Reading

Is it very difficult to read Japanese?

Japanese is a very difficult language to read from the Japanese point of view. This is simply because there are too many characters to learn. There are four types of characters in Japanese: hiragana, katakana, kanji, and romaji. (Romaji is Roman alphabet, so it may not be included, but it will help you to understand it.)

A detailed explanation of Japanese characters can be found on this page.
Learn Japanese Characters

Is Japanese language complicated?

Next, what exactly do we need to study in order to read Japanese? Here, we will assume that you can read basic “hiragana” and “katakana”.The following is a summary of some of the difficulties with the Japanese language in this context.

The Japanese language is a difficult point in this context.
1、Difficulty in using On’yomi and Kun’yomi.
2、Words have several different meanings.
3、Japanese particles are difficult to use.
4、There are too many omissions of words in sentences.

How to distinguish between on'yomi and kun'yomi

These are very difficult to discern. Therefore, I have first summarized only the tips that can be somewhat easily identified

①If there is a sender kana, it is absolutely kun-yomi.
    However, be careful with the “sa-hen verb” because it can be confusing. The form “on’yomi + shite” is used, but “shite/jiru/zuru”,
   “shite/jita”, “shite/jite”, etc. are not sendigana. These are verbs.

②Most readings ending in “u” are kun-yomi.

③The reading ending in “n” is definitely on’yomi .

④The Chinese characters of 2- to 3-character Chinese idioms are read with on’yomi about 80% of the time.

⑤Readings ending in ” lya”, “lyu”, “lyuu”, “lyo”, and “lyoo” are absolutely “on” readings.
 「ゃ」、「ゅ」、「ゅう」、「ょ」、「ょう」

Is there a mixed reading of "on'yomi" and "Kun'yomi"?

Most kanji combinations would be “On’yomi” only or “Kun’yomi” only. Confusingly, however, there are some rare combinations of the two. They are called “Jūbako-yomi”(重箱) and “Yutō-yomi(湯桶).

The reason for this is that the “Jubako” reading is “On’yomi” for “Ju”(重) and “Kun’yomi” for “bako”(箱).
Conversely, the reading “Yuto” is “Kun’yomi” for “Yu”(湯) and “On’yomi” for “to”(桶).

This is a very irregular reading, but when did it start? It began around 800 AD.
The reason for this problem is that there did not seem to be any regularity in the reading of the Japanese language. It is only somewhat predictable if you look at the Japanese language every day like the Japanese do. Yes, that is to say, we should not forget that even Japanese people sometimes try to figure out the reading of kanji by guesswork.

How do we train them to read?

As we summarize the reading of these kanji, we know that the best way is to read a lot of texts. However, if you are not living in Japanese, it will be difficult to do so. In the future, I will add links to practice reading here. We hope you will make use of them.

Link: 工事中(under construction)

Too many meanings of Japanese words?

The Japanese language has words with many meanings. One of the most representative of these is “Sumimasen”.
First, it is sometimes explained as “Suimasen,” which is thought to be an easily pronounceable variant of “Sumimasen. Therefore, “Sumimasen” will be used in this site for the explanation.

Sorry” is originally dressed from the word “Sumu” (to finish). It means to be free of worry or evil thoughts and to have a clear mind. Mase” means Japanese for polite language. “N” means not yet completed (to negate). The word “sumimasen” is used to express that you are sorry because the tamada has not been completed. 

Three meanings of "sumimasen

Let’s look specifically at the meaning of “sumimasen”. In conclusion, there are three meanings: “apology,” “thanks,” and “request” (invocation). As explained earlier, the first meaning is to apologize for something that has not yet been done.

As for the second meaning, “gratitude,” in Japan there is a culture of giving something back when you receive something from someone. However, when there is nothing to give in return, people apologize by saying, “I’m sorry, I don’t have anything to give in return. When this sentence is simplified, “sumimasen” remains.

The third “request” (call), which is also a uniquely Japanese idea, is an apology: “I’m sorry for interrupting your current work. Therefore, in Japan, the word “sumimasen” is used to address waiters at restaurants and other places.

