This is a concise and user–friendly introduction to the Japanese language.
Japanese has too often been treated by Westerners as an exotic curiosity, but the reality is that it is a functional language spoken as a mother tongue by more than 125 million people, and ranks as the ninth most spoken language in the world. In the present global age, an age characterized by a vast range of Japanese products including electronic games and anime, more and more Westerners are in one way or another interacting with Japan and Japanese people. But it is nonetheless fair to say that the language, while increasing in popularity as a subject of study, is still not as widely spoken among non–Japanese as we might expect. In this book we would therefore like to "demistify" Japanese, to show how the language is formed and used, and to encourage you to pursue the study of it. Of course it has its challenges, especially with regards to the writing system, but we try to put these in a balanced context. And we like to think that, by describing the various facets of the Japanese language to you, we thereby empower you with a degree of knowledge and familiarity.Welcome to Japanese
is not intended as a language learning textbook. Rather, it is an introductory description, comprising four parts: an overview; an account of how sounds are made into words; an account of how words are made into sentences; and finally an account of how the language is written. Naturally, in the course of these accounts we will introduce a range of Japanese vocabulary, Japanese grammar, and Japanese script, which will be useful in a learning context. In fact, for those interested, we go into fairly advanced levels in the description of grammar. We give you example sentences for each grammar point, and try to make our description as clear as possible, but we stress again that we do not intend this as a teaching text. There are no exercises, for instance, and it's very much a case of going through at your own pace and dwelling on those parts that you find most interesting. Welcome to Japanese
includes:Chapter 1: Getting acquainted with the Language
Chapter 2: Challenges and Rewards
- In a nutshell, what English speakers can expect.
- Who speaks Japanese?.
- Where did the Japanese language come from?.
Chapter 3: Making the Right Noises
- The good news.
- The not quite so good news.
Chapter 4: It's Only Words?
- The basic sound structure.
- The long and short of it: vowel length.
- Double consonants.
- New sounds
- Pitch accents.
Chapter 5: The basic Parts of Speech
- Japanese words in English.
- English and other foreign words in Japanese.
- Native words and Sino–Japanese words.
Chapter 6: More Advanced Usage
- Japanese nouns, pronouns and titles.
- Main particles.
- The basics of Japanese verbs and particle usage.
- Prepositions and conjunctions.
- Adjective and adverbs.
- Numbers, dates and times.
Chapter 7: The Writing System
- Politeness and plain forms.
- More Structures.
- Respect language.
- Some common sayings.
- Script components and their development.
- Japanese script versions of review sentences.
And so, Welcome to Japanese!