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Japanese (language) [ni-hon-go]


The best way to begin learning Japanese (or just learing about the japanese language) is to learn the basics of Japanese writing. This is because there is a relatively small set of japanese characters that are used to represent the sounds used in the spoken language. If you can learn to say the sounds of this character set, you know how to say any word or sentence in Japanese. The nice thing about Japanese is that, unlike English, there aren't numerous different ways to say "letter" combinations. In English "a" can represent the "ah" sound (father), the "ay" sound (day), that other sound (map), etc. In Japanese "a" is just "ah".

An Introduction to Japanese by Shinji Takasugi
Take the time to go through the pages of this excellent introduction, and you will learn all you need to know about the Japanese "alphabet" (called hiragana; the symbols for all the sounds found in Japanese). You can start at the beginning using the link above, or start right with the hiragana characters by clicking here.

Introduction to Japanese Language (Nihongo Learning with Speech)
This site can be a little slow to load because it's hosted in Japan (especially if you're trying to get the sound files), but the characters are presented in a clear, straight-forward way.

To get a sense of the characters and sounds used in Japanese, take a look at this song transcription.

Writing Japanese using English letters is called Romanji. This tool is a very good dictionary that allows you to enter a Japanese word in Romanji and get a definition. [Jim Breen's WWWJDIC Server ; ]

Your Japanese phrase of the day (one phrase for each day of the year; from : This is one of the coolest tools out there: it can translate Japanese pages into English (and vice versa). No wonder they call themselves "nifty".
Not a perfect translation, of course, but it can give you an idea of what the page is about.
To translate a Japanese web page to English, chose the (Nihongo to Eigo) option, and paste in the URL. [similar resources]

can also translate Japanese web pages... But note that Babblefish is just a front for

A Kid's japanese search engine that will add furigana to retrieved pages:
[ Example ]

A 2001 page of Japanese learning resources (links)

If you are learning Hiragana and Katakana, I highly recommend the Hiragana/Katakana Concentration Game!!
[home page: Concentration Games for Yookoso ]

Online Phrase Book
E-to-J Web Server
Basic Kanji

The Kanji Site
List of 1000 Kanji [PDF format, 926KB (large file)]

Anime Lab Jap -> English Dictionary

- English-Japanese Dictionary for English Speaking People -


last update: 2205 Feb 13

ah ee uu eh oh      
ka ki ku ke ko   Ga Gi Gu Ge Go
sa shi su se so   Za Ji Zu Ze Zo
ta chi tsu te to   Da Ji Dzu De Do
na ni nu ne no        
ha hi hu he ho   Ba Bi Bu Be Bo
ma mi mu me mo            
ya   yu   yo   ya        
ra ri ru re ro        
wa   n   o            
pa pi pu pe po            

This page last updated February 13, 2005 18:37