Here are a LOAD of FREE JLPT apps I found, they typically have multiple levels available, so whether you’re starting out and setting your sights on N5 or you’re already near-fluent and trying to crack N1, take a look and see if something might help you cram a little more study into your day with ease. There are both android and iOS apps listed here, so there’s something for everyone:
I’ve got three kanji today, each made from the kanji for tree 木 with an extra line added!
…And yes, I do know exactly how you feel when you see 未 and 末.
Luckily, they actually kind of make sense! If you imagine yourself climbing a tree 木, the extra line always shows where you are.
For 本 (origin), you’re at the roots, the source of the tree. 本 is a common kanji that’s picked up some extra meanings through the years; it can also mean “book” (I guess you use books as sources of information?) or a counter for long skinny things (as in one “stick of” something–I guess roots ARE long and skinny).
日本 （にほん） Japan (日=“sun”, “source of the sun” = “Land of the Rising Sun”)
本物 （ほんもの） the real thing, the original one (物 thing)
本屋 （ほんや） bookstore (-屋 store)
一本 （いっぽん） one (of something long and skinny, 一 “one”)
For 未 (not yet), the biggest line is in the middle. That’s where you are–you haven’t reached the top of the tree yet.
未来 （みらい） future (“hasn’t come yet" 来= come)
未知 （みち） unknown (知 "know”)
未成年 （みせいねん） minor, underage (“hasn’t become of age yet” 成 become, 年 year)
For 末 (end), the big line is way out at the very ends of the branches. You’ve reached the “end” of the tree now.
週末 （しゅうまつ） weekend (週 week)
結末 （けつまつ） conclusion (結 tie together)
末っ子 （すえっこ） youngest child (子 child)
And if it’s any consolation, I don’t know of any words that are identical except that one has 未 and the other has 末, so you’ll at least have the rest of the word to help you out if you’ve got an ambiguous font style.
IS that any consolation? I PROMISE THEY LOOK WAY DIFFERENT TO ME NOW, THE HUMAN BRAIN IS AN AMAZING THING AND YOURS WILL FIGURE IT OUT EVENTUALLY.
Resources for learning Japanese - my recommendations
Seeing lists of resources is always cool, so have some of my recommendations. This is the list of things (websites, apps) I’m using or I had been using in the past and that I can really recommend. It doesn’t include textbooks or random Japanese sites I use for practicing my reading, because it was getting way too big. It’s not an entry level list (although I think some of these will be helpful for people new to Japanese, too), so I skipped the stuff for learning kana. I hope at least some of those will be helpful to you!
Memrise– yeah, I know, everybody knows memrise by now, but I honestly can’t recommend it enough. My favorite Japanese course at the moment is Core Japanese Vocabulary - I like it, because unlike many other courses, it doesn’t have separate levels for hiragana and kanji (those are kinda pointless, in my opinion, making you type the same thing twice as often) and I like the way the words are organized. There’s a lot of basic words that I already know, but the ignore function is there for a reason.
I also enjoyed 2136 Joyo Kanji by Grade - the course I used to learn the meaning of all the joyo kanji. I’m a bit hesistant recommending it, because it only has English meanings and no example words – but for me it was really great, because just recognizing general meaning of the character greatly improved my reading comprehension. It’s not a method for everybody - you can try for yourself and see if it’s something you wanna do.
Iknow– this one is not free (the only non-free resource on this list) and I was wary of it, because with Japanese, there is a lot of paid apps/websites that offer basic things you can easily get for free elsewhere… But I found a promo code for 3 free months on there, gave it a shot and I’m absolutely in love. It’s similar to Memrise, only it has official courses made by staff and they have example sentences for every word, read by professional Japanese voice actors, as well as sentence making exercises and several different ways to check if you know the words you’re studying. I can honestly recommend it.
Renshuu- Renshuu is not only a vocab site, it also has grammar explanations, a language forum (which seems to have more newbies than native or very advanced users, so be careful while reading other people’s Japanese) and games/discussion prompts, so it’s pretty cool. I think it’s best for the vocab, though. It has many, many lists, some for JLPT, some using vocab from textbooks. There’s also a custom list creator and it’s really easy to use.
