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					Learn Japanese

                                         About Japanese: A Short Description

The Japanese language is a unique and fascinating language. It's written form consists of various picture image
characters called kanji (ex. the character to the left stands for learning). The kanji were imported from Chinese
written language to create the base of the Japanese written language. Japanese also contains picture characters
called kana, which are two syllabaries derived from kanji. Hiragana is akin to cursive kana, and katakana (Square-
looking characters) is akin to italics. Kanji is used more to convey meaning, whereas hiragana are used to indicate
functions of words, and katakana is used to emphasize words. Japanese is a language with strong foundation in
and connections to the social organization, way of thinking, customs, and habits of Japanese culture. This is
evidenced in their preference for polite, and non rude or boasting speech.

A popular form of 'Americanized' Japanese called Romanized Japanese has been used in the U.S. in order to make
it easier and faster to learn the spoken language. Romanized Japanese enables one to learn the spoken language
without knowing the written format ( i.e. memorizing all of the written characters). This is the method that is
utilized by this page, since a lot of people don't have the Asian fonts installed and active.

OK, now that you have some background, it's on to lesson 2.....

                                                     Japanese Syllables

1. Short and Long syllables

Short syllables are the Japanese basic unit of pronunciation. But, letters with a bar over them are long syllables.
They need to be pronounced for twice as long. For example: Tokyo should be pronounced like To-o-kyo-o.

2. Table of Basic Japanese Syllable Structure

These are the basic sounds that are used to form Japanese words. The left hand column consists of vowels. Each
corresponding row consists of sounds utilizing that vowel. These sounds are used to form the words that make up
the Japanese language. The consonants below are pronounced pretty much the same as in English, but refer to
the next lesson for vowel pronunciation technique. Notice how there is no sound in Japanese equivalent to the
English sounds 'l', 'v', or 'r'. Also note that the only consonant that can be written alone is n.



                  a   ka      ga   sa    za    ta    da   na   ha   pa    ba   ma   ya   ra    wa n


                  i   ki      gi   shi    ji   chi        ni   hi   pi    bi   mi        ri


                  u   ku      gu   su    zu    tsu        nu   fu   pu    bu   mu   yu   ru


                  e   ke      ge   se    ze    te    de   ne   he   pe    be   me        re


                  o   ko      go   so    zo    to    do   no   ho   po    bo   mo   yo   ro


                      kya gya sha         ja   cha        nya hya pya bya mya            rya


                      kyu gyu shu ju chu                  nyu hyu pyu byu myu            ryu


                      kyo gyo sho         jo cho          nyo hyo pyo byo myo            ryo
A Japanese Syllable consists of a vowel alone, a combination consonant + vowel, or a consonant + glide + vowel.
There are also two types of syllabic consonants, one which is used to double consonants other than n and m in a
non-initial syllable, and another (-n), which is used to double the consonants n and m, or can be at the end of
another syllable.

                             Japanese Vowels and How They Are Pronounced


                                   Vowel                Pronounced as in the Word:

                                      a                             father

                                      i                            macaroni

                                      u                              zulu

                                      e                              edge
                                      o                              oasis


                    Note: The vowels i and u are often devoiced or whispered when spoken.

                                               Japanese Currency


                                      Japanese                   English

                                                            One thousand yen
                                          sen yen
                                                             (roughly $9.35)

                                                            Two thousand yen
                                      nisen yen
                                                             (roughly $18.70)

                                     sanzen yen            Three thousand yen


                                     yoncen yen             four thousand yen


                                      gosen yen             five thousand yen

                                     Rokusen yen
                                                             six thousand yen
                                 (pronounced loksen)

                                     nanasen yen           seven thousand yen


                                     hachisen yen          eight thousand yen


                                      kusen yen             nine thousand yen


                                      juusen yen            ten thousand yen


                                    Ikura des ka?            How much is it?
                               Japanese Colors


                        Japanese                    English


             aka                         red


             orenji                      orange


             ki (iro)                    yellow


             midori                      green


             aoi                         blue


             murasaki                    purple


             momoiro                     pink




                           Useful Japanese Phrases


       Japanese Phrase                          English Translation


1. o hayou gozaimasu                1. good morning


2. kon-nichiwa                      2. good afternoon


3. konban wa                        3. good evening


4. oyasuminasai                     4. good night


5. wakarimasen                      5. I do not understand

6. Anata no namae wa nan to
                                    6. What is your name
iimasu ka?

7. o-ai dekite ureshii desu         7. nice to meet you


8. o-genki desu ka                  8. how are you?


