Although Japanese is considered one of the more difficult languages to learn, simple phrases are easy to read and pronounce. Japanese does not have the complex tonal variations of many Asian languages, such as Chinese, and the words are arranged in easy syllables. Japanese people are often scared to speak English with a foreigner, but will warm up after hearing a few Japanese phrases.
Japanese has five vowel sounds:
- a as the 'a' in 'father'
- i as the 'ee' in 'knee'
- u as the 'oo' in 'look'
- e as the 'e' in 'pet'
- o as the 'o' in 'horse'
The vowel sounds do not change, but can be combined or lengthened, eg:
- ai as the 'y' in 'my'
- uu as the 'oo' in 'food'
The consonants are:
k, g, s, t, ch, n, h, b, p, m, r1, y
These consonants are always attached to a vowel and cannot stand alone, with two exceptions:
- 'n' can be used on its own, eg sumimasen
- The syllable 'su' is often shortened to 's' in common speech. desu is therefore pronounced dess and desu ka becomes desska
Japanese words are not stressed, as English words are. In order to keep the phrases understandable, try to pronounce them according to the syllables, eg sa-yo-na-ra, kon-ni-chi-wa.
|How are you?||Genki desu ka?|
|I'm fine||Genki desu|
|Nice to meet you||Hajimemashite("shtay")|
|See you later||Mata ne|
|My name is ...||Watashi wa ... desu|
|What is your name?||Namae wa nan desu ka?|
|I come from ...the USA||Amerika kara kimashita|
|...England||Igirisu kara kimashita|
|...Canada||Kanada kara kimashita|
|...Australia||Osturaria kara kimashita|
|...New Zealand||Nuu Jiirando kara kimashita|
|...South Africa||Minami Afurika kara kimashita|
|...Germany||Doitsu kara kimashita|
|Do you speak English?||Eigo wakarimasu ka?|
|I don't understand||Wakarimasen|
|Where is/are the ... hotel?||Hoteru wa doko2 desu ka?|
|...station?||Eki wa doko desu ka?|
|...tourist info?||Annaijo wa doko desu ka?|
|...toilet?||Toire wa doko desu ka?|
|Help me, please||Tasukete kudasai|
|I'm lost||Michi mayotta|
|Police (Police!!!)||Keikan (Omawarisan!!!)|
|32564||San-man Ni-sen Go-hyaku Roku-ju-yon|