Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Association for Education, Japan

If you ask me, my ideal would be the society based on liberty, equality and fraternity. An ideal society should be mobile and full of channels of conveying a change taking place in one part to other parts.

-Dr. Ambedkar

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Introduction to Japanese Language

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The Japanese language is very different from any western one. Also, it has three different writing systems. However, learning it is not as difficult a task as it seems. The language is both extremely beneficial, and practical. Three categories of words that exist in Japanese are -The native Japanese words constitute the largest category, followed by words originally borrowed from China in earlier history, and the smallest but a rapidly growing category of words borrowed in modern times from Western languages such as English. This third category also contains a small number of words that have come from other Asian languages.

So let's get started with some basics

Basic Greetings - Aisatsu

Here is a list of some very common greetings and words in english & japanese. The japanese words have been written in english based on the pronounciation.

Hello - Konnichiwa

Yes - Hai

No - Iiye

Good Morning - Ohayo Gozaimas

Good Afternoon - Konnichiwa

Good Evening - Konbanwa

Good Night - Oyasumi Nasai

Good Bye - Sayonara

See you - Dewa mata/Jaa mata

How are you - Ogenki Des Ka

I am fine - Hai, Genki Des

Thank You Very Much - Domo Arigato Gozaimas

Thanks - Domo (used mostly by men)/Arigato

You're Welcome - Do Itashi Mashite

Sorry - Gomen Nasai

Excuse Me (I'm Sorry) - Shitsurei Shimas

Excuse Me (in a crouded train) - Sumimasen

Hello (on the phone) - Moshi Moshi

Cheers - Kampai

There you go!!! Now, wasn't that easy. These basic greetings can get you through your first 30 seconds of conversation with a Japanese person or at your local Sushi restaurant. Read on, you'll love it.

 

Few great Books you can buy from Amazon:

 

Japanese Scripts

Here's an introduction to written japanese.

Japanese is written with a combination of three scripts. It may take a while to master all the scripts, so I recommend starting with the first two.

1. Hiragana

This is a phonetic script consisting of 46 characters. Hiragana is mainly used for non-kanji words, particles and prepositions for instance are written in hiragana. However, you can write a complete sentence in hiragana. Children's books are written in hiragana and kanji's are introduced as they grow older.

2. Katakana

This too is a phonetic script and consists of syllables, just like hiragana. However, katakana is used for writing 'foreign' words. There are several words which have non-japanese origin and are borrowed from other languages. Words like 'computer' or 'beer' for instance are written using the katakana script.

3. Kanji

This is a pictoral script. The kanji script consists of over 5000 characters, often used alone or in conjunction with other kanji's to form words. Learning kanji can be very addictive, so let's leave that for another lens.

"Romaji" (english alphabets) is a variation of script used in modern japanese for inputting the characters into the computer and writing names.

 

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