The following is an unedited post created on our Tumblr page. You may find the original here.
Gasp! I’m late again. But I’m here!
So let’s get started and just show the first twelve lines of the first episode of Fairy Tail:
魔法は 普通に売り買いされ 人々の生活に根づいていた。
そして その魔法を駆使して 生業とする者どもがいる。
そして とある街に とある魔導士ギルドがある。
かつて いや 後々に至るまで 数々の伝説を生み出した ギルド。
Of course, this might not mean a lot to a novice, but we can figure out some nouns easily. Firstly, フィオーレ is Fiore, the land the show takes place in. Secondly, フェアリーテイル is Fairy Tail, the title of the show and guild for which the main characters work. Thirdly, ギルド is a guild. Katakana words are generally easy to figure out. Great!
So with this in mind, let’s go to the sentences where we see these words:
Fiore王国. 王国 is pronounced Oukoku; and that’s a kingdom (literally king-land). So, “Fiore Kingdom”, i.e. The Kingdom of Fiore. So far so good?
Somethingsomething Fairy Tail. Here we have two easy to understand grammatical units and an important noun. その, sono, is an adjective. It translates easily to “that” (closer to you than it is to me). 名, na, is a noun and means essentially name. (You may recognize it from 名前, which is a given name [As in, my name is]). Third, we have は, wa, which is a topic marker. It doesn’t mark the subject of the sentence, it marks the topic. So let’s up this together and make some sense out of it. “That name [topic marker]… Fairy Tail.” Kinda makes sense already, right? We won’t get a 1-to-1 translation here, but we can see that it’s talking about the name of something; and that name is Fairy Tail. So we can translate is as “That name is Fairy Tail.” (English sentences always need a subject; so lots of things preceded by は get translated as the subjects in English.)
<魔導士たちは さまざまなギルドに属し→> (This is actually half of a sentence, but it’s a complete phrase)
Somethingsomething は somethingsomething Guild somethingsomething. Let’s make some sense out of this. The first word is 魔導士たち, madoushi-tachi. Madoushi is wizard; and if you intend of eve watching Fairy Tail you’re going ot be hearing that word a lot. Tachi is a suffix occasionally added to nouns to make it clear that we’re talking about a noun in the plural. (Japanese nouns do not inflect due to number. i.e. plural and singular are by and large the same word.) So, Madoushi-tachi means wizards! さまざまな, samazama-na. Samazama is an expression that means lots-n-lots. Na is a suffix that makes expressions adjectives. (If you need an analogy, think of how you can make lots of things adverbs in English by adding -ly to the end.) So, lots-and-lots, or various, or many, will fit well as our translation. に is one of two location markers. に is the one you use when the location is related to the verb. (So, “I went to the store” in Japanese will have a に. “I ate a banana at the park.” will have the other one, which is で by the way.) So the guild is the location for the verb; and that verb is 属し, which means “to belong to” or “to be a member of”. So let’s put this together: “Wizards [topic marker] various guilds [location marker] belong.” Wizards belong to various guilds.
Three sentences done. You’re so smart!
So that’s the idea of what I’m doing here. I’ll teach you some more stuff from this same text next time!