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I'm trying to translate some Japanese text I found to English (I'm very beginner, and self-learning). There are two columns of Japanese; on the left:

and on the right:

I divided these columns into blocks, as follow:

私い = I (with Hiragana い used to strengthen the "I")

日本 = Japan

が = and

大 = large

子 = child

き = ki

です = copula ("is")

So, I'd translate it something like "I'm Japanese, and a large child is the ki", but I'm not sure this is the correct translation. For example, what does き "ki" exactly mean? Does it mean spiritual energy? And, if so, why it is not written this way 気 ?

And is it correct to consider が as "and"? I found on an online dictionary that が can indicate sentence subject (so would Japan be the subject in this case? If so, how to reconstruct the phrase?)

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The full sentence being 私い日本が大子きです。? Are you sure it isn't 私は日本が大好きです。? –  Jeemusu Aug 22 '12 at 10:21
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As @Jeemusu says, please double check the い following 私 in the first line. It should be は (ha, but pronounced as wa here). –  Dono Aug 22 '12 at 11:22
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closed as too localized by gibbon, cypher, Flaw, Chris Harris, Troyen Aug 25 '12 at 22:26

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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

As the commenters above have mentioned, the sentence is likely

日本が大好きです (Watashi wa Nihon ga dai-suki desu)

If this is indeed what it was, 好き ("suki") means "to like" (very loosely). The kanji means "good", "likeable", etc., and the accompanying is okurigana for the whole word すき. I won't go into the details of okurigana here since that link explains it pretty well.

In Japanese, to say "like X", the pattern is Xが好き. In this case, the is a subject marker. Often, indicates a specific thing/example; what I like to refer to as a "specifier". So in the pattern Xが好き, "X" is the thing specified as being liked.

As for 大好き ("dai-suki"), as you noted, the kanji means "large"/"big"/"great". So 大好き means to really like/love (not romantic love) something a lot.

So broken down, the sentence is

私は (As for me) 日本 (Japan) が (is what) 大好き (I really like)です。 → "I really like Japan!" or "I love Japan!"

Hope this helps!

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Excellent answer, thanks! –  Mr.C64 Aug 23 '12 at 15:04
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