We'll start off our Japanese studies with some easy vocabulary words. For now, don't worry about the non-Roman characters (for example, "こんにちは"). These are how the Japanese phrases would be written in Japanese - these will be covered separately later. To the left (for example, "kon nichi wa") is the same phrase written in Roman characters. This style of writing is referred to as Rōmaji.
If you'd rather learn these words as part of a dialog, you can go on to the next lesson.
Try and memorize these words. You can practice using the online quiz (which is like interactive flash cards) or the game.
|kon nichi wa (こんにちは)||hello / good day|
|dōzo (どうぞ)||please (e.g., when offering something)|
|ga arimasu (があります)||there is / there are|
|neko (猫)||(a / the) cat / cats|
|no ue ni (の上に)||on|
|tēburu (テーブル)||(a / the) table / tables|
|ā (ああ)||hey, oh|
|desu (です)||(it, there) is / are|
|sō desu ne (そうですね)||indeed, yes it's true, that's right, that is so|
|naze desu ka? (なぜですか)||why (is it)?|
|inu (犬)||(a / the) dog, dogs|
|no shita ni (の下に)||under|
|tsukue (机)||(a / the) desk / desks|
|ikimasu (行きます)||(I'm) going|
|sore wa (それは)||that|
|ī (いい)||good, nice|
If you search around the web, you may have noticed there are slightly different ways of writing rōmaji versions of Japanese words. For example, "manabimashō" can also be written "manabimashou". Similarly, the "ē" symbol can be written as "ei" or "ee".
Pronunciation is beyond the scope of this lesson, but Japanese is generally pronounced the way it looks in romaji, with a few exceptions:
Unlike many Western languages, Japanese does not have plural forms for nouns. (While this may seem confusing at first, if you think about it, why in English do we distinguish between one object and two, but not two and three, or three and four)? Japanese also does not have articles corresponding to "a" or "the" in English. So whether you're talking about "a cat", "the cat", or "cats", it would just be "neko (猫)" in Japanese. For future lessons, in the vocabulary lists we will just list the singular form for English, so just remember that in Japanese you don't need change the word for plurals, and you don't need to add "a" or "the".
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