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Post Reply ~Lessons~ Japanese
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Posted 2/8/09 , edited 3/24/09
Hello all! This thread is dedicated to learning the japanese language.
I apologies if everything looks cluttered. And I'm doing this in no particular order, so forgive me.
But if you have any question, feel free to ask them here. ^-^


The Writing Systems:
There are three basic writing systems: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. There is also a fourth system called Romaji, which allows anyone to read japanese without needing to have any previous knowledge in Japanese. Any japanese word written in this lesson are in Romaji.

Hiragana is the very basic writing system, ideal for learning how to write in japanese, and is used to express grammatical elements (i.e. particles).

Pronouncing:
Like english, there are 5 vowels, which are a, e, i, o, u. There are meant to be pronounce clear and sharp. The examples below can help you how to pronounce them:

Ah (a)
We (i)
Tune (u)
Get (e)
Old (o)

Once you are able to pronounce the 5 vowels correctly, then you are able to name all 46 characters of hiragana.

Sentence Structure:
In english, we are taught to speak with the subject first, verb second, and object last. However, in the japanese language, it's subject first, object second, and verb last. That is the basic sentence structure. So, to compare, it looks like this:

English - Subject - Verb - Object
Japanese - Subject - Object - Verb

It is a rule in the japanese language that the verb always comes last, no matter how advanced the sentence is.

Characteristics:
There are many characteristics that you should know about, but only some of which I will list here
In Words:
1) the largest category of words are from traditional japanese words
2) the second largest are borrowed from China through a long mutual history
3) the last and smallest group are borrowed from modern western words, and other Asian languages
In Grammar:
1) nouns have no gender, nor number
2) verb also does not indicate gender or number
3) japanese verbs only have two tense: past and present
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Posted 2/8/09 , edited 2/8/09
Numbers:
Here you can learn how to count in japanese!

Rei = 0 ; Ichi = 1 ; Ni = 2
San = 3 ; Yon = 4 ; Go = 5
Roku = 6 ; Nana = 7 ; Hachi = 8
Kyuu/Ku = 9 ; Juu = 10; Juuichi = 11
Juuni =12 ; Juusan = 13 ; Juuyon = 14
Juugo = 15 ; Nijuu = 20 ; Sanjuu = 30
Yonjuu = 40 ; Gojuu = 50 ; Hyaku = 100
Sen = 1,000 ; Ichiman = 10,000 ; Juuman = 100,000
Hyakuman = 1,000,000 ; Senman = 10,000,000 ; Ichioku = 100,000,000

Basic Counting
This is a basic counting system when counting object.
Hitotsu = 1
Futatsu = 2
Mittsu = 3
Yottsu = 4
Itsutsu = 5
Muttsu = 6
Nanatsu = 7
Yattsu = 8
Kokonotsu = 9
Tou = 10

Counter Words:
The following are some counters and their usage. Please take the time to study this furthur on your own.
Byou = seconds (time)
Fun/Pun = minutes
Ji = hours
Shuu = weeks
Mai = sheets of paper
Satsu = books
Sai = years of age
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Posted 2/8/09 , edited 3/24/09
Honorifics:
Honorifics are used to address someone with respect. There is a wide array of honorifics that may be used, depending on the persons title and/or profession.

San = the most commonly used, and can generaally mean Miss or Mister. Using it on oneself makes one appear childish. In the Kyoto area of Japan, -han is used instead of -san.

Chan = an informal version of -san, used to address children and female family members, as well as animals, lovers, intimate friends, and people whom one has known since childhood. It is a feminine pattern of speech, and is similar to using "Dear" in the english language.

Kun = an informal honorific primarily used to address males, and rarely on females. It is used by people of a senior status in addressing those of a junior status. Or between males of similar age or status. Or anyone addressing a male child. It is also used by females when addressing a male that they have an emotionally attachment with.

Senpai = used to address a senior collegue. It can also be used by itself as a title.

Kouhai = used to refer to juniors. However, directly addressing one as kouhai is considered somewhat rude. It is better to address them as -kun. (Meaning, it is fine to use kouhai when speaking about a junior, but NEVER directly address a kouhai as such when speaking to one)

Sensei = used to address to teachers, or practitioners of a profession such as lawyers or doctors. It can be used by itself as a title.

