[Japanese] Japanese 日本語!

Discussion in 'General ChitChat' started by miforever, Jun 5, 2007.

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  1. miforever

    miforever Rokkuman-sama~ ^^;;

    [Japanese] Japanese 日本語!

    Well, I thought that since no one has posted here, I'd start a thread on the native language of Japan!

    Now, when it comes to Japanese, I'll be straight with you guys: I suck. BUT this doesn't mean I don't know some things. I'd be great for beginners as well as those who are fluent to take part in this thread. I'm a beginner too, so I'll only be mentioning the basics.

    There are 3 main ways of writing in Japanese:

    Hiragana: Simple characters, esentially the Japanese alphabet, consisting of 46 base characters.
    Katakana: Also contains 46 characters, with the same sounds as hiragana. However these characters are used to mimic words from foreign languages, like English, Spanish, French, etc.
    Kanji: Complicated characters. There are literally hundreds of them. Each character has a base meaning and can be combined with other kanji to create new meanings. They're originally based off of pictures of real things, becoming simplified over hundreds of years.

    Here's are the two alphabets. I don't remember where I got these charts, but they're simple enough to find in a google search.



    The romaji is written under character, so you can learn to pronounce them. It's a good idea to try and memorise both of these alphabets before you continue.

    Now, some basic Vocabulary!


    おはようございます! OR   おはよう!
    Ohayou gozaimasu! OR Ohayou! -> Good Morning!
    (formal) (casual)

    Konnichi wa! -> Good Afternoon! *

    Konban wa! -> Good Evening! *

    * It is important to note here that the character "は" is being pronounced as "wa" instead of "ha". This is because in this case, "は" is a sentence particle. Particles are used in many different contexts. In this case, "は" is a topic marker. (subject/topic  ...).


    さよなら OR さようなら
    sayonara OR sayounara -> Goodbye
    (both correct) (formal)

    ja -> See you/Bye

    jamata -> See you/Bye

    shitsureishimasu -> Goodbye (used when excusing oneself from company)

    おやすみ OR おやすみなさい
    Oyasumi OR Oyasuminasai -> Good night
    (casual) (formal)

    Well, that's all for now! Everyone, feel free to contribute, or point out mistakes!! :D
  2. Johnzaloog

    Johnzaloog DATS Yu-Gi-Oh! Official

    How do you do the Js/Jys? I've seen loads of characters with them in teir names in yu-Gi-Oh! e. g. Jyonouchi Manjyome Jyuudai.

    Thanks for these though, this is ace.
  3. Dash

    Dash I Ireland Staff Member Supreme Dictator

    The first one is the more commonly used version, and the second is lesser. The romaji can be done either way.
    じゃ / ぢゃ = Ja / Jya
    じ / ぢ = Ji
    じゅ / ぢゅ = Ju / Jyu
    じょ / ぢょ = Jo / Jyo

    You may want to add something in that post about the ゛ and ゜ changes :)
  4. Royal_Knight

    Royal_Knight Gallantmon

    Cool japanese lessons! Is there any way you could record yourself saying these for us that can not pronounce words well? That would be awesome!
  5. Nemomon

    Nemomon <b>Gaming Freak</b><br>Chip Library Evo

    There is exist other than 'wi' and 'we' characters? I mean like Susanowo --> Susanoo or (i'm not sure) Yen --> En. And why hentaigana is useless now? Hentaigana stops average of '20 XX century. This means, kana have only 50+ years, right? Would you post history of Japanese language?
  6. onkeikun

    onkeikun 私語が多いって言われるよ。でもそんなの 関係ねぇ

    Other characters in the 'wa' column exist, but hardly anyone uses them now. They've become obsolete in the modern language. You'll still see them in old text every now and then, but I doubt the newest generation knows how to read them now. Being obsolete is also the reason why hentaigana is stopped. The Japanese language is already complex enough as it is, so they wanted to standardize it on some level. This doesn't necessarily mean that kana will be wiped out completely in the future; hentaigana is still in use, just not as frequently.

    The history of the Japanese language is waaaay too big for a single person to post. I suggest you take up that research independently.

    Oh, and a nice introduction, miforever. Yoroshiku~ ;)
  7. miforever

    miforever Rokkuman-sama~ ^^;;

    @ Royal_Knight: Sorry, I don't have a microphone so I can't :( also I think it'd be better if you listen to a native speaker (no matter what language it is). Failing that, someone who's highly fluent would be good, or even simply watching your fav anime in Japanese, with your ears pricked for the different sounds made can help! ^_^

    @ onkeikun: Whee, Thanks for that! *hugs* ^__^


    Okay, going from where I left off.

