Kawaii Doyoubi – Lesson 2 – Alphabet
Minasan Konnichiwa! (Hello Everybody)
Today is Saturday which means it’s another segment of your daily dose of Japanese. As I mentioned the week before I had that fall out with my provider, every Saturday is known as Kawaii Doyoubi (Cute Saturday).
Simply put it will be a day showered with small lessons I’ve learned and like to share with you. If you want to read the full details of Kawaii Doyoubi, simply click these awesome different colored words here.
Lesson 2 – Alphabet
Much like our alphabet, Japanese also have a set of their own. Three sets to be exact. I was taught the first half with lessons followed by my own self-study. The second parts kind of integrated with other teachings. These next few passages are a summarized and /or quoted from the book Genki second edition to define and understand these characters:
“There are three kinds of characters in Japanese: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. All three characters can be seen in a single sentence.”
Example (from book).
テレビを見るす。I watch television
Katakana Kanji Hiragana
Example (same but in romaji)
terebi wo mimasu
I watch (or to see) television
*note: “Please do not try to match Japanese and English sentences word-by-word, because the Japanese grammar is different from that of English :)” It makes for a happier brain, believe me.
The next session is an easy to follow understanding of the Japanese characters:
Hiragana and katakana, like the alphabet, represent sounds. As we saw in the example of above. Hiragana is more of a roundish shape and is used for conjugation endings, function words and native Japanese words not covered by kanji (hint-hint: the previous lesson, greetings.) Katakana, which usually consist of straight lines are normally used for foreign names and writing loanwords. An example is the word television, which is broke down above. The word television is wrote in katakana as テレビ (terebi). Kanji, or Chinese characters (hey, didn’t know that myself, learned something new today), represents sounds and meanings. Kanji are mainly used for nouns and the stems of verbs and adjectives.
WHOA! I know that was A LOT to take in. Please bear with me, it is a lot and I’ve learned for others it’s overwhelming. That is why I am taking it a character at a time but there are times where I need to info dunk so the overall picture can be vivid. As you noticed, today we are joined by my favorite anime character in chibi form, Naurto from Naruto and Naruto Shippuden. An excellent show by the way. He is here to ease the mind while showing you his cute side. Say hi, Naruto.
Alright back to today’s lesson. For our last image I thought it would be great to see some of these characters. The image below is the BASIC Hiragana Syllable and their pronunciation. Yes, I did just go there and all caps the word basic. I want to express that there are more characters but if you master the basics you are pretty much good to go. Basic first is what I’ve been told. Whether its writing, drawing, or learning a second language. Basics HAVE to be mastered first.
And that’s it for today’s lesson. If you want to take it a step further check out Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese where the characters come to life and you are able to see how they are written. Until next week! Ja mata ne (See you later)!