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er...alittle help

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er...alittle help

Postby Moshisama » Sat 08.06.2005 11:37 pm

I've been using this site for awhile to help with my japanese and i learned the hiragana quite quickly using this site.But as hard as I try i can't seem to get the hiragana with the changes to stick in my head like kyo,and ji,etc,etc i was wondering if anyone knows a why that could help me memorize these i would be really appreciated:D
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RE: er...alittle help

Postby mandolin » Sun 08.07.2005 2:43 am

Well, not exactly sure which 'changed' ones you mean. I initially thought you only meant the kana that are followed by one of the tiny kana, but you included 'ji' which is not one of them... so.. I guess I'll try to give you both. :)

First, the dakuten (the two little quote-like marks) and the handakuten (the tiny circle in the upper right of a character).

I managed to learn most of them by association with the character they're attached to.
All the k-sound kana that have a dakuten turn into g-sound characters.
All h-sound kana with dakuten become b-sounds, and
All h-sound characters with handakuten become p-sounds. (also, only h-sounds get handakuten)

Tricky ones:
All s-sound characters with dakuten get a z-sound, EXCEPT
shi, which becomes ji

I remember this one by noting that 'shi' looks like a backwards J, so when the little marks are present, I think oh yeah, j for ji

All t-sound characters with dakuten get a d-sound, EXCEPT
chi, which becomes dzi.

Honestly, I only remember this because it's seems rare, and thus unique, and that makes it special and worth remembering.


For the kana that are combined with another tiny kana:

This is trickier depending on what all you've read. There are the basic ones, and then there's some really funky ones that are used very rarely and only for foreign words. I'm just gonna cover the common ones.

These are always combined with the -i vowel sound characters, so with ki, ji, shi, hi, bi, pi, chi, and so on.

The little letter is either ya, yu, or yo.

But it's only one syllable (or morae, to use the proper linguistic term, and indicates a slightly different thing than a syllable, but that's a finer point you can research on your own later. :) )

I bring up the syllable bit for a reason. It helps decide what exactly it equates to when spoken. Such as, if you have ki+ya, to say it fast in one syllable, it comes out as kya. So that's how it gets 'romanized'.

ri+ya = rya
ri+yo = ryo
ri+yu = ryu

ki+ya = kya
ki+yo = kyo
ki+yu = kyu

It's a little different for chi, because it just depends on personal preference. When romanizing it, MOST people leave out the 'y', both when written and when spoken. Sometimes you will see or hear it WITH the 'y' sound, but the difference really isn't all that noticable. Nor does it make a difference (that I'm aware of).

chi+ya = cha or chya
chi+yo = cho or chyo
chi+yu = chu or chyu

Same with ji. You make ja, jo, and ju with ji+ya/yo/yu AND
shi+ya/yo/yu = sha/sho/shu (shya/shyo/shyu)

This visualization is pretty much what I use to remember these things, and I hope I haven't made it too confusing, since I've never actually tried to write out my way of thinking of these before. :o
Last edited by mandolin on Sun 08.07.2005 2:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: er...alittle help

Postby Moshisama » Sun 08.07.2005 2:50 am

thanks for the help i think i can memorize the dakuten and handakuten but its gonna take some work for the kana with mini kana lol arigatou:)
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RE: er...alittle help

Postby mandolin » Sun 08.07.2005 3:11 am

It won't be so hard as you think, hon. I thought it was gonna be confusing at first, too, but when I got to actually seeing words with those mini-kana in them, it wasn't as hard to figure out as I thought.

Although, I still do a double-take when I see 'chan' (as in Moshi-chan hehe) spelled out in kana, because as a western language speaker, it's always a 1-syllable word, so I expect fewer than three kana (at most, 2!) to write it out.

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Ganbatte, Moshichan!

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RE: er...alittle help

Postby yankumi » Fri 08.12.2005 12:36 pm

moshima--if you have access to a library with Japanese books, you may wish to try getting some simple children's books. Trying to decipher the hiragana in the context of a word has helped me a lot in learning the different kana.
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RE: er...alittle help

Postby LordDisa » Fri 08.12.2005 1:17 pm

Firstly I'd like to mention that when I was learning hiragana, I learned the voiced versions of both shi and chi as "ji," and the voiced versions of both su and tsu as "zu." That seems to differ from what others have said, so I figured it'd be worth mentioning.

As for remembering the dakuten/handakuten stuff, I found it easiest to remember them as voiced or unvoiced. For example, make a K sound, without a vowel sound. Now, make a R or N sound, without any vowel sounds. Notice that for R and N, you were using your voice (sound was coming from the vibrations of your vocal cords), but when you made a K sound, you were not using your voice. Adding the dakuten to an unvoiced consonent-based kana turns it into the voiced version.

Knowing this, we can start off by separating which sounds the dakuten/handakuten can be used on (only unvoiced sounds). Knowing that, sound out each of the consonent sounds in the basic kana. You'll notice that N, M, R, Y, and W are already voiced, so obviously they cannot be voiced any more. That leaves K, S, T, and H, which are the rows that the dakuten can be used on.

Keeping in mind the difference between a sound that's voiced and unvoiced, you can understand how a G sound is about the same as a K sound, but uses your voice; likewise with the S and T sounds (turning them into Z and D sounds). It's a bit of a stretch with H to make B, but you can probably see the similarities. As for the handakuten, just remember that it only works on the H row, and that it makes a P sound, which is a harder sound than B (in that more air is built up and released...well, you get the point).

Now, for the contracted syllables (kya, kyu, etc.)...

Remember that all contracted syllables in hiragana (and all but the few in katakana that are used for sounds not found in the japanese language) consist of a -i sound combined with either ya, yu, or yo. With three exceptions, the resulting sound is the consonent sound of the -i syllable and the full y- sound. I'll start by explaining the exceptions, though.

The exceptions are for shi, chi, and ji (voiced shi; afaik, the voiced chi version of ji is never contracted in this way). For these, the result is the consonent sound (sh, ch, or j), and only the vowel sound of the second syllable (a, u, or o). Examples: shi+ya=sha. chi+yo=cho. ji+yu=ju.

For the rest, the result is the consonent sound of the first syllable (k, g, n, h, b, p, m, or r) and the full sound of th second syllable (ya, yu, or yo). Examples: ki+ya=kya. gi+yo=gyo. pi+yo=pyo. ri+yu=ryu.

Anyway, hopefully this will make things a bit more understandable, as it did with me.
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