ひらがな かわいい flash cards! How can you resist the cuteness!?

Jbox now offers the super cute hiragana flash cards that I mentioned in my previous post! They offer learning the hiragana along with a word in Japanese on each card so you can learn more at once!

http://www.jbox.com/product/PRE979

日本ご absolute beginners Japanese! Alphabet and pronunciation

Before I write about learning words in Hiragana I thought it would be good to learn the very basics. To start Japanese has a few alphabets. First they have hiragana which is what I would call their main alphabet, then katakana which is used to write foreign words that the Japanese adapted, also the hardest of all is kanji because their are so many characters to memorize. Kanji are characters from china that kept most the same meaning but are used with the Japanese language. The average Japanese person knows about 2000 kanji to understand written things. I’m on about 50, so I have quite a ways to go, though my goal is only 1000. Last but not least is romaji which is romanized characters. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiragana

Some useful links for study…

http://learnthekana.com/the-hiragana-chart/

http://www.digitaldialects.com/Japanese.htm

http://www.textfugu.com/

Here’s some basic sounds…

     あ-a ah as in hot
     い-i ee as in meet
     う-u oo as in food
     え-e eh as in the name Ed
     お-o oh as in oat

し- shi as in she

-tsu as in t plus the name sue

じ-ji as in jeep

ふ-fu as in food

Also common letter combinations you come across isあいai as in I, えいei as in hey, おいoi as in toy, and おうou which gives it a longer oh sound.

あ      い      う     え     お

a         i        u        e       o

か     き     く     け     こ

ka     ki     ku     ke     ko

さ     し     す     せ     そ

sa    shi     su     se     so

た     ち     つ      て     と

ta     chi     tsu     te     to

な     に     ぬ     ね     の

na     ni     nu     ne    no

は     ひ     ふ     へ     ほ

ha     hi     fu     he     ho

ま      み     む     め     も

ma    mi    mu    me    mo

や              ゆ              よ

ya              yu             yo

ら     り     る     れ     ろ

ra     ri     ru     re     ro

わ              ん             を

wa              n             wo

So these are the basics of hiragana. Also there is a thing called ten-ten that is added to the k,s,t, h groups that change the first letter to those groupings. They look like quotation marks.

が ぎ ぐ げ ご

ga     gi     gu    ge    go

ざ じ ず ぜ ぞ

za     ji      zu     ze     zo

だ ぢ づ で ど

da     ji      zu     de     do

ば び ぶ べ ぼ

ba     bi     bu    be    bo

Last is a circle that is added to the h group to make p sounds. These are called maru.

ぱ     ぴ     ぷ     ぺ     ぽ

pa     pi      pu     pe     po

I placed this chart below to make it less confusing with the combo hiragana. Also I placed a link under this photo to the site this image is from. It has a lot of useful tools for learning Japanese.

http://www.textfugu.com/


あお/みどり Go, the traffic light is blue!?

As you may or may not know the Japanese drive on the left side like in England.

One common thing though that you might hear is Go, the “traffic light is blue!” Blue you may ask, what gives? It’s not that the light is even blue, it’s actually green. But in Japanese green みどり(midori) is consider to be a type of blue あお(ao). In ancient Japan their were four main colors to describe things; red, black, white, and blue. Red was to describe thing that were bright and blue for the opposite, pale or faint. The word for green wasn’t in existence in Japanese till the Heian Period(794-1185AC) and still then it was considered a shade of blue. It was only after WWII that the word for green みどり(midori) was used more often.

Not only is the traffic light called blue, also a few other things that are green kept the tradition of blue あお(ao). A green apple is consider a blue apple あおりんご(ao ringo) and green leafy vegetables are considered blue あおな(ao na). Spring trees are あおば(ao ba) meaning youth or newness. Though many modern day things keep to the word for green, like a green car or a green sweater.

Also if you ask what color the sun is they will say red. Also a baby is called あかちゃん(akachan) since they are red at birth. Red is an auspicious color. Another one is that the moon is yellow. いろ(Iro) means color and いろいろ(iroiro) is various.

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