For this week's Mango Monday in honor of the Golden Week holidays in Japan we will present Japanese. Japanese is spoken by about 130 millin people in Japan, and by speakers around the world.

According to Mango,

The 1960's had their British Invasion, but in the 2000's, it's all about Japanese. Japanese culture has become mainstream in America, with video games, cuisine, comic books, television shows, and more. It's never been a better time to learn Japanese, and we can help!

The writing system of Japanese may scare some people, but Mango emphasizes speaking and conversational skills. For that reason, spoken Japanese may not be very difficult for speakers of English since the sounds of the language are close to our own with very little variation.

Japanese has borrowed so much from English, that one of the special Japanese lessons in Mango is all about English loan words. You may already know more than you think because you know it in English! In fact, Mango describes it as this:

While the number of Japanese loanwords in English is small, the number of English loandwords in Japanese is enormous. You may not realize it, however, because these English words aer spoken in flat Japanese accents, often abbreviated, and even given new meanings. Once you learn how to spot them, learning Japanese will become much faster, easier, and more fun.

All conversational languages give you different language skills to try. Here are a few informal phrases from Chapter 1: Coke and Chips, please!

  • I'm going to the mini-mart. Need anything? コンビニ 行く けど. なんか いる? [Konbini iku kedo. Nanka iru?]
  • Hmm... well, coke and potato chips, please. うーん...じゃあ, コーラ とポテチ お願い [Uun... jya, kora to potechi, onegai.]
  • I want to eat soft serve icecream or custard pudding. ソフトクリーム か プリン 食べたい [sofutokuriimu ka purin tabetai]
  • Why don't you come for a visit? 遊びに 来ない [asobi ni konai]
  • How come you're wearing your new dress? なんでおニュー の ワンピース 着てる の [nande o-nyuu no wanpiisu kiteru no]

Japanese is available through both Mango Languages and Pronunciator. Pronunciator has an additional Japanese interface that is completely in Romaji (the Latim alphabet) to help beginners learn the basics of Japanese faster. Each language product has different interfaces, and some will work better for you depending on what you want to get out of your language experience. Don't forget to take advantage of each product's mobile apps for language learning on the go!

Next Monday we will be back with a new language you can teach yourself with resources from your library.