FoxxFireArt (Level 25)

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Welcome to - Lesson Three Japanese Writing

ganbatte!!
ganbatte!!

This is the third in the Japanese Language Lessons you can only find here on Anime Vice. It's the week of Christmas here in the U.S., but that's not stopping me from keeping the classes going. Today is a big day, because we are going to completely finish up the Hiragana portion of the Lessons and we are going to talk about certain kinds of modifier kana that you can add to alter the sounds of certain kana. Once this is completed, I plan to move on to Katakana.

When we finish Katakana. I will then be teaching you how to translate your own name into Japanese. We are getting closer and closer to learning deeper into the Japanese Language. I know this is a bit tedious, but understanding these will make everything so much easier later on. It was around this tiem in my lessons that I started to understand what I was always seeing. In my head I could now look at Japanese and know what the character was. Before, it just used to be a scribble. I'm sure you are going to get that same feeling soon, and it's pretty exciting.

I hope you enjoy!

Seems as if I added a lot looking at this list, but it's mostly the modifiers and we will be covering those in a bit. Once you understand the modifiers it all makes sense. First;y, let's finish up the writing Hiragana lessons with the R-Base characters.

Base R

As you can see, the Ru and Ro are pretty similar in appearance. The best was I can help you to remember the difference. Just remember that the Ro is not the one with the circle at the end.

That's it, you have now completed the Hiragana class. There are 46 base kana in hiragana, but that is hardly enough to make up a whole language and sounds. Next we are going to cover some certain modifiers.

Dakuten & Handakuten

Dakuten

Dakuten Example
Dakuten Example

There are times when in Japanese the same character appears but will have a different sounds. The first example is called a Dakuten (sometimes referred to as a "ten ten"). They are easy to spot since they look like little quotation marks next to the hiragana. Adding this to the Ka character would now make it pronounced as Ga. These changes follow a specific pattern.

With Dakuten Added:

  • The K Base will all be G Base
  • The S Base will be Z Base (with the exception of Shi will be Ji)
  • The T Base will all be D Base
  • The H Base will all be B Base

Handakuten

Handakuten Example
Handakuten Example

Another modifying mark that is similar to the Dakuten is call the Handakuten (sometimes referred to as a "maru" or "circle"). Unlike the Dakuten where the sound in the syllable can vary. This mark will always mean the character starts with a P sound.

The Handakuten isn't as widely used as the Dakuten. It is only used with the H Base kana to make them P Base, as seen in the image example below.

With Handakuten Added:

  • Ha becomes Pa
  • Hi becomes Pi
  • Fu becomes Pu
  • He becomes Pe
  • Ho becomes Po

Small Kana Modifiers

There are times when Kana are added to words in order to alter the way a word is pronounced. There are seen as small Hiragana written directly after a regular sized one. You can see an example of one in the chibi drawing at the top of the lessons where I wrote "がんばって" (ganbatte). The phrase means "Keep it up!". You may notice that the T is written as repeating. There is a reason for that, and we are going to cover that next.

Small Tsu Modifier

The small つ (tsu) kana is a popular one you are going to be seeing quite a bit of in Japanese writing. When writing this, it means that you are to extend the consonant of whatever character comes after it. In the case of "がんばって" (ganbatte), the て (te) comes directly after the small つ (tsu).

Another example would be to look to the Japanese word for "school".

In the word "gakkou", you ca see that the small つ (tsu) is followed by the こ (ko) kana. That tells you the extend the K sound. See, this one is easy enough.

Examples:

EnglishRomajiKana
Keep it upganbatteがんばって
schoolgakkouがっこう
husbandottoおっと
one minuteippunいっぷん

Just don't be fooled to think that every time you see a consonant repeated when reading the romaji of Japanese that there is a small つ (tsu) involved. The word for woman in Japanese is おんな (onna). This is just made up of a o-n-na hiragana. You are only going to have to be aware of this when you see the N consonant repeat. That's because of the that rouge ん (n) hiragana.

The Kuja Amazons want to see Luffy's Kintama.
The Kuja Amazons want to see Luffy's Kintama.

To fill out in on something funny. You might have heard of the series Gintama. It's written ぎんたま(gintama). If you were to remove the dakuten from the ぎ(gi). The word would now be きんたま (kintama). Now, while literally that now means "golden ball". Kintama is also the word for "testicles". lol When Luffy was trapped in the jail of Amazon Lily, many had never seen a man before. He was standing before them naked, and they asked him what was in the sack between his legs. With confidence, Luffy announced that's his "family jewels" (kintama), but they thought he meant "golden balls". That's why Margaret was after Luffy's kintama, and why he was so passionate to keep them right where they were.

Ya, Yu, & Yo Modifiers

These modifiers are not seen as often as the small つ (tsu), but they will appear. They are just more complicated, but written basically the same way. They are smaller versions that are written after a regular kana.

Ya/Yu/Yo Modifiers
Ya/Yu/Yo Modifiers

You will notice that all these modifiers really do are replace the regular vowel base added to the pronunciation with it's self. How き (ki) added with a small や (ya) afterit becomes a きゃ (kya). This is one example. You can see all the variants in the use of these modifiers in the chart above.

The exception being with the し (shi) and ち (chi). In this case, the only thing you will replace is the vowel at the end. You will see something similar with the じ (ji), but it's basically the same thing as the shi with a dakuten,

Examples:

EnglishRomajiKana
hospitalitykyakuzukiきゃくずき
luxuryshashiしゃし
bathingnyuuyokuにゅうよく
youthjakunenじゃくねん

This was a pretty complicated lesson, but once we get all these writing lessons out the of the way. We can start handling deeper lessons.

Complete Hiragana Chart

If you would like to have a print out of all these Hiragana. Go HERE to download the full sized version to print out.

Next Lesson: Katakana - Characters Vowels & Base K / S / T

Back to Lesson Guide: HERE

-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for lesson updates: @ animevice / @ FoxxFireArt

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