When you start studying the Japanese language the first major difference that stands out is the different writing system. We discuss Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana, and Romaji in other articles on this site (see “writing Japanese“), but for now we are just going to cover how to write ‘Japanese’ in Japanese. If you are going to study it, you should be able to write it, right?
The first and easiest way is to use Romaji, which is using the Roman alphabet, to spell out Japanese words. Next, we can write it using Hiragana which is a way to write out the individual syllables, and finally, we can write it using the Japanese Kanji symbols. So here is what ‘Japanese’ looks like:
The word Japanese in Romaji is:
Using Hiragana it would be written as:
Finally, written in Kanji, Japanese looks like this:
There you have it! Now you know how to write ‘Japanese’ in Japanese.
Starting to learn any new language can be a little daunting, but very exciting at the same time. Language learning is a lifelong pursuit that is very rewarding. Japanese is challenging because of the fact that there are little similarities to English, but learning some basic beginners Japanese will get you going. Before long you will be able to say a bunch of words and phrases, and then you can continue to build on that.
Many people are scared by the fact that Japanese is written with characters (Kana and Kanji) that have no resemblance to our alphabet. If you are going to learn Japanese then you will need to learn a whole new set of written characters (which can be as much or more fun than learning the spoken words). The good news for beginners Japanese however, is that there is another system of writing Japanese called Romaji.
Romaji is the “Romanized” Japanese, spelled out with the standard 26 letter Latin alphabet. Nearly all native Japanese speakers know Romaji as it is taught in schools in Japan. The use of Romaji is a great help for beginners Japanese because one can concentrate on the words and word sounds without having to simultaneously be learning a whole new system of writing.
The key for beginners Japanese is to learn the vowel sounds (since they do differ from English) as well as a few other sounds that are unique to Japanese. The best way to do this is to listen to the sounds and repeat. A good computer-based learning program is invaluable in this part of the learning process. Having the ability to play, listen, and repeat the sounds will speed the learning process greatly.
Here is a quick introduction to Japanese vowel sounds to get you started:
Games and quizzes are another great learning tool for beginners Japanese. It is one thing to go through some material and think “I’ve got it” but having some form of testing after that will reinforce what you know and point out areas where you need to improve. Rocket Japanese is an excellent program for the new language learner, as it incorporates tests, hours and hours of audio, the ability to repeat sections as you need, and more.
At some point you will outgrow or go beyond beginners Japanese and it is important to choose a learning system that will grow with you. Rocket Japanese has the flexibility to grow with you and your language learning. The program offers forums and support as well as upgrades to the program to ensure that you won’t outgrow it. No one system will teach you everything, but for beginners Japanese, Rocket Japanese is an excellent choice for a fun, comprehensive program that will have you speaking Japanese in no time!