these breakdowns, I have opted not to spoiler-blur any English translations of dialogue I’ve included.
Disclaimer: I’m a learner, too, and it’s possible I’ve made mistakes. I apologize in advance for any mistakes I’ve made. If you see a mistake, don’t hesitate to point it out for me.
「チトさん 見てください。雪ですよ 雪！！」
The speaker here is the main character of the series, Makoto. チト is the name of her cat. Although I don’t know how true this is for animals, when referring to people by name in Japanese, you typically include the suffix さん after their name.
見てください has a few things taking place. The verb 見る means “to look”. If you take the stem of the verb (見), and append て (見て), you can attach another verb to it. ください is a special case, used to ask someone to “please do” something. 見てください means “please look”.
雪 is snow.
There’s a lot that can be said of です, so if you’re not familiar with it, simply consider it a polite way of saying something “is”. In this line, “雪です” means “is snow”.
Adding よ to the end of one’s sentence adds a little emphasis. Here, it’s a bit like a verbal exclamation point. It’s like the difference between saying, “Hey, look, there’s snow,” and “Hey, look, there’s snow!”
４月 (pronounced し・がつ) is the fourth month, so this is April.
I’ll skip over な and のに for a moment.
こんな means “like this”. If you’ve seen the K・S・A words before (これ・それ・あれ, この・その・あの), you may recognize that this こんな will have a そんな counterpart, meaning “like that”, which comes up later in this week’s reading.
The word こんな is an “adjective” (to use an English grammar term) used to qualify a noun. If the following word is not a noun, then こんな needs to be changed into an “adverb”. This is done by appending に. In this case, the following word is a verb, so こんなに is used. (Note: This is a very basic explanation.) For more information on the use of こんな and こんなに, I recommend reading through Maggie-Sensei’s post, 「How to use こんな / そんな / あんな」.
The verb portion of the sentence is 残ってます. Note the use of て here. This is a combination of two verbs. First is 残る, meaning “to remain” or “to be left over”. For this verb, its step 残 receives って as its て form. (There are rules on when る is replaced with て vs って. If you haven’t learned then, then just know that such exists for now.)
The second verb being attached to the first is います. This is the polite form of いる, which is formed by taking the stem (い) and appending the polite ます, forming います. (Between this and Makoto’s use of です, it’s clear she speaks politely, at least when speaking to her cat.)
When saying 残っています, it’s easy for the て+い sound to simply become て, resulting in 残ってます. If you see a verb ending in 「てます」, you’re (not) seeing a dropped い from います.
The verb います (polite form of いる) by itself simple means “to be”. However, when following the て form of a verb, it conveys that that verb is still occurring. In this case, Makoto isn’t simply saying the snow “remains”, but rather than it “is remaining”. It continues to be in the state of remaining. It has remained, and it has not yet stopped remaining. The easy way to think of a verb ending in ています (or the more casual ている) is to think of the English translation of the verb in its “ing” form. (Note: This is a very basic explanation. There are verbs that are exceptions to this.)
The よ used here is the same as in the prior line. Makoto is quite excited to see the snow. I reckon she lives somewhere further south in Japan (closer to the equator) where the snow’s already melted, so seeing snow again is a bit of a marvel.
Now, back to のに. This is a particle meaning “although”, or “even though”. It gives the impression that the following portion (こんなに残ってますよ) is a bit unexpected considering the preceding portion (４月). It has a feel like, “How can this much snow be remaining when it’s April already?” The emphasis of the sentence is on what follows after のに.
If the word before のに does not conjugate (not verbs and い・adjectives), then you need to append な to the proceeding word. ４月の has a different meaning, so な prevents that: ４月なのに. (Note: This is a very basic explanation.)
あ is much like “ah” in English.
冷たい is the adjective for something that is cold to the touch.
“Ah. It’s cold!”
You’ll hear about how much of Japanese dialogue requires context to follow along. You can see here, the same thing can happen in English. If you’re given the line of dialogue, “It’s cold!”, you don’t know if someone just put their hands into a bank of snow, or just put their feet into a river, or just took a sip of soup they expected to be hot. Here, you can tell Makoto is referring to the snow because…there’s a drawing of her sticking her hands into the snow.
I’m not going to spend too much time on vocabulary words here, as I’m mostly looking to talk about grammar.
Here, the verb 食べる (to eat) is in its て form: 食べて. However, rather than a verb, it is followed by the particle も. In this usage, も has the meaning of “if (do verb)”, or “if (I) eat”.
かな at the end of a sentence means “I wonder” or “is it?”
“This… If I eat it, is it safe, I wonder?”
“I wonder if it’s okay to eat this.”
だ means “is”. In this use, it is similar to the polite です.
「わぁ もしかして 圭くんですか！？」
The particle か appears at the end of a sentence when asking a question. It is spoken with rising intonation (much like a question sounds when spoken in English). (A question can also be asked without か at the end, as the rising intonation makes it clear that it’s a question.)
「わぁ もしかして 圭くんですか！？」
圭 is another character, Kei. The name suffix くん is similar to さん. It’s more commonly used after the name of a male rather than a female, but there are exceptions.
「大きくなったから 誰かわかりません でしたよ」
The adjective 大きい is used to describe a noun. To use it to describe a verb, it changes into 大きく. Whereas 大きい describes a noun as being “big”, 大きく describes the action of a verb as being done “in a big way”.
