Basic Japanese Language Lessons

Preparing for CMA Japan Tour 2005

日本

Nihon (or Nippon) = Japan


日本語

Nihongo = Japanese Language


Land of the Rising Sun




Japan Map






CONTENTS:


Useful words and phrases:





Japanese Pronunciation Guidelines:

Japanese is a fairly mono-tone language in that they do not accent specific syllables.

Each syllable is pronounced with the same emphasis.

For example, most of us Americans learned to pronounce Hiroshima as "he-ro-SHEE-mah".

Sound out the words one sy-la-ble at a time (like: he-rō-shih-mah) with even emphasis on each syllable.

You may use a rise in pitch, as in asking a question -vs- making a statement.

If there are two vowels together, just hold the first one twice as long. It is not necessary to pronounce each one as a separate syllable ( i.e., bareriina is bah-reh-ree..nah = ballerina, or iie is ee...ay = no)

Do not mesh syllables together as we do in America.

For example: the "ng" in Nihongo is not pronounced like song or wrong... it is Nee-hŏn-gō


“g” is always a hard “g”, never a “j” sound

The letter "T" is pronounced sharply, no matter where it is in a word, not flattened like a "d".

For example: if we see "motto" (more), we may think of the English word that is spelled the same and pronounce it with the syllables run together and the "t" flattened. (i.e. "Live for today, that's my motto".)

But you would be more accurate if you sound out each syllable separately, with a sharp "t" sound. [ mōt-tō ]

If you are thinking in English and you see the word "ashita" (tomorrow) you may be tempted to pronounce it like

"uh-SHEEDUH".

Try it one syllable at a time with no accents: "ah-shih-tah"


Some Americans drive a “Toy-YŌDA” (Toyota). Try “tō-yō-tah”.

The word "wakarimasen" (I don't understand) is wah-kah-ree-mah-sĕn.

- Don't be tempted to say "-mâssәn", it is "-mah-sĕn".


Once we get the pronunciation…. We may need to learn to listen “fast”… because the Japanese people speak very quickly. Sometimes it seems as if some vowels or syllables disappear or get lost when they speak.

“Do itashimashite” (you’re welcome, don’t mention it) is: dō ih-tah-shih-mah-shih-teh .

When pronounced quickly, it almost sounds like: doy tosh mosh tay


“f” at the beginning of a word sounds more like an “h”. Do not touch your teeth to your lower lip on “f”.


The Japanese "r" is pronounced with a slight trill. It sounds more like an English "d" than an "r"

- English name Kelley = keri and sounds like “keddy”, rather than “kerry”


"L" is not in the Japanese vocabulary. Replace with an "r" sound.

(i.e. London = "Rondon" , Williams = sounds like Wirriams - spelled "Uiriamuzu" )





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

long " ī " pronounced like Eng. long "e" - like the “i” in "machine" or “unique”

short "i" pronounced like Eng. "ink"

long "ē" is pronounced like Eng. long "a" - like the “e” in "crepe"

short "e" is pronounced like Eng. "red"

long "ā" is pronounced like Eng. "park"

short "a" is pronounced like Eng. "abba father"

long "ō" is pronounced like Eng. "bowl"

short "o" is pronounced like Eng. "most"

long "ū" is "oo" like in "Luke" - (Do not round or ‘pucker’ your lips when pronouncing the “u”.)

short "u" is "oo" like in "look" - (Keep lips relaxed)


If you see a word written in Romaji with long vowels marked (long means elongated), such as: Obāsan,

then, pronounce it specifically with a “long a” and hold it for two counts, like: Obaa-san


Is this important? Yes, obasan = aunt or middle-aged woman, while obāsan = grandmother or elderly woman


"desu" is pronounced like "dess", the "u" is silent. It is a "be" verb, like "is", "are", "am"

Verbs are always at the end of a sentence.

- Watashi no-namae wa Jimu desu. = My name Jim is.



"ka" at the end of a sentence makes it a question.

- Anata no o-namae wa nan desu ka = Your name what is ?

