Friday, August 27, 2004

Lesson One - Bamen Ichi: Mina san, konnichiwa.

(Note: I've decided to give credit where credit is due. This lesson, and all that follow this format, are taken from the Berlitz Basic Japanese book. I do recommend, if you are serious about learning Japanese, you go out and actually buy this book, as it provides much more than this site will, such as audiotapes of the lessons, and test questions at the end of each lesson.)

Lesson One Vocabulary:

Kurasu (koo-rah-sue) - Class. A word which has been borrowed from English, and given a Japanese pronunciation.

desu (dess) - is/are. Japanese verbs do not change with the tense, so desu can mean "I am, you are, she/he/it is, we are, they are." Although pronouns such as "I, you, we," etc, exist in Japanese, they are not normally used unless the meaning of the sentence would be unclear without them. Japanese verbs always come at the end of the sentence. The final -u is almost completely silent, just barely vocalize it.

Nihon (nee-hone) - Japan. No, they don't call themselves Japan. Another alternative form is Nippon (neep-pone).

Nihongo (nee-hone-go) - The Japanese language. The suffix -go can be added to the name of any country to give that country's language, e.g. Furansugo (Foo-rahn-sue-go) - French language. An exception is the English language, which is called Eigo (eh-ee-go).

Nihon-jin (nee-hone-jeen) - A Japanese person. The suffix -jin is added to a place name to form the word for a person from that place.

no (no) - Links two nouns where the first describes the second, e.g. Nihongo no Kurasu - a Japanese class.

sensei (sen-say) - Teacher

san (sahn) - Mr, Mrs, Ms. It comes after the name, and can be used with first names as well as family names. San is a term of respect used when talking about other people, so don't use it on your own name.

hai (hi) - Yes

doozo (dooh-zoe) - If you please. This is one of the many words that means "please" in Japanese, but this one is used only in the sense of "please go first," "please continue," or "after you." (Remember the pronunciation lesson on Long Vowels? This is one, so don't forget to extend the first o sound.) Used in the lesson dialogue as in "Please, have a seat."

sa (sah) - Well, right, ok.

to (toe) - And.

Kudasai (koo-dah-sie) - Please. This word for "please" is almost never used by itself. Rather, it normall follows the command form of verbs, as in phrases like "please eat." It is also used with nouns to convey the meaning of "please bring me (something)."

wa (wah) - This word does not have any meaning itself, but is used to point out the main topic of the sentence by following directly after it.

ka (kah) - Adding ka to the end of a sentence changes it into a question. Because the final ka always indicates a question, it is not necessary to use a question mark after it.

soo Desu (sooh dess) - That's right, that's so, etc.

arigatoo (ah-ree-gah-tooh) - Thank you.

Aa (aah) - Ah, oh, an interjection.

iie (eee-ay) - No.

chigaimasu (chee-guy-mahss) - I'm not, that's wrong, etc. Literally, "it's different," or "You're mistaken." Often used with iie.

watashi (wah-tah-shee) - I, me. Pronouns are not often used in Japanese, unless the meaning of the sentence would be unclear without it, or sometimes just for emphasis.

mina (mee-nah) - All, everyone, everything. When using it to refer to people, add san after it, e.g. Mina san, konnichiwa - Hello, everyone.

kara (kah-rah) - From. Unlike in English, kara always comes after the placename, e.g. Amerika kara - from America.

soo desu ka (sooh dess kah) - I see, or, is that so?

owari (oh-wah-ree) - The end, or, finish, e.g. Kurasu wa owari desu - It's the end of the class.

Names and Placenames used in this and other lessons:

Jeemuzu Hiru (Jaay-moo-zoo Hee-roo) - The Japanese pronunciation of James Hill.

Mari Pasukaru (Mah-ree Pah-sue-kah-roo) - Marie Pascal.

Piitaa Harison (Peee-taah Hah-ree-soohn) - Peter Harrison.

Nihon (Nee-hone) - Japan.

Furansu (Foo-rahn-sue) - France.

Itaria (ee-tah-ree-ah) - Italy.

Amerika (ah-may-ree-kah) - America.

Igirisu (ee-gee-ree-sue) - England.

Doitsu (Doh-ee-tsue) - Germany. (Note: The Japanese -ts as in tsu is another sound that is difficult for English speakers to pronounce. The tongue should be in the t sound position at the beginning of the s sound. It's like a sharp s noise.)

Kanada (kah-nah-dah) - Canada.

Nyuu Yooku (nyoo yooh-koo) - New York.

Pari (pah-ree) - Paris.

Rondon (rohn-dohn) - London.

Ribapuuru (ree-bah-pooo-roo) - Liverpool.

