10 Minute Biographies - Chapter 1 (Absolute Beginner Book Club)

10 Minute Biographies - Chapter One: Edison

Start Date: 7th November

Next Chapter: Chapter 2
Home Thread: Link


Schedule

We are reading at the pace of one page per day. If a sentence crosses two pages it is read as part of the first page.

Daily reading schedule
Date Page Last Line of Page
Nov 7 11 たまごの 上に すわりました。
Nov 8 12 しつもんばかりの エジソンを、先生は
Nov 9 13 本を 読みましょう。
Nov 10 14 できごとに 出会うのです。
Nov 11 15 線路に とびこみました。
Nov 12 16 電信の 通信手と して
Nov 13 17 発明できるんじゃ ないか…。」
Nov 14 18 株の ねだんを、同時に
Nov 15 19 エジソンは ちがいました。
Nov 16 20 エジソンは、電話を 発明しようと、
Nov 17 21 おもしろい ものを 作ってみせるぞ。」
Nov 18 22 ことが できる 「ちく音き」です。
Nov 19 23 「電球」の 発明の はじまりでした。
Nov 20 24 一八七九年十月に十一日の ことです。
Nov 21 25 「やった! 新しい 明かりの たん生だ。」
Nov 22 26 End of chapter.

Vocabulary List

Please read the editing guidelines in the first sheet before adding any words!

Grammar Sheet


Discussion Guidelines

  • When asking for help, please mention the page number, and check before posting that your question hasn’t already been asked

  • If posting a complete translation of a sentence we generally use blur / hide, to avoid spoilers for those who haven’t translated the sentence themselves yet. The easiest way to do this is select the text, click on the cog icon, and select “Blur Spoiler”, or you can type it like this: [spoiler]texthere[/spoiler]

  • Join the conversation - it’s fun!


Participants

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Welcome to Chapter One of 10 Minute Biographies!

A few quick points to get us started…

1. Ask Questions!!

This group works best when people ask questions - so please ask! No question is silly - this is the Absolute Beginner’s Book Club so people are expecting Absolute Beginner Questions. The questions drive the discussion, and there’s a good chance if you are wondering, there are several other people wondering the same thing.

When asking a question:

  • Please include the page number for every question you ask
  • Check whether your question has already been asked / answered before posting
  • Remember to utilise the vocab spreadsheet
  • If posting the complete translation of a sentence we generally use “blur spoiler” or “hide details” to help people avoid seeing translations before they’ve translated the sentence for themselves.

2. Useful Resources

  • Jisho is a popular online Japanese-English dictionary, and the usual source for populating the spreadsheet
  • ichi.moe is a popular tool for parsing out sentences. If you haven’t tried this yet trying typing in a sentence from the book to see it in action. It’s like magic! It’s not always going to be right but it can be very useful.
  • Deepl will translate a sentence from Japanese to English. It’s impressively good, but of course not infallible.

3. Structure of Discussion

This isn’t for me to dictate, and the book club usually falls into its own rhythm. In past similar books it’s often worked well with one or several people typing out their translations for the sentences and sharing these in full on the threads (for an example see this old thread). But you can of course just post short questions on anything you are struggling with.

If you are not sure how to type in Japanese on your computer/phone - check out this Tofugu article.


4. Turning the Page

We usually start the next page discussion once it reaches midnight in Japan. For example, page 12 discussion starting November 8th will start in your time zone at: 2020-11-07T15:00:00Z.

That’s all from me. Enjoy reading the book!

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On page 11, I don’t quite understand the word (words?) ふしぎそうに and I’m not sure how to phrase it on the resources pages to get my answer. Is そうに like an adverb modifier (or well, そう as the adverb modifier, に as the particle)?

Basically, I can’t figure out how it fits into the sentence and I don’t know if I’m phrasing any of this correctly.

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You can put そう after a na-adjecitve (like here), the stem of an i-adjective or the masu-stem of a verb in order to make a supposition based on the appearance. そう itself behaves like a na-adjective, so you add に to turn it into an adverb. Edison looks at the goose wonderingly or in a wondering manner.

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To all the people participating, I wish you have fun and learn a lot!

On page 11, second sentence:

“知りたがりや”
What grammar rules are being applied here to the verb 知る

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First it’s 知りたい, he wants to know.
Then たい becomes たがり, as you speak of another person’s feelings (see https://bunpro.jp/grammar_points/112).

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And finally we have や which is https://jisho.org/search/屋 #3 (a person with a certain personality trait).