Sama = a formal version of -san, used to address persons of much higher rank than oneself, and to address customers. From this title is -chama, which is used for an older person. There is also the less-commonly used -tama, which is used by younger children on older siblings, or someone they admire.

Shi = used in formal writing, and sometimes formal speech, when refering to someone who is unfamiliar with the speaker.


Royalty/Official Titles:
Heika = affixed to the end of a royal title, it means "Majesty", and is reserved for reigning sovereigns. Heika by itself can be used as a direct term of address to mean "Your Majesty".

Denka = affixed to the end of a non-sovereign royal title, meaning "Royal Highness" and "Majesty".

Kakka = used for ambassadors and heads of state, meaning "Your Excellency".

Hidenka = used as an honorific when one is addressing a prince.

Hime = used as an honorific when one is addressing a princess.


Martial Arts:
Renshi = instructor.

Kyoushi = used to refer to an advanced teacher.

Hanshi = used to refer to a senior expert, or a "teacher of teachers".

Meijin = a title awarded by a specal board of examiners, which literally means "Brilliant Man".


Others:
Dono/-Tono = roughly means "Lord" or "Master", or even "Lord" or "Lady" in english subtitles. Though these titles are no longer used in daily conversations, they can still be seen used in anime and manga. It is less formal than -sama.

Ue = literally means "Above" and denotes a high level of respect. It is not commonly used.

Kyoushi = a more modest synonym of sensei, it is sometimes used to indicate an instructor.

Oyakata = sumo coach.

Shihan = chief instructor, not related to grade. In karate, it is used to refer to 5th degree black belts or higher.

Shidouin = intermediate instructor, aslo unrelated to grade.

Shishou = another titled used to address a martial arts instructor.

Zeki = "Barrier", used to refer to sumo wrestlers in the top two divisions.

Houshi = buddist monk.

Shushou = Prime Minister of Japan.
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Posted 2/8/09 , edited 3/23/09
Family:
There are two ways to address family members.

Addressing/Refering to Ones Own Family:
Kazoku = family
Haha/Okaasan = mother
Chichi/Otousan = father
Ani/Oniisan = older brother
Ane/Oneesan = older sister
Ototo = younger brother
Imoto = younger sister
Musuko = son
Musume = daughter
Sofu/Ojiisan = grandfather
Sobo/Obaasan = grandmother
Oji/Ojisan = uncle
Oba/Obasan = aunty
Oya/Ryoshin = parents
Kodomo/Ko = child
Shujin/Anata = husband
Tsuma/Kanai/Omae/Kimi = wife


Refering to Another Person's Family:
Gokazoku = family
Okaasan = mother
Otousan = father
Oniisan = older brother
Onesan = older sister
Ototosan = younger brother
Imotosan - younger sister
Musukosan = son
Musumesan/Ojo-san = daughter
Ojiisan = grandfather
Obaasan = grandmother
Ojisan = uncle
Obasan = aunty
Goryoshin = parents
Okosan = child
Goshujin = husband
Okusan/Okusama = wife
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Pronouns:
"I"
Watashi = formal
Watakushi = very formal
Ware = also very formal
Waga = very formal; means "My" or "Our"
Oira = informal and very casual
"I" - Men
Ore = informal; depending on the situation, it can be considered rude to use. It is used with peers and those of lesser status. Among friends and family, it is a sign of familliarity.
Boku = informal, and rarely used by women. It can also be used towards children.
"I - Women
Atai = very informal, it is the slang version of Atashi.
Atashi = informal; it is considered cute and used commonly in conversation.
Atakushi = formal
Uchi = informal; means "One's own". Often used in the Kansai and Kyuushuu dialect.

"You"
Anata = formal/informal; it is not commonly used in conversations, since it is better to address someone by name. Used by women to address their husband or lover.
Anta = informal; it often expresses anger or contempt towards someone. Seen as rude or uneducated.
Omae = very informal; expresses anger/contempt, the speakers higher status, or a casual relationship amongst peers. Never say to elders.
Kimi = informal; informal to subordinates. It can be affectionate, and formerly polite. But it is also rude when used with superiors, elders, or strangers.
"You" - Men
Temee/Temae = rude and confrontational, it is used when the speaker is very angry
Kisama = extremely hostile and rude, it is used to show the speaker's extreme outrage to an address