San Furanshisuko (sahn foo-rahn-shee-sue-koh) - San Francisco. Often shortened to Sanfuran (sahn-foo-rahn). There is no si sound in Japanese, so shi is used where necessary to say foreign words.

Lesson One, Dialogue:

Sensei: Hiru san?
Hill: Hai, Hiru desu. Jeemuzu Hiru.
Sensei: Hai, Hiru san, doozo. Pasukaru san?
Pascal: Hai, Pasukaru desu. Mari Pasukaru.
Sensei: Doozo, Pasukaru san. Harison san... Harison san... Harison san?
Harrison: Hai, Harison desu. Piitaa Harison desu.
Sensei: Hai, doozo, Harison san. Sa, Hiru san to Paksukaru san to Harison san. Nihongo no kurasu desu.

Sensei: Hiru san?
Hill: Hai.
Sensei: Hiru san wa Amerika-jin desu ka.
Hill: Hai, soo desu. Amerika-jin desu.

Sensei: Arigatoo. Pasukaru san?
Pascal: Hai.
Sensei: Pasukaru san wa Furansu-jin desu ka.
Pascal: Hai, soo desu. Furansu-jin desu.
Sensei: Arigatoo, Pasukaru san. Harison san? Harison san?
Harrison: Aa, hai.
Sensei: Amerika-jin desu ka.
Harrison: Iie, chigaimasu. Igirisu-jin desu.
Sensei: Aa, Igirisu-jin desu ka. Nihongo no kurasu wa Amerika-jin to Furansu-jin to Igirisu-jin desu.
Harrison: Chigaimasu, sensei. Amerika-jin to Furansu-jin to Igirisu-jin to Nihon-jin desu. Sensei wa Nihon-jin desu.
Sensei: Hai, watashi wa Nihon-jin desu. Mina san, arigatoo.

Sensei: Hiru san.
Hill: Hai.
Sensei: Nyuu Yooku kara desu ka.
Hill: Hai, soo desu. Nyuu Yooku kara desu.
Sensei: Pasukaru san.
Pascal: Hai.
Sensei: Pari kara desu ka.
Pascal: Hai, Pari kara desu.
Sensei: Harison san. Harison san?
Harrison: Aa, hai, sensei.
Sensei: Harison san wa Rondon kara desu ka.
Harrison: Iie, chigaimasu. Ribapuuru kara desu.
Sensei: Soo, desu ka. Ribapuuru kara desu ka. Mina san, arigatoo.

Sensei: Hai, mina san, arigatoo. Owari desu. Kurasu wa owari desu.
All: Arigatoo, sensei.

End of Lesson One.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Delays / Mini-Lesson

Sorry, but it appears there may be some delays in getting the first lesson up, as I figure out how exactly I'm going to structure these lessons, and while trying not to seriously violate any copyrights.

In the meantime, here is a simple lesson, without pronunciation keys or examples. Just a list of vocabulary, concerning greetings and a few other useful phrases. Refer to the previously posted pronunciation guide, and you should be able to pronounce these fine.


Ohayoo gozaimasu - Good morning. This is a formal or polite greeting used in the morning. In informal situations simply ohayoo may be used. The Japanese can be somewhat specific on when greetings can or can't be used, and this expression should not be used later than 10 or 11 A.M. Also, with most Japanese words ending with -masu, the final u is silent.

Konnichi wa - Hello, or good afternoon. This expression may be used in the afternoon, roughly from 10 or 11 A.M. to 5 or 6 P.M.

Konban wa, also sometimes Komban wa - Good evening. This expression may be used after it gets dark. This phrase, along with konnichi wa are greetings, and should not be used when leaving.

Sayoonara - Good-bye. It is also sometimes contracted to Sayonara.

Oyasumi nasai - Good night. The literal meaning is "go to sleep." You use this expression when you leave if it is late enough to go to sleep at nightm or if you are going to sleep, or if someone is going to sleep in the daytime. The contracted, informal form is Oyasumi.

Doomo arigatoo gozaimasu - Thank you very much. This is a formal expression of thanks. Depending upon the degree of politeness warranted, some parts of this expression may be omitted. Here are expressions of thanks listed from most formal to least formal:
Doomo arigatoo gozaimasu
Arigatoo gozaimasu
Doomo arigatoo
Arigatoo
Doomo

Sumimasen - Pardon me, excuse me, or sorry. Also, thank you very much. Originally used as a form of apology, it is now common practice to use it as an expression of gratitude. There is also a more formal version, commonly used when the expression is used as a form of thanks, doomo sumimasen.

Doo itashmashite - Don't mention it, or, not at all. A formal reply to expressions of gratitude or apology. The shite in this, and many other Japanese words, is pronounced "shtay," the i is silent.

Hai - Yes.

Iie - No.