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First Words - Japanese: 100 Japanese Words To L...


First Words - Japanese: 100 Japanese Words To L...

Research highlight that studying the first 1000 most used words of the foreign language of your choice will help you familiarize with about 80% of vocabulary in oral speech. The first step to achieve this result is to start from basic Japanese vocabulary or from Speechling Foundations that also collect the popular words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, numbers, and calendar) for each language on the platform, inclouding Japanese. You can start from our list of the top 100 Japanese words for beginners.

As we learn about Japan, we learn many words to describe events, ideas, or objectshaving to do with the country and its culture. Fortunately, these words are not difficultfor us to pronounce. When Japanese is written in the roman alphabet, each letter standsfor a single sound.

Even parts of speech are different, as you can see. "I" is still a pronoun,and "book" a noun, but Japanese has particles, like wa and o, thatindicate how words are related, a device which is absent in English. Often the subjectof the sentence, such as "I" (watakushi wa) is left out, and distinctionsbetween the singular and plural are rarely made, so sentences may seem ambiguous toEnglish speakers. As in English, verbs change to show tense, but so do adjectives, becauseJapanese is an inflected language.

But one of the greatest differences has to do with levels of politeness. People speak differently depending on the person they are talking to, or talking about. A high-school student uses different forms to speak to the class teacher than when speaking to classmates, and the forms used by boy and girl students are slightly different, too. The very words -- verbs, nouns, pronouns, and adjectives -- often change, too. A person will use a different word for father, for example, when speaking to him and when speaking about him to someone else. These changes reflect the relationship between people, and their relative social positions. To address someone correctly, you must know his or her status in the society -- that is, his or her position in a school or company, age, or relationship to you. This is an important way in which the language influences how people think about one another.

All languages were spoken before they were written. Ways of recording words and ideas were invented in only a few places in the world, and over many millenia were altered to adapt to many diverse languages. Many languages, like ours, use an alphabet -- symbols that indicate the way words sound. Other writing systems use symbols to show what words mean as well. The Chinese writing system uses characters that indicate both sound and meaning.

When the Japanese started to use Chinese characters for their own language, they ran into some problems. Chinese words are only one or two syllables, and they can use a character for each syllable, but Japanese words frequently have many syllables, especially inflected words. So the Japanese developed symbols from the kanji, called kana, to indicate sound without meaning, the way our alphabet does. But the symbols in these syllabaries indicate the sound of a whole Japanese syllable instead of each separate part. is ka, for example, and is tsu. Kana usually have many fewer strokes than kanji.

There are two standard syllabaries being used today, each one with forty-six symbols. One is called hiragana, and is used for inflected endings, grammatical particles, and other Japanese words. For example, do you remember the sentence "I bought a book yesterday" It sounds like this: Kinô watakushi wa hon o kaimashita. But is it usually written with a combination of kanji and hiragana, and looks like this:

The other syllabary is called katakana. It is squarer-looking than hiragana. Ka is instead of, and tsu is instead of . Japanese, like English, has many foreign loan words in its vocabulary, and katakana is used for these, such as terebi for television, aisu kurîmu for ice cream, or rômaji for roman letter


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