こんにちにゃあぁ～！Welcome to Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online, in blog form, beamed to the entire Earth simultaneously using The Internet in cooperation with our internet overlords that have graciously allowed inclusion within their networks, in-turn allowing you to access this very post. We’re your humble hosts, Kiki and Koko, here to guide you through Japanese language and culture, presenting you with handpicks gems of knowledge, allowing you to drink from the fountain of knowledge; and even climbing the stairs of learning to the goal that is a boating license— Er, ehem, we mean, Japanese language proficiency or even just a general grasp. And, even if your goal is simply to learn just enough to impress your friends or enough to communicate as the CEO of some sort of Japanese conglomerate, (We don’t know what your goals are, but there’s the chance that could be someone’s goal) it can still help you to think critically and look at both what is there and what isn’t. And, since you had a bit of a rest with 【やゆよ】, we reckoned it a good time to give a quick extra bit of learning~!
So, if you were here for the previous lesson, you might be wondering why this quiz is revisiting 「い」and 「え」, and if not, then definitely take a quick look at 【やゆよ】. But, we wanted to introduce this concept of how sounds that don’t exist in modern Japanese are adapted. We’ll have a more in-depth article in future, but for now, this should be helpful so that the quiz isn’t too surprising.
(In this next quick passage, we’re going to do some pretty out-there stuff such as assuming you’ve been here for the previous lessons, but no worries, because we have the links to the references to make it quicker so we can get to the quiz to properly test your skills~)
So, by now, you may have noticed a pattern that should feel natural by now, and that is how each of the rows/columns in 五十音順、gojuuon-jun, have five characters covering 「あいうえお」, however, as we’ve reached 【やゆよ】. Of course, there are some magical add-ons that we’ll teach in you in future that will expand more of the words and sounds you can read and write, Japanese language actually has very few native sounds when you compare it to languages like Swedish or English. You would normally expect to see an「い」or「え」ended hiragana in there, but as for this row, what would be 「Yi」and 「Ye」. But, oddly enough, modern Japanese simply doesn’t have these sounds.
‘But, Kiki, Koko!!’, you shout as you prepare a thorough rebuttal, ‘like, of course there’s a「Ye」in Japanese! What about 「yen」, clever clogs??’
To which we would firstly reply by thanking you for engaging, we would love more comments like these to help more people learn. And as for that, it could be an entire article on its own, but in Japanese, it’s not actually 「Yen」. It’s 「En」or 円、えん. Yeah, we know it’s quite a shock. Many people to whom we impart this knowledge feel bamboozled. And, notice that we did say modern Japanese! Whilst long ago, before the reform of Japanese writing, there was most likely a distinction between these sounds that could have been similar to 「Ye」.
However, there is one main reason why there is such a confusing change in spelling from 「en」 to 「yen」, and that is romaji: the double crosser. (a.k.a. the double crossing crutch.) Even Edo,江戸, the original name of Toukyou, 東京, was romanised as everything from 「Yedo」, to 「Yeddo」 to 「JEDDO」. That’s right, due to the irregularity of romanisations, Edo could at one point, during the 1800s, be unquestionably spellt 「Jedo.」
But, at the same time, there’s a reason why we have romaji. As it may not be perfect, it’s still important throughout the beginning of Japanese language learning, and beyond. So, definitely take a look at why romaji is a bit misunderstood, yet helps people understand.
But, after saying all of that, we’re still not saying that there isn’t to say there isn’t a 「Yi」and 「Ye」to be used at all, though. There are times this will come up in foreign words, loan words, or different native languages to Japan that may be in a similar blanket.
That being said, there is sort of a way to write 「Yi」and 「Ye」in hiragana that was in the previous lesson, 【やゆよ】. And, knowing how is important even if it may not come up very often.
But, all in all, the reason why we included the equivalent of 「Yi」and 「Ye」in the quiz is that it made it feel balanced, as all things should be.
