Tag Archives: Characters

Writing Hiragana – お

2 Dec

“O” OR “お” SAYS “long o sound as in potato”
3 STROKES 

First, Starting on the upper left, make a medium horizontal line. 

o1

Second, starting a little bit above stroke one, make a vertical line down. Then (WITHOUT PICKING UP YOUR PEN) make a small loop to the left, cross back over the line and make a large curved line to the right.  

o2

Notice that the line and loop are not centered, they are actually a little bit to the left of the character box.  You can see in the picture below that the big curve  (4) actually extends pretty far to the right – past the end of Stroke (1).

O4.png

The Third stroke belongs in the upper right of the character. Starting on the left, make a very small sloped line downwards. 

eh-1

FINAL

EXAMPLES (FROM TOP 1000 JAPANESE WORDS)

  • おもい (Omoi) = Heavy
  • おい (Oi) = Nephew
  • おやつ (Oyatsu) = Snack
  • おちゃ (Ocha) = Green Tea

Writing Hangul -ㄹ

1 Dec

“R / L” (ㄹ)
3 STROKES 

First – Start on the top left and make a long horizontal line. Then (WITHOUT PICKING UP YOUR PEN!) pull a short vertical line down.  Basically, you are forming the “Hangul G.” You see this a lot in Hangul, where on character is used to form another. g1

Second – Starting on the left, form a long horizontal line that connects to the first stroke.  You are kind of making a backwards, upside down  ㄷ. 🙂 

R2.png

Third. Starting on the top left of stroke two, go down forming a short vertical line. Then (WITHOUT PICKING UP YOUR PEN!) make a second long horizontal line.  Basically makes a Hangul “N”

n4

FINAL

R3.png

r1

EXAMPLES (FROM TOP 6000TOPIK WORDS)

  • 우리 (Uli) = We / Our
  • 모르다 (Moleuda) = To not know
  • 물 (Mul) = Water

Writing Hiragana – あ

23 Nov

If you want to live, work, or study in Japan, it’s almost required that you start to learn how to write Hiragana. If I wanted to just travel to Japan for a short time, I didn’t need to bother. But if I wanted to be fluent or for extended trips, I need to be able to write the Characters. Many foreigners simply learn how to read Hiragana but are never taught how to write it.  They just kind of guess how to write the letters.  However, if you write the character in the wrong way, it sometimes isn’t clear. Just like English handwriting – if you don’t form your letters correctly, sometimes it’s hard to read. 

So without further ado, here is the first Hiragana Letter and how to write it!

“A” or “あ” says “ah”
3 STROKES 

First, make a high, short, slightly slanted horiztonal line.

ah-1

Second, make a slightly curved vertical line downwards.

ah-2

Third make a loopy spiral like a “fish”

ah-3

FINAL

ah-4

EXAMPLES (From Top 1000 Japanese Words)

  • あさ(Asa) = Morning
  • あお(Ao) = Blue
  • あう (Au) = To Interview

Hiragana

28 Oct

Japanese has three separate writing systems – Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Their usage depends largely on the origin of the word. Kanji are the Sino-Japanese words that descend from China and use the simplified Chinese characters. Katakana incorporates many other foreign words, and not just English words! Then Hiragana is the predominant written form for everything else. Hiragana is by far the most common written form, although both Katakana and Kanji will be intermixed in most sentences.  So Hiragana is the first one usually taught to new Japanese students. Thankfully, it is easier to write and remember than the Kanji, having been simplified a lot time ago. So although it might take some time to memorize this many characters, it shouldn’t be too hard to learn!

Hiragana is read phonetically, and most of the letters can be replicated in English. Each “character” represents a sound, with all but one (‘ん’ ‘N’) including a vowel sound. There are 71 separate sounds but only 46 characters in total – one single consonant, five vowels, and forty combination sounds. 

