Thursday, April 28, 2016

Learning Japanese- hiragana

So you've learned katakana! Great! Honestly that's pretty amazing. If you were to go to Japan now you could do a pretty good job at ordering from menus and reading labels. But if you're ready to do more then lets move on. Your next mission, should you choose to accept it, is to learn hiragana. Now don't be frightened! Hiragana is exactly like katakana. Actually, its literally the exact same alphabet with some different symbols. The biggest challenge here is just remembering which symbols belong to katakana and which go with hiragana. Here's the set below:

Hiragana is used for regular Japanese- as in words that aren't foreign in origin. When you're starting to learn kanji the spelling of it will be shown in hirgana and many words are simply written in hiragana. Once again, I recommend using Memrise and the Basic Hiragana 1 and 2 sets. Admittedly this part of the learning process isn't very exciting, but its necessary in order to learn literally anything else. But if you can make it through this part then your set up to just go, go, go afterward!

This is also a good point to make sure you're paying attention to pronunciation as, just like in English, wrong pronunciation can lead to some really messed up switcharoos. If you're practicing with Memrise remembers to have the sounds turned on so you can hear the pronunciation and try to repeat it each time too. Below is a great video about pronunciation from a YouTube channel that has some great videos:

If you plan on learning how to write in Japanese, now would be the time to practice those skills as well. When writing hiragana, katakana, and kanji there is a proper order to each stroke. This might sound intimidating but the same is true of English. If you saw someone writing the lower-case r by starting from the right-hand side. Its not unforgivable or anything but it's definitely weird. For that reason its better to get good habits down now so you're set up for the future. Here's some charts showing the writing directions:

Never seen WI before... ignore that one.

The WO symbol here seems wrong... ignore that. And WI isn't a thing, ignore that too.

And just note that whenever you write the " or ° it is written after the rest of the symbol, like dotting an i. When I was practicing writing I'd just repeat it over and over in my notebook, but if you're lucky enough to be near a Daiso (a Japanese dollar store) then you can probably find notebooks made specifically for practicing this. These special notebooks basically have a large grid on the pages so you have plenty of space to practice and feel it out. Honestly a plain notebook works fine, though.

Alright, good luck on this next stage of memorization. You can do it!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Yessss! Tell me what you think!