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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions - Continued

Q: Is Japanese grammar the same as English?
A: No. It is almost backwards from English. Please see lesson 4 for more information.

Q: Will you post sound files for pronunciation?
A: See the Members Area. Audio files are available on certain lessons.

Q: How long does it take to become fluent in Japanese?
A: Years. There is no secret to becoming instantly fluent and the public lessons are just the basics (more advanced lessons are available in our Members Area). Just think how long it took you to master whatever language you speak as your native language. Japanese is a very simple language compared to English but learning a foreign language is always difficult.

Q: Is Japanese easier than English?
A: Japanese is a much more structured and simplistic language than English, in our opinion. For example, Japanese verbs all fall into 3 categories. Godan (lesson 6), Ichidan (lesson 7), and the 2 irregular verbs (also lesson 7). All Godan verbs follow the rules given in lesson 6 with only one exception. All Ichidan verbs follow the rules provided. Irregular verbs have there own rules but there are only 2 of them! English has exceptions for almost every verb and very few rules that can be followed. As mentioned above, however, learning a foreign language is always difficult.

Q: Can you post all Japanese Kanji?
A: A good Japanese Kanji dictionary will list around 10,000 different Kanji. Not all of these are used regularly in Japan (some not at all) but there are still 2,136 Jouyou (regularly used) Kanji (as of Nov, 2010) and that is too many to list with all of their readings and meanings. Some characters have as many as 13 different readings depend on how it is used in a sentence. A list of Jouyou Kanji (without their readings and meanings) can be found here. See the Members Area (Advanced section) for Kanji lessons that contain all readings and examples of each.

Q: Can you post all Japanese words?
A: The Great Japanese Dictionary has 2380 pages each containing around 75 words. That's around 180,000 words and is probably not all of them. Even listing the thousands of commonly used words would take a long time.

Q: Do you know of a good Japanese phone directory? I have a Japanese friend I would like to get a hold of.
A: There are approximately 125 million Japanese. That's around half of the population of the United States. There are a number of online phone directories for Japan but you need to be able to read Japanese to use them and also know the prefecture ("state") and city they live in. Also, there are many, many common names and one search could return thousands of people with the same name.

Q: What is the difference between the particles "wa" and "ga"?
A: The difference between "wa" and "ga" is a subtle one. "Wa", by definition, is the "topic marker" while "ga" is the "subject marker". Here is an example, "I heard that you bought a new book." - "Watashi wa anata ga atarashii hon wo katta to kiita." The "watashi wa" portion can be left off, however, as it is implied. When you are starting out with Japanese, don't worry too much about when to use "wa" instead of "ga", and visa versa, as most Japanese themselves really don't know the rules for when to use which. It is something that is learned by feel over many years of speaking.

Q: I am a Naruto fan. What does "dattebayo" mean?
A: "Dattebayo" is a part of Naruto's hougen (dialect). It is used to add emphasis and doesn't have any meaning by itself. For more information click here.

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