-no articles (a, the)
-no singular/plural. although they have -tachi if you want to emphasize that it's plural. i think?
-5 vowels and 11 consonants which makes 48 syllables. Very easy to pronounce!
-free word order in a sentence.
-they have two syllabaries called Hiragana and Katakana.
It is used for foreign words. The word for milk is ミルク (miruku)
If a syllable ends in a consonant (besides m or n), or if there are two consonants put together, then they use the u-form of the consonant. in milk, the l is changed to ru and the k is changed to ku.
It is taught first in Japan because it is the easiest to write. In my opinion, I think Hiragana should be taught first but w/e.
Be careful, some look really familiar:
フ ワ ラ
there is something called a "dakuten mark which looks kinda like a quotation mark " which is used to make consonants voiced. this can be used for both Katakana and Hiragana.
here is ka ki ku ke ko
カ キ ク ケ コ
put that dakuten mark on them and they become
ga gi gu ge go
ガ ギ グ ゲ ゴ
there is also something called a handakuten. it looks like a degrees symbol. it is used to make the H-group consonants turn into P-group consonants
here is ha hi fu he ho
ハ ヒ フ ヘ ホ
the dakuten changes H into B
ba bi bu be bo
バ ビ ブ ベ ボ
the handakuten changes H into P
pa pi pu pe po
パ ピ プ ペ ポ
is kinda the more curvier syllabary.
It is used for grammar.
Hiragana is taught before Kanji.
The word for "cat" is ”neko”.
That is how it's pronounced. If you were to write neko, you would change it to Kanji.
They are borrowed from Chinese.
When Chinese text was introduced in Japan, the Japanese adopted the Chinese characters and their pronunciations too.
Unfortunately, they left out the four tones in Chinese, which gave Japanese a large number of homophones.
All 8 of these are pronounced SHIN.
And these aren't even the only ones pronounced like SHIN!
These Chinese characters were used to represent Japanese words, later on.
The Chinese name of the Kanji character is called the ON-reading
The Japanese name of the Kanji character is called the KUN-reading
The KUN-reading for all 8 of these characters in order from left-to-right are:
Kanji characters can have several ON and KUN readings to represent the different meanings/nuances of the character.
a(keru)= become light
a(ku)= be open
a(kasu)= pass the night, divulge
a(kuru)= next, following
The parentheses mean that you add 明 + the hiragana inside the parentheses.
The syllables inside parantheses are called okurigana.
明るい = bright
That's how you know which meaning it is.
Now to know whether to use ON or KUN you look at these rules:
If there is just one character alone, you use the KUN reading.
口 kuchi= mouth
If a character is incorporated with okurigana, you use the KUN reading.
More than one character without okurigana, you use the ON reading
人口 jinkou=population. not hitokuchi. notice how person and mouth together make up the word population. i honestly don't know why it is, but there's always a history behind it.
names are used with KUN readings
田中さん tanaka-san= Mr. Tanaka
There is something called ateji:
It is used to represent native Japanese words disregarding the meanings of each character.
For example, sushi is native to Japan.
Sushi is normally written like this: 寿司
The first character SU actually means "lifespan", and the second character SHI means "to administer".
Notice how that has nothing to do with sushi?
They used the ON readings of these characters to produce a pronunciation.
But then you have words like the word for tobacco is "tobako" 煙草
the two characters mean "smoke" and "herb".
but the two characters individually are not TOBA or KO or anything like that.
Ateji is usually just used with traditional store signs and menus.
You can just write sushi and tobako as
すし and トバコ
Sushi is from japan so you would use hiragana. tobacco is foreign so you would use katakana.
There is also a certain stroke order. But I'm not going to go over that. just look it up lol.
-The verb comes at the end of a sentence.
-Just a single verb can count as a complete sentence. As long as it is in context, people will know what you're talking about.
-They have something called honorifics. You place it at the end of someone's name when you address someone. You have to know which one to use though:
-san. You probably hear this one a lot. It is the most common one. The closest equivalent is probably Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. whatever.
when you want to say "butcher" you have to use the word for butcher shop + san. the word for butcher shop is nikuya (meat=niku; ya=shop).
so butcher is nikuya-san. same with bookseller. honya-san. (hon means book)
You use san for talking about other companies like Google would be Google-san when adressed by another company.
You use san for pets. Fluffy-san
Japanese gamers use 3 to represent san. so if you were online and talking to Taro, you would type Taro3.
-chan is like the equivalent to "cutie". Girls sometimes refer to themselves with -chan. You can use it for younger children, babies, or whatever. It's insulting to use it on a man, so instead you would say -bou specifically for younger boys.
-kun. If you are in a "senior" status and you are talking to someone of a "junior" status you would use -kun. Girls would call their boyfriends or male-friends -kun as well.
-sama is more polite than -san. It is used for customers, higher ranked people, people you admire, etc. If you use it on yourself, it would translate as "my esteemed self" so you would come across as arrogant.
-senpai is used for fellow team members, or people in a higher grade than you in school. If they are in a lower grade than you, then you would use -gakusei.
-sensei for your teacher or other authority figures.
-shi is used to adress someone unfamiliar to you. they use it in news headlines and stuff like that.
There are things called particles. It is sometimes hard to translate to English. They can be used as prepositions or to indicate like the subject or object of the sentence.
There are around 100 of them so you should probably look them up.
I hope I helped!