Originally Posted by Bruce
okay I'm somewhat confused - where is the rest of the alphabet (english) or do a lot of letters not have comparable sounds in Japanese? Surely these (relatively) few sounds can't be used to make an entire language? I'm probably asking totally dumb questions here.......I think I mght slink off and try and find an explanation of Japanese elsewhere on the web. Can anyone reccomend a good website?
Japanese is composed of the following vowels (and if you know Spanish it is pronounced the very same way) a, i, u, e, and o. These vowels are combined with the following k, s, t, n, h, m, and r. There are the exceptions with y, w and n, but save that for another day.
So like for karate, it is broken down into three phonetic sounds ka-ra-te. Get it? If you understand that you are one step closer to understanding Japanese.
If you want to learn more I suggest going to a bookstore and picking up a book like "Yosohiku" or "Genki." These are serious college textbooks I used to study from back in the day.