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Japanese Lessons for Writers by Yumi

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Table of Contents

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Chapter notes: Spelling words and making them sound Japanese
One: Spelling



I'll likely update this later because I'm running out of time now.


The Japanese language has a sylibary of about 46 letters. Each one has a sound that is made up of one to three letters. All the vowels are "short" which means that "a" sounds like "ah". There are no hard endings with consanants except for "n", which is the last letter of the sylibary. All words will end in a vowel except for those that end in "n".

Some words are the same except for an elongated letter, which is usually spelled in Japanese with an "u", "i", or "a". Strangely, in the English translation, there are two different schools of thought. One is where the elongated letter (usually an "o") is spelled like it is in Japanese, with a 'u' next to it. Thus, the reader must interpret the combination of "ou" as "ooh". On the other hand, the other way of thinking is that the most important thing is the sound. Thus, an elongated "o" sound is spelled "oo" (which is how I spell 'otooto' and why).

Both are correct. Please don't tell me it's not.

The other syllables which is elongated usually, "i" and "a", are spelled in English simply as another "i" or "a". BE CAREFUL WITH THIS LETTER!! I have had to indicate several times in my fanfics the difference between "ojisan" and "ojiisan" (that's uncle and granfather). It's exactly the same English spelling, only grandfather has an extra "i". The same thing applies in the difference between aunt and grandmother (again the grandmother getting the extra "a").


Also, there are some words which have a "stopped" sound, which in Japanese is indicated with a smaller letter "tsu". This is only used with certain syllables, such as "ko" and "to". For instance, the word for "school" is pronouced "gako", but there is a hard-ish stop in the middle with the small letter and it is actually spelled "gakko". Be careful with this. Sometimes this can be the difference between the word you want to use and another word entirely.


Lastly, there are some the Japanese characters which are smashed together to make other sounds and/or have other markings on the side of them to make them different. Thus, if/when you look at a Japanese syllibary, you'll notice that some of the sounds you see in Japanese words are not there, such as "Ba", "Pa", "Kya", "Ja", "Bya", etc.

Here's where it gets interesting

And once again I'm out of time. I'll update again. . . soon -___-;;;


- Yumi ^^;;
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