Learning Japanese
The Hard Way and The Easy Way
Komei Harada
http://www.komeiharada.com/Japanese
Why learn Japanese?
•
•
•
•
Learn Japanese culture
Read manga comics
Watch Japanese animé
Read Japanese game
manuals
• Speak reasonably well
• Visit Japan and get by
• Talk to Japanese friends
• Do business with the
Japanese
• Speak a few phrases and
be friendly
Japanese Characters
• Phonetic characters
– Hiragana (46 chars)
For original Japanese words.
Created by simplifying kanjis.
こんにちは (good day)
かわ (river)
– Katakana (46 chars)
For foreign words/names
Created by taking parts of kanjis.
カメラ camera
ララ・クロフト Lara Croft
Japanese Characters
• Phonetic characters
– Hiragana (46 chars)
For original Japanese words.
Created by simplifying kanjis.
こんにちは (good day)
かわ (river)
– Katakana (46 chars)
For foreign words/names.
Created by taking parts of kanjis.
カメラ camera
ララ・クロフト Lara Croft
• Roma-ji
(Roman characters)
Kon-nichiwa (good day)
Kawa (river)
Japanese Characters
• Kanji – Chinese Characters
– Imported from China a few
thousand years ago.
– There may be ~ 50,000
– 6,000 in the computer character
codes alone
– Students learn 1,000 by 6th grade
– Each character typically has 2 or
more readings
日
sun
ひ “hi” as in Hitachi
にち “nichi” as in Nippon
Japanese Characters
• Kanji – Chinese Characters
– Imported from China a few
thousand years ago.
– There may be ~ 50,000
– 6,000 in the computer character
codes alone
– Students learn 1,000 by 6th grade
– Each character typically has 2 or
more readings
日
sun
ひ “hi” as in Hitachi
にち “nichi” as in Nippon
Japanese Characters
• Kanji – Chinese Characters
– Imported from China a few
thousand years ago.
– There may be ~ 50,000
– 6,000 in the computer character
codes alone
– Students learn 1,000 by 6th grade
– Each character typically has 2 or
more readings
日
sun
ひ “hi” as in Hitachi
にち “nichi” as in Nippon
Japanese Characters
• Kanji – Chinese Characters
– Imported from China a few
thousand years ago.
– There may be ~ 50,000
– 6,000 in the computer character
codes alone
– Students learn 1,000 by 6th grade
– Each character typically has 2 or
more readings
日
sun
ひ “hi” as in Hitachi
にち “nichi” as in Nippon
• “No way I’m
gonna learn
those! Show
me an easy
way!”
The Hard Way –and– The Easy Way
• Learn to pronounce
Roma-ji !
• All consonants are like in
English – No funny “ll” and “ch”
like in Spanish/Italian/French
• Only 5 vowels:
A, E, I, O, U – Get them
right!
The Hard Way –and– The Easy Way
•“bonsai”
• Learn to pronounce
Roma-ji !
• All consonants are like in
English – No funny “ll” and “ch”
like in Spanish/Italian/French
• Only 5 vowels:
A, E, I, O, U – Get them
right!
The Hard Way –and– The Easy Way
•“bonsai”
• Learn to pronounce
Roma-ji !
• All consonants are like in
English – No funny “ll” and “ch”
like in Spanish/Italian/French
• Only 5 vowels:
A, E, I, O, U – Get them
right!
The Hard Way –and– The Easy Way
•“banzai”
• Learn to pronounce
Roma-ji !
• All consonants are like in
English – No funny “ll” and “ch”
like in Spanish/Italian/French
• Only 5 vowels:
A, E, I, O, U – Get them
right!
The Hard Way –and– The Easy Way
•“banzai”
• Learn to pronounce
Roma-ji !
• All consonants are like in
English – No funny “ll” and “ch”
like in Spanish/Italian/French
• Only 5 vowels:
A, E, I, O, U – Get them
right!
The Hard Way –and– The Easy Way
• “Date” “sake”
• Learn to pronounce
Roma-ji !
• All consonants are like in
English – No funny “ll” and “ch”
like in Spanish/Italian/French
• Only 5 vowels:
A, E, I, O, U – Get them
right!
The Hard Way –and– The Easy Way
• “Date” “sake”
• Learn to pronounce
Roma-ji !
• All consonants are like in
English – No funny “ll” and “ch”
like in Spanish/Italian/French
• Only 5 vowels:
A, E, I, O, U – Get them
right!
The Hard Way –and– The Easy Way
• Karaoke
• Honda
• Tsunami
• Shogun
• Learn to pronounce
Roma-ji !
