Japanese Language
 
 
 
Japanese Language

These pages explain the Japanese language in the simplest possible terms. After graduating from San Diego State University with a business degree, and after retiring from real estate appraising at age 40, I returned to college and obtained an associates degree in Japanese studies. I was really fascinated with the Japanese writing system and made hundreds of pages of vocabulary and thousands of graphics of Japanese kana and kanji. I transferred all of this from my JapaneseLanguageCultureFood.com site to this site. I am beginning to study the language again and I am hoping my kids will use these pages for their study as well. A little background about the language. Japanese is spoken by an estimated 130 million people worldwide and is the primary language spoken in Japan. In fact, Japan is the only country where Japanese is the primary language.

Learning to speak Japanese is much easier than what you’ve probably been led to believe. The writing system, well that’s another story. The Japanese writing system can take awhile to learn but it can also be a lot of fun. If you're a beginner, you'll need to learn romaji before taking on Japanese kana scripts or kanji. You'll probably find that learning kanji can be pretty addicting. The characters represent things found in nature and abstract concepts. As you continue to study them, you'll eventually see patterns and want to learn as many as you can.

I recommend taking the following steps if you want to learn Japanese.
 
Japanese speaking - Learning to speak Japanese is much easier than learning to speak English. This page explains the basics of speaking Japanese.
Japanese pronunciation - Japanese pronunciation is incredibly easy, especially when compared to English. Learning to speak Japanese can be accomplished in only a few days if you focus. This page explains how to pronounce the basic sounds of Japanese.
Japanese writing - An explanation of all the Japanese scripts including a complete list of kyouiku kanji, which are the kanji learned through grade 6 of elementary school in Japan.
Japanese writing - Romaji - This script uses English letters to represent Japanese sounds and words and is a substitute script used until hiragana, katakana, and kanji are learned. It was devised as a way to communicate in spoken and written Japanese quickly without needing to learn the thousands of combined characters in the other scripts. This is the first script you should learn.
Japanese writing - Hiragana - This is a Japanese script used for already established words in the language such as sun, moon, house, mountain, people, etc. This script, along with kanji, make up about 98% of the language. This is the second script you should learn.
Japanese writing - Katakana - This is a Japanese script used for foreign or borrowed words from other languages. Words such as convenience store (combini), television (terebi), and hotel (hoteru), are all written in katakana. This script makes up about 2% of the language. The usage is growing as more words are incorporated into Japanese from other languages. This is the third script you should learn.
Japanese writing - Kanji - These are Chinese characters which were brought into the Japanese language thousands of years ago. The characters represent things in nature and are really fun to learn. This is the fourth script you should learn.
Kanji writing order - Kanji writing order, typically referred to as stroke order, refers to the correct order in which Chineses character are written.
Japanese Vocabulary - A ton of adjectives, adverbs, verbs, and nouns, most in either English alphabetical or Japanese character order. Many categories containing nouns related to a topic.
Writing Practice Window

Hey there. I added a writing practice window which you can use to practice writing Japanese hiragana, katakana, and kanji. I made a couple of options for opening the window. Please choose whichever works for you. Enjoy.
  • Writing Practice - small window - clicking this option will give you a small pop up writing window which you can move around your screen.
  • Writing Practice - large window - for this option simply "right click" the link with your mouse and choose the "Open link in new window" option and then move the window to where you want it on your screen.