- Use a rise in your voice at the end to sound like a question instead of a statement



-masu added to the end of a word or sentence is pronounced without the "u"

( -masu = mas, -shimasu = -shimas )


Tokyo is 2 syllables, not 3. ( "To-kyo" , not "To-kee-yo" ) (Capital City of Japan today)




***Add "no" to a noun or pronoun to make it possessive

***Add "-tachi" to a word to make it plural



watashi wa = I

watashi no wa = my (posessive)


watashi-tachi wa = we (plural)

watashi-tachi no wa = our (posessive)


anata wa = you (singular)

anata no wa = your


anata-tachi wa = you (plural)

anata-tachi no wa = your (possessive)


konojo wa = she

konojo no = her (possessive)


kare = he

kare no = his (posessive)


kore = this (like: this is good)

kono = this/these specific object (like: this coffee is good)


sore = that (like: that is good)

sono = that specific thing (like: that coffee is good)


hito = person (singular)

hito-tachi = people (plural)



****See your "Nihongo sensei" (Japanese teacher) for how to pronounce words. *****

****You will learn much by listening to and imitating native Japanese speakers. ****
****For now, learn the basics and practice often.
When you get to Japan, speak Japanese as much as possible, listen and copy words, pronunciation, usage, etc.


[top]



Useful words and phrases:

GREETINGS / INTRODUCTIONS:


ohayo gozaimasu = good morning (or just ohayo) like Ohio


konnichi wa = good day, good afternoon (nichi = day), hello


konbon wa = good evening (bon = evening)


o yasumi nasai = good night


sayōnara = goodbye, farewell - when leaving for some time or don't expect to see them again soon


bai-bai = bye-bye


Ja mata = (see you) later/again
or Dewa mata ne = See you again


Mata ashita = (see you) again tomorrow
or Dewa mata ashita = See you again tomorrow


When introducing yourself, the bow (ojigi) is preferred to a handshake

- from a nod of the head to a full bow from the waist. The deeper the bow, the higher the respect.


haji memashite = how do you do? (used the first time you meet someone)


dozo yoroshiku = Pleased to meet you


genki desu ka = how are you?


o-kage-sama de = I'm fine thanks
or Genki desu = I'm fine


shitsurei shimasu = excuse me (I'm leaving your presence, like excusing yourself from a conversation or when walking in front of someone)


Watashi no-namae wa Jimu desu. = My name is Jim (or “Jim desu” = I’m Jim)


Anata no o-namae wa nan desu ka? = What is your name?

Sumimasen ga. Watashi wa Amerika-jin desu. Eigo o hanashimasu ka?

= Excuse me. I'm an American. Do you speak English?

Nihongo o hanashimasu ka = Do you speak Japanese?

Hai, sukoshi = Yes, a little

Zannen desu ga hanashimasen = No, I'm afraid not [I speak none]

(or just shake your head, look confused and say "iie" [eeyay] = no )

Mo icho-do o-negai shimasu = Say that again please

Motto yukkuri hanashite kudasai = could you speak more slowly please

You can always use. . . "wakarimasen" ... = I don't understand.

irasshaimasu / irasshaimashita = welcome (to Japan, to our home, to our restaurant, etc.)


Arigato = Thank you (thanks)

Domo arigato = Thank you very much (thanks alot)

Domo arigato gozaimasu = Thank you very much (polite form)

Domo = Thank you very much (short, casual form)

Do itashimashite = you’re welcome / don’t mention it



moshi-moshi = ‘hello’ - on the telephone


ikani nihongo no "..............." wo iu ka ?
= How do you say "....................." in Japanese?

ikani iu ka = How do you say . . . ?

Kyo wa tanoshikatta = I had a good time today


Watashi-tachi wa honto ni tanoshiku sugoshimashita = We have really enjoyed ourselves.


Watashi-tachi wa mata kitai desu = We would like to come again

[top]



Saying “PLEASE”


. . . o-negai shimas (When asking politely for something. = “I humbly request…”)

Kohi o-negai shimas = Coffee please


. . . o-kudasai / kudasai (When asking someone to do something, like: Open the window, please.)

= “Please give me the favor of…”


. . . o-negai shimas & . . . o-kudasai may be used interchangeably; they will know what you mean.


You may also hear someone use “dozo”.

Dozo yoroshiku = Pleased to meet you.

or

When asking if you may have some more cake and the hostess says, “Hai, dozo” = Yes, please do.

or

When someone familiar knocks at the door and the host answers the door and says, “Hai, dozo.” = Yes, please come in.

or

You ask a waitress for a menu and she says, “Hai, dozo” as she hands you one. = Yes, please have one.

or

just “dozo”,  meaning “please”, “go ahead”, “please do”, “please come in”, “help yourself”, etc.


o-negai shimas & o-kudasai are polite requests, while dozo is a polite offer




Mainichi, nihongō o benkyou shimasu = Everyday, (I) am studying Japanese

mai = every  nichi = day  Nihongo = Japanese Language  benkyou = study  shimasu = "be" verb, am, are

Watashi wa kanzen ni nihongo o wasurete = I have completely forgotten Japanese.

