Japanese Lesson 2

October 23, 2008 § 1 Comment

Hopefully by now you can read all the hiragana and katakana characters.  If not, get cracking because without the ability to read, none of these tutorials will help you!

Useful phrases and words

Good morning: おはようございます (pronunciation:ohayoogozaimas)

*There are a couple quirks in Japanese pronunciation.  When there is a う (u) following a letter that ends in an “o” (in the example above: yo-u), instead of pronouncing the letter as a “u”, it simply serves to elongate the previous “o.”  So instead of o-ha-yo-u-go-za-i-ma-su, it is o-ha-yooooo-go-za-i-ma-su. They also do this with other vowels (elongating previous syllables) but う is definitely the most commonly seen.

*Also, ます(ma-su) is pronounced mas, without the extra u at the end.

*Last but not least,  ございます(gozaimas) is there to make the greeting formal.  If you were greeting a close friend or something younger you would probably drop the gozaimas.

Good afternoon: こにちは (konichiwa)

*Notice that the last syllable of that word is really “ha” and not the character for “wa.” This is very common in Japanese.  In Japanese, anytime は(ha) comes at the end of a word (so if its function is to modify a previous word), it is pronounced “wa.”

Good night: こんばんは (konbanwa)

*Notice like konichiwa, there is also a ha at the end of konbanwa.

*You will commonly see words that have ん (n)s in the word, however, you will never see a word that begins with ん because we have characters already for na, ni, nu, ne, no.

Goodbye: さようなら (sayonara)

Goodbye/Excuse me: しつれいします (shitsurei shimas)

*This literally means “please excuse my rudeness” but it is colloquially used as a polite/formal way to say goodbye.  You would also say this to end a telephone conversation, as opposed to sayonara.

See you later: じゃ、またね (ja, matane)

*ja=well, mata=again.  You would not use this with en elder.

*Notice how ja is spelled じゃ.  First, the two quotation marks transform the shi into a ji, and then the small ya is added to the ji to make “ja.”

See you tomorrow: じゃまたあした (ja, mata ashita)


Thank you very much: どうもありがとうございます (doomo arigato gozaimas)

*Informal would just be ありがとう (arigato)

You’re welcome: どういたしまして (dooitashimashite)

Sorry: すみません (sumimasen)

No/That’s alright: いいえ (iie)

Good night: おやすみなさい (oyasumi nasai)

*Take off なさい (nasai) to make it informal

Did you understand?: わかりましたか (wakarimashitaka)

*か (ka) at the end of a sentence usually indicates a question.  There is no question mark in Japanese so you have to figure out from context/grammar patterns if you are reading a question or not.

Yes, I understood: はい、わかりました (hai, wakarimashita)

*hai=yes.  This answer is in past tense so rather than understand it is more like understood.

No, I did not understand: いいえ、わかりませんでした (iie, wakarimasen deshita)

I don’t understand: わかりません (wakarimasen)

*This is a more general statement.

Hopefully I didn’t spell anything wrong but if you catch anything please let me know.  To be honest, I am basically taking out key concepts and phrases from my Japanese textbook (Elementary Japanese, Volume One by Yoko Hasegawa) and adding my own little comments here and there.



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