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Japanese (Nihongo)

2009 October 22
Posted by maijun_cham_hsj

Japanese (Nihongo)

Before the 4th century AD, the Japanese had no writing system of their own. During the 4th century they began to import and adapt the Chinese script, along with many other aspects of Chinese culture, probably via Korea.

At first the Japanese wrote in Classical Chinese or in a Japanese-Chinese hybrid style. An example of the hybrid style is the kojiki (Records of Antiquity) written in 712 AD. They then started to use Chinese characters to write Japanese in a style known as man’yōgana, literarly “Ten Thousand leaf syllabic script”, which used the characters for their phonetic values.

Over time a writing system emerged in which Chinese characters were used to write either words borrowed from Chinese or Japanese words with the same or similar meanings. Chinese characters were also used for their phonetic values to write grammatical elements and these characters were simplified and eventually became two syllabic scripts, hiragana and katakana.

Japanese literature reached a high point during the 11th century with the Genji Monogatari (Tale of Genji) by Lady Murasaki Shikibu. Many other Japanese literary works were also written by women.

Modern Japanese is written with a mixture of hiragana and katakana, plus kanji. Modern Japanese texts may also include rōmaji, (Roman letters), the standard way of writing Japanese with the Latin alphabet, eimoji (English script), non-Japanese words written in their own script and various symbols known as kigō.
Sample text in Japanese

すべての人間は、生まれながらにして自由であり、かつ、尊厳と権利とについて平等である。人間は、理性と良心、とを授けられてあり、互いに同胞の精神をもって行動しなければならない。 (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Transliteration (rōmaji)
Subete no ningen wa, umare nagara ni shite jiyū de ari, katsu, songen to kenri to ni tsuite byōdō de aru. Ningen wa, risei to ryōshin o sazukerareteari, tagai ni dōhō no seishin o motte kōdōshinakerebanaranai.

Listen to a recording of this text Click here to hear this text

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Japanese Translation
Japanese Translation
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Longer text sample (Tower of Babel)

Useful phrases in Japanese

books Japanese language courses, dictionaries, etc.
Other sections

Origin of writing in Japan, Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji, Rōmaji, Japanese language, Useful Japanese phrases, Links
Other semanto-phonetic writing systems

Ancient Egyptian, Chinese, Chữ-nôm, Japanese, Jurchen, Khitan, Linear B, Mayan, Naxi, Tangut (Hsihsia)

Rocket Japanese

Learn to understand, speak, read and write real Japanese

Asian countries take a lot of pride in their culture, values and language. And as a part of that they love to inform the world about it. One such country is Japan; the people who are very cultural are looking towards the internet to spread knowledge about their country. This is looking more possible currently because setting up a site has never been cheaper. From purchasing a web design to getting the web development done, all can be done easily. Other than that companies like bluehost are giving out cheap shared web hosting services. And the advertising can be done to promote the sites through advertising agencies or pay per click programs.

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My first post!

2009 October 22
Posted by maijun_cham_hsj

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Nihon Go

2009 October 22
Posted by maijun_cham_hsj

Omniglot – writing systems and languages of the world
Phrases | ‘Useful’ phrases | Idioms | Tongue twisters | Language-related proverbs
Useful Japanese phrases

A collection of useful phrases in Japanese. Click on the English phrases to see them in many other languages.
English 日本語 (Japanese)
Welcome ようこそ (yōkoso)
Hello 今日は (konnichiwa)
おっす (ossu) – used between close male friends
もしもし (moshi moshi) – on phone
How are you?

I’m fine, thanks. And you? お元気ですか? (o genki desu ka)
はい、元気です。あなたは? (hai, genki desu. anata wa?)
お蔭様で元気です (o kagesama de genki desu)
Long time no see 久しぶり (hisashiburi) お久しぶりですね (o hisashiburi desu ne)
What’s your name?
My name is … お名前はなんですか? (o-namae wa nan desu ka)
… だ (… da) (inf) …です (… desu) (frm)
Where are you from?