(      I       completely  Japanese   forgotten )


Nihon ni iku tsumori desu. = I intend to go to Japan. (intention)

Nihon ni iku yotei desu = I am scheduled to go to Japan. (definite)

[-ni = to, at]

Nihon ni = to Japan

Nihon = Japan 日本 (source of the sun)

Nihon-gō = Japan-language (Japanese) 日本語

Nihon-jin = Japan-people (Japanese)

     - adding –jin to the name of a country means the people of that country. Like: Amerika-jin = American



FYI:

Officially “Nippon” (in full: Nippon Koku -- Nippon country)

Typically called “Nihon” - (source of the sun, “Land of the Rising Sun”)

Centuries ago it was “Ji-pon” (where we get “Japan”) from Marco Polo’s “Cipangu, Jipangu, or Jipan”



[ Romaji = Japanese transcribed to Roman letters, our alphabet ]  konnichi wa

[ Kanji = traditional Japanese/Chinese symbols (there are thousands) ]  賞賛

[ Katakana = another symbol system, used for foreign names & words ]  イエス キリスト

[ Hiragana = another symbol system used for Japanese based words ]  お父さん



**Katakana and Hiragana symbols listed at the end of this study guide.




Ikutsu desu ka = How many?

[top]

NUMBERS:


ichi = one

ni = two

san = three

shi = four (also yon/yo)

go = five

roku = six

shichi = seven (also nana)

hachi = eight

kyu = nine (sounds like “Q”) (also ku)

ju = ten


ju-ichi = eleven [ ju (10) plus ichi (1) ]

ju-ni = twelve . . . etc...


niju = twenty ( 2 tens ) ni = 2 ju = 10

sanju = thirty ( 3 tens ) san = 3 ju = 10

niju-go = twenty-five [ niju (20) go (5) etc...]


hyaku = 100

nihyaku = 200 etc.


sen = 1,000

nisen = 2,000

sanzen = 3,000



AGE:


[top]

adding "-sai" to a number gives age

niju-go = 25

niju-go-sai desu = I'm 25 years old

(25 years am)

ju-kyu = 19 (10 plus 9)

ju-kyu-sai desu = I'm 19 years old

It is not uncommon to be asked your age.
Not to be nosey or rude, but to know what level of respect with which to address you.


Nan-sai desu ka
= How old are you?

(what-age is)

nan- = what-



TIME:
jikan


[top]

Nan-ji desu ka = what time is it?

(what-hour is ?)

nan- = what-

ji = hour


  • ichi-ji = 1 o'clock
  • ni-ji = 2 o'clock
  • san-ji = 3 o'clock
  • yo-ji = 4 o'clock ( the number 4 is different with time "yo", than in counting "shi")
  • go-ji = 5 o'clock
  • roku-ji = 6 o'clock
  • shichi-ji = 7 o'clock
  • hachi-ji = 8 o'clock
  • kyu-ji = 9 o'clock
  • ju-ji = 10 o'clock
  • ju-ichi-ji = 11 o'clock
  • ju-ni-ji = 12 o'clock


  • gozen = in the morning / a.m.
  • gogo = in the afternoon / p.m.
  • ban = in the evening
  • han = half, as in half past the hour “Gogo san-ji han desu” = It’s 3:30 in the afternoon
  • shogo = noon/midday
  • mayonaka = midnight


examples:

  • Gogo sanji desu = It is 3 o'clock in the afternoon
  • Shogo desu = It is midday/noon
  • Gozen hachi-ji desu = It is 8 o'clock in the morning
  • Ban shichi-ji desu = It is 7 o'clock in the evening
  • Yo-ji desu = It’s 4 o’clock


In Japan, the 24 hour clock is used on all train schedules.