"He"/"She"
Ano kata = very formal.
Ano hito = formal; literally means, "That person".
Yatsu = informal; meaning, "Dude" or "Guy".
Koitsu = very informal; denotes a person or thing near the speaker.
Soitsu = very informal; denotes a person or thing near the listener.
Aitsu = very informal; denotes a person or thing far from both the listener and the speaker

"He"
Kare = formal in friendships, or informal in relationships, it can mean "Boyfriend"

"She"
Kanojo = formal in firnedships, or informal in relationships, it can mean "Lover"

"They"
Kare-ra = common in speach and writing


Suffixes:
"We"
Tachi = informal; makes the pronoun plural. Can also be attached to named to indicate a person and companions
Kata/Gata = formal; it is more olite than tachi
Domo = formal; it can cast some dispersion on the mentioned group, so it can be rude
Ra = informal; used with informal pronouns, frequently with hostile words
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Posted 2/8/09 , edited 3/24/09
Phrases:
Below are greetings and some common phrases that will help you to interact with other people in japanese.

Irashaimase!/Youkoso! = Welcome!
Ohayou gozaimasu/Ohayou = Good morning. The latter is informal.
Konnichiwa = Hello/Good afternoon.
Konbanwa = Good evening.
Oyasuminasai/Oyasumi = Good night. The latter is informal.
Sayounara = Goodbye.
Dewa mata = See you later.
Mata ashita = See you tomorrow.
Hajimemashite? = How do you do?
Oaidekite ureshiidesu = I'm glad to see you.
Arigatou gozaimasu/Arigatou = Thank you very much. The latter is less formal and typically means, "Thank you". You may also say Doumo, which also means, "Thank you".
Douitashimashite = You're welcome.
Itadakimasu! = Thank you for the meal!. Polite to say this before eating.
Gochisousamadeshita! = Thank you for the meal! Also polite to say this after you've finished the meal.
Gomen nasai = I'm sorry.
Sumimasen = Excuse me.
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Posted 2/8/09 , edited 3/21/09
Dates:
Belows are the months and days in japanese.

Months:
Ichigatsu = January
Nigatsu = February
Sangatsu = March
Shigatsu = April
Gogatsu = May
Rokugatsu = June
Shichigatsu = July
Hachigatsu = August
Kugatsu = September
Juugatsu = October
Juuichigatsu = November
Juunigatsu = December

Days:
Nichiyoubi = Sunday
Getsuyoubi = Monday
Kayoubi = Tuesday
Suiyoubi = Wednesday
Mokuyoubi = Thursday
Kinyoubi = Friday
Doyoubi = Saturday

Days of the Month:
Tsuitachi/Ichijitsu = 1
Futsuka = 2
Mikka = 3
Yokka = 4
Itsuka = 5
Muika = 6
Nanoka = 7
Youka = 8
Kokonoka = 9
Touka = 10
Juuichinichi = 11
Juuninichi = 12
Juusannichi = 13
Juuyokka = 14
Juugonichi = 15
Juurokunichi = 16
Juushichinichi = 17
Juuhachinichi = 18
Juukunichi = 19
Hatsuka/Nijuunichi = 20
Nijuuichinichi = 21
Nijuuninichi = 22
Nijuusannichi = 23
Nijuuyokka = 24
Nijuugonichi = 25
Nijuurokunichi = 26
Nijuushichinichi = 27
Nijuuhachinichi = 28
Nijuukunichi = 29
Sanjuunichi = 30
Sanjuuichinichi = 31

Examples:
(Anata no) otanjoubi wa itsu desu ka? = When is your birthday?
(Watashi no) tanjoubi wa hachigatsu juushichinichi desu = My birthday is August 17.
kyou wa nigatsu youka nichiyoubi desu = Today is Sunday, February 8.
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Posted 2/8/09

Kouhai = used to refer to juniors. However, addressing one as kouhai is considered somewhat rude.


Ano.. dai-san, do u mean that we called someone rudely??


Shi = used in formal writing, and sometimes formal speech, when refering to someone who is unfamiliar with the speaker.