Kanji Sempai – a really nice vocab app, it shows you words and then quizzes you on them. The name is a bit misleading, because it doesn’t focus on kanji all that much, but it’s a solid vocab app.
Kotoba chan – a simple vocab quiz app with example sentences (that sometimes show sentences with the homophones of the words they were supposed to show, but oh well), very easy to use.
www.jisho.org – Simple and great, jisho has been my friend since I’ve started learning Japanese. They have a lot of entries, not only words, but also idioms, they have a special section for kanji and example sentences, too. They are also better (although not perfect) than many other dictionaries when it comes to slang.
http://vvlexicon.ninjal.ac.jp/db/ - a pretty awesome dictionary of compound verbs. It has a Japanese-English version (and also Chinese-English and Korean-English), but I feel it works best as a monolingual dictionary. Just reading the definitions and figuring out what those compound words mean make for a nice reading practice, I think.
Rikaichan – it’s a pop-up dictionary for Mozilla Firefox (it has versions for other browsers, too, but I haven’t tested those) that shows you the meaning of the word when you hover your mouse over it, as well as the furigana. It’s really, really helpful. Some people say that it’s easy for something like that to become a crutch and I see their point, but I think it’s good for me, as it keeps me from getting discouraged while reading longer texts. Definitely my favorite resource ever.
Delvin Language- this one isn’t really for advanced students (after a placement test I was starting from the most advanced level, and my listening skills leave MUCH to be desired – and I still find some of what I get to be too easy), but it’s a nice practice, since it uses clips from Japanese drama/anime or informative youtube videos about Japan. It’s both listening comprehension practice and a way to acquire new vocabulary.
Nihongo no mori – it’s an absolutely amazing youtube channel ran by very lovely native Japanese speakers. I put this in the listening category, but those videos are about grammar and vocab, so watching them helps in so many ways. I’m watching the N3 and N2 stuff, but I know they also have some videos for beginners and N1 students.
Anki Aniki – it’s an iOS app for learning kanji. It’ll show you a set number of kanji every day, along with their meaning and possible readings, and then quiz you on it. I find it pretty helpful, even though there are no example words and I usually don’t like the idea of learning the readings without any context – but as a supplement to learning kanji in a more conservative way it’s pretty good.
Jgram- it’s kind of a grammar wiki. Many, many entries, with a lot of example sentences (some of their translations to English are really weird sometimes, but most of it is perfectly fine).
Maggie Sensei – a site that is not only absolutely adorable, but also very helpful. It has detailed explanations, many example sentences and a lot of lessons available. A lot of cute doggie pictures, too.
Japanese test 4 you- this site has a lot of information about grammar for all JLPT levels, with many example sentences and also all kinds of tests (grammar, listening, vocab, kanji). I’ve just found it recently, but it’s already proven really useful to me.
yall peeps interested in Japanese language history are gonna have a lesson with me today. I always get a lot of asks asking why we use three types of writing (Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji), but never knew the answer till now:
The oldest is definitely Kanji, developed from Chinese way back when they were first introduced to our language even though Japanese had their own way of writing. Japanese writers looked at Chinese writing and thought, holy shit this is hella a lot simpler than our way, lets take this into our language as well. An example would be the word Mountain, written “山”. Before this kanji was introduced to our language, Japanese wrote mountain as “也麻”, which you can see is so much more complicated than just “山”. If you studied Japanese, you’d know that each kanji has its “kun-yomi” and “on-yomi”, which is their “meaning” and “sound”. “山” in Chinese is read as “San,” while Japanese had their own way of reading it, “Yama.” This is why on-yomi and kun-yomi are both used in modern Japanese.
Now the tricky parts are Hiragana and Katakana, because it’s not exactly known how they came to be. The most probable speculations state that Hiragana came from women writing love poems, with their flowy handwriting. Meaning they all came from Kanji that had been broken down:
Katakana, on the other hand, were made by different people entirely- monks, who translated Chinese and had to write memos to themselves next to the kanji as they read:
Habit RPG (make an RPG out of your life, set up daily tasks, habits, to-dos and get rewards and experience for doing them. Collect armour, pets and mounts and have a bit of fun for living your life in a productive way)
Forest (work for half an hour without distraction and a tree will grow, the more trees the more it’ll look like a proper forest. It’s a gimmick, but sometimes it helps.)
