Let’s Learn Japanese 0 – Introduction

12 06 2011

It’s almost been a year since my last post. I apologize; I was quite busy. Finally freshman year of college is done: the good times, the bad times, the shit times. But on a brighter note, I decided to start up a simple Japanese course for you people out there. So, without further ado, I present to you, Let’s Learn Japanese – 0!

Writing System

First things first. Japanese has three writing systems: Hiragana (ひらがな),  Katakana  (カタカナ) and Kanji (漢字). Hiragana and Katakana both make up the Kana, which is like the Japanese alphabet. Hiragana is used for original Japanese words, while Katakana is used for words that are borrowed from other languages, but have been incorporated into the Japanese language. For example, computer in Japanese in konpyu-ta, spelled in Katakana. Kanji are Chinese characters that have their own meaning, and most of the time, several ways to read them. Unlike Hiragana and Katakana, Kanji is not readable, in a sense that if you don’t know the character, you won’t know how to pronounce it. Technically speaking, it is possible to simply write in Kana, but since each Kanji character has it’s own meaning, it clarifies words that sound the same.

Now. Of course, to begin, you are going to need to memorize the Kana: Hiragana and Katakana. You don’t have to memorize it all NOW, but you should memorize it by lesson 3. For those who don’t care whatsoever about writing and want to simply learn spoken Japanese, I will also put the romaji (alphabetized readings of the word).

Sentence structure

Unlike English where sentences are mainly Subject + Verb + Object (SVO), Japanese is mainly Subject + Object + Verb (SOV). This will need quite some time to get used to.

Happy learning!

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