    Hiragana (again)

    The sound of a character changes when two small marks resembling a inverted comma appears next to certain hiragana. This character is called dakuten, but it's not really important to remember that, just what it does. (I had to look it up ^^; ) There's also a small circle resembling a degrees symbol, that appears next to the characters in the "h" row, also changing its sound to a "p". This character is call a handakuten, but again, it's not necessary to know it's name.

    It appears after the following characters, changing their sounds to those below.


    *Note that while ち and つ change to ぢ and づ respectively, they are rarely used (I can't think of any examples off the top of my head). Generally, you will see じ and ず.

    These symbols also appear after katakana characters and have the same effects.

    Also the characters や, ゆ, and よ can change the way a character is said when they are subscripted after characters ending in the sound "i".


    As Scipio said, in romaji, じゃ,etc. can be written as "Ja" or "Jya", as with all the other characters. However, I've never heard (or seen) it done with ちゃ, etc. so for now, they will remain as "Cha" "Chu" and "Cho" for convinience. (If you have seen it done, I'd love to hear about it ^_^)

    Another important character is つ. When subscripted, this character acts as a sort of ditto character, affecting the character that imediately follows. The consonant sound will double. (eg やった! Yatta = Alright!) If you think of each character representing a beat of a drum, やった has three beats consisting of Ya-t-ta. It's usually easier to say if you think of it as Yat-ta.

    However, it's important to note that a double "nn" is caused by the ん character followed by な, に, ぬ, ね, の; not these characters preceeded by つ.

    And finally I'll talk about double vowels.


    **e and o extended vowels are generally followed by い and う with a few exceptions.

    These are pronounced in the same sort of way as double constants. Thinking again of drum beats, it becomes easier to do. A perfect example of this would be the following:

    おばさん vs. おばあさん
    obasan vs. obaasan
    (Aunt) vs. (Grandma)

    The only difference between each word is one syllable, but that one syllable can be the difference between a middle aged woman or an old lady. If you're not careful, you could end up offending your aunty quite a bit!! ^^;

    In pronouncing おばあさん, hold the "aa" sound for a second longer than you normally would. This applies with all double consonants.

    Well that's all for now.
  8. onkeikun

    onkeikun 私語が多いって言われるよ。でもそんなの 関係ねぇ

    I could do the alphabet pronunciation, but... meh. I don't do that for free. It makes me sound like a sleaze, but I'm being honest. *shrug*

    There is a grammar structure where you use ちゃ, but that's perhaps too advanced at this stage to teach. It's also used in several words, such as ちゃう! (chau!) [Kansai-ben for "No way!"; if you watch the anime Lovely Complex, you'll hear it often], or nouns like おちゃ (ocha) [tea].
  9. nezucho

    nezucho <b>Encoder</b><br>Resident Rodent

    actually, there are thousands of kanji. i've heard people say that japanese is one of the hardest languages to learn. do you think that's so? and if so, why?
  10. Dash

    Dash I Ireland Staff Member Supreme Dictator

    Please note, I used "ぢ" and not "ち" ;p

    For your next bit, I might suggest tackling simple verbs? Or maybe just です... my Japanese class' favorite word. ~__~

    Yay for る and う verbs~ *shoot*

    Or perhaps い/な adjectives.
  11. miforever

    miforever Rokkuman-sama~ ^^;;

    Japanese is commonly perceived to be hard to learn by westerners due to the differences in grammatical structure and style of writing. It's not really that difficult to learn though, if you can memorise the correct sentence structures. All that's required is practice.

    lol... Actually, I've only just learnt about those adjectives and verbs... (ah the joys of doing beginners classes) so I may need some help explaining...

    Remember everyone, I'm not the only person who need post tutorials/lessons/other useful stuff here. Feel free to add on to what I'm doing, or continue where I left off!
  12. SSJ Jup81

    SSJ Jup81 Official Link Fanglomper

    Hey, something else you could mention for this, are the numbers and all of the different (frustrating/annoying) counters and which ones would be used for whatever the situation depending on what you're counting. I still have trouble with that. Also, I guess you could include the sentence set up too.

    I would type this stuff up now....but my morning break is almost up.
    I was told that English was one of the most difficult to learn because of the different dialects and such. I'm not sure. I also heard that Chinese is more difficult to learn than Japanese since Chinese (writing wise) is pretty much all "Kanji". At least Japan has Furigana/Hiragana/Katakana (etc), to help read Kanji.
    I can honestly say that I find Japanese easier than say Spanish. My main problem is vocabulary. It's extremely limited. I also have a semi-tough time with long sentences and with the particles "ni" and "de".

