Japanese made easy!

                                           Lesson 1
                               Vowels

     Starting with vowel is a good place to start for people who are really new to Japanese.  In learning a language its good to have an overall idea how to pronounce to words.  With out a firm understanding on the vowels it will make Japanese harder than it needs to be.

click the vowels for audio
  A  is an "Ah" sound as in "Hop"

  I  is an "EE" sound as in "Feet"

   U  is an "oo" sound as in "Boot"
 
     E  is an "eh" sound as in "Empty"
 
  O  is a "oh" sound as in "Open"
 
 
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                           Elongated vowels!
Elongated vowels are vowels that when they have certain vowels after them, they are held an extra beat. In some books they spell a word wrong so its easier for the student to catch on, however it really gets on my nerves.  I'm talking about mainly phrase books and some sites.  I hope you can just learn  it the right way first so you don't have spelling trouble in the future.  

  ああ     aa - aa 

いい   ii - ii 

  うう     uu - uu 

     えい   ei - ee 

  おお     ou -oo 

" えい ei" and " ou" are the irregular ones.

おかあさん Okaasan - Mother 

ばいい Baai - Case, situation 

 かわいい Kawaii - Cute 

 あたらしい Atarashii - New 

 しゅう Shuu - Week 

 ふう Fuu - seal 

ありがとう Arigatou - Thank you 

きょう kyou - today

きれいKirei - pretty/clean 

れい Rei - zero 

 But in some cases, however not as often "oo" and "ee" are used:

おおきい ookii - Big

ほのお honoo - Flame 

ねえさん Neesan - Older sisiter

Watch the video on it ^-^

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                           Segments!
 
The easiest ones are the 5 vowels. 
 
A I U E O
 

あ い う え お

The next type is the consonant- vowel 

ka ki ku ke ko 

か き く け こ

Next is the consonant-consonant- vowel

shi tsu chi

し つ ち

 Next are the glides

kya kyu kyo

きゃ きゅ きょ

 
  Finally is n 
 
n
 

    When speaking Japanese each type of segment is used.  When saying words each segment get equal value, regardless if it's, a, ka, shi, kya, or n.  For example, if each segment was given one second to be said, then a is one second, just as kya is. This will help you pronounce words properly in Japanese. I made a video including segments. 

 Here are some examples using segments:

                                                す し                                  su  shi   - Sushi

                                                に ほ ん                          ni  ho  n - Japan

                                                く る ま                          ku  ru  ma - Car

                                                あ か い                          a  ka  i - Red

                                                こ ん に ち は       ko  n  ni  chi  wa - Good after noon

                                                きょ う                              kyo  u - Today

    People often neglect the extra "n" in konnichiwa, "n" and "ni" can't be fused together.  They are separate segments!  This is a prime example of why segments are so important.  Without segments it's hard to know how to say words.     *Think of segments as notes of a song,  each segment is a whole note.  No matter how big or small it looks it is still a whole note.  Think of the size as it's pitch, no matter the pitch the note is still the same length.  Just because a pitch is low doesn't turn it into a quarter note, neither does the length of a segment.
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                          Double consonants!
 
 

This is the hiragana mark that makes a double consonant possible!

まって Matte- wait

やっと Yatto - finally

きっさてん Kissaten - coffee shop

けっこう Kekkou - wonderful

けっこん Kekkon - wedding

ばっちり Bacchiri - perfectly

びっくり Bikkuri - surprised

 This pause in itself is also a segment of a sort.

The consonant  following the 's sound is held during the pause, but not said.. That's my trick!

  びっくり Bikkuri - Surprised

 Say "bi" then pause with a "k" sound almost ready to blurt out, then say "ku" then "ri"

So your mouth was making a "k" sound, yet no sound was coming out, then "ku" "ri"

It's like your already to say "ku" but you can speak.. but your mouth is in the right position. 

    Click here for double consonants video

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                               Not in Japanese 

Unlike in English, there are some consonants, that aren't in Japanese , such as:

L V X Q

Instead of "L", "R" is used

instead of "V", "B"

insead of "Q", "ku" or "kyuu" may be used. 

A great example is:

"Love" it has both "L" and "V". 

Love - Rabu

Also there is no:

"Ti", "di", si", "tu", "fa", "fi" "fe" "fo", "ca",

"ci", "cu", "ce", "co", "we", "wi",  "wu"

    However with special katakana rules these sounds can be made, however they are not in any real Japanese word.

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