Pomodoro Technique (there are various apps for this technique. It helps to manage your time. I find Habit RPG works best for me. But if I have some serious deadlines, pomodoro helps.)
（誰かに）喧嘩を売る （だれかに）けんかをうる to pick a fight (with someone)
I like this phrase because it literally means “to sell a fight (to someone)” and I like that mental image.
What if you don’t start fights, BUT YOU FINISH THEM?
Well, If you take the bait and hit someone who provoked you, that’s 売られた喧嘩を買う うられたけんかをかう “to buy the fight that was sold”
And if you want to play around with that phrase a bit, one of my favorite things in the Durarara light novels was a scene where Shizuo beat the crap out of some guys who were just kind of looking at him funny, and the narration described it as
売られた喧嘩を万引きする うられたけんかをまんびきする “to shoplift a fight that was for sale”
- Doumo Arigatou is the most common and can be used with everyone. It’s the standard “thank you”
- Adding ございます (Gozaimasu) to the end makes it more formal. This is the form you should use when talking to a superior. An even more formal version of this is when gozaimasu is conjugated to past tense. Adding ございました (Gozaimashita) is “thank you” with greater intensity.
- Dropping the どうも (Doumo) makes it more casual and is what most would say to a friend/family member. On its own, doumo is actually more respectful than arigatou but must still be used with people you’re familiar with. This is not to be confused with どうぞ (Douzo)
- 感謝する (Kansha suru) translates to “I appreciate what you’ve done for me” or simply “I appreciate it” This is a more sincere thank you.
- This one is a rather manly way of saying thank you and a rather formal one too. 礼を言う (Rei wo iu) which translates to “I give my thanks/I say my thanks to you” is said usually in a very serious manner/in a serious situation.
- あざっす(Azassu) is a very colloquial way of saying thank you common to high school students. It can be quite disrespectful especially when said to much older people.
- As I’ve mentioned before, すみません(Sumimasen) doubles as a “sorry”, “thank you” and even “excuse me.” Combining these interpretations, it’s kind of like an apologetic thank you. You would usually say this with the context of “causing trouble” and you’re saying sorry, thank you and excuse me at the same time!!
おつかれさまでした (Otsukaresama deshita)
- Said after the day’s work is done. You can turn this into its informal form by simply cutting the “sama deshita”
ごちそうさまでした (Gochisousama deshita)
- You’ve probably heard this one as a partner with “Itadakimasu.” This is usually said after a meal and is a kind of saying that you’re thankful for what was offered to you.
- “Thank you” in Osaka-ben (Osaka dialect) which evolved from “Ookini arigatou” which translates to “Thanks a lot” but was eventually transformed to simply “ookini”
- “sankyuu” is simply “thank you” said in Japanese… literally.
30 days - 30 languages Our world is and has been home to thousands upon thousands of languages. This 30 days 30 languages blogpost project is to celebrate those languages that I personally find interesting, the commonplace ones and the more far-found, the extant and the extinct.
Day 17 - Japanese Linguonym: Nihongo (日本語) Family: Non-Indo-European, Language Isolate (Japonic Family) Location: Japan (main) Status: Extant with ~125,000,000 speakers Personal Knowledge: Advanced Level
A language that has taken the world by storm in the last century, Japanese is a powerhouse and well-recognised language. A perceived language isolate, Japanese presents a very unique language, and a very unique situation. Japanese isn’t entirely an isolate as Ryukyuan, the language spoken down in Okinawa is related to the overarching Japonic family, though mutually unintelligible. The origins of the Japanese language are a mystery overall, many linguists have tried to tie it into an overarching language group known as Altaic with which Korean, Mongolian, and Tungusic languages of Siberia have also been placed into, but the Altaic language family is hypothetical at best and not strong enough to be a solid concept, thus Japanese as with Korean stay as isolate languages.
Japanese is a rather ancient language, with the earliest writings found dating back to the early 400s AD. The first written Japanese was written entirely in Chinese characters called kanji, being used for phonetic value as opposed to semantic value, the characters used in this method to write Old Japanese were known as man’yogana. Man’yogana remained the sole script of the language until about the Heian period around 800 AD when two shorthand and simplified versions of the Chinese characters developed into separate scripts. These more standard and shorter scripts are the basis of the modern Japanese alphabet so that now the Japanese language utilizes three scripts: hiragana (main standard), katakana (sub-standard), and kanji (intermittent).
