|Read and Write Japanese |
everyone can read and write Japanese but, we thought it might be nice to put
something up for those who may want to learn a little about it, anyway. Some
folks can't see anything humorous in the preceding statement. We can't explain it.
|Kana Writing and Pronunciation System
Children in Japan begin with the easiest writing system first and so shall
we. Kana is a system of writing and pronunciation for the Japanese language
which is similar to the alphabet systems of the european languages. Linguists
have devised ways of categorizing language. There are two kinds of units of
sound in a language. Phonemes are the smallest units which have distinctive
meaning. Syllables are the segmental units of spoken words which are sequences
of one or more phonemes. For Japanese some linguists have defined a third unit
of sound, the mora. The mora represents a sequence of sounds that are percieved
as being of equal length by the native speaker and are a unit of sound
somewhere between a phoneme and a syllable. Due to the way in which the sounds
of the Japanese language are patterned, consonants are, with a single
exception, always expressed in combination with vowels, such that the vowel
antecedes the consonant. One exception is the "n", which is sometimes also
pronounced as an "m". From our point of view, doubled s, t, and k simply
represent phonemical variants of the non-doubled consonants. There are three
kinds of morae, should one be inclined to call a syllable, however peculiarly
constituted, a mora. Morae can be vowels. Morae can be consonants. Morae can be
a consonant and a vowel. Actually, one needn't be concerned with such
linguistic hairsplitting. Suffice it to say for now that syllables in Japanese
have a simple structure and it is possible to list them all in a single chart.
Observing the chart carefully will reveal certain characteristic patterns.
You can see all two hundred and fourteen of the
hiragana and katakana symbols and combinations in the form of a syllabary
chart. It shows a standard phonemical arrangement derived, for the most
part, from native Sanskrit grammar. It is about 130 Kbytes.
Click here for the five most used kanji and their pronunciations.
This is the polite form of, "Good Morning," in
"Octavio Osorio" in katakana letters
12,300 in hiragana letters. "one ten thousand, two
thousand, three hundred"
1999 followed by the Kanji for
A shortened form of, "Konnichi wa (do
desu ka?)" Literally, "How is today?" Said between the hours of 10am to about
5pm, it means simply, "Hello."
|Hiragana and Katakana are the two alphabets
which are used by the Japanese to write identical sounds. Katakana symbols are
used most notably for spelling out foreign words. Hiragana is more generally
used to represent sounds which must be added to the reading of Kanji characters
in order to complete their pronunciation. In certain instances, such as in
children's books, or text written for the benefit of older persons or the
semi-literate, for advertisements, comic books, or for the text displayed in
television programming, hiragana may also be used to spell out words, phrases
and sentences in their entirety without the use of kanji at all.
which? Hiragana is derived from further simplification of the cursive style of
kanji characters. That accounts for its comparatively rounded appearance.
Katakana in contradistinction, owes its derivation to the extraction of usually
only two or three strokes of one part of selected non-cursive kanji characters,
carrying a desired pronunciation, which accounts for its comparatively linear
The use of kanji preceded the use of kana as established
convention by several hundred years. Kanji was brought from China to Japan
about the 5th century when Japanese was still an unwritten language. By the 9th
century, Japan had the two kana syllabaries, which had been made necessary for
Japanese since the syntactical structure of Chinese and Japanese were
different. The syntax of the Chinese language is such that isolated kanji
characters can be used. The Japanese language requires additional endings which
are not required and do not exist in Chinese. Therefore in modern Japanese,
kana, particularly hiragana is used typically for inflectional, postpositional
and other endings. Kanji are usually used for nouns, verb stems, and other
dinosaur, kyo ryu
ecology, sei taigaku
More 3D kanji and animations
rendered with Xara 3D.
Kanji and vocabulary of
Kanji and vocabulary of animals
How many kanji are there?
Of the main kanji characters, there are about 1850
standardized, officially recognized characters and an additional 150 or so
semi-common characters. You may click to see about 2,000 in total, as four jpeg
images. The kanji have been arranged in order of their incidence of usage in
the Japanese language. For example, the most frequently used kanji are in part
one while the kanji in part four are used with a relatively lesser frequency.
What do they mean? How are they read and sounded? How are
they written? Well, it's our intention to present that, too when we get a
round2it. Since we have been so slow in completing this section, some people
have sent us an email asking us to write various things in Japanese. If this
notion should strike the fancy of our viewer, we would ask that you relax,
count to ten, and the ask yourself if you really need to know how to write, for
example, "abdominal snowman" in Japanese or "ninja turtle," or some of the
other stumpers we've recieved
|Not studying Japanese? Get started now!! JABLI
uses the Image Lesson Method, a system that is currently being used in over 20
countries. JABLI offers lessons from Basic to Level I on the Japanese
Proficiency Test. No entrance or materials fees! |
|If you have some favorite Japanese onomatopoetic words and their simple
meanings, we would like to display them for you here quasi-alphabetically.
Don't forget to include the meaning.|
||by a small margin
||Oh my god
||shining brightly, flashing;|
or brand spanking new
or a tired person
two lovers stuck on each other
||shivering with cold or excitement
||tear paper, feel static electricity
||dried and stale
||dry pieces of food, bacon;|
sound of mouse knawing a hole
||frustrated, nervous people|
||shattering or splattering sound
||rolling along |
||feeling dizzy, have a headache feverish, and or can not stand straight|
||little by little
||turning round and round|
||something which is too long or slow
||love struck appearance
||shining, glistening, sparkle, attractive person|
||make a rustling noise|
||rumbling sound of thunder, empty stomach, lazy person lolling, something misplaced
||scrub, rub hard
||jumping like a rabbit|
|bochi bochi||so, so||mochi mochi||soft like a baby's face|
How is the usage of kanji different for Japanese and Chinese? This
may give some idea.
Japanese students learning Chinese have an advantage in that they can
write the kanji and know the meaning. For example, good-bye. Such students can write
the kanji for which the Japanese pronunciation is sai gen. The pronunciation is
similar linguistically. The particular kanji combination finds no expression in
Japanese. Literally, the two characters mean, again see. See (you) again. So,
they have the same meaning, but different reading and usage.