  • 12:00 = noon
  • 13:30 = 1:30 pm
  • 19:00 = 7 hours after noon, so it’s 7:00 pm
  • 24:00 = midnight

kinō = yesterday

kyo = today
ashita = tomorrow



MONTHS: tsuki

( have no names, are numbered 1 – 12 )

[top]




[top]


DAYS OF THE WEEK:

  • Getsuyobi = Monday
  • Kayobi = Tuesday
  • Suiyobi = Wednesday
  • Mokuyobi = Thursday
  • Kin’yobi= Friday
  • Doyobi = Saturday
  • Nichiyobi = Sunday






kissaten = coffee shop (for snacks and sandwiches)

supa(maketto) = supermarket

depato = department store

kaimono = shopping

macudonarudo = McDonald’s


Adding “-yo” to a word indicates a “shop” that specializes in that item.

Like:



FOOD / RESTAURANT:

[top]

okane = money


yen (pronounced “en”) = approx. 1 cent.

- Don’t faint if your soft-drink costs 120 en


genkin = cash


***Note: Tipping is not customary.
Ask someone you are with.


shokuji = meal (s)


chōshoku = breakfast (
or asa-gohan = morning rice)


chūshoku = lunch (
or hiru-gohan = midday rice)


yūshoku = evening meal
(or ban-gohan = evening rice or dina = dinner)


Onaka ga suite imas = I am hungry


uetoresu = waitress (sounds like waitress)


ueta = waiter


mizu = water


gyūnyū = milk (
or miruku = milk with an “r” )


tabemono = food


taberu / tabemas = to eat


gohan = rice


pan = bread


bata = butter


hashi / o-hashi = chopsticks


oishii desu = it's delicious, tasty


kohi = coffee


kohi o-negai shimasu = coffee please


ocha / kocha = Japanese tea / black tea


ti = English tea


sato = sugar


kurimu = cream


aisu-kurimu = ice cream


Hai, o-negai shimasu = yes please


iie (ee-ay) = no


iie kekko desu = no thanks ( or just "kekko desu" )


Nanika nomimasen ka? = Would you like something to drink?


sandoitchi = sandwich


menyu = menu


tori = chicken ( toriniku = chicken meat )


niku = meat / flesh (beef, pork)


gyūniku = cow meat / beef


butaniku = pig meat / pork


baniku = horse meat (
never tried this one <(©¿©)>)


sakana / zakana = fish


yaki- = grilled- (yakitori, yakiniku, etc.)


sushi = raw seafood on sweet vinegary rice


sashimi = bite-sized slices of raw seafood


tempura = batter-dipped deep-fried seafood & vegetables (or chicken)


sukiyaki = thin-sliced beef & veg. in soy & sugar


sutēki = steak


rāmen = noodle soup with beef & veg.


keki ( kay-kee) = cake


raisukeki = rice cake


udon = standard noodles


soba = buckwheat noodles


sarada = salad


teberu (teh-beh-roo) = table


isu = chair


Ikura desu ka? = How much does it cost?


chokoreto = chocolate
チョコレート


**Chinese and American foods are also popular and available in some restaurants & homes.



PEOPLE / RELATIONSHIPS:

[top]

shujin = husband

go-shujin = husband (politely referring to someone else's husband)

tsuma = wife

kanai = (one's own) wife

okusan = (someone else's) wife


oto-san = Father

chichi = dad, papa


haha = mother (your own mom)

okaasan = mother (someone else’s)


ane = older sister

imouto = younger sister


ani = older brother

otouto = younger brother


otoko = man

onna = woman


shojo = girl


musuko = son


musume = daughter


kodomo = child, kids


akanbou = baby


kazoku = family


tomodachi = friends


Watashi-tachi wa tomodachi desu = We are friends


sensei = teacher


TRAVEL:


[top]

kuko = airport


hikoki = airplane


nimotsu = luggage


sutsukesu = suitcase


kippu = ticket


takushī = taxi


shingō = traffic light


eki = station


iriguchi = entrance


deguchi = exit


ressha = train


densha = electric train


shinkansen = Bullet train


shuppatsu = departure


zaseki bangō = seat number


(JR = Japanese Railway)


basu = bus


ferri = ferry


jinrikisha = rickshaw


CUSTOMS:

[top]


-san added to family name = Mr. , Mrs., Miss, Ms. , etc. (Matsuo-san = Mr. or Mrs. Matsuo)

Can be used with a given name, like Tiffany-san (Miss Tiffany) if you are on a first-name basis.

Never call yourself "MyName-san". It is a polite suffix of honor... for others.


Typically, one would introduce themselves with family name first, then their given name. For example:

“Watashi no-namae wa Matsuo Hiroshi desu.” = “My name is Hiroshi Matsuo.” Address him as Matsuo-san.


