Writing Japanese - The Secrets of Hiragana

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Welcome back! This is the second article in a series on the Japanese writing system. In the first article we took a look at kanji 漢字, where we learned a few key things: 1) kanji express meaning, 2) different kanji can be read the same way (e.g. 髪 “hair” and 紙 “paper” are both “kami”), and 3) each kanji can be read differently. In this article we’ll take a look at hiragana ひらがな. There are 46 unique hiragana shapes, all of which are derived from one kanji or another. In general, hiragana ...

Written Japanese - The Lowdown on the 3 Alphabets

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Scared of written Japanese? Does the thought of learning kanji 漢字 (the Chinese characters) give you sudden dread and make you want to sign up for French or Spanish or German or Farsi?? Japanese is generally considered to have one of the most fiendishly difficult writing systems on Earth. However, I think it’d be awful if amazing wonderful prospective language-learners such as yourself were suddenly turned away from Japanese by such a myth. That’s right! It’s true! The notion that any part of ...

Vocabulary for Traveling to Japan and The Golden Word "Sumimasen"

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When traveling to Japan, it’s important to learn some basic phrases to help you get around in the country. Although Japan is highly developed, with an extremely efficient train system and electronics and gadgets that rival any other country, English is not widely spoken. Furthermore Japan is a very homogeneous country, with upwards of around 95 to 96% of the population with Japanese as their native language. For all these reasons and more it helps to learn the basics of Japanese, what we ...

Learn Hiragana while Practicing Japanese Conversation

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This article is dedicated to teaching some key Japanese conversational phrases while practicing the alphabet Hiragana. By the end of the article you’ll learn how to respond to a typically asked question in Japanese Conversation in a creative and fun, way. Note, there will be a key at the end of the article to help potential students that might not yet have a full grasp of Hiragana. Learning Hiragana, as mentioned in an earlier article, is key to any language learner of Japanese. The whole ...

Learning Hiragana: Finishing Up the Final Rows

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Learning Hiragana is a crucial part of becoming a speaker of the Japanese language. Not only does the alphabet provide you with all the pronunciation sounds you’ll have to learn in Japanese, but also gives you an opportunity to be able to read the Japanese language. Keep in mind there’s also Katakana and Kanji left to learn, but your teacher can potentially translate everything into Hiragana for you! As this is the last article for learning Hiragana, let’s test the Hiragana you’ve learned ...

Learning Hiragana, Mastering the Technique of Memorization (6th and 7th rows)

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This article is the 4th installment for learning Hiragana. By now you should be quite familiar with the rows from あいうえお かきくけこ さしすせそ たちつてと なにぬねの. You should be able to at least recognize those and read them in succession. The key to memorizing is repeating the rows out loud in order, again and again. Also reading words in Hiragana helps, and after the Hiragana articles are complete we’ll also publish a practice reading article to master memorizing the characters. Without further ado let’s ...

Learning Hiragana: Mastering the Alphabet and Learning the 4th and 5th rows

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This is the third installment in learning the Hiragana alphabet, if you have not read the first two articles on “Learning Hiragana” please refer to those articles first. Up till now, you’ve learned 15 characters, or have you? Part of learning Hiragana is not just sitting down and writing them 5 times, but actually learning to recognize the characters. In a world where internet is taking over handwritten letters, the focus when learning Hiragana should be more and more on being able to read ...

Learning Hiragana: The Second and Third Row of Characters

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Learning the Japanese language can seem intimidating, so many characters, so little time. The good news is learning the first alphabet, Hiragana, is actually quite simple. There are only 52 characters that cover the entire phonetic structure of the Japanese language. If you’re reading this article and have not yet read “Learning Hiragana: The Foundation for any Japanese Language Learner” then please read that article first. This article is an extension of the first five sounds, A – I – U – E ...