    Like, I wanted to say "My mother and father bought me a new laptop computer." I think that would be...

    Haha to Chichi ni watashi wa atarashii CONPYUTAA o kaimashita. (I think this is completely wrong, though). ^^ Anything aside from the basic (and I do mean basic) sentence stuff, I have trouble with since I have to use more particles for longer sentences. Hey, maybe an explanation for the basic particles would be helpful as well. I'd type this stuff out, as I said earlier, but my break is up, and my notes are at home.
  13. nezucho

    nezucho <b>Encoder</b><br>Resident Rodent

    in chinese you don't have to worry about the onyomi and kunyomi stuff. in most cases, there's only one way to pronounce a word. the grammar is also much simplier. there aren't 293847239847 ways to say "I" and "you". and there aren't 387678 to make the past tense. you just add a "le" at the end of the sentence. i get confused with kanji sometimes because japanese is a mix of simplified chinese characters, traditional chinese characters, and some that are written uniquely in japanese. two examples off the top of my head...

    歩 (the aru in aruku)
    步 (bu4 in chinese)
    notice the extra dot on the right side in the jpn kanji

    毎 (mai as in mainichi)
    每 (mei3 in chinese)
    japanese it's a straight line in the middle instead of 2 dots

    from what i've seen, furigana only appears on this for children like anime and toys because they haven't learned much kanji. chinese has pinyin for kids.
  14. Royal_Knight

    Royal_Knight Gallantmon

    It's cool :) And yeah it's good to hear it from a native speaker. It's sort of like how my spanish teacher is american and can't pronounce the words with the right accent.
  15. chazle

    chazle <b>Super Special Awesome Translator</b>

    you're right, in /most/ cases there's only one way to pronounce a character, but i hear that it's far more common than we'd like to make out that there are. and yes, the grammar is much simpler (but there's a really crazy way to order thoughts at times!).

    furigana exists in adult's books, too! furigana can be used anywhere from simple children's books, to using a foreign word over kanji to give it a dual-meaning, and even to an adult's book just because there are a lot of kanji that don't show up very often and are easily forgettable!

    as for the previous post about when to use ぢ and づ, here are some examples (notice how they tend to come after the same character that doesn't have the ten-ten--the quotation mark-looking thing):

    縮む(ちぢむ)tidimu = sthg shortens    続く(つづく)tuduku = sthg continues

    but then there are also occasion like the following where they're parts of compound words:

    三日月(みかづき)mikaduki = crescent moon

    there's a whole linguistic rule on this that i don't remember from linguistics class last semester...i really didn't get that class too well...if you're REALLY interested (and i mean only if you're a linguistics freak or you're really serious about learning japanese not just because of anime (although that is an acceptable reason for learning the language, of course) and you're not all, "ooh, i like japanese! i can sorta talk like an anime character"--you'll remind him of someone very unpleasant, trust me--you should pm Pazuzu about it).

    anyway, yeah, hope it helps! =D
  16. miforever

    miforever Rokkuman-sama~ ^^;;

    Sorry about the late update guys, but I had my finals for Uni and am now finally on holidays for a month! I may not be updating as frequently either, because from here on out it’s gonna get much more difficult for me to teach you guys, cos I’ve just barely learnt it myself. That being said, I want everyone to point out ANY mistakes that I make, and contribute where you know stuff that I don’t. Remember that this is a group forum, so feel free to jump in anytime! ^_^


    The most well known Japanese verb would have to be です (pronounced “des” although you will occasionally hear “desu”) and is called ‘the copula’. It means “to exist” or “to be”, and roughly translates as “is”, “am” or “are”. Beginners in Japanese (i.e. me) will constantly use it at the end of sentences. Problem is that it’s not always appropriate for that particular situation. Generally speaking, you’ll only use です when you are either talking about people or objects as the topic of the sentence.
    Here’s a couple of examples from my textbook (referencing below).

    Kore wa PEN desu.
    This is a pen.

    Watashi wa BROWN desu.
    I am Brown

    Now, you may have noticed that these are all POSITIVE sentences, letting you know what things/people are. To change です into it’s negative form, we drop the す and say “ではありません” (pronounced “dewa arimasen”).

    Kore wa PEN dewa arimasen.
    This is not a pen.

    Watashi wa BROWN dewa arimasen.
    I am not Brown.