When introducing yourself, the bow (ojigi) is preferred to a handshake

- from a nod of the head to a full bow from the waist. The deeper the bow, the higher the respect.


All dwellings, and some hotels, schools, restaurants, etc., have a "genkan" or entrance hall where you take off your outdoor shoes and put on "house slippers" (surippas).

**Never wear your "street shoes" in someone's home.


A Japanese bath tub is for soaking, not washing. Wash with soap and rinse thoroughly before entering tub. The same water is shared by all family members.


Cash (in Yen) is universal. Credit cards accepted at some merchants in larger cities. Buy yen at banks or use cards in ATM’s. Take travelers checks and cash to exchange for yen upon arrival.




MISC:
[top]

iesu kirisuto = Jesus Christ イエス キリスト


anata no tame ni inori masu = I pray for you


kami ha anatagata wo aishi masu = God/Jesus loves you


odorite, odoru, dansa = dancer


bareriina = ballerina


Watashi wa odorite desu = I'm a dancer


Watashi no musume wa odorite desu = my daughter is a dancer


washitsupudansu = worship dance

oshieru = teach


chuchu = tutu


shashin = photographs


shashin o-torimasu = take photos


kamera = camera


bideo teepu = video tape


denwa = telephone


Denwa o-negai shimasu = (where is / may I use) the telephone please


o-toire (toi reh) = toilet (a bathroom is for baths)


O-toire o-negai shimasu = (where is the) toilet please


Toire wa doko desu ka? = Where is the toilet?


o-furu = bath


shawa = shower


ranpu = lamp


denki = light


futon ( fu-tōn / hu-ton ) = Japanese-style bed


betto / beddo = bed


neru = sleep


doa = door


mado = window


akeru = to open


teberu (teh-beh-roo) = table


isu = chair


computer = computer


piano = piano


mo = very


motto = more


atsui (ah-tsoo-ee) = hot (Atsui desu = It is hot)


neko = cat


inu
= dog (kai inu = a pet dog)


nami = wave ( on the ocean ) tsunami = tidal wave


yama = mountain ( Fujiyama = Mt. Fuji)


doko = where?


Aso = Oh, I see.


Tasukete! = help! (tasukete kudasai = help please)


koko = here

soko = there

asoko = over there


kochira = this way ( Kochira e dozo = this way, please )

sochira = that way


yuki = snow


gomen nasai = I’m sorry (when you’ve done something foolish)



[top]


JUST FOR FUN:

Some are Kanji characters, some are Katakana


祈りなさい
= inori nasai = pray

ダンス = dansu = dance ダンサー = dansā = dancer

礼拝 = reihai = worship    賞賛 = shousan = praise


聖書 = seisho = Bible / holy scriptures    .. or ..     バイブルbaiburu = Bible


= kami = God       福音fukuin = gospel, word of God


喜び
= yorokobi = joy,pleasure = ki = rejoice, take pleasure in

栄光 = eikou = Glory

歓迎 = kanjei = welcome


芸術の祭典大臣
= geijutsu no saiten daijin = Celebration Ministry of Arts

神を礼拝するダンス kami wo reihai suru dansu = dance to worship God

(ゴスペルミュージックを使用するバレエのダンス)  = Dance of ballet which uses gospel music

= ai = love in Kanji


ラヴ
= ravu = love in Katakana


私は大変あなたを愛する
= watashi ha taihen anata wo aisu ru = I love you very much


愛情
= aijou = love, affection


「見よ、世の罪を取り除く神の子羊。

= Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!



イエス・キリストは主です = Jesus Christ is Lord





[top]





[a]


[i]


[u]


[e]


[o]

Katakana Vowels

Katakana Chart



Katakana is a set of Japanese symbols representing vowels and syllables, used for writing foreign words and names.

In determining how to break up words to pronounce them one syllable at a time, these charts are a good reference. Each character (including vowels and “n”) is a syllable.

Even “ai” is technically two syllables: (ah-ee) When said together quickly it sounds like “I” or “eye”.



[top]



Hiragana Chart




Hiragana is a set of symbols representing vowels and syllables, used for writing Japanese based words and names that do not have a Kanji (ancient Japanese/Chinese symbols).


When you see Japanese writing, you may notice the use of all three forms of characters, Kanji, Katakana and Hiragana.




[top]




[top]