This’, ‘That’, ‘That other thing’, and ‘what thing are you talking about?’Being able to refer to things, directions and unknowns is a major part of learning any language. That’s why we have created a handy-dandy cheat-sheet for when you don’t know which word fits in.
The first thing you need to get associated with is a concept called the territory of information. The territory of information is based on the premise that there is a conceptual field that depicts the relationship between the speaker and the listener in terms of proximity to the subject of discussion. (This might be confusing at first, but bear with me.) This field is broken down into four categories to express the the abstract points of reference.
こ – The physical or abstract area close speaker- this, here, etc. – referring to something that is in the speaker’s territory of information or something that the speaker knows.
そ – The physical or abstract area close to the listener – that, there, etc. referring to something in the listener’s territory of information or something that the listener knows.
あ – The physical or abstract area removed from both the speaker and the listener – 3rd party’s referential area, someone or something else, that, there, etc. – referring to anything that can still be identified or is known but is outside of both the speaker’s and listener’s territory of information.
ど – The physical or abstract area outside of both the speaker’s and the listener’s knowledge – marks the unknown, most likely used in some form of question sentence, phrase, or clause – referring to the unknown territory of information.
The most difficult part is getting a handle on the ‘あ’, which is neither the listener or the speaker. We don’t have the concept of the ‘あ’ region in English, so it’s mixed in with ‘そ’ to point to any information outside of the speaker’s field. Just remember that ‘that’ in English could either be in the category of ‘そ’ to point to any information outside of the speaker’s field. Just remember that ‘that’ in English could either be in the category of ‘そ’ or ‘あ’ in Japanese, depending on the situation.
ここ – Here (close to the speaker)
そこ – There (close to the listener)
あそこ – There (removed from both the speaker and the listener); “over there.”
どこ – Where? (Unknown territory of information)
ここはどこですか。Where is here? (IE: Where am I?)
こちら – This way
そちら – That way
あちら – That way
どちら – Which way?
Which way did the rabbit go? “うさぎはどちらへいきましたか。”
こんな – This type/kind
そんな – That type/kind
あんな – That other type/kind
どんな – Which type/kind?
You like that type of Ice-cream?! そんなアイスクリームが好きなの?
こう – In this fashion
そう – In that fashion
ああ – In a fashion
どう – In what fashion?
どうですか? How is [it/you]?
これ – This [one] (referring to an object)
それ – That [one] (referring to an object)
あれ – That [one] (referring to an object removed from both the speaker and listener)
どれ – What [one]?
*A noun or subject in being referred to cannot follow directly after any of these. これ, それ, あれ, and どれ are the subjects themselves, so treat them as if they replaced the noun being referred to. These replace the noun and stand alone. It’s grammatically incorrect to place a noun after any of these. Compare to この, その,あの, and どの in the following section.
この – This
その – That
あの – That (referring to an object removed from both the speaker and listener).
どの – What?
*A noun or the subject being referred to must follow directly after all of these. この, その, あの, and どの only work with the noun they are referring to, so think of them as if they need a partnering noun to function properly. It’s grammatically incorrect to follow any of these with a particle (such as は, が, に, を, etc.), compare with これ, それ, あれ, and どれ.
Who is that person over there?
That time… (referring to a time that both speakers are aware of, but is outside both of their current frames of reference; like the time of the samurai or third grade.)
The difference between the demonstrative pronoun and adjective is that is being described. The Pronoun is a thing in of itself. The Adjective on the other hand is describing something, which means s/t need to follow it.Pronoun: This (referring to a cat)Adjective: This cat. (cat must be mentioned)
*っち/っちら – Both have the same meaning, but the former is more polite.
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Here’s a chart to practice with. We have included so many forms of こ, そ, あ, and ど that you need to get down – so use this time to understand all of these forms and commit them to memory.