|Subject classification: this is a language-learning resource.|
|Educational level: this is a secondary education resource.|
This learning project will provide an introduction to the Japanese language.
This learning project offers learning activities to enable you to:
- Understand some basic elements of the Japanese language
- Learn the pronunciation of Japanese
- Understand the various writing systems
- Learn the syllabaries of Japanese
Before continuing, please see Computing in Japanese to determine if your computer and browser are configured properly for viewing course-related material.
Throughout this course, Japanese terms are presented in two forms: the Japanese scripts, and Romanized forms (rōmaji), which are bolded. Japanese terms written in the Japanese scripts are always followed by rōmaji.
Meanings of Japanese terms and their English equivalents are italicised.
- 話す hanasu (to speak)
- 食べる taberu (to eat)
Sample Japanese sentences will be formatted to help you understand how the parts of speech work together.
- 日本語は話しますか。 Nihongo wa hanashimasu ka.
- Do [you] speak Japanese?
- Literally: Speaking of Japanese, speak?
Japanese can be said to use SOV (Subject-Object-Verb, 'I Japanese like' ) sentence structure, compared to the English SVO (Subject-Verb-Object, 'I like Japanese' ). Although this is not always true, it may help the beginner to establish a baseline from which to delve into the Japanese Language.
- Introduction to the Japanese Language
- Introduction to the Japanese Writing System
- Pronunciation of Japanese
After the first five grammar lessons you have learned enough grammar to form simple sentences. Try learning words you find interesting by looking them up in a dictionary such as wiktionary. If you want some guidance try:
- Japanese – Vocabulary contains vocabulary organized by topic.
- The Japanese Swadesh list. A Swadesh list is a list of words which are essential to most languages.
- 1000 Japanese basic words.