Learn Japanese: The 10 Most Important Aspects

April 2, 2012

Learn Japanese

If you are looking for a book, software program or thinking about taking some lessons to learn Japanese than you need to make sure that the program you choose includes instruction on the 10 Main Aspects of Japanese. You just might find that learning Japanese may be easier than you think.

Nihongo 日本語is spoken by over 130 million people! Japan is called “Nippon” in formal contexts and “Nihon” in normal contexts. There are ten major aspects of Japanese that define how the language works overall.

  • 1. Word Order

    Japanese is an “SOV” language. As you learn Japanese keep in mind that the subject and object may be flipped depending on importance. The basic sentence only needs a verb. In sentences with more than just a verb, particles fit things together. Particles go after what they modify to show some sort of grammatical relationship.


  • 2. Macro-to-Micro

    Japanese is a macro-to-micro language because the most important things come first. However, foreign phrases are incorporated with the word order of that language.

  • 3. Endings and Bases

    Endings attach to bases for conjugation. You should know that they exist so that conjugation will not shocking to you as you begin to learn Japanese.

  • 4. Parts of Speech

    Japanese relies heavily on the part of speech of a word and context to interpret things due to its very small sound inventory. There are 11 parts of speech (hinshi 品詞) in Japanese. Particles show relationships between the parts of a sentence. They are like prepositions. However, they are always postpositions. There are six kinds of particles.

  • 5. Vocabulary

    There are three sources of words in Japanese. Sino-Japanese words come from the Chinese readings of Kanji (Chinese characters). Native words make up the original vocabulary of Japanese. Foreign words are words that have been recently introduced into Japanese from other languages.

  • 6. Politeness and Dialects

    There are fours levels of politeness in Japanese: Vulgar, Plain, Polite, and Honorific. Japanese places special emphasis on politeness. Politeness is influenced greatly by the relationship between the speaker and listener.

    Also, Japanese has many dialects. As a beginner, you should just master the standard language.

  • 7. Articles, Number, and Gender

    The articles a, an, and the do not exist in Japanese. Japanese nouns do not possess number. There are plural suffixes, but they are not necessary.

    Japanese nouns also don’t possess grammatical gender. Now, there are plenty of words that should only be spoken by a man or a woman.

  • 8. Writing Systems

    Chinese characters called Kanji 漢字are extremely important. 2,136 are necessary for literacy. There are also native syllabaries and English letters.

  • 9. Quality: Emotion and Sound

    Japanese people express emotions differently in many instances. You really have to look at the Japanese view of things. You will find out that you can’t describe the emotions or condition of someone else as you would yourself.

    Every morae is spoken with the same amount of time.

  • 10. Punctuation

    Slightly modified punctuation marks are used in conformance to English usage. Unlike in English, there are no spaces between words. Text may go from left to right and down (yokogaki 横書き) or down from right to left (tategaki 縦書き).

Check Before Buying

Now you know the 10 main aspects of learning Japanese, and how it will improve your language learning and retention. If you are thinking about getting started with a class, software, book, or any other kind of program to help you learn Japanese, be sure to check the syllabus, table of contents, or program description to make sure that all of these elements are represented.

More Details on the 10 Major Aspects of Learning Japanese

For more information on the 10 main aspects of learning Japanese, or to find in depth free lessons on learning Japanese, visit imabi.net/a>.

Photo by: Aviva West

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