Hiragana is the main standard script of Japanese and is only representative of phonetic value, technically one could write every word in hiragana but as Japanese uses no spacing between words and there are many many many homonyms, that would prove difficult. Katakana is the sub-standard script, it is also representative of solely phonetic value and is used mostly for three reasonings: one, to separate foreign words from traditionally Japanese words, two, to imply emphasis on some word or provide some instructive messages like in computerized messages or written-out phone numbers, and three, to write words which contain outdated kanji (hiragana is also used for this at times). As the Japanese language is moraic, meaning all sounds are formed in a consonant-vowel syllable paradigm like ‘ka" ‘ni’ ‘mu’ ‘ge’ or a lone vowel paradigm like ‘a’ ‘u’ ‘o’ or the syllabified ‘n’, the Japanese language does not contain consonant clusters like in English with words like ‘demonstrate’ or ‘complex’. Thus, the Japanese syllabary scripts of hiragana and katakana reflect the moraic structure of the language with both scripts each consisting of 46 characters representing this pattern.
The last script of Japanese, kanji is a landmark of tradition, signifying some phonetic value but moreover being used for their semantic value (people debate this highly however). As Japanese script uses no spaces, kanji help to break words apart and provide guided reading. However, kanji characters suffer from being incredibly complex in having multiple phonetic readings for each one. Each kanji usually has at least one Chinese-based phonetic reading and one Japanese-based phonetic reading, and while some contain only one reading period, many kanji contain anywhere from 3 to 5 or more of Chinese and Japanese phonetic readings. This phenomenon stems from the importation of kanji for man’yogana as the Chinese language gave Japanese many new words for concepts which had no word in Japanese. In the past century, councils concerning the language have tried establish a regular-use kanji list to curb the number of kanji required for a literacy standard in the language down to about 2,000. However, this initiative has proved rather unsuccessful as many lesser used kanji in typical writing are still used in personal names and place names, and thus the average kanji needed to know still range around 5,000. However, official documents and journalistic publications such as magazines, newspapers, are regulated to fall in line with the standard set by the regular-use list for the most part.
Japanese phonology consists of only 5 vowels, and roughly 22 consonantal sounds, the language does not contain diphthongs. Some interesting sounds to note are the ɸ sound which is almost like an F-sound, but made by blowing air between slightly closed lips, not with the top teeth on the bottom lip, and the ɯ vowel which is like making a U-sound like boot in English but not rounding the lips. Japanese also regularly engages in elision of its ɯ and sometimes i sound, so the sounds can often be eliminated or severely muted in normal speech. For example for the elision of ɯ, ikimasu (行きます) which means “(I) go” will often come off sounding like ikimas, and for the elision of i, ashita (明日) which means “tomorrow” will often come off sounding like ashta. Japanese engages in certain voicing patterns with consonants when a word is submitted to compounding, this can occur on all voiceless consonants, so for example kami (紙) means paper, but the word for a letter like one receives in the mail is tegami (手紙) with the first consonant of kami becoming voiced to enable the compounding of the words te (hand) and kami (paper). Gemination or the gliding of one consonant sound into another sometimes occurs on the ku and tsu morae, so a compound like kokki (国旗) “national flag” comes from the merging of koku (国) the Chinese-reading of the kanji that means country, with ki (旗) the Chinese-reading of the kanji that means flag, producing kokki by gemination instead of kokuki.
Japanese word-order is typically subject-object-verb, but the language engages in the use of topics, meaning the main topic of the sentence is sometimes separate from the subject of the sentence’s action. Japanese also distinguishes its parts of speech through the use of particles, not case markings like in Romance languages or English. Typical particles are ‘ga’ (が) which marks a subject, ‘o’ (を) which marks a direct object, ‘ni’ (に) which marks an indirect object, ‘wa’ (は) which marks a topic, ‘de’ (で) which marks a locative, “no” (の) which marks possessive from the noun preceding it, kind of like ’s in English, and ‘to’ (と) which marks instrumentive and comitative. Note that particle ‘o’ is written with the ‘wo’ character, this character is never pronounced with a W-sound, also the particle ‘wa’ is written with the ‘ha’ character, yet it is pronounced ‘wa’ in this circumstance. Regarding the use of topics and particles, an example sentence would be: zō wa hana ga nagai (象は鼻が長い) meaning “elephants have long noses” with a literal breakdown making elephants ‘zō’ the topic of the sentence with ‘wa’ as the corresponding particle, then nose ‘hana’ is the subject being marked by corresponding particle ‘ga’, perhaps an easier reading for topic-contained sentences would be to read the topic like this…”As for elephants, (their) noses are long”.
