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Learning Hiragana: The Foundation for any Japanese language learner

Rin Fukuoka 0 98 Article rating: No rating

There’s good news and bad news with learning Japanese. The bad news is there’s three alphabets, two with about 50 characters, and a third, Kanji, with 2-3,000. The good news is the first alphabet you learn, Hiragana, has sounds that are repeated for the rest of the alphabets. So once you’ve mastered Hiragana, you should be able to pronounce all Japanese sounds going forward. Not only pronunciation, but Hiragana is also an alphabet that any Japanese word can be written in. So to summarize, once you’ve learned Hiragana, you can speak, write, and read Japanese! 

Introduction to Learning Japanese Kanji

Alex Pommier 0 1293 Article rating: No rating

Learning Kanji can be a daunting task. There are about 1,000 – 2,000 Kanji that are necessary to learn in order to be able to read newspapers, street signs, and menus in Japanese. With all these Kanji characters, it’s important to know the most effective order for learning them. In this article we’ll explain how to start learning Kanji, and give you the very first beginning Kanji.

Japanese Sentence Structure Introduction

Hills Learning 3 1275 Article rating: No rating

Probably the first thing you have to learn when learning a language (other than your native one) is sentence structure. Even if you know grammar and vocab, without knowledge of sentence structure, you can’t build a sentence properly. But before I get into Japanese sentence structure, let me delve a little into linguistics. As linguistics is the science of (human) language, it’s good to know some of the mechanics behind the language(s) you want to study. Please bear with me as I explain ...

Learning Japanese - The Wonderful World of Particles

Hills Learning 0 597 Article rating: No rating

Welcome! This is the first article in a series on jyoshi助詞 (particles) in the Japanese language. This article is a primer with more detailed articles to follow on individual particles. First off, it’s clear to everybody that English and Japanese are pretty different. They look different, sound different, write differently, they move in opposite directions, and the way things are said is different, too. The differences pile up very quickly. So, language learners look for cost-effective ...

How to say “Do you understand English?” in Japanese and Basic Travel Language

Hills Learning 0 18251 Article rating: 4.0

To enhance your trip to Japan its important to learn some key phrases before you go. At Hills Learning we refer to these phrases as “Travel” phrases, and this set of Japanese as “Travel Japanese.” The first article in regards to travel Japanese taught our readers the golden word, “Sumimasen,” or excuse me. This article will focus on how to ask people “Do you understand”, a key phrase to learn when traveling to Japan. The vocabulary used for this portion of travel Japanese is...

Vocabulary for Traveling to Japan and The Golden Word "Sumimasen"

Hills Learning 0 836 Article rating: No rating

When traveling to Japan, it’s important to learn some basic phrases to help you get around in the country. Although Japan is highly developed, with an extremely efficient train system and electronics and gadgets that rival any other country, English is not widely spoken. Furthermore Japan is a very homogeneous country, with upwards of around 95 to 96% of the population with Japanese as their native language. For all these reasons and more it helps to learn the basics of Japanese, what we ...

Why Learn Japanese?

Hills Learning 0 820 Article rating: No rating

This is a certainly a question that is asked of both myself, and of Hills Learning. Japanese in the 80’s was what Chinese is today, a language that is learned for business, political, and most importantly future expectations. If a language is perceived to become more prominent, people will try to learn it. Chinese is seen as a language that might even take over English in prominence, so people are desperate to learn it. Potential students for Japanese these days, so people tell me, are manga ...

Learning Hiragana: Finishing Up the Final Rows

Hills Learning 0 1034 Article rating: No rating

Learning Hiragana is a crucial part of becoming a speaker of the Japanese language. Not only does the alphabet provide you with all the pronunciation sounds you’ll have to learn in Japanese, but also gives you an opportunity to be able to read the Japanese language. Keep in mind there’s also Katakana and Kanji left to learn, but your teacher can potentially translate everything into Hiragana for you! As this is the last article for learning Hiragana, let’s test the Hiragana you’ve learned ...

Learning Hiragana, Mastering the Technique of Memorization (6th and 7th rows)

Hills Learning 2 820 Article rating: No rating

This article is the 4th installment for learning Hiragana. By now you should be quite familiar with the rows from あいうえお かきくけこ さしすせそ たちつてと なにぬねの. You should be able to at least recognize those and read them in succession. The key to memorizing is repeating the rows out loud in order, again and again. Also reading words in Hiragana helps, and after the Hiragana articles are complete we’ll also publish a practice reading article to master memorizing the characters. Without further ado let’s ...

Learning Hiragana: Mastering the Alphabet and Learning the 4th and 5th rows

Hills Learning 0 954 Article rating: No rating

This is the third installment in learning the Hiragana alphabet, if you have not read the first two articles on “Learning Hiragana” please refer to those articles first. Up till now, you’ve learned 15 characters, or have you? Part of learning Hiragana is not just sitting down and writing them 5 times, but actually learning to recognize the characters. In a world where internet is taking over handwritten letters, the focus when learning Hiragana should be more and more on being able to read ...

Learning Hiragana: The Second and Third Row of Characters

Hills Learning 0 1476 Article rating: No rating

Learning the Japanese language can seem intimidating, so many characters, so little time. The good news is learning the first alphabet, Hiragana, is actually quite simple. There are only 52 characters that cover the entire phonetic structure of the Japanese language. If you’re reading this article and have not yet read “Learning Hiragana: The Foundation for any Japanese Language Learner” then please read that article first. This article is an extension of the first five sounds, A – I – U – E ...

Learning Kanji – Simple Strategies and Your First Two Kanji

Hills Learning 0 794 Article rating: No rating

Learning Kanji can be a daunting task. There are about 1,000 – 2,000 Kanji that are necessary to learn in order to be able to read newspapers, street signs, and menus in Japanese. With all these Kanji characters, it’s important to know the most effective order for learning them. In this article we’ll explain how to start learning Kanji, and give you the very first beginning Kanji. First of all when learning Kanji, be ready to learn multiple meanings and usages per Kanji. Remember in the ...

Learning Kanji – Beginner Concepts and Simple Strategies

Hills Learning 0 888 Article rating: 3.5

The most daunting yet fulfilling to learn alphabet in Japanese is Kanji. Kanji literally means “Chinese character,” because literally the alphabet derived from Chinese characters. In English, it’s similar in that the roman alphabet came from Latin, however Japanese Kanji words and Chinese words are actually quite similar. So much so that Japanese speakers can look at a Chinese newspaper or book and get at least a general understanding of what’s going on, I myself could do a job search in ...

Learning Japanese Conversation, as Familiar as Sony

Hills Learning 0 782 Article rating: No rating

Japan is both a thrilling and exotic, yet familiar culture. When people hear “Japan” they think of a faraway country in the East, with Kimono’s, Anime, and Samurai. Although Japan has these culturally different aspects that make it seem exotic, they also have household names such as Sushi, Nintendo, Toyota, Panasonic, etc. Learning the Japanese language also at first might seem exotic. The grammar structure is actually quite different than English, and learning the characters and vocabulary ...

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