9. ja mata                          9. so long (lit. then again)


10. Toire wa doko desu ka?          10. Where is the bathroom?


11. So desu ka                      11. Is that so?
12. Do itashimashite             12. You are welcome


13. O-negai shimasu              13. I beg of you (please give me)


14. Sumimasen                    14. I'm sorry; also used for excuse me


15. Kekko desu                   15. That's fine or I'm fine


16. Meri Kurisumasu              16. Merry Christmas


17. Toshi wa o-ikutsu desu ka    17. How old are you?


18. Iku na                       18. Don't go


19. Naku na                      19. Don't cry


20. Hanasu na                    20. Don't speak


21. O-namae wa?                  21. What is your name?


22. Mata aimasho                 22. Let's meet again


23. Do ka shimashita ka          23. Is something wrong?


24. O-ki ni irimashita ka        24. Do you like it?


25. ano                          25. pardon me..., well..., 'er', 'uh'


26. O-kinodoku desu              26. I'm sorry to hear that


27. Do shimashita ka             27. What's the matter?


28. O-matase shimashita          28. I'm sorry to keep you waiting


29. O-daiji ni                   29. Take care


30. Mata, dozo                   30. Please come again


31. Suteki desu, ne              31. It's just great or that's fine


32. ja matashta                  32. see you tomorrow


33. Nihongo ga hanashimasu ka?   33. Do you speak Japanese?


34. Watashi no tokolo de         34. at my place
                    35. Nanio shimasu ka?                35. What are you doing?


                    36. watashimo                        36. me too


                    37. ii otenki desu ne?               37. Nice weather isn’t it?


                    38. yana otenki desu ne?             38. Bad weather isn’t it?



                                                    Periods of Time



 Japanese Word or Phrase                      Meaning in English


kino no asa                         yesterday morning


kesa                                this morning


ashita no asa                       tomorrow morning


maiasa                              every morning


kino no ban                         last evening


komban                              this evening


ashita no ban                       tomorrow evening


maiban                              every evening


kino no yoru                        last night


konya                               tonight


ashita no yoru myoban               tomorrow night


maiyo                               every night


kino                                yesterday


kyo, konnichi                       today


ashita, myonichi                    tomorrow


mainichi, ichinichi goto ni         every day


senshu                              last week
konshu                     this week


raishu                     next week


maishu, isshukan goto ni   every week


sengetsu                   last month


kongetsu                   this month


raigetsu                   next month


maitsuki                   every month


kyonen                     last year


kotoshi                    this year


rainen                     next year


maitoshi                   every year


maijikan                   every hour


ototoi                     day before yesterday


ototoshi                   year before last


asatte                     day after tomorrow


goto ni                    at intervals of


ima                        now


kore kara                  from now on


sore kara                  after that
           Japanese Word         Meaning in English


ichiji                       one o'clock


niji                         two o'clock


sanji                        three o'clock


yoji                         four o'clock


goji                         five o'clock


rokuji (pronounced lokugi)   six o'clock


shichiji                     seven o'clock


hachiji                      eight o'clock


kuji                         nine o'clock


juji                         ten o'clock


juichiji                     eleven o'clock


juniji                       twelve o'clock


gozen                        a.m.


gogo                         p.m.


byo                          second


fun                          minute


ji                           hour

                             Add after the time to say ‘at’
ni                           that time ex. Ichiji ni means
                             at 1:00

Nanji desu ka?               What time is it?


Nanji ni?                    At what time?



Calendar Months
 Japanese Word or Phrase               Meaning in English


ichi-gatsu                   January


ni-gatsu                     February


san-gatsu                    March


shi-gatsu                    April


go-gatsu                     May


roku-gatsu                   June


shichi-gatsu                 July


hachi-gatsu                  August


kugatsu                      September


jugatsu                      October


juichi-gatsu                 November


juni-gatsu                   December



                                           Days of the Week


                 Japanese Word or Phrase                   Meaning in English


                getsuyo-bi                       Monday


                kayo-bi                          Tuesday


                suiyo-bi                         Wednesday


                mokuyo-bi                        Thursday


                kinyo-bi                         Friday


                doyo-bi                          Saturday


                nichiyo-bi                       Sunday
                                                       Seasons



 Japanese Word or Phrase                     Meaning in English


haru                                spring


natsu                               summer


aki                                 autumn


fuyu                                winter



                                               How to Form Sentences

The Japanese form their sentences differently than we do in English. The usual word order in Japanese is as
follows:

Subject -- Object -- Verb or

Subject --Adjective or

Topic (Notional Subject) -- Immediate subject -- Verb

Many times, sentences are begun with an introductory 'topic' word that sets the stage for the later content of the
sentence.

                                                  Singular VS Plural

Japanese nouns have no plural forms. i.e. the word neko can be used to mean cat or cats. This means one must
infer whether it is singular or plural from the context of the sentence.

                                             Suffixes: Usage and Meaning



                     Japanese Name Suffix                   Suffix Usage and Meaning


                                                    Term of respect that is used when referring to
                                  -san              a person older than yourself, or with whom
                                                    you are not very familiar

                                                    Term used to indicate affection or endearment
                                 -chan              among friends

                                                    Term used to indicate formal respect. Often
                                 -sama              used when addressing ones teachers.

                                                    Term used towards male friends or
                                  -kun              acquaintances who are younger or the same
                                                    age as you

                                                    Used as a permanent suffix on a female
                                  -ko
                                                    name.
                               For more Japanese terms, see the encyclopedia on this site.

				
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