Japanese is a highly contextual language, and as such, pronouns are often eliminated based on understanding the context of the sentence/phrase. This can be very confusing as neither adjectives nor verbs are marked to portray the speaker. Unlike in pronoun-drop languages like Spanish where ‘(yo) estoy felíz’, “yo” is dropped because “estoy” can only be used with the first-person singular anyway, Japanese verbs are not marked for person and in example, mimasu (見ます) can mean I/you/he/she/it/we/they see(s). The general understanding is that a verb or adjective will relate back to the speaker, unless otherwise noted by the use of a topic or distinguished subject particle. Japanese also is slightly irregular in that adjectives and nouns can sometimes be self-contained, such as atsui (暑い) can mean ‘hot’ or ‘am/is/are hot’, so one can say sono osara wa atsui (そのお皿は暑い) which would mean ‘that plate is hot’ despite the sentence containing no verb at all.
Japanese distinguishes between casual and polite formal speech/writing in varying usage of nouns and verbal/adjectival inflection, casual speech makes use of shorter minimally-inflected speech, while formal speech makes use of longer heavily-inflected forms. Example: I read this book can be kono hon o yonda (この本を読んだ) in the casual, or kono hon o yomimashita (この本を読みました) in the formal, note that in both sentences, a pronoun is not directly used yet implied by contextual matters, also note that formal and polite speech has extremely varying levels and forms, this is only one of them. Some nouns also incorporate normal and formal forms, noting that the formal forms of a noun almost never refers to one’s own ownership or usage of the noun but naturally there are exceptions, for example: tegami (手紙) a written letter can be anyone’s letter even one’s own, but otegami (お手紙) can only refer to someone else’s letter or a letter that you have received but you are referring about the author who has written it. Japanese also rarely distinguishes plurals directly on its nouns, if so, it is typically done by use of outside words referring to number or amount. Speaking of numbers, when referring to a number when used with a noun, Japanese uses a term called a classifier, this means the number is paired with an identifier relating to the noun in question, for example how in English we say: two sheets of paper and not two papers (usually). Japanese classifiers are various and many, so some common ones to see are -hon (本) used for long, thin objects like pencils, flowers, foods on a kebab, -satsu (冊) used for books and magazines, -mai (枚) used for flat, thin objects, -nin (人) used for people, but note it has different forms for one person and two persons, -ko (個) used for small objects like a piece of candy, -hiki (匹) used for animals, note this varies depending on animal, -dai (台) used for machines, and -tsu (つ) used as the general basic. So to refer to two sheets of paper you’d say nimai (二枚).
The Japanese language is strangely lacking in many words for body parts, though lately has begun creating them, yet they are inundated with a variety of nature terms. In fact for many years, the word for hand and arm were one and the same, and the word for leg and foot are actually still the same pronunciation-wise, they only use different kanji. The word for blue in Japanese actually applies to both the colours blue and green, while a distinctive word for green is now used to separate the idea; the word for blue can still be seen in many situations meaning green, for example aoi (青い) “blue” is still used to describe green traffic lights. In terms of people, unless being general, referring to someone as simply the word for man otoko (男) or woman onna (女) is seen as rude, instead words like otoko no hito (男の人) literally ‘man person’ and onna no hito (女の人) literally ‘woman person’ as well as danshi (男子) hard to translate indefinitely but sort of like “gentleman” and joshi (女子) sort of like “lady” are also used. Lastly, Japanese incorporates many foreign-originating words into its language, yet due to the limited phonemic system of Japanese, these words are modified into the sound structure of the language, often creating neologisms unique to the Japanese language and at times changing the original meaning of the word. For example, hai-tenshon (ハイテンション) coming from English loanwords “high” and “tension” which in English would imply a situation that is awkward, uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous, but in Japanese the meaning has been changed to mean a situation where people are high-energy, excited, and enthusiastic to the point of being hyper.