• All consonants are like in
English – No funny “ll” and “ch”
like in Spanish/Italian/French
• Only 5 vowels:
A, E, I, O, U – Get them
right!
The Hard Way –and– The Easy Way
• Forget Roma-ji!
• Learn hiragana/katakana
What’s “kyoto”?
きょうと (京都) Kyoto City
きょうとう (教頭) head teacher
きょとう (巨頭) magnate
• Learn to pronounce
Roma-ji !
Names
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
ジェーソン・ウィーズナー
クリス・チェ(イ)ンバーズ
トロイ・マッシュバーン
スナ・カン(グ)
エリック・タム
ロサウラ・サンドバル
デイブ・ガストリン
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
ケン・ブローズ
エルギン・デルビソル
マイク・ゴンサレス
マイク・ファッジ
ケーシー・ホルツ
アルナブ・バス
ティプ・プルカヤスタ
Tongue Twisters
この釘は引き抜きにくい釘だ。
Kono kugi wa hiki nuki nikui kugi da.
This nail is a nail that is hard to pull out.
東京特許許可局長今日急遽休暇許可拒否
Tokyo tokkyo kyoka kyokuchou kyou kyuukyo kyuuka kyoka kyohi
Tokyo Patent Office Director today suddenly denies vacation
approval.
Try your language at
http://www.uebersetzung.at/twister/ja.htm
Greetings
• おはようございます
• “Ohayou gozaimasu”
Good morning
• こんにちは
• “Kon-nichiwa”
Good day
• こんばんは
• ではまた
• “Konbanwa”
Good evening
• “Dewa mata”
(see you) again
(“Sayounara” is “Good-bye”)
Talk to the Japanese The Easy Way
• “Ohayou gozaimasu”
Good morning
• “Kon-nichiwa”
Good day
• “Konbanwa”
Good evening
• “Dewa mata”
(see you) again
(“Sayounara” is “Good-bye”)
• Learn to say the Japanese
greetings well.
• Use the polite form;
Be safe
• Then you can switch to
speaking English! – Just
speak very, very slowly
• Japanese people may
know English grammar
better than you 
More Phrases
• ありがとうございます
• どういたしまして
• はい
• いいえ
• “Arigatou gozaimasu”
Thank you
• “Dou itashimashite”
It’s nothing (You’re welcome)
• “Hai”
Yes
• “Iie”
No
Traveling in Japan
• Explore the rural side
– Fewer people speak
English
– Fewer signs in English
– See traditional lifestyle
– Try your Japanese skills!
• Stay in the Tokyo or
Kyoto area –
• signs are in English
• many people speak
English
• Writing down
(English) often helps
Tonal Accent
• English - stress accent
E.g., desert (barren); desert (to
leave)
increase (noun); increase (verb)
• Japanese – tonal accent
はし hashi (bridge)
はし hashi (chopstick)
• (Unlike Chinese)
Most words have a few
syllables or more
• Wrong accents rarely
cause confusion
• Pay more attention to
your vowels instead!
A, E, I, O, U
Similarity to Other Languages
Grammar
これ-が クリスタル-が 4月-に 引っ越す 新しい ビル-です。
This
Crystal
April in move (to) new building is.
Korean:
이 (빌딩)은 크리스탈이 4월에 이사갈 새 빌딩입니다.
Turkish:
bu bina Crystal’in Nisan ayinda icine gececegi bina
“Ural-Altaic language family” is what linguists call them 
Babelfish Round-trip Game
http://babelfish.altavista.com
Incandescent is getting a pretty bad name in today's
going-green society, but GE wants to salvage the tech
with innovation before it's scrapped for the ages in laws
that ban its use at home and abroad.
→白熱今日の行緑の社会のかなり悪名を得ている、しかしのそして外
国の使用を家禁止する法律の年齢のために捨てられる前にGE は
革新との技術を救助したいと思う。
→ Society of incandescence present line green ill repute is
obtained rather, but and before being thrown away
because of age of the law which use of the foreign
country the house is prohibited as for GE we would like
to rescue the technology of reformation.
