日本語の秘密 2/33


日本語の秘密/ The Key to NIHON-GO

by 岸本建夫 [Kishimoto Tatsuo] 1999
OCR/Corr by most.cyak@gmail.com, Oct 2014


Section 1 The Extremely Simple Rules of Japanese

→ You Can Master Japanese by Memorizing the “a-i-u-e-o” Table

  First, take a look at the “a-i-u-e-o” table (Table ①) on page 2. This table uses kana characters and Roman letters to give you the pronunciations of the 46 syllables used in Japanese. In English, words are formed by arranging the letters of the alphabet, from A to Z. The characters in this table are used in the same way to form words in Japanese. There are no other kana characters or pronunciations than these. What simple, clear or well-ordered matrix this is. You only have to learn this table to express anything in Japanese. This table was created to help you master Japanese. The horizontal lines of the “a-i-u-e-o” table are called the “a” line, the “ka” line, the “sa” line, and so on. Each line is divided by 5 vertical columns: the “a” column, the “i” column, the “u” column, the “e” column, and the “o” column.

  These are all of the kana characters. The “pronunciations” in the “kya kyu kyo” table (Table ②) [file lost] on page 3 are merely combinations of those of the kana characters. All of the characters are found in the “a-i-u-e-o” table (Table ①); there are no new characters which need to be learned. These are only combinations of the syllabic characters in the first table, so they are not difficult to memorize.

  The aforementioned two tables cover most of the pronunciations in the Japanese language, but there are still a few additional pronunciations. Recently in particular, in order to approximate pronunciations of foreign languages like English, character combinations like ディ and ファ have been added and more words are being written as ディーリング ‘dealing’ and ファイト ‘fight’. These are also combinations of the pronunciations in the “a-i-u-e-o” table, though, so they should not produce a problem.

  It seems as though a great number of pronunciations have been introduced above, but, as I mentioned before, they are all derivatives of the 46 basic characters, so they are easy to learn. As long as you memorize these, you will really be able to express anything. It’s true. You’ll have no problem communicating with Japanese people.

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