I’m working my way through the first Genki textbook/workbook pair and had some questions coming out of this last section (lesson 5). Here are some sentences I created and the questions I have about them. Thanks in advance for your help with these or direction on good resources for working through these sorts of specific questions with people
“This Kanji is difficult. Let’s ask the teacher.”
Is に the right particle for 先生に?
“Let’s do our homework together”
Should 一緒に come later or is starting the sentence like this ok?
“I like Middle Eastern food”
Is this the appropriate use of の in 中東の食べ物？
“I ate alot of food there. I bought souvenirs (omiyage) there.”
What’s the best way to more naturally join these two sentences?
If these sentences are referring to the same place, you need to get rid of redundant words (そこで). Addition it’s good to omit words that would be obvious from the context. In the case of たくさん食べ物を食べました, the word 食べ物 isn’t really doing anything because it isn’t really specific so I would probably omit it.
So in the case of connecting these two, I would use 〜たり because it expresses that there were other things beside eating and shopping.
So putting it together, I would write: そこでお土産を買ったり、たくさん食べたりしました。I switched the order to avoid abiguity about what was done a lot.
I would take the example sentences found on Jisho with a grain of salt. They are sourced from the Tatoeba project which which has intermingled both native-made and learner-created sentences so the phrasing/use could be unnatural. As an alternative, I like to use the Tsukuba Corpus because it will also provide frequency of the word and accompanying particles. Additionally all sentences sourced there should link you to the source of the example sentences. Downfall is that there’s no translation provided.
It seems like this was pretty well covered expect for the general note that, no matter what type of “ask” word you’re using (聞く, 尋ねる, 問い合わせる, etc.), に will always be the proper particle to follow whoever you’re asking. In general, if the sentence involves direction (either physically or in terms of interaction), に is a safe place to start.
It’s fine grammatically. Japanese isn’t too picky about where adverbs are set in terms of grammar. It might be just as natural to not say 一緒に at all if it’s clear you’re being inclusive, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the way it’s written.
Just echoing others above, but with a bit more explanation:
If you strictly did those two things or they’re all you really want to emphasize, the て form works just fine and is used to link two clauses in terms of order (and sometimes causation): (そこで) たくさん食べて、お土産を買いました。(I ate a lot of food and bought omiyage there.)
If they’re among several things you did and are just examples of your time spent wherever, use ～たり～たりしました. The たり form, which works just like the て form but with a たり at the end, makes verbs into nouns–hence it ending in a final しました–and implies they’re examples.
(そこで)お土産を買ったり、たくさん食べたりしました。(I bought omiyage and ate a lot of food there (among other things).)
(そこで is in parentheses because depending on how clear it is you’re talking about whatever specific place it is, it might be more natural to omit it. Just a note that Japanese requires much less information be made explicit on a sentence-by-sentence basis than English.)
I forget whether Genki covers either of the grammar points above by lesson 5. I suspect not, so just keep them in mind for later. I’m preeeeetty sure both are in Genki I. Maybe たり is in II.
Another good alternative is https://ejje.weblio.jp/. It’s aimed at Japanese learners of English, but it allows you to search any phrase in English and see how it’s been translated into Japanese in various contexts, which can give you a feel for what kind of constructions are natural. The downside is that its sentences tend to be quite complex, so they might be a little inscrutable for beginners. The upside is that there are always translations, and as far as I know all Japanese on the site comes from native speakers.