what does 'nai' mean?

edited March 2011 in Asian Center
I understand a few words of japanese, probably like any Anime fansub viewer, and I try to listen to the japanese being spoken while I read the english, hoping to learn a few more words. In the course of that I keep hearing something that sounds like "NAI" used at the end of a sentence that seems to negate whatever the sentence was about. sort of like saying in english "Wow, you're so cool--NOT!" Am I hearing the word correctly? What is it really? and could someone explain a little bit about how its used?

I keep hearing something like "Wa Kara Nai" which I think means 'Thats not it'

Anyone know for sure?

PS I originally posted this in another forum and it was suggested that I ask Explosion and Deminyun. It was suggested that I post to a particular thread, but that one seems to be a semi-private conversation so I posted this as a new thread.

Comments

  • edited March 2011
    nai on it's own means it's not here... (for an object, inai is used for a person)
    (funny you should ask I just used that word like 5 minutes ago, I use it a lot)
    wakaranai means I don't know but also I don't understand
    it just depends on context
    That's not it is mostly translated by chigau!
  • edited March 2011
    correct!
    One addition the sentence "Wa kara nai" comes from the negation of the verb Wakaru which means to know or to understand.
    Just thought I should clarify the word Origin.^^
    Wakatta ka?
  • edited March 2011
    domo :bow:
  • edited March 2011
    you're welcome!
    By the way my Japanese Knowledge is also taken just from watching animes. So you can learn a language that way.:notes:
    Only Problem is the grammar and in case of japanese the kanji. I hate not being able to read japanese despite being able to understand the spoken language.^^
  • edited March 2011
    Hayate;288189 said:
    you're welcome!
    By the way my Japanese Knowledge is also taken just from watching animes. So you can learn a language that way.:notes:
    Only Problem is the grammar and in case of japanese the kanji. I hate not being able to read japanese despite being able to understand the spoken language.^^
    I've tried learning Japanese from books, including the kana, but it just does NOT stick. Though maybe with a bit of human feedback it will :)
  • edited March 2011
    Nai is indeed used to negate something, but it is pretty informal, and in certain expressions (even in anime!) ...-masen (waaay more formal) is used. Every once in a while, -zu at the end of a sentence means the same thing.

    Might be helpful to say that in Japanese, the verb is normally at the end of the sentence, and these things ↑ are just verb conjugations. The only things that are put after the verb are things like 'ne...' and 'yo' to either soften or harden your tone. (You'll probably hear '.... ne' a lot when you're watching an anime with lots of female chars xD)
  • edited March 2011
    Explosion;288596 said:
    The only things that are put after the verb are things like 'ne...' and 'yo' to either soften or harden your tone. (You'll probably hear '.... ne' a lot when you're watching an anime with lots of female chars xD)

    Seems to me I remember ka at the end turns the sentence into a question, right?

    Also I sort of felt like the ne at the end of a sentence was sort of like asking for the listener to agree, sort of "...isn't that right?" And I think I've heard it when a man or boy is talking to someone socially superior (boy to older sister, employee to employer, that kind of thing)

    So am I right in my feelings or totally off? :)
  • edited March 2011
    You're right, but maybe except for one very small thing, I guess...

    'ne' is used by everyone to their superiors, as it isn't as compelling as a normal sentence. So instead of saying 'That is a fact', you can turn it into 'We all agree that this is a fact, right?' kind of sentence to sound a little uncertain and stuff in front of someone else. Also, women sometimes tend to say 'neeeeee' very long, while men usually just have some almost inaudible 'ne' ^^
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