Some words in Japanese… ishi (石) – stone tomodachi (友だち) – friend kokoro (心) – heart (in the sense of being the seat of emotions) shinzō (心臓) – heart (in the sense of the anatomical organ) midori (緑) – green (distinctively) umi (海) – sea/ocean tsuki (月) – moon/month mado (窓) – window tsurugi (剣) – sword yume (夢) – dream kibō (希望) – hope hoshi (星) – star shiro (城) – castle ai (愛) – love (all senses and being in love) koi (恋) – love (romantic senses and falling in love) kuma (熊) – bear gengo (言語) - language Nihon (日本) – Japan Nihonjin (日本人) – Japanese person Nihongo (日本語) – Japanese language Nihongo o hanasemasu (日本語を話せます) – I speak Japanese, lit. I can speak Japanese ~to mōshimasu (~と申します) - My name is~, lit. I am called~
Japanese is a language on a fast path in our modern technological and internationally interactive world. Renown for its poetic nature, cultural expression, and modern presence, Japanese is a language very influential. With more and more expression and outpouring of Japanese culture and language unto modern societies on a global scale, it is a unique and useful language to learn, if you’re interested, check it out sometime… Check here for more…
Demonstratives show which noun is being spoken about, such as “This student” and “That student" There are a set of demonstratives that are followed by a noun, and a set that is followed by the particle ‘wa’.
These are followed by a noun:
その so-no That
あのa-no That over there
こんなko-n-na This kind
そんなso-n-na That kind
あんな a-n-na That kind over there
どんなdo-n-na What kind
These are not to be confused with pronouns.
このほんはいいです。ko-no ho-n wa i-i de-su This book is good.
そのほんはおおきい。 so-no ho-n wa o-o-ki-i That book is big.
あのたてものはぎんこうだ。a-nota-te-mo-no wa gi-n-ko-u da Thatbuildingover there is a bank.
どのすしはおいしいですか。do-no su-shi wa o-i-shi-i de-su-ka Which sushi is tasty?
こんながくせい konna gakusei This kind of student
どんなひと donna hito What kind of person
These are followed by the particle 'wa’
あれa-re That over there
これはほんだ。kore wa hon da This is a book.
それはドアです。 sore wa DOA* desu That is a door.
あれはきっさてんだ。are wa kissaten da That over there is a café
どれはいいがくせいですか。 dore wa ii gakusei desu ka Which is a good student?
*DOA (Door) is in caps because it is in Katakana.
There are other words that follow the 'Ko, So, A, Do’ pattern. Such as:
あそこa-so-ko Over there
こちら ko-chi-ra This way
そちらso-chi-ra That way
あちら a-chi-ra That way over there
どちらdo-chi-ra Which way
こうko-u Like this
そうso-u Like that
ああa-a Like that over there
どう do-u Like what/ How
A common expression in Japanese is そうです (soudesu) or そうですか (soudesuka), meaning "It’s like that.”/ “That’s right.” and “Is that so?” respectively.
(Don’t forget you can ask me if you have any questions, follow for more Japanese and delete this text if you don’t want it when you reblog. Please do not repost.)
“As an untranslatable, this one ranks high on my list of favorites. I could not improve on the background given by commentator Boye Lafayette de Mente about this beautiful word, yoko meshi. Taken literally, meshi means ‘boiled rice’ and yoko means 'horizontal,’ so combined you get 'a meal eaten sideways.'This is how the Japanese define the peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language: yoko is a humorous reference to the fact that Japanese is normally written vertically, whereas most foreign languages are written horizontally. How do English-speakers describe the headache of communicating in an alien tongue? I don’t think we can, at least not with as much ease.”
Okay guys, my friend shared something with me and I think all of you should see it! On YouTube there is a channel that has a bunch of Cartoon Network shows but in Japanese. It even gives you captions (in Japanese of course) to have while you watch. A very good resource for anyone wanting a fun way to practice listening who is upper-intermediate and higher Hope you enjoy this channel!