teach yourself japanese

  1. Romanization, phonemes, and morae

    TYJ Romanization, phonemes, and morae

    1.2.1. Romanization Writing Japanese with the Latin alphabet is called Romanization. Japanese people use kana and kanji to write Japanese, and they aren't always able to write Romanized Japanese. Romanization is used mainly for non-Japanese. Vowels in Romanized Japanese are based on Latin...
  2. Dialogue 2

    TYJ Dialogue 2

    9.2. Dialogue 2 In this dialogue, Shô meets two students from overseas. One is a boy from the U.S., and the other is a girl from China. しょう : はじめまして。 Romanization: Ha zi me ma si te . Structure: (nice to meet you, interjection) (continued) ぼくはすぎやましょうです。 Romanization: Bo ku wa Su gi ya ma Shô...
  3. Dialogue 1

    TYJ Dialogue 1

    9.1. Dialogue 1 I will explain Japanese grammar using dialogues from now on. In the first dialogue, a kid named しょう "Syô" comes home, and he has a tea break with his mother ひろこ "Hiroko". しょう : ただいま。 Romanization: Ta da i ma . Structure: (I'm back, interjection) It's good manners to say this...
  4. Plants

    TYJ Plants

    8.9. Plants 8.9.1. Flowers I have already explained chrysanthemum and cherry blossom. つつじ tu tu zi Japanese azalea ひまわり hi ma wa ri sunflower ゆり yu ri lily らん ra n orchid たんぽぽ ta n po po dandelion ばら ba ra rose あじさい a zi sa i hydrangea はす ha su lotus 8.9.2. Trees まつ ma tu pine すぎ su...
  5. Invertebrates

    TYJ Invertebrates

    8.8. Invertebrates 8.8.1. Molluscs All of the molluscs listed here except snails are edible. (Escargots are not so popular in Japan.) たこ ta ko octopus いか i ka squid はまぐり ha ma gu ri clam あさり a sa ri short-necked clam For your interest: This is the most popular shellfish in Japan. しじみ si...
  6. Vertebrates

    TYJ Vertebrates

    8.7. Vertebrates 8.7.1. The Chinese zodiac You might have heard of the Chinese zodiac. Each year is associated with one of the twelve animals in Chinese custom, and it is used mainly for fortune-telling. Japanese people also know the twelve animals, whether they believe fortune-telling or not...
  7. Space-time

    TYJ Space-time

    8.6. Space-time 8.6.1. Directions All of the direction words in Japanese are nouns, while the English words up and down are not nouns. -うえ u e up, upper-ひだり hi da ri left-みぎ mi gi right-した si ta down, lower- まえうしる ma e forwardu si ro backward -きた ki ta north-にし ni si west-ひがし hi ga si...
  8. Colors

    TYJ Colors

    8.5. Colours First of all, please note that the colours you see on your computer screen are highly dependent on your particular system. Different systems often display different colours. The colour files used here are adjusted for my system. 8.5.1. Basic colour names All Japanese colour names...
  9. Kinship

    TYJ Kinship

    8.4. Kinship 8.4.1. Kinship reference terms Japanese kinship terms have two categories: reference terms and address terms. The latter is used to call your family without using their name, like the English words dad and mom. Kinship reference terms are never used to call them directly. Kana:おや...
  10. Body parts

    TYJ Body parts

    8.3. Body parts 8.3.1. Head Kana:あたま Romanization:a ta ma Meaning:head Kana:かお Romanization:ka o Meaning:face Kana:かお Romanization:ka o Meaning:face Kana:め Romanization:me Meaning:eye For your interest: In Japanese culture, the eyes are the most important part of the face. Japanese has...
  11. Demonstratives

    TYJ Demonstratives

    8.2. Demonstratives 8.2.1. Three locations Demonstratives are words to point something based on its location. "This" and "that" are English demonstratives. They can also be used to point something talked about in a conversation, such as "That's a nice idea." English demonstratives and similar...
  12. Pronouns

    TYJ Pronouns

    8.1. Pronouns You might think learning pronouns after learning verbs and adjectives is strange, because many language courses begin with the pronouns. But as far as Japanese is concerned, you don't have to learn pronouns first, because there is no grammatical difference between pronouns and...
  13. Questions

    TYJ Questions

    7.9. Questions 7.9.1. Colloquial questions It is quite easy to ask a question in colloquial Japanese. Just say a sentence with a rising pitch at the end. Kana:きょうはさむい。 Romanization:Kyô wa sa mu i . Structure:(noun, today) (topic marker) (adjective, is cold) Meaning:It is cold today...
  14. Emotion markers

    TYJ Emotion markers

    7.8. Emotion markers 7.8.1. Sentence-final particles Japanese has several communication-oriented particles to clarify a speaker's intention. Let's call them emotion markers here. You have learned two other kinds of particles: case markers (postpositions), such as the nominative marker が "ga"...
  15. Negative forms

    TYJ Negative forms

    7.7. Negative forms 7.7.1. Negative forms of verbs First of all, I would like to explain the difference between verbs and adjectives in Japanese. You have learned that Japanese adjectives have inflection like verbs, but their ways of inflection are quite different; nonpast-form verbs end with...
  16. Relative clauses

    TYJ Relative clauses

    7.6.1. Relative clauses and verbs A relative clause has a principal noun and an explanatory phrase that are combined grammatically, and it has a base structure. For instance, "a picture that the artist drew" is a relative clause, where "picture" is a principal noun and "the artist drew" is an...
  17. Adjectives

    TYJ Adjectives

    7.5. Adjectives 7.5.1. Nonpast forms English adjectives are more similar to nouns than to verbs, and they require the copula be to become predicators. On the other hand, Japanese adjectives are more similar to verbs, and they don't need a copula. They have inflexion like verbs. All Japanese...
  18. Copula

    TYJ Copula

    7.4. Copula A copula is a word that combines the subject of a sentence and its description. Copulas are often irregular in many languages. The English word be is a copula. It is the verb whose inflexion is most irregular in English. It combines the subject, and its description, such as "Apples...
  19. Verbs

    TYJ Verbs

    7.3. Verbs 7.3.1. Group I and Group II Japanese verbs are divided into two groups with different inflexion styles. One group is called the Group I verbs, the -u verbs, the Godan verbs, the consonant verbs, and the strong verbs. The other is called the Group II verbs, the -ru verbs, the Ichidan...
  20. Topics and focuses

    TYJ Topics and focuses

    7.2. Topics and focuses The topic and the focus are concepts commonly found in human languages. Topics are old information, which you have already talked about in a conversation. Focus is new information, which is often the key to an answer to a question. Let's think about topics and focus in...
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