Japanese Language is called “Nihongo”. Because I am Indonesian, I think Nihongo is a language that has simple or easy pronounciation. It’s very easy to say any words in Nihongo, easier than English. There are just five sounds; “a“, “i“, “u“, “e“, and “o“. The pronounciation of those five is same with Indonesian pronounciation, so we Indonesian, I think we don’t have problem regarding pronounciation. One of difficulties Nihongo learning is about “Alphabets”. Nihongo has 3 types of Alphabet; Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Hiragana and Katakana are the easier Alphabets than Kanji. In Hiragana and Katakana, one letter contains one syllable. But in Kanji, one letter represent on word, that sometimes contains more than one syllable.
Hiragana is used to represent original or native Japanese words. Sometimes, It is shown small Hiragana Alphabets below or upper Kanji, that has function to show how to read the Kanji. Hiragana is more often used than Katakana. For sample :
You ===> “Anata” ===> あなた
Katakana is used to represent word from another language, ex: English, Indonesia, etc. Our name, if we come from another country and our name is not Japanese, we have to use Katakana to write our name. For sample:
Name : Hasan (Arabic name) ==> We can write it in Katakana : ハサン
Kanji is the most difficult Alphabets that is used by Japanese to represent a word. It’s not like Hiragana and Katakana, we have to memorize so many Kanji in order to understand Japanese writing. There are more than 19,000 Kanji in Japanese. Huh.. pretty much, right?. Eventhough Kanji is pretty much and pretty hard to memorize, but It is always use in Japanese writing; ex : in books, magazine, pamphlet, information, and everything else. So, we ‘must‘ memorize Kanji if we want to understand nihongo. For sample :
I ===> “watashi” ===> 私
In Hiragana and Katakana, there are 46 main alphabets, 20 derivative alphabets that use “ten-ten“, 5 derivative alphabets that use “maru“, 21 derivative alphabets that use small “ya-yu-yo“, 9 derivative alphabets that use combination “ten-ten” and smal “ya-yu-yo“, and 3 derivative alphabets that use combination of “maru” and small “ya-yu-yo“.
Main Alphabets :
Derivative Alphabets that use “ten-ten” and “maru” :
Derivative Alpabhets that use small “ya-yu-yo” :
Derivative Alphabets tha use combination of “ten-ten” or “maru” with small “ya-yu-yo” :
I think it’s enough for this time. If we want to study Nihongo, at first we have to study Hiragana and Katakana. After that, we can study another lesson. Keep spirit and Ganbarimashou!!!
Oh, I almost forgot, if you want to memorize Katakana dan Hiragana, maybe this site, realkana.com
, will help you.
Hope this posting will be helpfull.