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The Japanese Language is very different from English and other European Languages.
It is a language where sentences need no subject and adjectives can have past tenses.
The most useful approach to Japanese study is to consider that the Japanese Language has its own internal logic, its own way of communicating, and not compare it with your own language, but accept and learn it on its own terms.

'''Japanese Pronunciation and Writing Systems.'''

Japanese uses four different writing systems: ''Romaji'', ''Hiragana'', ''Katakana'', and ''Kanji''.
'''Romanji''' means Roman letters and is the writing system that will be used here.
Traditional Japanese is written in a combination of the other three: Hiragana, Katakana,
and Kanji.


It is traditional to think of the Japanese sound systems in terms of syllables not individual sounds. This is because their basic alphabet is a syllabary, or a list of possible syllables.
Each of the syllables in the can be written in Japanese, Hiragana or Katakana, the two syllabaries.

'''Japanese Syllabary: Romaji'''

Basic Syllables: Vowel, Consonant plus vowel and "n".
               a     i     u     e     o                     N.B. Japanese vowels
                                                             are pure sounds like
                                                             their Italian counterparts.
    k          ka    ki    ku    ke    ko
    s          sa    shi   su    se    so
    t          ta    chi   tsu   te    to                    N.B. chi, tsu
    n          na    ni    nu    ne    no
    h          ha    hi    fu    he    ho                    N.B. fu
    m          ma    mi    mu    me    mo
    y          ya          yu          yo                    N.B. no ye or yi
    r          ra    ri    ru    re    ro
    w          wa                                            N.B. no wi,wu,we,wo
    n                                                        N.B. ?n?  comprises a syllable 
                                                                  in itself
Modified Syllables: Consonant plus basic vowel
    g         ga     gi    gu    ge    go
    z         za     ji    zu    ze    zo                    N.B. ji
    d         da     ji    zu    de    do                    N.B. ji,zu
    b         ba     bi    bu    be    bo
    p         pa     pi    pu    pe    po

Modified Syllables: Consonant plus ya, yu, yo, or palatalized consonants.
    k         kya          kyu         kyo
    s         sha          shu         sho                   N.B. sha, shi,sho
    t         cha          chu         cho                   N.B. cha, chu, cho
    n         nya          nyu         nyo
    h         hya          hyu         hyo
    m         mya          myu         myo
    r         rya          ryu         ryo                  N.B. the Japanese "r" is 
                                                                 between the English
                                                                 "r" and "l.'
    g         gya          gyu         gyo
    z         ja           ju          jo                   N.B. ja,ju,jo
    b         bya          byu         byo
    p         pya          pyu         pyo
Double Consonants: length of two syllables
  kk -  preceded by a glottal stop and held for 2 syllables.
  pp -  preceded by a glottal stop and held for 2 syllables.
  ss -  preceded by a glottal stop and held for 2 syllables.
  tt -  preceded by a glottal stop and held for 2 syllables.
Long Vowels: length of two syllables
  aa -  same as ?a? but held an extra syllable.
  ii -  same as ?i? but held an extra syllable.
  uu -  same as ?u? but held an extra syllable.
  ee -  same as ?e? but held an extra syllable.
  oo -  same as ?o? but held an extra syllable.
'''Pronunciation: Features''': *1). In English, stressed syllables in a word are pronounced louder and longer. In Japanese, all syllables, with a few exceptions, are pronounced with equal length and loudness. *2). In Japanese, a stressed syllable is merely pronounced at a higher pitch. This is part of the Japanese intonation pattern. *3). Japanese does have a distinct intonation pattern. Their intonation pattern can be heard not only in individual words, but also in whole sentences. Intonation is produced by a rise and fall in pitch over certain syllables. * In the case of questions, the Japanese intonation pattern bears no relation to the *English one. This is a source of a lot of confusion. '''Example: What typical Japanese syllables look like.''' A typical exchange between two people would look like this: Mr. Hayashi introduces Mr. Tanaka to Mr. '''Sanger'''.
Yamada:   Tanaka-san, kochira wa, Senga-san desu.
Sanga:    Hajimashite, Senga desu. Doozo yoroshiku.
Tanaka:   Hajimashite. ABC no Tanka desu. Doozo yoroshiku.
Yamada:   Senga-san, Nupiidia no kaishain desu.
Yamda:    Mr. Tanaka, this is Mr. Sanger.
Sanger:   How do you do. My name is Sanger. I?m very glad to meet you.
Tanaka:   How do you do. I am Mr. Tanaka from ABC Company. I?m very glad to meet 
Yamda:    Mr. Sanger is of an employee of Nupedia.
'''Writing System:''' The preceding conversation would be written in Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Roots of words would be written in Kanji, the traditional Japanese ideograms that the Japanese borrowed from the Chinese. Particles, like ?wa?and ?o? and verb inflections would be spelled out syllable by syllable in Hiragana, one of the two Japanese syllabaries. Foreign words like ?Sanger,? ?Nupedia? would be spelled out syllable by syllable in Katakana, the second Japanese syllabary. '''Grammar: Features:'''
1). The basic sentence structure of a Japanese sentence is
      For example:
      Kochira wa,  Sanga-san desu.
      Kochira is the topic of the sentence, indicated by the particle "wa."
      This means "as for this person."
      The verb is "desu" meaning 'is.'
      ?Sanga-san desu? is the comment.
      Therefore, this loosely translates to:
      "As for this person, (it) is Mr. Sanger."   
2). Japanese nouns have neither number nor gender.
      Thus ?hon? meaning ?book? can be used for the singular or plural.
3). Verbs normally come at the end of a sentence.
4). Verbs are conjugated to show only tenses, of which there are two: the present and the 
      The present tense in Japanese serves the function of the simple present, the  
      continuous present, the habitual present, and the future tense, while the past tense
      in Japanese serves the function of the simple past tense, the present perfect and
      the  past perfect tense.  The exact meaning is determined from the context.
5). Adjectives, are inflected to show the present, past, affirmative and negative.
6). The grammatical function of nouns like possession, direct object, indirect object etc.
      are indicated by particles, like ?wa,? and ?no? above. They always follow the noun.
      Particles play an extremely important function in Japanese.
7). Finally, Japanese has many different dialects to express different levels of politeness.
'''Example: Basic Japanese Sentence structure.''' Note the importance of the particles, verb tenses, and adjectives. Mr. '''Sanger''' and Mr. '''Wales''' eat at a Japanese restaurant.
Sanger:    Sumimasen, menyuu o misete kudasai.  Please show us the menu.
Ueitoresu: Hai, doozo.                          Certainly sir. Here you are.
           Nomimono wa nani ga  ii desu ka.     What would you like to drink? 
Weruzu:    Biiru ga, hosii desu.                I like beer.
Sanga:     Sukiyaki wa, ii desu                 I?ll have the "sukiyaki."                  
Weruzu:    Biiru o 2-hon to sukiyaki o kudasai. Two bottles of beer and some
                                                sukiyaki, please. 
Sanger:    Dezaato wa, meron ga ii desu.        For dessert we?ll have melon.
Ueitoresu: Hai, wakarimashita.                  I see (understood).

sumimasen     -  excuse me
menyuu        -  menu
hai           -  yes
nomimono      -  beverage
nani          -  what
hosii         -  desirable
ii            -  good
biiru         -  beer
hon           -  bottle
dezaato       -  dessert
meron         -  melon
kudasai       -  please

wa - indicates the topic.
ga - indicates the topic with emphasis on the topic
o  - indicates the direct object
ka - indicates a question
to - and

misemasu   - show
desu       - to be (copulative) 
wakarimasu - to understand.