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Well I didn't know where to put this question...

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Well I didn't know where to put this question...

Postby japanesegryffindor » Sat 05.11.2013 11:16 pm

I didn't think it was really grammar, but didn't know if it would count. So I decided to put it in "general" because I figured that would be my best bet.
I have a hard time with confusing some katakana... specifically シ, ツ, ソ, and ン. They look so similar to my foreign eyes! I can never remember which is which. I know the ones with two dashes are shi and tsu, and the ones with one are so and n, but I can never keep them straight. Are there any tips on remembering the differences between them?
I've tried just memorizing them by doing flashcards a ton of times, but after long enough of doing the flash cards they start looking the same again... XD
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Re: Well I didn't know where to put this question...

Postby SomeCallMeChris » Sun 05.12.2013 12:03 am

Uhm. If you make flashcards with some katakana words that are English loan-words used in Japanese, you'll probably quickly come to remember them.

In the short term for problems like this, the best thing is to come up with a mnemonic.
For example, draw them very exaggerated and ソ is more vertical and ン is more horizontal. So you could think of ン as a mouth going 'nnn' (which is basically the japanese of 'hm' or 'hrm', and ん is generally pronounced with the mouth closed.) The dot could be a cartoon nose.
ソ being more vertical could be, to borrow from The Sound a Music, 'sew, a needle pulling thread', if one imagines the dot to be thread. Try not to stretch it too much in writing, or it'll look like too much like リ!

And also, are you writing in your practice? It's worth drilling yourself in romaji->kana flashcards for awhile at least. What you can write is easier to read, and it's harder to forget.

(Drilling just kana cards is dull and near useless though, I think, but. I always like more context in my cards. For beginners, practicing kana in words not alone. Later on, practicing words in sentences, not alone.)

I'm not immediately inspired with a shi/tsu mnemonic, but that shouldn't matter ; you're better off if you ignore my mnemonics and create your own. As long as it's memorable to -you- that's all that matters.
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Re: Well I didn't know where to put this question...

Postby japanesegryffindor » Sun 05.12.2013 12:04 am

Thank you for the tips!
I do try writing them, but I always get bored and my hand starts to hurt after awhile... which turns into more frustrating than useful.
I hadn't thought of turning them into mnemonics, and your examples were very useful! Thank you very much!
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Re: Well I didn't know where to put this question...

Postby kaden » Sun 05.12.2013 8:18 am

What I used to remember ツandシ is the different way to write them.

ツ is written with the same left to right top to bottom motion as the hiragana つ
シ is written with the same top to bottom left to right as the hiragana し

for the others, I learnt ン because I use it in my name so that was repetition. Then the ソ was kinda the odd one out
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Re: Well I didn't know where to put this question...

Postby japanesegryffindor » Sun 05.12.2013 10:58 pm

The tip on remembering how to write ツ and シ was very useful, thank you! Between the two of you I'll probably start getting them straight more often than not. :D Thanks!
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Re: Well I didn't know where to put this question...

Postby furrykef » Thu 05.16.2013 8:56 am

I did have trouble with those kana as well, but my troubles were pretty brief (especially compared to all the other obstacles there are to mastering Japanese). It's something that gets smoothed out naturally enough after you see them in context enough times.
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