I put it up on the Japanese Resources page around a week ago (and it’s been on TextFugu a bit before that), but thought I should share it all with you here, since I think it will help a lot of you out. Being able to conjugate nouns, adjectives, and verbs isn’t terribly difficult, but it does require some nasty memorization for beginners … and I’ve never been a fan of memorization when I can help it (much better to memorize things other ways, I think. Stuffing your brain with repetition doesn’t do the trick for most people, even when they think it does). In order to help with this I came up with a Japanese Conjugation Cheatsheet. There was some thinking behind it, too, if you want to know why the cheatsheet is set up the way it is.
Simple And Not A Crutch
The whole goal was to make something that wouldn’t be too much of a crutch. The thing I worry about the most with cheatsheets is that people are using them instead of actually learning things. I’ve made sure the cheatsheet was set up in a way that won’t actually teach you about conjugating nouns, adjectives, and verbs. This cheatsheet is for people who have already learned it, but don’t know everything off the top of their head. Still, if you’re using this cheatsheet, it’s a good idea to be able to do all this (for the most part) on your own.
Really, the minimal amount of information is present. There’s information on:
- Neutral/Formal Nouns
- Neutral/Formal Adjectives
- Neutral/Formal Verbs
- A small reminder on how to convert from ます form to Dictionary Form
- Casual Nouns
- Casual Adjectives
- Casual Verbs
It will tell you how to do present/future, past, negative, and past negative tenses. Beyond that, there’s nothing else. It doesn’t cover the billion other things it could cover, because I wanted to keep things simple. Besides, if you don’t know the things on the cheatsheet, it’s really hard to learn anything else, so think of this cheatsheet as a cheatsheet for the foundations you need to learn to be awesome.
Formal vs. Informal
Another thing I wanted to do is make sure there was a way for people to visually see the difference between formal and informal, since I think the difference between the two are really important when learning Japanese. Both of them are good to know, so I’ve put them both on the cheatsheet. I didn’t include any of the super informal stuff, or the super formal stuff – only the stuff that’s going to be useful 90%+ of the time.
The cheatsheet positions the formal / informal conjugations in a vertical fashion, where formal is on top, and as you go down it gets more informal. Anyways, it’s pretty obvious when you actually look at the conjugation cheatsheet :)
You can download it for free right here – Definitely share it with your Japanese-learning friends, classmates, teachers, etc. Might be helpful. If you use it and like it, please “recommend” it on the Japanese Resources page. Really appreciate it!
Also, if you’re into this kind of thing, there’s the somewhat similar and possibly even more useful “Japanese Particles Cheatsheet.” Enjoy!