Its Not As Hard As You Think

10 things we know to be true…

1. Phonology

Phonology is the study of how sounds are organised and used in natural languages

  • Japanese has only 5 Vowels & 16 Consonants
  • English has 20 vowels and 24 consonants

This means pronouncing Japanese is easy for English speakers.

2. No gender for nouns

Japanese has no grammatical genders unlike Spanish and French. Thus sensei (teacher) can mean male or female.

3. There is no number for nouns

Japanese does not use singular or plural. ほん(Hon) means ‘a book’ and ‘books’ ともだち(Tomodachi) means ‘a friend’ or ‘friends’.

4. No case ending for nouns & adjectives

Like English, there is no case ending in Japanese. いすisu (chair) is always isu weather it is the subject, object or indirect object of a sentence, unlike German and Russian.

5. Verb conjugations

Verb conjugations are not affected by gender or numbers. The same verb can be used regardless of the subject.

eg) ‘Taberu’ means ‘I eat’, ‘he eats’ and ‘they eat’.

6. Verb Exceptions

Verbs follow rules of conjugation with only a few exceptions, unlike English, Russian and Greek.

7. Verbs have only two tenses

Past & Present.

8. No Articles – THE / A / AN

Japanese dose not use words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘an’ before a noun.

9. English to Japanese

Japanese use a lot of English words in today’s society. You may recognise them…

コーヒー koohii → Coffee
カメラ kamera → Camera
メニュー menyu → Menu

10. Hiragana / Katakana / Kanji

Japanese has three writing systems, Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. All three are used at the same time when writing.
Each Hiragana and Katakana character represents the one sound, once you mastered these characters you can read and pronounce written Japanese.

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