Hiragana Basics

Today I am again studying in my CHU, laying on my bed. When I get back home hopefully I’ll have a comfortable place to study as well. So now I’ll go over what I learned today. I keep a language log which is very similar to these blog posts. Except they are slimmed down and note orientated. I keep them on Evernote so I can sync them across all my computers and devices. Anyways….
Japanese vowels almost make up the same as ours. Though they are very solid and aren’t as flexible. They consist of:
  • あ (a)
  • い (i)
  • う (u)
  • え (e)
  • お (o)

All “kanas” (kana is the word for Japanese characters) consist of a consonant and vowel (in english terms) with the exception of ん (n) which is the only consonant-only kana.

The “t” section has two pronunciation exceptions:
  • ち (chi) – instead of “ti”
  • つ (tsu) – instead of “tu”

The “y” section only consists of three kana:

  • や (ya)
  • ゆ (yu)
  • よ (yo)
The “w” section only consists of two kana:

  • わ (wa)
  • を (wo)
The total “letter sections” use these english consonants:
  • k
  • s
  • t
  • n
  • h
  • m
  • y
  • r
  • w
Each section is made up of that english letter and one of the Japanese vowels (wa, su, ri, ect.). There are two more kana sections that make up the Hiragana “alphabet”: Combo Hiragana and Dakuten. I have no idea what those are (the first one is easily guessable) but that is for the next couple of sections ahead. We’ll just have to wait and see!
The “r” section is pronounced really weird. It’s like a combination of “L” and “R” with nice sprinkling of “D”. I was having troubles with it but I think I have it down decently now. Tomorrow I’m just going to spend 15 minutes or so with my pronunciations. The day after I’ll move on to the next section of learning. I am quite impressed with TextFugu. The way the book is formatted is to be instructional and informational while still ensuring that your retaining what is being taught. An artistic blend of these three things is what makes this such a successful learning resource. Well that’s all I did for today. It isn’t much but it’s best to learn in 30 – 60 minutes increments each day versus 8 hours in one day. Now to watch some anime….. 

Why Japanese?

I have always been interested in Japanese Culture which I think goes hand-in-hand with interest in the language. Of course my interest originally started with being introduced to Anime via a friend. However I love traveling and absolutely adore Japan’s geographic attractions. Very zen-like and yet busy at the same time (how intriguing).

Japan mountain

Scenic Japan

I have tried a couple of times and failed at learning Japanese. Mainly due to not making the time and general laziness kicking in. I am determined to learn this time. After taking Spanish for three years and not enjoying the language I discovered that in order to become fluent you must have an actual interest in the subject of study.

I have used Rosetta Stone to initially start learning but i found that it didn’t properly introduce the language. I did not like it. So actually as of today I was researching into finding another learning source and discovered Tofugu.com via Youtube! After reading several posts I was fascinated and was ultimately directed here for a highly recommended source for self-learning. So essentially I want to thank Koichi for his wonderful site and collection of resources that have been made available.