Japanese Vocabulary Lesson 1: Useful expressions and pronunciation

As this is a blog about Japan and about my experience in Japan, I think it is important that I give a few hints on Japanese language. So starting today, I’ll be writing a simple Japanese lesson every week!

I think the way I started learning was really good, so I’ll try following it.
Before explaining about Japanese characters (I’ll explain about them later), it’s important to know some words, so we’ll start with the latin alphabet.

And so, I decided starting with some really useful everyday expressions, with some pronunciation hints:

Hello – konnichiwa (chi = tchi)
Goodbye – sayounara
Good morning – ohayou gozaimasu (aspirated H, like in HAmburger)
Good afternoon – konnichiwa (chi = tchi)
Good evening – konbanwa
Good night (before going to sleep) – oyasuminasai
Thank you – arigatou gozaimasu
You’re welcome – dou itashimashite
Nice to meet you – hajimemashite (ji = dji)
See you tomorrow – dewa mata ashita
See you later – dewa mata
Please – onegaishimasu

There are some more pronunciation points that I would like to explain as well.
In many languages, the sound of vowels, or even consonants, changes according to the word. In Japanese, the sound is always the same (except in a few exceptions). So, the vowels sound more or less like this:

A – like in Album
I – like in India
U – like in cOOl
E – somewhere between Eight and Elder (not so open as in Elder, but not so closed as in Eight)
O – like in Old

These expressions are translated in a polite form. It is possible to say every expression in more than one way, so I’ll explain about other polite forms and more common (talking with friends) forms later!

In next lesson I’ll explain how to make a simple self-introduction!


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