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Lesson 1:
Japanese Greetings and Writing System

Japanese Alphabet

The Japanese alphabet consists of 99 sounds formed with 5 vowels (a, e, i, o, and u) and 14 consonants (k, s, t, h, m, y, r, w, g, z, d, b, p, and n), as is shown in the hiragana chart.

Long vowels

"u" is sometimes used to create long vowels. In arigatoo, for instance, the last letter is not pronounced "u" but as a long "o."

Double consonants

In ittekimasu, there's a pause between "i" and "te." The little "" has a function of creating a pause, so ittekimasu has six syllables.


When "ha" and "he" are used as a particle (particles will be explained later), they are pronounced as "wa" and "e": konnichiwa and konbanwa.