Kanji

We have previously learnt about hiragana and katakana (collectively known as kana) but now we have the much more complex Kanji – the one Japanese alphabet that is scary – and I try to introduce just what it is and how to read it (thereby exposing the depths of my ignorance). That said, despite my fearful words and negativity, Kanji was what I did well at during my last exam so if a dunce like me can learn it you can to!

Brace up for what might become boredom or enlightenment (depending upon how literate I feel).

So What is Kanji?

Quick history lesson. The origins of Kanji go back to the Chinese scribes of the Yin Dynasty, which lasted from 1700 to 1050 BC. 

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Katakana

The hiragana posts were quite easy to write (I don’t know about reading them, you’ll have to give me feedback) but an important precedent has been set – I have got into a regular release schedule for Japanese lessons. I’m finally taking this blogging thing seriously and using it to teach.

Yay positivity, eh? I feel like that guy off Half Nelson but without the drugs. Or the pressure of regular students. Or the good-looks. Sigh.

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Japanese – Hiragana

Well it has been a long time since my last post about anything to do with the Japanese language. This can be attributed to a combination of job search, cinema, anime and a little laziness.

My apologies (let us pretend you care).

That said, I have added quite a few things to my おもしろい です ね (Omoshiroi desu ne) page so check that out for some bizarre and cool stuff.

Anyway we shall tarry no more! Back to Japanese! I have gone over a list of websites that would be beneficial for any student at any level (look at my blog roll) and I have gone over the basics. With this post I introduce a shorter and snappier lesson that is easier to swallow. Starting frooooooom…

Now!

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Kanji Gold

A shot of Kanji Gold in action

http://web.uvic.ca/kanji-gold/

This downloadable 2MB freeware flash card program written by Dr. Denton Hewgill features a comprehensive and flexible testing system. There are a large amount of Kanji and testing options to stretch the user with different grades.

After a title page, it launches into a multiple-choice test with a list of possible answers (in grey) and a list of compounds (in blue) of the Kanji in use, are at the bottom to provide clues. Button between the answers and the examples can turn on or off hiragana, compounds and switch the examples from English to Japanese.

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The Basics of Japanese

I won’t assume you know the basics of Japanese so I’ll just give a basic introduction as to what it involves (if you do, skip this post). Remember, all languages require diligence and hard work. Japanese is a rewarding language to learn. Once you’ve mastered an element, you really feel like you have achieved something.

Japanese has what we may call three alphabets: Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. These are character sets/symbols that represent sounds in the case of Hiragana and Katakana and concepts in the case of Kanji.

Kana: Hiragana and Katakana are known collectively as Kana and both represent the same sounds from the Japanese language. For example, House  – Uchi, is made up of the hiragana, U  う, Chi ち. Katakana has the same sounds but different characters, U ウ & Chiチ.

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