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How To Speak Japanese

how to speak japanese

This post is for anyone who wants to know how to speak Japanese. In this post, I’m going to focus mostly on pronunciation of within the Japanese language. Let’s start with how to pronounce Japanese words. 

Pronunciation: How to speak Japanese

Japanese has five main vowels, and their sounds in words are explained below

(a)     sounds like “a” as in “art”

(i)     sounds like “ea” as in “eat”

(u)     sounds like “oo” as in “food”

 

(e)     sounds like “e” as in “bed”

(o) sounds like “o” as in “orange”

If you’re really interested in how to speak Japanese, you should check out some of my other posts on other facets of the Japanese language. In this post, though, I’m going to provide some of the very basics.

Numbers in Japanese (1 – 10)

ichi-system

1.

ichi

 

2.

ni

 

3.

san

 

4.

shi, yon

 

5.

go

 

6.

roku

 

7.

shichi, nana

 

8.

hachi

 

9.

kyuu, ku

 

10.

juu

 

hitotsu-system

1.

hitotsu

 

2.

futatsu

 

3.

mittsu

 

4.

yottsu

 

5.

itsutsu

 

6.

muttsu

 

7.

nanatsu

 

8.

yattsu

 

9.

kokonotsu

 

10.

too

 

 

Japanese numbers (10 to 10,000 - ichi-system only)

10.

juu

20.

ni-juu

30.

san-juu

40.

yon-juu

50.

go-juu

60.

roku-juu

70.

nana-juu

80.

hachi-juu

90.

kyuu-juu

100.

hyaku

100.

hyaku

200.

ni-hyaku

300.

sanbyaku

400.

yon-hyaku

500.

go-hyaku

600.

roppyaku

700.

nana-hyaku

800.

happyaku

900.

kyuu-hyaku

1000.

sen

1000.

sen

2000.

ni-sen

3000.

san-zen

4000.

yon-sen

5000.

go-sen

6000.

roku-sen

7000.

nana-sen

8000.

hassen

9000.

kyuu-sen

10000.

ichi-man

 

Large Numbers

1

ichi

10

juu

100

hyaku

1,000

sen

 

-----

 

10,000

ichi-man

100,000

juu-man

1,000,000

hyaku-man

10,000,000

issen-man

 

-----

 

100,000,000

ichi-oku

1,000,000,000

juu-oku

10,000,000,000

hyaku-oku

100,000,000,000

issen-oku

 

-----

 

1,000,000,000,000

icchoo

10,000,000,000,000

jucchoo

100,000,000,000,000

hyaku-choo

1,000,000,000,000,000

sen-choo

 

Colors in Japanese

Words for colors in Japanese with notes on their etymology and usage.

  / 黒い (kuro / kuroi) / ブラック (burakku)

Shades of black and black-related expressions

  • 墨色 (sumi-iro) - ink black
  • 濡れ羽色 (mureba-iro) - jet black
  • 黒黒 / 黒々 (kuroguro) - deep black
  • 真っ黒 / 真黒 (makkuro) - pitch black
  • 烏羽色 (karasuba-iro) - glossy black
  • 闇商人 (yamishōnin) - black marketeer
  • 珍中の珍 (chinchū no chin - rarity; black swan
  • 焼け野の鴉 (yakenonokarasu) - blacker than black

   / 白い (shiro / shiroi) - white; 'white hat'

Shades of white and white-related expressions

  • 白湯 (sayu) - hot/boiled water
  • 白紙 (hakushi) - blank/white paper
  • 真白 (mashiro - pure white
  • 象牙色 (zōge-iro) - ivory-white

   / 赤い (aka / akai); 丹色 (ni-iro)

Shades of red and red-related expressions

  • 暗紅色/暗赤色 (ankōshoku) - dark red
  • 浅紅 (senkō) / 薄肉 (usuniku)) - light red
  • 紅梅色 (kōbai-iro) - red plum coloured
  • 桜色 (sakura-iro) - cherry blossom coloured
  • 桃色 (momo-iro) - peach-coloured
  • 紅海 (kōkai) - Red Sea
  • 赤熱 (sekinetsu) - red hot

 黄色 (ki-iro / ōshoku / kōshoku) - yellow; amber

Shades of yellow and yellow-related expressions

  • 浅黄 (asagi) / 桑色 (kuwa-iro) - light yellow
  • 黄鉛 (ōen / kōen) - chrome yellow
  • 黄枯茶 (kigarachya) - bluish yellow
  • 朽ち葉色 (kuchiba-iro) - yellow-brown
  • 黄海 (kōkai) - Yellow Sea

    / 青色 (ao / ao-iro) - blue/green / ブリュ (buryu) - blue

Shades of blue and blue-related expressions

  • 水色 (mizudori) - light blue (water colour)
  • 濃紺 (nōkon) - dark blue
  • 紺色 (kon-iro) - deep blue
  • 紺青 (konshō) - navy blue
  • 空色 (sora-iro) - sky-blue
  • 碧眼 (hekigan) - blue eyes

  (midori) - green

Shades of green and green-related expressions

  • 碧色 (hekishoku) - green; emerald
  • 黄緑 (kimidori) / 浅緑 (asamidori) - light green
  • 草色 (kuchi-iro) / 暗緑 (hisui-iro) - dark green

 茶色 (chairo) / 褐色 (kasshoku) - brown

Shades of brown

  • 黒茶色 (kurocha-iro) - deep brown
  • 暗褐色 (ankashoku) / 濃褐色 (n) - dark brown
  • 狐色 (kitsune-iro) 淡褐色 (tankasshoku) - light brown
  •   

 桃色 (momoiro) / 淡紅色 (tankōshoku) / ピンク - pink

Shades of pink and pink-related expressions

  • 濃桃 (nōtō) - deep pink
  • 褪紅 (taikō) - light pink

 

 橙色 (daidaiiro) / オレンジ (orenji) - orange

 

 灰色 (haiiro) / 鼠色 (muzumi-iro) - grey

 

  (murasaki) / パープル (pūpuru) - purple

Shades of purple and purple-related expressions

  • 濃紫 (komurasaki) - dark purple
  • 浅紫 (achimurasaki) - light purple