Three meanings of "sumimasen

As is the case with all languages, meaning is an ever-increasing phenomenon. However, I think that by knowing the background of a language, one can often see the essence of the language and understand and use it.

We will add more content here as we go along.

Japanese particle

Are Japanese particles complex?

I think it is very difficult to define a girl in Japanese. Since it is difficult even for Japanese, it must be one of the most difficult barriers for those who are learning Japanese as a second language.

First of all, this particle is often omitted when speaking Japanese.

Literary language(文語、ぶんご)
そのノートどこで買ったの?=Where did you get that notebook?
spoken language(口語、こうご)
そのノートどこで買ったの?=Where did you get that notebook?

Japanese people tend to omit particles even if they do not intend to. This is due to the Japanese culture of speaking while inferring the meaning of the other person’s words. Therefore, when native speakers talk to each other, they may confirm each other’s meaning and intentions if they are not sure. This feeling may not be felt unless one speaks with native Japanese speakers.

Types of particles

Next is the type of particles in Japanese
There are nine types of particles

格助詞(かくじょし)”Kaku-joshi”  Gerunds
並列助詞 (へいれつじょし)”Heiretsu-joshi”  Parallel Auxiliaries
副助詞(ふくじょし)”Huku-joshi” Adverbial
係助詞(けいじょし)”Kei-joshi” Relative Auxiliary
接続助詞(せつぞくじょし)”Setsuzoku-joshi” Sequential Auxiliary
終助詞(しゅうじょし)”shu-joshi” final auxiliary
間投助詞(かんとうじょし)”Kanto-Joshi” Interjections
準体助詞(じゅんたいじょし )”jun-tai-joshi”Quasi-adjective

The particles are explained on this page.
Link:工事中(under construction)

Words are often omitted in Japanese

Japanese who omit words

The first is to shorten and abbreviate words. Japanese people are polite and have many images. In the same way, Japanese people like to abbreviate words. I have looked into the reasons for this and found many theories.
By reducing long words to four characters or less, they are easier to remember and can be conveyed quickly. This would be similar to the English PC. Today, no one speaks “personal computer” every time.
This will make sense to everyone because it will also speed up the conversation.

Japanese people like simplified sentences.

Next, the word itself may be omitted in a sentence.
Basically, the subject is omitted. Such as I, you.

Look at actual Japanese conversation.

A  昨日、東京タワーに行ったんだ。(I went to Tokyo Tower yesterday.)
B どうだった?(How was it?)
A 雨が降っていたから、景色はよくなかったんだ。(It was raining, so the view wasn't great.)
B 残念だね。(That's too bad.)

You all understand the content, don’t you?
Now look at this sentence

A  昨日、東京タワーに行ったんだ。(went to Tokyo Tower yesterday.)
B どうだった?(How was?)
A 雨が降っていたから、景色はよくなかったんだ。(was raining, so the view wasn't great.)
B 残念だね。(too bad.)

Did you notice that all subjects are absent when English is corrected to the same sentence as Japanese?  This is one of the reasons why people get confused when speaking Japanese.
Here is one point to help you get used to this.

1, There is always a recognized common topic.
In the previous sentence, you are talking about “going to Tokyo Tower”. Therefore, “topic = talk about going to Tokyo Tower”, “person who went to Tokyo Tower = A”, and “person who is listening to that talk = B”. When this common understanding is not present, it becomes necessary to speak the subject in order to have a common understanding in Japanese.

However, in the sentence “I went to Tokyo Tower yesterday,” the word “I” is often omitted because I am talking about myself.
If the sentence begins with an omission, it is best to recognize that this is the topic of the person speaking.

2, when a word is omitted, it is the subject of the previous sentence. The fourth sentence means “It’s too bad the weather is so bad. In this sentence, “It’s too bad that the weather is bad” is simplified to “too bad. The pattern is to omit everything that is spoken in the previous sentence.
Therefore, when speaking Japanese, we are constantly making predictions and inferences to each other. (Of course, Japanese people do it naturally and naturally.)

To understand the subject in Japanese, you might first think about these two things and look at what you say to broaden your understanding.