So, without further ado, we’re going to test your skills! Do you KNOW 「やいゆえよ」?? This might be a tricky one as you’ll have to recall some earlier hiragana. But, hopefully after thinking through all of the patterns of hiragana, it’ll help you recognise these. Simply identifying three hiragana would still be impressive, but we’re going to raise the bar to higher feats of strength!!
And here to help us test your knowledge, you know him from his Word of the Week segment and his lovely quizzes, it’s our helpful quiz generating robot computer friend: QUIZBO™くん！With the amazing technological advances of the internet and sound relay, he can assist you 24/7 in telling you how to read each character in the previous lesson, and reading hiragana to quiz you in this lesson. If you press the 「▶」button on the virtual sound player, QUIZBO™ will read the random hiragana to you. From there, all you have to do is answer which character he’s saying from the options below. (No worries, you can have him repeat it as many times as you wish, that’s what he’s here for!)
And, remember, you can just refresh or return to the page to try again as many times as you wish!
Now, without further ado, let’s test our skills!
Let’s NihonGO!! やいゆえお!!
[Questions with QUIZBO™]
#1) Which hiragana do you hear? Hint: 【yu】
In romaji, 「ゆ」 is transliterated as 「yu」which sounds sort of like the English word 「you」
#2.) Which hiragana do you hear? Hint: 【ya】
In romaji, 「や」 is transliterated as「ya」which sounds like 「yahh」which sounds a little like the Swedish word for yes「ja」or… the first syllable in 「yaaaaaas」
#3.) Which hiragana do you hear? Hint: 【i】(‘yi’ equivalent)
Whilst 「yi」doesn’t have its own personal hiragana character, you may see it written as 「い」or even 「いぃ」
#4.) Which hiragana do you hear? Hint: 【yo】
In romaji, 「よ」 is transliterated as 「yo」which sounds like the hip greetings of 90s people:「Yo!」or the still pretty hip call in traditional Japanese kabuki:「Yoo~ooh!」
#5.) Which hiragana do you hear? Hint: 【e】(‘ye’ equivalent)
Wowee! That’s a wrap! Hit the showers! That was a good show of skill out there. Maybe you saw a lot of red and「× 惜しいなあ！」? Even still, you did a great job! It’s all about learning. Without making mistakes, you wouldn’t be able to correct those mistakes and learn from them. In fact, they’re not really mistakes at all, more like happy accidents.
If you’ve made it this far since 「あいうえお」, we would like to thoroughly congratulate you by saying: おめでとうございます, omedetou gozaimasu! Congratulations! If you’ve learnt at least 35 characters so far, then you’re most likely very serious about becoming fluent in Japanese, or at least very serious about learning to write, which in it of itself is something quite impressive. But, maybe you’re just joining us this current lesson and the thought of 35 characters to catch up with seems daunting. No worries!
Even though, of course, we’ve set this up as a relaxed environment where you can learn the characters at a pace that is usually very comfortable for everyone, that doesn’t mean that you have to cram everything from previous lessons to catch up. You have all of the time you need, here. We recommend trying to make this a relaxing experience where you pace yourself, even if you’re behind. There’s no such thing as being behind on lessons here. You can go back and read, re-read, revise/review any day at any time. The fact of it is that the majority of people won’t automatically memorise every lesson and article with one glance. It takes multiple sessions and refreshers.
That’s why we recommend you think of your Japanese language study time with us as a relaxing experience, something enjoyable, almost like a break or a rest. It can be strange thinking of exerting effort as a break, because, of course, learning takes effort and repetition, but it’s about training yourself to have an enjoyable experience during this.
Think of each goal that you have for your studies and think of each achievement as you go. You’ll realise you’ve accomplished more than you may have thought possible, and it should encourage you to continue pushing onwards through your journey!
We hope this was/will be helpful for you on your Japanese learning journey!
You mean so much to us, and we appreciate that you’ve chosen to learn with us.
We’ll be with you every step of the way~
Until next time, thank you for visiting!