This is a fairly common construction to describe a person. An example of this construction with the word 恥ずかしい (meaning “shy”) is even listed in jisho: https://jisho.org/search/hazukashigariya

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Shouldn’t we also add a grammar sheet for this book club?

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Thank you @2000kanji @NicoleRauch . I started Genki 2 today and those two grammar points I hadn’t learnt :\ Maybe I shouldn’t be reading this book yet or just try to have a more passive presence here instead of spamming basic questions. Nonetheless, it served for me to learn those two grammer points.

By the way, is it okay for us to thank people for their help in this thread or will it make the thread too big and won’t let people focus on what’s important?

Thank you!

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I don’t think there are basic enough questions to ask considering this is an absolute beginner book club. I had the same question as you and the answers helped me too. So please keep posting your questions :upside_down_face:

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Given this is a book that is aimed at natives, it may or may not contain various grammar points that you have not come across yet (because Japanese children know much more grammar than what is covered in the Genki books). Please feel free to ask away! That’s exactly what these threads are for. Don’t worry about spamming please, it’s just the opposite :slight_smile:

(Also for thanking people: You are not required to, but if you would like to do it, then please go ahead! That’s just normal social interaction and not annoying or distracting by any means.)

Ahem, disclaimer: I‘m just a lurker and not a proper member of this club, so if anybody disagrees with what I said, please speak up and correct me.

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Can someone help me understand the use of ころ in this sentence?
Page 11: 世の中に、電話や電気の明かりがまだなかったころ、[…]
Is this the “around a point in time” ころ / ごろ? How could this sentence be translated?
Thanks.

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Happy to have a grammar sheet. It looks like people found it helpful in the last book as there were lots of entries filled in. I’ve created one and added the link to the opening post.

Quite the opposite! This is the absolute beginner book club so no question is too basic. The thread works best when people are asking and answering questions so please ask away!

You are very welcome to post a thank you when someone answers a question. Or just leave a heart, whichever you prefer.

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Yes, I read it as “around a point in time”. My translation for this was: In the world, at a time when things such as telephones and electric lights did not yet exist,….

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Thanks for clarifying what this conjugation of 知る means but also wondering why it is in brackets as if it were a quote. Is 知りたがりや a set expression?

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I suppose this is because a phrase is used as an adjective. The same happens in the subtitle of this chapter: 「どうして?」の子供, a “why?” child. Without the brackets, the sentence would be difficult to understand.

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You could call it a set expression, although technically it’s a word in its own right, it means “curious person”. Don’t really know about the quotes as I’m not reading the book, so hopefully somebody else can comment?

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@NicoleRauch, the sentence is:
世の中に、電話や電気の明かりがまだなかったころ、アメリカの北の町に、一人の「知りたがりや」の男の子がいました。

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Thank you! I agree that it is used to emphasize this characteristic, or to apply it to the kid as if it were a label or something.

It may be translated as an adjective (i.e. “curious”) but in Japanese it is still a qualifying noun. I’m not sure whether you are referring to the Japanese or to the translation, but I wanted to clearly point this out to avoid confusion for others. Here is an Imabi article about it:

There are many nuances that this qualification can take (the best-known is probably the possessive use, e.g. 私のペン), but in this case it is a qualification to describe a characteristic (like Imabi’s example sentence 木の橋 which will probably be translated as “wooden brigde”, but it would be closer to the Japanese to say “bridge of wood”).

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p. 11
Here is my translation (and “kanjification” i.e. I replaced kana by kanji):

Summary

エジソン
Edison
なんでも「どうして?」の子供が発明王に
A child who asks “why?” about everything becomes the king of inventors.

今からおよそ百七十年前。
About 170 years ago.
世の中に、電話や電気の明かりがまだなかったころ、アメリカの北の町に、一人の「知りたがりや」の男の子がいました。
In the times when telephone and electric light did not yet exist, there was an “I want to know” boy in a North-American town.
名前は、トーマス・アルバ・エジソン。
His name was Thomas Alva Edison.
エジソンは、鳥小屋にいるガチョウのお母さんを、不思議そうに眺めています。
Edison curiously watches a goose mother in the aviary.
「鳥はなぜ、卵を温めるんだろう。よし、僕もやってみよう。」
“Why do birds keep their eggs warm? Alright, I will try it, too.”
エジソンは、卵の上に座りました。
Edison sat on an egg.

EDIT: I edited the subtitle according to @Micki’s suggestion and I added ‘,too’ as suggested by @buburoi.

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