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Japanese Lessons: Part 6

Posted January 26th, 2012 at 2:14 PM by Esper
Tags japanese

Lesson 1: hiragana
Lesson 2: katakana
Lesson 3: more kana

Lesson 4: grammar intro

Lesson 5: kanji

: more kanji

This here is another kanji lesson. Sort of. It's more of a vocabulary/kanji lesson so you can learn to recognize a few helpful words. When necessary I'll include some other bits of grammar.

Let me first reacquaint you with some friends from previous posts. This time I'm also including some vocab that uses the words so you can see kanji in action, so to speak.

: ジョニョニョウおんな "woman"
JO, NYO, NYOU, onna, me
【おんな】(onna): woman
: ダンナンおとこ "man"
DAN, NAN, otoko, o
【おとこ】(otoko): man

: イチイツひとひと. “one”
ICHI, ITSU, hito, hito.tsu
一日いちにち(ichinichi): one day

: ニチジツ "day; sun"
NICHI, JITSU, hi, bi, ka
日本【にほん】(nihon): Japan
よう【にちようび】(nichiyoubi): Sunday

: ホンもと "book; origin; real"
HON, moto
【ほん】(hon): book
日本【にほん】(nihon): Japan

: コウくち "mouth"
KOU, KU, kuchi
【くち】(kuchi): mouth
出口【でぐち】(deguchi): exit
入口【いりくち】(iriguchi): entrance

: ニュウジュ..れるはい. "enter"
NYUU, JU,, i.reru,
入口【いりち】(iriguchi): entrance

: シュツ、スイ、で.る、だ.す "exit"
出口【でぐち】(deguchi): exit

So that's a little sample of vocab. On some of them you can see quite clearly where the vocab terms come from, like on this one:

: ジョニョニョウおんな "woman"
JO, NYO, NYOU, onna, me
おんな】(onna): woman
So when you see this kanji standing by itself you know it's going to be pronounced おんな and not by the other pronunciations. Others are not so clear to see where the come from and these need a little bit of explanation. Take this example:

: ニュウジュ..れるはい. "enter"
NYUU, JU,, i.reru,
: コウくち "mouth"
KOU, KU, kuchi
入口【いりち】(iriguchi): entrance
Our vocab term is いりち (iriguchi), but if you look you don't see all of those pieces in the two kanji used to write it. You do, however, see parts of it. The kanji 入 has one reading of .る ( which is not that different from いり (iri), and くち (kuchi) is a lot like ち (guchi). The similarities are of course important.

If you can remember back, when you see a reading with a period (.) in it that means you write the ending of the kanji with hiragana. So with
.る ( you would write it:



One thing we're often allowed to do in Japanese with these kind of kanji is change the ending when the ending is in hiragana. Don't worry about how or why, just know that it happens. So we'll change the ending from る [ru] to the related り [ri]. Also know that the pronunciation at the beginning of these kanji do not change this way, only the parts at the end.

The other thing we can do is change the second kanji in a two-kanji pair. The difference between くち (kuchi) and ち (guchi) are those two little lines the differentiate く [ku] from ぐ [gu]. When your second kanji begins with a sound (like "ku") that has another kana which is basically that kana plus the two lines (like "gu") it may sometimes change. [Linguistically we're only voicing unvoiced syllables, similar to how "cats" has an "s" sound and "dogs" has a "z" sound.] So! We end up with this explanation:

: ニュウジュ..れるはい. "enter"
NYUU, JU,, i.reru,
: コウくち "mouth"
KOU, KU, kuchi
入口いり(iriguchi): entrance
Since we're mashing two kanji together, in this instance, we "hide" the り and instead of writing 入り口 (which is technically okay to use) we write 入口.

Sometimes there are irregularities and exceptions, but for the most part you can just follow the pronunciations. Since a lot of kanji have multiple pronunciations you have to do a bit of memorization in the first place so memorizing irregular ones shouldn't be too much extra work.

So let me give you a vocab list to go over.

【おんな】(onna): woman
【おとこ】(otoko): man
一日いちにち(ichinichi): one day
日本【にほん】(nihon): Japan
よう【にちようび】(nichiyoubi): Sunday
【ほん】(hon): book
【くち】(kuchi): mouth
出口【でぐち】(deguchi): exit
入口【いりくち】(iriguchi): entrance
ペン (pen): pen
えんぴつ (enpitsu): pencil
たべもの (tabemono): food
のみもの (nomimono): drink, beverage
ビール (biiru): beer
おちゃ (ocha): tea
【みず】(mizu): water
ピザ (piza): pizza
ラーメン (raamen): ramen
【くるま】 (kuruma): car
ひこうき (hikouki): airplane
けいたい (keitai): cell phone, mobile phone
学校【がっこう】(gakkou): school
かぞく (kazoku): family, family member
えいが (eiga): movies, film

Let me end with one more piece of grammar. This will be something you'll find useful when people ask you to say a few things about yourself.

わたしは ___ がすきです。
[watashi wa ____ ga suki desu.]
[I like ____.]

If you're already talking about yourself you can also shorten it to:

___ がすきです。
[____ ga suki desu.]

And if you can remember what the whole sentence you can even get away with just this:

___ がすき。
[____ ga suki.]

You can put almost anything into this sentence: an object, place, or thing (where you're stating a preference) or a person (where you imply quite a lot more!). [What you can't do is use a verb. So no "I like to swim." At least not with this type of sentence.]

Give it a try.
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  1. Old Comment
    Mr Cat Dog's Avatar
    I'm just bookmarking all these for after I finish my exams. They're going to be sooooo useful to rejig the ol' memory!
    Posted January 26th, 2012 at 2:26 PM by Mr Cat Dog Mr Cat Dog is offline
  2. Old Comment
    droomph's Avatar
    I think you should start on the numbering systems next...just sayin'
    Posted April 27th, 2012 at 10:06 AM by droomph droomph is offline

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