    We can also use “じゃありません” (pronounced “ja arimasen”) in less formal situations. Eg: これはペンじゃありません。

    Now that we’ve established what’s positive and negative, we can ask questions! Kinda. ^^; The questions are basically YES/NO questions, and are signified simply by adding か at the end of your sentences. か is known as the question particle, and will definitely come in handy in nearly any given situation, so remember it well! ^_^
    Here’s how to use it:

    Ano hito wa Machida-san desu.
    That person is Ms. Machida.

    Ano hito wa Machida-san desu ka?
    Is that person Ms. Machida?

    Ano hito wa Machida-san dewa arimasen.
    That person is not Ms. Machida.

    Ano hito wa Machida-san dewa arimasen ka?
    Isn’t that person Ms. Machida?

    # I put question marks after the question sentences BUT in a lot of Japanese texts, the question mark won’t be present.

    * On this last sentence, make sure you raise the tone of your voice at the end. If your tone goes down, it will change the meaning of the sentence to “Oh I see, that person isn’t Ms. Machida.”

    To answer the 2nd example of “あのひとは町田さんですか?” You can answer in the following ways:


    Hai, Machida-san desu.
    Yes, it’s Ms. Machida.

    Hai, sou desu.
    Yes, that’s right.


    Iie, Machida-san dewa arimasen.
    No, it’s not Ms. Machida.

    Iie, sou dewa arimasen
    No, that’s not right.

    Iie, chigaimasu.
    No, that’s wrong (lit. No, it’s different).

    + You can substitute じゃありません in here too! ^_^


    Yes, it’s something we all need to expand upon, so let’s get some simple words and phrases memorised.

    わかります。I understand.
    わかりません。I don’t understand. (I use this a lot! ^^; )
    きいてください。Please listen.
    みてください。Please look.
    いってください。Please say.
    よんでください。Please read.
    くりかえしてください。Please repeat.
    もういちどいってください。Please repeat again. (もういちど=Once more)
    ちょっとまって! Wait a moment!
    これ:This (object)(near me)
    それ:That (object)(near you)
    あれ:That (object)(over there)
    どれ:Which (object)
    この:This (person)(near me)
    その:That (person)(near you)
    あの:That (person)(over there)
    どの:Which (person)
    ぼく:I/me (males only)(informal) ∞
    おれ:I/me (males only, but mainly adults)(informal) ∞
    あたし:I/me (females only)(informal) ∞
    あなた:You (usually used by women for their “beloved”) ∞
    きみ:You (less formal I think) ∞
    あのかた:he/she (polite) ∞

    ∞ Add たち to make it a collective (they, we, etc)


    Yup, on top of the above vocab, I’m giving you Kanji. Don’t worry too much though, I’m only giving you 5. Depending on different situations and combinations, these kanji can change their pronunciation, but their essential meaning remains basically the same.

    ニチ、ニ、ニッ – day; sun; Sunday; (as a prefix or suffix) Japan
    ジツ、ひ、-び、-ぴ – sun; day
    日本:にほん/にっぽん ~ Japan
    日よう日:にちようび ~ Sunday

    ホン、-ホン – book; this; main; origin
    ホン、-ポン、-ボン – (counter for long objects)
    もと - origin
    日本:にほん/にっぽん ~ Japan
    本:ほん ~ book

    ガク、ガッ – learning; study; science; (as suffix) -ology
    学生:がくせい ~ Student
    学年:がくねん ~ Academic Year
    学こう:がくこう ~ School

    セイ – birth; life (as suffix) student
    ショウ、- birth; life う-まれる – to be born
    い-きる – to live
    なま - raw
    学生:がくせい ~ Student
    一年生:いちねんせい ~ 1st year student (freshman)
    ~生まれ:~うまれ ~ born in “~” (day/month/year, etc)

    メイ、みょう、な – name; reputation; fame
    名し:めいし ~ Name card/business card.
    名まえ:なまえ ~ Name

    Well, that’s all for now! ^_^

    Text book used is "Yookoso! An Invitation to Contemporary Japanese 3rd Edition" Yasu-Hiko Tohsaku (University of California, San Diego) © 2006, McGraw Hill Higher Education.
  17. animeniac

    animeniac New Member

    Very good information for beginners so far Miforever. But, I would like to make a correction to one of your Japanese words above.

    She is not このじょ, it is かのじょ.

    But, it is easy to mistype something like that. Let me go ahead and add a little more information to what Miforever put above. To talk about a group, you would add たち (tachi) on the end.

    私たち - わたしたち - watashitachi - we
    あなたたち ー anatatachi - you (as in more than 1 person you)
    彼らたち - かれらたち - kareratachi - they
    彼女たち - kanojotachi - they (female group)
    学生たち - がくせいたち - gakuseitachi - group of students

    And of course you can add たち to the end of many other people groups (先生たち - せんせいたち - senseitachi would be a group of teachers, etc.)