I don't understand this part... can u give me an example? onegaishimasu!~

Heheh gomen ne.... and this topic is really helpful!!!!
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Posted 2/8/09


hai!
-kouhai: when you address someone as kouhai, it's somewhat rude, because, in a way, it's like secretly telling them that that's all you see them as. It can also creates a bad atmosphere between both the kouhai and senpai. So it's better to address them with kun. ^-^

-shi: the best example I can think of is this: Say you are told to write a speech about your favorite author. Whenever you mention this person's name, you refer to them as shi.
ano... does that make sense?
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Posted 2/8/09

DarkDaigoro wrote:



hai!
-kouhai: when you address someone as kouhai, it's somewhat rude, because, in a way, it's like secretly telling them that that's all you see them as. It can also creates a bad atmosphere between both the kouhai and senpai. So it's better to address them with kun. ^-^

-shi: the best example I can think of is this: Say you are told to write a speech about your favorite author. Whenever you mention this person's name, you refer to them as shi.
ano... does that make sense?


Oh.. do u mean that we can call someone elder then we with -kun?
Oh ok!~ Like aya-shi, toma-shi... like that?? Say -shi to the person we love most ne? lol!
Thanks dai-san!
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Posted 3/21/09

DarkDaigoro wrote:
Ototo = younger sister
Imoto = younger sister


hurm, why ish both ypunger sister?
what's the word for younger brother?

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Posted 3/23/09

jartjasnie wrote:


DarkDaigoro wrote:
Ototo = younger sister
Imoto = younger sister


hurm, why ish both ypunger sister?
what's the word for younger brother?



... OKAY!
sorry about that
I tend to think way faster than I can type, so I sort of missed that error
but thanks for bringing that to my attention!

Ototo is younger brother
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Posted 3/24/09

DarkDaigoro wrote:

The Writing Systems:
There are three basic writing systems: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. There is also a fourth system called Romaji, which allows anyone to read japanese without needing to know the other three.

Hiragana is the basic writing right? So what is Katakana, Kanji and Romaji? It's very confusing... But I do want to learn Japanese. Where does the word "愛" or the sentence "愛しています" belong to?? It can't be the Hiragana, can it??


DarkDaigoro wrote:
Pronouncing:
Like english, there are 5 vowels, which are a, e, i, o, u. There are meant to be pronounce clear and sharp. The examples below can help you how to pronounce them:

Ah (a), we (i) soon (u) get (e) old (o)

I don't get this part... What do you mean by pronounce it clearly or sharply? Do you mean:
Ah - a
We - wi
Soon - sun
get - get
old - old?

But, for soon, we pronounce it a bit longer, isn't it? Soon (there's a double 'o')

Sorry if I'm not making sense... It's pretty confusing...
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Posted 3/24/09
Actually, this is pretty useful yet confusing... Anyway, thanks for posting it up!
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Posted 3/24/09 , edited 3/24/09

Mits173 wrote:
Hiragana is the basic writing right? So what is Katakana, Kanji and Romaji? It's very confusing... But I do want to learn Japanese. Where does the word "愛" or the sentence "愛しています" belong to?? It can't be the Hiragana, can it??

Katakana is the second level of writing, while kanji is the third and most advanced. I was going to cover these two in the next lessons, but I didn't have time.
Romaji is only a style of writing out the "names" of each character so that it can be read by anyone, and not require any previous knowledge in japanese. Ideal for beginners.
"愛" , or "ai" in romaji, is kanji and it means love, while in "愛しています" (aishite imasu) means "I love you". The sentence is using both hiragana and kanji.



Mits173 wrote:
I don't get this part... What do you mean by pronounce it clearly or sharply? Do you mean:
Ah - a
We - wi
Soon - sun
get - get
old - old?

But, for soon, we pronounce it a bit longer, isn't it? Soon (there's a double 'o')


Yeah, that's basically what it means. Each word in red are only examples of how each vowel sounds like, nothing more. For instance, there are several ways to which 'a' could sound. For example words, there's "hay", "pan" and "car". If you listen closely, the 'a' in each word sounds different, ne?
But when speaking Japanese, there should only be one way to which the 'a' sounds.

As for the example word, "soon", no, you do not say it longer. As I stated before, the words in red are only example words to what each word should sound like, nothing more. At the time, "Soon" was the only word I could think of that made a perfect example of how 'u' should sound. Of course, I've just thought of "Tune", so perhaps I'll edit it later. Or now, since I'm on.

Hope this helped.
Learning Japanese is indeed confusing, but after a while, it starts to becom easier, once you get the hang of it
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