Tuesday, January 02, 2018

A brief overview of written Japanese language




By Peter Hanami



● Japanese has five vowels A, I, U, E, O


Japanese words with English meanings followed by pronunciation and written in Japanese script hiragana



Okonomiyaki = Japanese style pancake


O/ko/no/mi/ya/ki 

おこのみやき 
Futon =  Mattress

Fu/to/n 

ふとん



Arigatou gozaimasu = Thank you very much 

A/ri/ga/tou Go/za/i/ma/su 

ありがとうございます




Sentence construction


English: I am looking for the book


Japanese: Hon o sagashite imasu


Translation:  Book looking am


Subject: I Object: book Verb: looking



Scripts



1. Hiragana - 50 symbols
Words of Japanese origin are written in this script, for example:


a, i, u, e o


あ、い、 う、え、お 

Okonomiyaki おこのみやき 


ka, ki, ku, ke, ko 

Futon ふとん


か、き、 く、け、こ、 

Arigatou Gozaimasu ありがとうございます


sa, shi, su, se, so


さ、し, す、 せ、そ



2. Katakana - 50 symbols



Words of foreign origin are written in this script, for example:



a, i u e o  English, Written,   Pronuciation


ア、イ、ウ、エ、オ    

Ice Cream = アイスクリーム aisukuree-mu


カ、キ、ク、ケ、コ 

Notebook= ノート no-to


サ、シ、ス、セ、ソ 

Mechanical pencil シャーペン sha-pen



3. Kanji - thousands of Chinese characters



Characters with a Chinese origin used to convey sounds, words, pictures and ideas



Dog 犬 (inu) 

Newspaper 新聞 (shinbun)

Desk 机 (tsukue) 

Company 会社 (kaisha)



Written Japanese combines the three scripts into one when writing


For Example: Do you like ice cream?


Aisukuree mu wa suki desu ka?


アイスクリーム  は  好き ですか 


● Japanese is written in columns starting at the top right hand corner of the page and continues to the left hand side of the page. Newspapers, books and magazines are read from the back page to the front page.



© Copyright Peter Hanami. 2004. All Rights Reserved.