I’m from … どこからですか (Doko kara desu ka?)
どちらからですか (Dochira kara desu ka?) – frm
私は … からです (watashi wa … kara desu)
Pleased to meet you 初めまして (hajimemashite)
初めまして。どうぞ宜しく (hajimemashite. dōzo yoroshiku) reply
お会いできて嬉しいです (oaidekite ureshii desu)
Good morning お早うございます (ohayō gozaimasu) お早う (ohayō)
Good afternoon 今日は (konnichiwa)
Good evening 今晩は (konbanwa)
Good night おやすみなさい (oyasumi nasai) おやすみ (oyasumi)
Goodbye さようなら (sayōnara)
行って来ます (ittekimasu) – I’ll be back – you are leaving
行ってらっしゃい (itterasshai) – come back soon – you are staying
じゃあまたね (jā mata ne) – see you later
Good luck ご幸運を祈ります! (gokoūn o inorimasu)
Cheers/Good health! 乾杯 (kanpai) lit. “dry glass”
Have a nice day 良い一日を (Yoi ichinichi o)
Bon appetit
(Have a good meal) どうぞめしあがれ (douzo meshiagare) = ‘enjoy your meal’ – said by the cook/chef
いただきます (itadakimasu) – said before a meal by those eating it
ご馳走さま (gochisōsama) – said after a meal by those who have eaten it
Bon voyage
(Have a good journey) よい旅行を (yoi ryokō o)
ごきげんよう! (gokigen yō – Goodbye / Good luck)
行っていらっしゃい! (itte irasshai – Go and come back)
一路平安を祈る (ichiroheian o inoru)
- I wish you a smooth road (old fashioned)
I don’t understand わかりません (wakarimasen) わからない (wakaranai) – inf
Please speak more slowly ゆっくり話してください (yukkuri hanashite kudasai)
Please write it down 書いてください (kaite kudasai)
Do you speak Japanese?

Yes, a little 日本語を話しますか (Nihongo o hanashimasu ka?)
日本語が話せますか (Nihongo ga hanasemasu ka?)
日本語が出来ますか (Nihongo ga dekimasu ka?)
はい、話します (Hai, hanashimasu)
はい、話せます (Hai, hanasemasu)
はい、出来ます (Hai, dekimasu)
Excuse me すみません! (sumimasen)
How much is this? いくらですか (ikura desu ka?)
Sorry ごめんなさい! (gomen nasai)
Thank you

Response (You’re welcome) どうも (dōmo)
ありがとう (arigatō)
ありがとうございます (arigatō gozaimasu)
どうもありがとう (dōmo arigatō)
どうもありがとうございます (dōmo arigatō gozaimasu)
どう致しましてどういたしまして (dō itashimashite)
Where’s the toilet? 便所はどこですか。 (benjo wa doko desu ka)
トイレはどこですか。 (toire wa doko desu ka)
This gentleman/lady
will pay for everything この人が全部払います (konohito ga zembu haraimasu)
Would you like to
dance with me? 一緒に踊りませんか。 (isshoni odorimasenka?)
I love you 好きです (suki desu) 好きだ (suki da)
好きだよ (suki dayo) 大好きです (daisuki desu)
愛してるよ (aishiteru yo)
好きよ (suki yo) 愛してるわ (aishiteru wa) – said by women only
hear these phrases
Get well soon お大事に (odaiji ni)
How do you say … in Japanese? ...を日本語で何と言いますか。 (…o nihongo de nanto īmasu ka?)
Leave me alone! ほっといて! (hottoite!)
Fire! 助けて! (tasukete!)
火事だ! (kaji da!)
Call the police! 警察を呼んでください! (keisatsu o yonde kudasai!)
Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year メリークリスマス (merī kurisumasu)
New Year greeting – ‘Western’ style
新年おめでとうございます (shinnen omedetō gozaimasu)
New Year greetings (used before New Year)
良いお年を (yoi otoshi o) – inf
良いお年をお迎え下さい (yoi otoshi o omukae kudasai) – frm
New Year greetings (used at New Year, not before)
(akemashite omedetō gozaimasu)
(kyūnenjū taihen osewa ni narimashita)
(honnen mo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu)
Happy Easter 復活祭おめでとう (fukkatsusai omedetō)
イースターおめでとう (īsutā omedetō)
Happy Birthday お誕生日おめでとうございます (otanjōbi omedetō gozaimasu)
One language is never enough 一つの言語は決して十分ではない
(hitotsu no gengo wa keshite jūbun de wa nai)
My hovercraft is full of eels 私のホバークラフトは鰻でいっぱいです
(Watashi no hobākurafuto wa unagi de ippai desu.)

If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, please contact me.
Information about written and spoken Japanese

Origin of writing in Japan, Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji, Rōmaji, Useful Japanese phrases, Japanese language, Links

Rocket Japanese

Other collections of Japanese phrases (some with audio)

Phrases in other languages

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