なった is from なる (成る). This verb gets a lot of use in Japanese, so looking it up in a Japanese-to-English dictionary will give many meanings. Used here, it has a meaning of “to grow”, as Makoto is commenting on how much Kei has grown.
When you take the stem of the verb なる (な) and append the past tense た, the result is なった. Because Kei isn’t in the process of growing bigger (since Makoto last saw him), but rather he has grown (grew) since then, the past-tense なった is used.
I’ll get back to から, but when following a verb it has the meaning of “since” or “because”.
By itself, 誰 means “who”, but as 誰か, is means “someone”.
わかりません is from the verb 分かる. In many cases, letter before the ます form of a verb has the い sound. (There are firm rules for when this is and is not the case.) So, わかる becomes わかり when appending ます. The negative form of ます is ません.
わかる can mean “to be known” (meaning to know something). Here, 「誰かわかる」 would be “someone known” or “a known someone”. However, because ません is negative, 「誰かわかりません」 means “someone not known”. In English, we might say “not recognized” to refer to someone “not known”.
でした is the past form of です. This is similar to the past tense of なる being なった. The た form is showing it as past tense.
“I didn’t recognize you, since you’ve gotten bigger.”
Note that she’s not saying “I don’t recognize you”, it’s “I didn’t recognize you.” That’s because of でした being past tense. There was a lack of recognition before, but it’s not the case now.
Now, back to から. As mentioned, when following a verb, it means “since” or “because”. から emphasize on what’s said before it. “Because you’ve gotten bigger, I didn’t recognize you.” This is in contrast to のに, which emphasizes what takes place after. If you’re not familiar with から and のに, you don’t have to remember which emphasizes which. Just take a moment when reading a sentence with either of these to ask yourself, “Which half of the sentence is being emphasized,” or “which part is really being talked about?”
もって is from the verb 持つ, meaning “to hold”. (More on this in a moment.)
The verb 持つ is what’s known in English as “transitive”, meaning the subject (Makoto) is performing the action of the verb (to hold) on an object (the snow). Typically an object is followed by the particle を. However, when it’s clear from context, certain particles may find themselves dropped from conversation. 雪を持つ becomes 雪持つ. Except, 雪持 (ゆきもち) is something completely unrelated, so I suspect that’s why 持つ is written without kanji here. (I could be wrong.)
The verb 持つ changes into its て form by taking the stem (持) and appending って. (Again, there are hard rules on when to use って or て. Some people do well to look them up and learn by rote memorization. Others learn well to see them in use over time.)
Kei is saying 「持っている」, which combines 持つ (to hold) with いる. As with the case with Makoto’s て+います earlier, this is like the “ing” form of a verb in English. 持つ is “to hold”, and 待っている is “hold”. “Why are you holding that snow?”
When Makoto used て+います earlier, the い was dropped (てます). The same thing can be done with て+いる, resulting in てる. However, when followed by the particle の, て+いるの can become て+んの. This is one of those things you become familiar with over time. In other words, ている can become てん when followed by の。 ているの becomes てんの.
The final の is a “clarification” particle. In a question, it is used to seek clarification/information about something. (When used in a declaration, it is used to provide clarification/information about something.) In this case, Kei is seeking clarification (a reason) as to way Makoto is holding the snow.
よう is like “hey” in English. The lack of さん after チト’s name is very casual, and I imagine more common for someone referring to an animal by name.
This も particle is different from the one earlier (which followed a verb). Here, も means “too”, “also”, “in addition (to)”.
As with Makoto’s line about Kei’s grown, Kei uses the adjective でかい (big, huge) in its adverbial form でかく, which allows it to modify the verb なる, seen here in the past tense なった.
The な particle may be used at the end of a sentence (typically by men) to seek agreement, similar to “…right?” in English. “You’ve gotten bigger too, haven’t you?”
The ぁ at the end I imagine is a bit of an accent, like a very slightly longer pronunciation of the あ sound in な. That’s just a guess.
In many cases, a noun becomes a verb by adding the verb する, meaning “to do (verb)”. In this case, 元気する is “to be healthy”.
The verb する is in its て form. する is known as an “irregular” verb, because it has its own rules of changing form (conjugation). You simply memorize that the て form of する is して, and know that this specific rule doesn’t apply to any other verb.
In the verb attached to する, there is a dropped い. If not dropped, the line reads していた. This is using いる, but its form is changed by taking the stem (い) and attaching た. As seen before, this makes it into the past tense. Whereas a verb in て form followed by いる is “…ing”, いた makes it “was …ing”. The verb was being done in the past, but is no longer being done. Dropping the い from していた results in してた. (As long as you’re aware of it, you get used to this dropped い over time.)
The か at the end is, as before, questioning.
“Was being healthy?” sounds a bit awkward in English (that translation’s a little too literal and straightforward!), so perhaps, “Have you been healthy?” or “Have you kept healthy?”
This took a lot of time to write up. I enjoyed it, as it gave me a chance to review what I already know, and better solidify my recognition of it. I may write up more later this weekend, but wow, that was only two pages! I know there are bits on other pages I want to write about, so I may do less thorough write-ups of later pages, if I get to it.