    Also, you can put の on the end of something to make it possessive.

    Alot of times in Japanese writing you will also see を, which is pronounced the same as お (o), even though in romaji it is shown as wo because it is in the "w" group. It is used as a particle, not as an individual character.

    Also, what you see after the I, you, he, she will affect what it means.

    私 - わたし - watashi - I
    私は - わたしは - watashi wa - I
    私の - わたしの - watashi no - my
    あなた - anata - you
    あなたは - anata wa - you
    あなたの - anata no - your
    彼女 - かのじょ - kanojo - she
    彼女は - かのじょは - kanojo wa - she
    彼女の - かのじょの - kanojo no - her
    彼 - かれ - kare - he
    彼は - かれは - kare - he
    彼の - かれの - kare - his
    私たち - わたしたち - watashitachi - we
    私たちは - わたしたちは - watashitachi wa - we
    私たちの - わたたちしの - watashitachi no - our
    あなたたち - anatatachi - you (group)
    あなたたちは - anatatachi wa - you (group)
    あなたたちの - anatatachi no - your (group)
    彼らたち - かれらたち - kareratachi - they
    彼らたちは - かれらたちは - kareratachi wa - they
    彼らたちの - かれらたちの - kareratachi no - their

    And finally, some last katakana and kanji.

    There are a lot of words and coming from western cultures that begin with J. For example: joy, jam, jet, Jennifer, Jeff, Joe, Jake.

    Ja is ジャ
    Je is ジェ
    Ji is ジ
    Jo is ジョ
    Ju is ジュ

    For instance joy would be ジョイ.

    And a couple of useful kanji from above are 私 - わたし and 女 (which is used for females and can be used MANY different ways.

    I know this is not laid out quite as well as Miforever`s, but I hope it helps.

    I will post more as I am able. :D
  18. Dash

    Dash I Ireland Staff Member Supreme Dictator

    Just to add something in about たち...

    It can also be used for something like "___ and co." or "___ and the others"

    まさるたち (Masaru-tachi - yay Savers) was used a couple times throughout the series, and it had various translations like "Masaru and the group" or even to the point of "Our heroes"
  19. Scootah

    Scootah New Member

    ... I... F'IN... LOVE YOU! Now I can brush up on my japanese since I'm no longer in high school under the watchful eye of Ogata-sensei. -Sigh- I'm actually still surprised I can still read the hiragana and katakana above so quickly.

    Hmm.. maybe you should go over the て-form of words before moving on with any more verbs... I know that was one of the hardest things for me to learn (still dont know all of em, I just guess). Oh... and particles. Those annoying things.

    EDIT: Well... I found some of my japanese papers from school and noticed we skipped a very essential part of a Japanese lesson: NUMBERS! Very easy to learn.... So, I figured I'd get this part. :D

    一 - Ichi (1)
    二 - Ni (2)
    三 - San (3)
    四 - Shi / Yon (4) ( I think shi is more popular though )
    五 - Go (5)
    六 - Roku (6)
    七 - Nana (7)
    八 - Hachi (8)
    九 - Kyuu (9)
    十 - Jyuu (10)

    Another one of the numbers (either 6, 7, or 8) has another pronunciation, but I've never heard it used, so I forgot. Getting to higher numbers is EASY. All you have to know is the following:

    百 - Hyaku (100) (NOT Hiyaku, which is "hurry up" and stuff)
    千 - Sen (1000) ( I think... I get this and 10,000 mixed up)
    万 - Man (10,000)

    From there, you can make any number up to 99,999.

    For instance, 27 is 二十七 (Nijyuunana, 2 x 10, + 7 if you wanna think of it that way ). 182 is (一)百八十二 ( Hyakuhachijyuuni. You can say ichi if you want, but it's not required). And... that's it for numbers. Oh... a few more things.

    円 - En (the dollar sign). Americans pronounce it yen... why, I don't know.
    年 - Nen (for the year) (二千穴年 is 2007 )

    The months also deal with numbers but... I forgot the ending part. Hehe
  20. onkeikun

    onkeikun 私語が多いって言われるよ。でもそんなの 関係ねぇ

    I'd like to correct you here that people prefer 'yon' more. The 'shi' for the number 4 is similar to the 'shi' for 死, meaning death. Those darn Japanese and their bad-luck superstitions.

    七 (nana) can also be pronounced 'shichi' but again, people prefer saying 'nana' because the 'shichi' sounds similar to the number 1, 'ichi'.

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