Beginning Japanese ^^;
"Sou, anata wa hoshi benkyo Nihongo desu ka da yo, ne ^_~?"
Konnichiwa ^^;! I'm Tony Gies "in real life", but I go by Bangusetsu Itazura. Call me Itazura-sama, k? ^_^ Or, since I'm going to be your teacher, perhaps Itazura-sensei (that means "teacher") would be more appropriate, ne? I've studied Japanese for years, learning from such diverse animes as Dragonball, Kick Raider Criminal E, Shoujo Crazy Paati, and Mou Hitori no HAPPY SUNSHINE. I know over 9000 words and my Japanese internet girlfriend Lin Guo Ning (♥♥♥) says I'm fluent! I noticed there aren't any good Japanese lessons on the Internet, so I've decided to do this brief introduction to the Japanese language to impart some of my knowledge to the anime community or just anyone who's interested! ^_^ Now, let's get to work.
Basic rules of Japanese - a simple sentence
Japanese is kind of hard because it's not like English, but it's not as hard as, say, Spanish. It's pretty easy to say that "[something] is [something else]", and as you can imagine this accounts for a significant portion of all conversations. ^_^ To say "the cat is cute", for example, all you say is:
"Neko-chan wa kawaii desu"
Weird, ne? It's not that strange when you know what the words mean! I'll break it down for you:
-chan: a suffix you attach to the name of something kawaii! More on that later.
kawaii: cute! ^^ This is one of the most useful words in the Japanese language; there's a reason they call Japan "the empire of cute"!
desu: This indicates the end of a sentence, but it's optional, so you might hear people leave it out to shorten a sentence which is already getting longish.
So now that you understand it, how do you pronounce it?
"Nay-ko-chan wah kuh-why dess"
!!! REMEMBER: The "u" in "desu" is silent! You can draw it out like "desu~~~~~~" if you're trying to be really cute, but don't overdo it!
In these few minutes, you have learned enough Japanese to puzzle out a lot of anime dialogue! See, it's not really that hard, is it? You can probably see why Japan's so superior >.>;
Before we move on to more advanced things, here are some additional vocabulary words:
Bishoujo (bih-show-joe): Girl
Bishounen (bih-show-nen): Boy
Inu (ee-noo): Dog
Ramen (rah-min): The best food in the WORLD 0_0; *inhales a bowl of ramen, chopsticks but a blur* yummmm~~~~
Pocky (pah-kee): A uniquely Japanese type of candy! Every Japanese person enjoys a box of Pocky now and then ^^
Gohan (go-hon): The best character on Dragonball! Also the Japanese word for "rice", a popular Japanese food in Japan.
Sempai (sem-pie): Older person you have a crush on at school!
Got all that? ^_^ Kekeke!
Talking about people
In Japan, respect is of the utmost importance. And the first rule of respect is to always say people's names correctly! Instead of things like "Mr." and "Mrs.", Japanese has what's called "honeriffics". These are short words which you suffix to the end of someone's name when talking about them.
The most important honeriffic is "-san" (pronounced like "sand" without the "d"). This is kind of like "Mr." and "Mrs.". If I wanted to talk about Mr. Fuji, I'd say "Fuji-san". If I wanted to talk about Mrs. Fuji... erm... I'd say "Fuji-san". >.>
An honeriffic you've already seen me use is "-chan". This means that someone is cute. It should be used when talking about/to a young girl (less than 22 years old at the most, or even an older woman if she is your wife). The cute form "-tan" should be used when talking about a girl who is less than about 13 years old. Cuteness is an important Japanese concept in Japanese culture in Japan, so it's important to acknowledge someone's cuteness to be properly respectful of them. ^^
"-sama" (sah-muh) is another somewhat important honeriffic. It means "master", so you use it when talking about someone who is a master of something, duh! ^^; For example since I'm a master of Japanese you should use -sama with me. It's the proper thing to do!
Finally, "-sensei" (sense-ay) means a teacher. Since I'm you're teacher right now, you should use this one with me too, okay? You can call me Itasama-sensei for short ^^;
It can get tiring using everyone's name all the time, so I'll bet you want to know the words for things like "I" and "you". Matte upu desu (wait up)! We're getting to it!
First, the word for "I"/"me" is "watashi". Remember this! You'll need it, especially if you like to talk about yourself as much as I do... ... ^^; You can also use "boku" if you're a boy (though some tomboyish girls use it to signify that they are unique and interesting and won't take any crap from anybody!) or "ore" if you're going for that gangster attitude (make sure to bring your darko gurassesu!)
"You" can be "kimi" or "anata". It's really up to... "you". ^____^
Sentence and word endings
Japanese has a lot of two-letter mini-words you can add to sentences and words to impart a little extra "flavor". Here's a brief list of important ones:
ne (nay): This means "isn't it?" So "Your girlfriend is cute, isn't she?" is "Kimi bishoujo tomodachi wa kawaii desu ne?" ^^;
ka (kah): This comes before the question mark in any question. It's like a spoken question mark! Weird...
yo (yo): ...and this is like a spoken exclamation mark. Just speaking loudly doesn't make a difference in Japanese, since everyone's so enthusiastic all of the time anyway, so make sure to use "yo" when you want it to be understood that you are very serious or excited yo! ^_^;
da (dah): This doesn't really translate into English because Japanese is a more advanced and more superior language, but it basically just adds a bit more "feeling" to a sentence. It can't be explained, but you'll get the hang of it if you get your recommended daily diet of anime ^^;
zo (zo): Suffix this to the end of your verbs to indicate that you are less than 20 years old.
dattebayo (dah-tay-bah-yo): "Believe it!"
Here are some good everyday phrases and terms to know ^^;
"ai" (eye) is Japanese for "love". So is "daisuki". Take your pick! A common way to tell someone you love them is to say "daisuki da yo" (die-soo-kee dah yo). So, if I was talking to my Japanese internet girlfriend Lin Guo Ning (♥♥♥), I might say "watashi wa daisuki da yo kimi desu yo~". And I do at least 300 times a day ^_^;
Konnichiwa (kuh-nee-chee-wah): Hello
Anata ga kawaii desu: You are cute
Konbanwa (cone-ban-wah): Good night
Anime, the art of Japanese animation, is a popular Japanese cultural aspect of Japanese culture in Japan. Discussing the latest episodes of popular shows is always a good way to "break the ice" with a Japanese person!
Watashi wa anime daisuki desu: I like anime
Anata wa anime daisuki desu ka: Do you like anime?
Anime wa sugoi, ne?: Isn't anime awesome (sugoi, soo-goy)?
Anata daisuki anime wa desu ka?: What is your favorite anime?
Watashi daisuki anime wa ____: My favorite anime is ____
Thatto anime wa dame & anata wa baka desu da yo: That anime is bad and you are stupid! (used if someone likes F***ING HAMTARO >_<)
Happiibaasudei: St. Patrick's Day
That's all for now! Hope you enjoyed! Stay tuned for my lesson in intermediate Japanese! If you want to go into more advanced study on your own, I suggest the book "Lonely Planet Japan". With literally several advanced phrases, this is the book of choice used to teach actual Japanese middle-school students in Japanese schools in Japan advanced Japanese! Neat, ne?
Thanks to BastardOperatorFromOusaka and Sabatoru-chan and the rest of #animenation for their suggestions ^^;
Edit: I added to the list of sentence endings ^^;