PRONUNCIATION RULES

  1. ( ゛) = Dakuten, put on the top right of the character. Shows that a character is changing from unvoiced (き is ki) to voiced (ぎ is gi) 
  2. は (ha) is said as (wa) when it comes by itself or is after the topic of the sentence. For example, watashi wa (I am) is spelled 私は.
  3. The characters や (ya), よ (yo), and ゆ (yu) can be added to a character that ends in the (i) sound. If so, the (i) is silent. For example, if ぎ (gi) is added to や (ya), it will be pronounced as ぎや (gya).

  4. Doubled vowels (as in おにいさん | oni’isan | big brother) are demonstrated by adding an extra vowel. に (Ni) is lengthened by adding the extra い (i) to form ni’i.  For the doubled vowel (o), either う or お might be added – it depends on the word.

  5. Doubled consonants (as in にっぽん | Nippon) are created by adding a ‘small’ (Tsu) or っ right before the consonant. It is actually smaller in size than the character Tsu (つっ – see the difference).  You don’t actually pronounce the small Tsu. For example, in Japanese, ‘begging’ would be written ‘beっging.’

  6. The only exception are the doubled -n characters (na, ni, no, nu, ne). They are doubled by adding ん (an extra n) before the n.

  7. On the other hand っ (‘small tsu) can also be added at the end of a word to suggest stronger emotions. Rather like a !.  However, when they do that, it seems to often suggest stronger emotions that are not quite strong enough for a (!).  For example, if I’m talking to a child, “you’re so silly っ” might be used versus “you’re such an idiot!” to someone who just caused a lot of trouble by doing something stupid. In that case, it is also no pronounced.

  8. If the vowels (i) and (u) are in between (k), (s), (t), (p), (h) or if the come after one of those at the end of a sentence, then the (i) or (u) may be silent.  For example, ですね (desu ne) is often said (des ne). 
  9. If へ (he) comes after a location, the (h) is silent and it says (e).

  10. The Japanese (r) is similar to that of China and Korea. Put your tongue in the (L) position but say (R).  If you listen, it comes out a little differently from the English (r) sound. 

CHARACTERS

あ (a) え (e) い (i) お (o) う (u)
だ (da) で (de) ぢ (ji) ど (do) づ (zu)
た (ta) て (te) ち (chi) と (to) つ (tsu)
が (ga) げ (ge) ぎ (gi) ご (go) ぐ (gu)
は (ha) へ (he) ひ (hi) ほ (ho) ふ (fu)
ば (ba) べ (be) び (bi) ぼ (bo) ぶ (bu)
ぱ (pa) ぺ (pe) ぴ (pi) ぽ (po) ぺ (pu)
か (ka) け (ke) き (ki) こ (ko) く (ku)
ま (ma) め (me) み (mi) も (mo) む (mu)
ん (n)
な (na) ね (ne) に (ni) の (no) ぬ (nu)
ら (ra) れ (re) り (ri) ろ (ro) る (ru)
さ (sa) せ (se) し (shi) そ (so) す (su)
ざ (za) ぜ (ze) じ (ji) ぞ (zo) ず (zu)
わ (wa) を (wo)
や (ya) よ (yo) ゆ (yu)

-Y COMBOS

 Note the lack of a (y) in the sh-, ch-, and j- combos.

びゃ (bya) びょ (byo) びゅ (byu)
ぴゃ (pya) ぴょ (pyo) ぴゅ (pyu)
ひゃ (hya) ひょ (hyo) ひゅ (hyu)
ぎゃ (gya) ぎょ (gyo) ぎゅ (gyu)
きゃ (kya) きょ (kyo) きゅ (kyu)
にゃ (nya) にょ (nyo) にゅ (nyu)
みゃ (mya) みょ (myo) みゅ (myu)
りゃ (rya) りょ (ryo) りゅ (ryu)
しゃ (sha) しょ (sho) しゅ (shu)
じゃ (ja) じょ (jo) じゅ (ju)
ちゃ (cha) ちょ (cho) ちゅ (chu)

Random Chinese ~ Numbers

14 May

Now that I’m living here in China, I’m starting to pick up a little bit of Chinese 🙂 Some of this is from classes, some from my textbook, and most from talking to the locals. But knowing Chinese is very important here, since the English of the older generations (who manage the businesses) is still not very fluent.  

