TIL: Human Japanese Ch:3, Pimsluer 1-4

the first 5 characters of the hiragana alphabet

Hmm…. I just spent an hour trying to troubleshoot a BSOD on my computer. It seems that somehow my default settings for my video card got set and running Photoshop with my integrated card was causing chaos… but setting the default to use my NVIDIA card … seems? to have fixed it? Maybe? I hope?

So I did more Japanese today, here is what I learned!

Human Japanese:

So chapter 3 is about Hiragana. One thing to be aware of when writing is that each letter fits snugly into a box. Another is stroke order. If letters aren’t drawn in the correct order, they look wonky. This is particularly true with a brush pen (what I used when taking notes in notebooks). I guess I should track down my tablet so that I can practice my letters in Photoshop or something. Here’s what I’m talking about though:

The three types of strokes for japanese kana. Tome, Hane, Harai.

My sight reading even for the 5 basics: あいうえお is horrendous. There was a time I could actually recognize these instantly! Typing is actually pretty simple in that regard I guess… the process of typing is simply to type the sounds… but with writing, you actually need to remember what everything looks like…

I guess I should use these work sheets from japanese-lesson.com to practice. Here’s additional squares straight from Human Japanese.

So the basic Kana covered in this lesson include:

    あ – it’s important that the last stroke intersects the two places at top and bottom so as to leave a slight stub. The very end of the stroke is also trying to finish a complete circle. Don’t make it pointing down or in another direction.
    い – make sure to include the hane. The second stroke is also shorter than the first.
    う – angle the first stroke back, it’s not a vertical line. the second stroke moves north east.
    え – the wave at the end is essential.
    お – if you lift the pen up at the end of the second stroke, you could continue in a looping motion which positions you for the last stroke.
    か – try to balance it in a triangle formed by the second and third strokes. The first stroke comes down the center of the triangle, parallel to the second stroke
    き – despite what typed fonts indicate, that loop at the bottom is generally missing a gap in it when drawn on paper.
    く – keep the angle at roughly or slightly greater than 90 degrees
    け – there should be a good hane at the end of stroke one, and it should veer slightly. Same at the end of the third stroke.
    こ – be sure not to make it look like a =. Honor the hane at the end of the first stroke and keep them far enough that it makes somewhat of a square shape.

ten-ten (dakuten) are softening marks which change the sounds. thus k becomes g sounds.

    か き く け こ
    が ぎ ぐ げ ご

(I actually can read these better than the vowels!)

    さ – as with き the c shape is often not entirely whole
    し – don’t make it look like a fishhook. the point should be at a 45-degree angle, not straight up
    す – the final stroke veers slightly to the left, as with け. The loop is often exaggerated, so don’t make it too small.
    せ – the first stroke shouldn’t be entirely horizontal, but rather slightly north east. The hane should also be included on the third stroke.
    そ – really make the C shape. An alternate form looks like this.

ten-ten are used here as well to make z sounds instead of s sounds. Ten-ten should make sounds softer…but shi turns to ji.

    さ し す せ そ
    ざ じ ず ぜ ぞ

(again, I’m actually not bad at reading this set)

It’s worth noting that no native Japanese words use the sounds tea or two… instead they use chi and tsu. There’s many words borrowed from English which use the sounds… I’m not sure how it is indicated just yet though.

    た – think of that as a mini こ
    ち – the last stroke veers up slightly
    つ – think of it as the breaking wave of a tsunami
    て – don’t make this look like a 7, there’s a large plump ball in that curve
    と – think of it as a toe with a nail sticking out of it

And of course, we have the d sounds added with more ten-ten:

    た ち つ て と
    だ ぢ づ で ど

In this case, chi becomes ji, and tsu becomes zu… these are rather rare, like an exotic z or x.

(Damn… this keeps going… I figured this chapter would only have a few of them, nut it looks like n is the last)

    な – note the third stroke veers to the right. swing it out just a bit as well.
    に – simlar to a ta in that the last strokes should not quite be parallel. There should be a good hane from the first stroke.
    ぬ – beware the loop this is very similar to め. I remember being taught to think of this as a bowl of noodles. There should be a tiny stump poking out from that first stroke.
    ね – beware the loop as this is very similar to わ.The first stroke should be straight down, not diagonal.
    の – it’s quite oval shaped!

There are no ten-ten for the n series!
I will need more review on these. I’m actually excited to learn that there’s an intermediate version of Human Japanese as well. I like their teaching style, and wasn’t aware until I attempted to track down that pdf that I linked to above for practicing kanji.

Pimsleur 1-4
It’s hard to know what to do with this stuff… Each time I listen to a lesson, I feel like I can barely remember what I’ve just covered… and yet because they review the last lesson, I feel stronger with it. It’s hard to know whether to keep pushing forward or to go back to a previous one to make sure I’ve got it. I think what made this lesson harder is that it relies on place names. And not being familiar with the places, it’s harder to remember. I’m admittedly bad with remembering nouns. This means I forget people’s names 🙁

So the new vocabulary:

    こんにちは – konnichi wa – hello
    はなします – hanashimasu -speak
    じょうずに – jouzu ni – well / skillfull. particle に seems to turn this into an adverb? Man: Jozu ni hanashimasu – You speak well.
    よく – yoku – skillfully. wtf. Woman: Demo nihongo ga yoku wakarimasu ne – but you understand japanese well, eh?
    うえの – Ueno – the place in Japan called Ueno
    しんじゅく – Shinjuku – the place in Tokyo called Shinjuku
    えき – eki – station
    こうえん – kouen – park
    どこ – doko – where
    ここ – koko – here
    あそこ – asoko – over there

Shit… it’s 1:32am… why am I not sleeping?