What does “kotoshi” mean in Japanese?
Native speakers say “kotoshi” to mean ‘this year’ in Japanese. Perhaps, some Japanese learners know this word well as it is often used in Japanese conversations. In this blog post, however, I will explain this word in detail based on its kanji expression. And also, I will explain how to use it through an example sentence. My explanations would help Japanese learners to understand “kotoshi” more clearly. Then, let’s get started!
- Definition and meaning of “kotoshi”
- Kotoshi in kanji
Definition and meaning of “kotoshi”
Let me start with the definition and meaning of “kotoshi”.
- kotoshi – 今年 (ことし) : a noun meaning ‘this year’ in Japanese.
Grammatically, this is a noun. In Japanese, however, many time-related nouns can also work as adverbs. “Kotoshi” is one of them. Native speakers, therefore, use it almost anywhere in a sentence to say “this year” in Japanese. This fact would sound a bit weird to Japanese learners, but is not unique to the Japanese language. Actually, “this year” can work as both a noun and an adverb in English. So, Japanese learners, especially those who are familiar with English, can easily understand this point, I think.
The meaning is very simple and clear. To understand this word more clearly, however, let me explain its kanji characters in detail, one by one.
Kotoshi in kanji
The kanji expression of “kotoshi” consists of the following two characters:
- 今 : a kanji character often used as a prefix to add the meaning of ‘this’, ‘current’, or ‘present’. This kanji can also be found in other words like “kyou“, “konshuu“, and “kongetsu“.
- 年 : a kanji character widely used to mean ‘year’ in Japanese. This kanji can also be found in other words like “kyonen” and “rainen“.
From these two kanji characters, we can understand that “kotoshi” literally means ‘this year’. So, what its kanji characters express is completely in line with its meaning.
When we meet new kanji expressions, we should check their kanji characters in detail to understand their meanings clearly and deeply. In many cases, kanji characters tell us a lot about meanings of words they form. Actually, here, we could get the better understanding of “kotoshi” through the detailed kanji check above.
Then, let me explain how to use “kotoshi” through the example sentence below.
Example: how to say “this year” in Japanese
Below are the new words used in the example sentence.
- boku – 僕 (ぼく) : a pronoun meaning ‘I’ in Japanese. This is used mainly by boys and young males.
- tachi – 達 (たち) : a suffix used after a noun or pronoun to make its plural form. In the example, this is used after “boku” to make its plural form, “boku tachi”, which means ‘we’ in Japanese. Learn more about Japanese plural.
- wa – は : a binding particle working as a case marker or topic marker. In the example, this works after “boku tachi” to make the subject in the sentence.
- tokyo – 東京 (とうきょう) : a noun meaning ‘Tokyo’ in Japanese.
- ni – に : a case particle used to say where someone or something goes. In the example, this is used after “tokyo” to say where “boku tachi” will go this year.
- iki – 行き (いき) : one conjugation of the verb, “iku”, which means ‘to go’ in Japanese. In the example, it has been conjugated for the better connection with its following word.
- masu – ます : an auxiliary verb used after a verb to make it polite. Probably, this is well known as a part of Japanese masu form. In the example, this is used after “iki” to make it sound polite.
This is a typical usage of “kotoshi”. In this example, it works as an adverb to say “this year” in Japanese. When we want to say “this year” in Japanese, anyway, this word is a very good option.
As an adverb, it can be inserted almost anywhere in a sentence. Besides the example sentence, therefore, “kotoshi boku tachi wa tokyo ni iki masu” is also very possible.
In this blog post, I’ve explained the definition and meaning of “kotoshi” in detail based on its kanji expression. And also, I’ve explained how to use it through the example sentence. Let me summarize them as follows.
- kotoshi – 今年 (ことし) : a noun meaning ‘this year’ in Japanese. These two kanji characters literally mean ‘this year’. So, what the kanji characters express is completely in line with the meaning. We can use this also as an adverb and insert almost anywhere in a sentence.
Hope my explanations are understandable and helpful for Japanese learners.
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