I thought I’d share a few words as I learn them; maybe they will help other new laowai (foreigners) who come to check China out 🙂

Warning, DeceptivelyBlonde (DB) pronunciation uses no tones and is only meant to get you by if needs must 🙂 It’s the redneck Chinese.

Numbers 

Number = Character = Pinyin = DB Pronunciation

The Numbers are pretty easy – you need to know 1-10, 100, 1,000, and 10,000. Then you’re pretty much done and can put them together.

0 Líng Leeng
1 Eee
2 Èr Are
3 Sān Sahn
4 Seuh
5 Woouh
6 Liù Lew
7 Chee
8 Bah
9 Jiǔ Jeew
10 Shí Shur
20 二十 ÈrShí 2 + 10 AreShur
100 一百 YīBǎi 1 + 100 EeeBai
1,000 一千 YīQiān 1 + 1000 Eee Cheeahn
10,000 一万 Yī Wàn 1 + 10,000 Eee Wahn

 

 

Advanced Numbers

Once you have these foundational numbers, you can start putting together all the other numbers!

Basically, do the following order:

  • Number of 10,000s
  • Number of 1,000s
  • Number of 100s
  • Number of 10s
  • Number of 1s
132 一百三十二 YīBǎi SānShí èr (1 + 100)(3 + 10)(2) Eee Bai Sahn Shur Are
1,132 一千一百三十二 YīQiān YīBǎi SānShí èr (1+1000)(1+100)(3+10) (2) Eee Cheeahn Eee Bai Sahn Shur Are
11,132 一万一千一百三十二 YīWàn YīQiān YīBǎi SānShí èr (1+10,000))(1+1000)(1+100)(3+10)(2) Eee Wahn Eee Cheeahn Eee Bai Sahn Shur Are
111,132 十一万一千一百三十二 ShíYīWàn YīQiān YīBǎi SānShí èr (11+10,000)(1+1000)(1+100)(3+10)(2) Shur Eee Wahn Eee Cheeahn Eee Bai Sahn Shur Are
1,111,132 一百十一万一千一百三十二 YīBǎi ShíYī Wàn Yīqiān Yībǎi SānShí èr (111+10,000)(1+1000)(1+100)(3+10)(2) Eee Bai Shur Eee Wahn Eee Cheeahn Eee Bai Sahn Shur Are

See, easy!

 

Random Chinese ~ My Name Is. . .

7 May

Now that I’m living here in China, I’m starting to pick up a little bit of Chinese 🙂 Some of this is from classes, some from my textbook, and most from talking to the locals. But knowing Chinese is very important here, since the English of the older generations (who manage the businesses) is still not very fluent.  

I thought I’d share a few words as I learn them; maybe they will help other new laowai (foreigners) who come to check China out 🙂

Warning, DeceptivelyBlonde (DB) pronunciation uses no tones and is only meant to get you by if needs must 🙂 It’s the redneck Chinese.

What’s Your Name?

Question:

English: What’s Your Name? 

Characters: 你叫什么名字 ?

Pinyin: Nǐ jiào shénme míngzì? 

DB Pronounciation ~ knee jou shehn mah meeng zuh

Answer: There are two answers- formal / informal – informal is okay for us laowai usually.

Informal

English: My name is . . . (Olivia)

Characters: 我 叫 . . . (我 叫 Olivia)

Pinyin: Wǒ jiào Olivia

DB Pronunciation ~ woah jou  . . . 

Formal

English: My name is . .  . (Olivia)

Characters: 我的名字是. . . (我的名字是 Olivia)

Pinyin: Wǒ de míngzì shì . . . 

DB Pronunciation: woah duh meeng zuh shuh

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