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Do you want to learn how to speak Japanese, but don't know where to start? Below you will find lessons for beginners, writing lessons, information on pronunciation and comprehension, where to find dictionaries and translation services, information for travelers to Japan, and audio and video lessons.
Try not to be overwhelmed. The Japanese language will seem very different at first from your native language, but it is not as hard to learn as many people think. It is quite a logically laid out language and once you learn basic reading skills it will be easy to pronounce any word you can read.
Introduction to Japanese
Are you new to Japanese? Familiarize yourself with Japanese and start learning basic vocabulary here.
- Japanese Vowels: Learn the pronunciation and how to write them in hiragana.
- Japanese Verb Conjugations: See the conjugations for the most common verbs.
- Japanese Grammar: Learn the characteristics of how sentences are constructed.
- Japanese Writing Systems: An overview of the three writing systems.
- Greetings and Everyday Expressions: Useful for tourists.
- First Meetings and Introductions: These tips will help in both business and social interactions.
- Simple Japanese Phrases: Learn a variety of simple phrases.
Learning Japanese Writing
There are three types of scripts in Japanese: kanji, hiragana and katakana. Japanese does not use an alphabet and all three systems are commonly used. Kanji has blocks of meaning and thousands of characters. Hiragana expresses the grammatical relationship between kanji symbols and katakana is used for foreign names. The good news is that hiragana and katakana have only 46 characters each and words are written as they are pronounced.
- Japanese Writing for Beginners - Introduction to Japanese writing and understanding how kanji, hiragana, and katakana are used.
- Kanji - 100 Most Frequent Characters: With thousands of different characters, these are the meanings of the top 100.
Pronunciation and Comprehension
Familiarizing yourself with the sounds and rhythms of the language is a good place to start. Audio and video lessons can help. Hearing someone speak in Japanese and being able to answer appropriately is very rewarding for the beginner.
- Audio Phrasebook
- Japanese Language Videos: Use these videos to see how to pronounce sounds from Hiragana and to use different expressions. You may learn better by seeing as well as hearing a person speak in Japanese.
Japanese for Travelers
If you need quick survival skills for your trip, try these.
- Japanese for Travelers: Learn phrases relating to getting around by train, taxi, bus, car, air, and walking.
- How to Order at a Restaurant: You're going to need to eat, here are phrases that will come in handy.
Dictionaries and Translations
Choosing the right words for a translation can be difficult. There are many ways to look up Japanese words and to translate from English to Japanese and back again.
- Top 3 Japanese Dictionaries: If you want a book to have handy either on paper or electronically, these are the best.
- Top 10 Online Dictionaries: Access these from your mobile device or computer.
- Learning About Translating: It's not as simple of plopping words into an online form.
- Online Translations: The best of the bunch.