http://www.excite.co.jp/world/korean/
Similarity to Other Languages
Chinese is to Japanese as French(Latin) is to English
• Many words look the same
• Difficult words have the same meaning
自动化 (Ch) = 自動化 (Jp)
“automation” = “automation”
zì dòng huà jidouka
(Fr)
(Eng)
• Pronunciation can be different
• Daily vocabulary is different
新聞 (Ch) ≠新聞 (Jp)
journal (Fr) ≠ journal (Eng)
“news”
“newspaper”
“newspaper” “diary”
(新 = new, 聞 = hear)
汽車 (Ch) ≠汽車 (Jp)
“car”
“train”
(汽 = steam, 車 = car/wheel)
Similarity to Other Languages
Simplified
Traditional
(Mainland China)
Hong Kong / Taiwan
• 学生
• 學生
xué sheng (student)
• 权威
• 權威
quán wēi (authority)
Japanese
Korean
• 学生 • 학생
がくせい gakusei
• 権威 • 권위
けんい ken’i
Similarity to Other Languages
Italian
Japanese
Similarity to Other Languages
Italian
Japanese
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Spaghetti
Broccoli
Espresso
Staccato
Ghetto
スパゲッティ
ブロッコリー
エスプレッソ
スタッカート
ゲットー
Similarity to Other Languages
Italian
Japanese
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Spaghetti
Broccoli
Espresso
Staccato
Ghetto
– 5 vowels – A, E, I, O, U
– Double consonants
スパゲッティ
ブロッコリー
エスプレッソ
スタッカート
ゲットー
– アイウエオ
– ッ
Trivia : Top 10 Japanese Family Names
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
佐藤
鈴木
高橋
田中
渡辺
伊藤
山本
中村
小林
Satou (Sato); 佐 assist(ance); 藤 wisteria
Suzuki; 鈴 bell; 木 tree
Takahashi; 高 high; 橋 bridge
Tanaka; 田 rice field; 中 middle, inside
Watanabe; 渡 to cross; 辺 side
Itou (Ito); 伊 this; 藤 wisteria
Yamamoto; 山 mountain; 本 book, origin
Nakamura; 中 middle, inside; 村 village
Kobayashi; 小 small; 林 woods
10. 加藤 Katou (Kato); 加 to add; 藤 wisteria
Dictionaries - Offline
• EPWING format (mini CD’s) readers (portable
devices)
• DDWin / EBView (PC)
• Electronic dictionaries
From Casio, Seiko Instruments (SII), etc.
Dictionaries - Online
• SPACE ALC
http://www.alc.co.jp/
• Goo
http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/
• Excite
http://www.excite.co.jp/dictionary/
IME: Input Method Editor
• Enter foreign languages
– Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, … pretty much all
major non-English languages
• Easily installable on Windows from
Control Panel > Regional and Language Options
(Requires the installation CD-ROM
- copied on my PC)
Most Common First Names
Boy (1980)
Girl (1980)
1.大輔 Daisuke 1.絵美 Emi
2.誠 Makoto
2.裕子 Yuko
3.直樹 Naoki 3.久美子
Kumiko
4.哲也 Tetsuya
4.恵 Megumi
5.剛 Takeshi
6.学 Manabu 5.智子 Tomoko
7.大介 Daisuke 6.愛 Ai
7.香織 Kaori
8.亮 Ryou
9.健一 Ken’ichi 8.恵美 Emi
10.聡 Satoshi 9.理恵 Rie
10.陽子 Youko
Boy (2006)
1.陸 Riku
2.大翔 Hiroto
3.大輝 Daiki
3.蓮 Ren
5.翼 Tsubasa
6.悠斗 Yuuto
7.翔太 Shouta
8.海斗 Kaito
8.空 Sora
8.優太 Yuuta
8.陽斗 Youto
Girl (2006)
1.陽菜 Hina
2.美羽 Miu
3.美咲 Misaki
4.さくら Sakura
5.愛 Ai
5.葵 Aoi
5.七海 Nanami
8.真央 Mao
9.優衣 Yui
http://www.meijiyasuda.co.jp/profile/etc/ranking/year_men/
Local Stores
Japanese Telephone Guide!
• Nijiya –Mountain View, San Mateo
• Mitsuwa – San Jose
• Kinokuniya Bookstore – Next to Mitsuwa
•
•
•
•
•
Gombei (cash only)
Kanpai
Dashi Sushi
Miyake
Sushi-ya
Trivia: Chopstick Rules
• Do not rest chopsticks by sticking them point-first into your food,
especially rice.
• Do not pass food with your chopsticks directly to somebody else's
chopsticks.
• Do not move around plates or bowls with chopsticks.
• Do not spear food with your chopsticks.
• Do not hover your chopsticks around while deciding on which
food to pick.
• Do not touch one dish and immediately move on to another.
• Do not lick your chopstick or hold them in your mouth
• Do not lay them on the edge of your bowl or plate
Rules slightly differ in China, Korea and Viet-nam
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chopsticks
Links
• CIA – The World Fact Book – Japan
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ja.html
• Wikipedia – Japanese language
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_language
• News websites
http://www.nikkei.co.jp/
http://www.asahi.com/
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/
http://www.mainichi.co.jp/
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/
ダウンロード

The Hard Way