Nihongo – The Language and Native Tongue of Japanese People

by ebazaar 14 September 2009 No Comment

hiraganaThe native language of the overwhelming majority of the more than 120 milions of population of the Japanese archipelago is called Nihongo, which is also a subject that they take with high pride. Why is that so? Well, it is rather hard to find typical Japanese people conversing and communicating in english. They find pride and honor in the very own language that they speak. But it doesn’t mean that they can’t understand and speak english at all. As a matter of fact, english is taught in middle and high schools which most of the time stresses more on reading rather speaking.

Anyway, this will be my first post of ‘Learning Japanese Language’ segment, and this particular segment is to share with everyone some of the Japanese phrases, idioms, writings and other Nihongo related issues.

Japanese is nevertheless a rather tough language to learn since it involves characters we called as kanji. In Japanese language there are actually two main phonetic symbols which are ‘kana’ and ‘kanji’. Meanwhile, ‘kana’ can be divided into ‘hiragana’ and ‘katakana’ which the symbols themselves are different even with the same phonetic sounds.

hiragana katakana kanji - Japanese characters

Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji - Japanese characters

In daily casual writing, hiragana is mostly used. As for katakana, it is used to write words of foreign origin and it is used for the names of non-japanese people and places as such. Whereas kanji are ideographs of ancient Chinese origin, borrowed into the Japanese language together with the alteration of how they sound like. These Chinese characters were introduced sometime in the 6th century if not before.

Below are the basic among the basics of Japanese language that you can learn. Most are salutions and courtesy words and addresses.

Ohayou Gozaimasu Good Morning
Konnichiwa Hello/Good day (daytime)
Konbanwa Good Evening
Oyasumi Nasai Good Night ( and ‘sleep well’) – usually used to say topeople before going to bed
Sayounara Good bye (said when there’s a long parting)
Jya, Mata ne Good bye (and see you again soon!)
Ogenki desu ka?

Ikaga desu ka?How are you?



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