皆ちゃま、こんにちにゃあぁ！「Kiki+Koko:Let’s NihonGO!! Online」へ ようこそ！ Welcome to Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online!! We’re your guides to Japanese language and culture, as well as your guides to writing, Kiki and Koko~! Though, we can’t do it on our own, as we have our apt Heisei era computer friend QUIZBO™ joining us with his state of the art VIC-II graphics with 8-bit display technology. (Move over, Atari 800) But, right now, you may be saying, ‘Déja Vu! I’ve just been in this place before!’ especially if you’ve learnt how to write「かきくけこ 」with us.
Yes, quite some time ago, around the second writing lesson to be exact, we introduced you to these characters, and in later lessons, we alluded to the fact that you would already be practising for much more than you realised. We mentioned that your efforts were technically doubled. And, here we are, finally, for the time that you will reap the benefits of the previous lessons. But, if this is the first lesson you’ve experienced, then we recommend you continue in order starting with 「あいうえお」as there are useful stepping stones that will lead you down a much more useful path, as there are vitally important tips and hints along the way. But, if you’re already up-to-date with the latest lessons, you may wonder what use writing a new character with only a few new strokes will be, and we’re here to let you know! We don’t simply tell you what you should learn, but we include the why and the how.
As we explained in the previous lesson about dakuten, the character is basically a modified form of one of the original gojuuon characters, alerting you that it makes a different sound this time, a sort of muddied sound, and should be treated as a different character. However, if you already know most of the strokes, then you may wonder about the use of practising it as a separate character. Well, it’s really all about the learning process as a whole. We realise that many people are kinaesthetic learners, and to some extent, everyone benefits form kinaesthetic learning. Including motion in your learning can be immeasurably useful. Repeating the motion of writing the character as well as thinking of the reading of the character, and saying the character’s reading aloud, will assist you in using as many senses as possible. And, when you engage more of your senses, you’re forming more schemas, or connections which are a sort of scaffolding to your memory. It’s why you’re more likely to remember something connected to a song you heard or even a craft you were making. However, the most important part of all of this is differentiating「がぎぐげご」from 「かきくけこ 」.
Before, we explained how sokuon and chouon are seemingly small pronunciation changes in real-time speed that can vastly change the meaning of a word, but when it comes to writing, it’s a matter of being able to also reference the correct kanji, as even when you advance to a stage where you’ll use kanji, these sorts of romaji inputs and hiragana will continue to be essential. Now, we mention this because these characters with dakuten will be amongst other characters, and differentiating them within a sea of other characters is what you’ll eventually want to practise. But, for now, we do have a quick simulation that may assist you.
どっちが「koko」と読みますか？ Which is read as ‘koko’?
どっちが「yugi」と読みますか？Which is read as ‘yugi’?
どっちが「gakkou」と読みますか？ Which is read as ‘gakkou’?
(shape, form, figure, appearance)
どっちが「kaki」と読みますか？Which is read as ‘kaki’?
(brat (kid), hungry ghost)
Now, of course, those are only a few, but we’ll have more useful opportunities in future. This lesson, you should really focus on the writing aspect, but we recomend opening a tab or window on a device which you can look at the stroke order on one and ask QUIZBO™ to read it out loud as many times as you wish.
That being said, if you haven’t had the chance to revise / study, this is the perfect time.
brought to you by 「がぎぐげご」
Now, once you have your reference ready, you can take a look if you should forget how to pronounce them, or if you’re just making sure your pronunciation is accurate. And, if you’re new, you might wonder who this blue computer gentleman is. This is QUIZBO™くん, our favourite quiz generating robot computer who also functions as a very useful display generator, will be using the latest technology to show you how to write 「がぎぐげご」– This will be with the age old device we know as… numbers and arrows.
Sure, these methods could seem simple, but after years upon years of methods this seems to be the one that helps people without going to fast or slow. That way it will show each character’s stroke order properly whilst also giving a good view of the actual character’s overall look. Whilst you’ll be able to see how the character will look through each step of the process, we’ll also be there with helpful hints!
How to use stroke order
Before we properly begin, we figured it would be best to give you a quick overview on how to read these diagrams. For each character, there’s mostly 3-4 strokes that are written in a specific order. Each number signifies which stroke should come first. Start where the circled number begins and write the stroke in the direction in which the arrow is pointing. If you want to see what each step looks like and what yours should look like at that stage, then take a look at the squares on the right. They squares are ordered up to down and right to left in Japanese order. And, that’s the whole of it!
It’s time to equip your pencils, grab a pen, take out a notepad, a digital device and a stylus, anything you need to write safely and comfortably. Let’s write hiragana!
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
If you’ve already learnt to write「かきくけこ 」, you’ll notice the only addition is the dakuten. Now, honestly, you shouldn’t have to worry much about the stroke order of the dakuten, BUT it’s just a good habit to be sure to do all of the little things in order which usually results in better handwriting. Also, it just makes logical sense to start with the base then continue to the modifications. Think of it as a little hat that muffles everything 「か」says.
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
Definitely continue to pay mind to your handwriting. Things can get a bit tricky when it comes to where to place the dakuten. But, sometimes, you’ll find them sitting atop of the first stroke. It really depends on the style, but for now, just keep your handwriting consistent for learning’s sake, and you can get a bit fancier when you’re further along. We’re sure you’ll be able to create some lovely writing.
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
Well, at times, you may actually find the dakuten atop 「く」’s bill/head, and other times, you’ll find the dakuten father inside of the mouth. This is useful in case you see any media or handwriting using this character. As with all of them, the only main rule is really that it stays in the top right-hand corner
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
Again, you’ll find the dakuten of this character sitting in the top right corner, usually anchored by the second stroke, resting above it.
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
This will be a character you write quite often, even in advanced writing. You’ll usually see this in front of some honorific words in order to make them more respectful. As for the dakuten, you’ll usually see it in a similar place, or sort of more-so above the first stroke. But, either way, still you can count on that upper right hand side.
And, there you have it! 「がぎぐげご」!! Now, perhaps, after writing the first gojuuon characters, you may be looking to keep your handwriting looking perhaps a bit cleaner. But, if your handwriting still doesn’t quite feel natural, yet, then don’t rush it. That’s also what repetition is about. Once the strokes start to feel natural and your hand becomes quicker, you’ll start to find your centre and your own still accurate but unique handwriting will begin to form. Just be sure to make a good differentiation between hiragana with dakuten and the original gojuuon. That’s why, even though they’re colloquially referred to as ‘dots’, you should sill extend them a bit to make them legible.
But, no worries if it still doesn’t feel natural, yet. Writing and handwriting is a journey in itself. Look to your handwriting in your own language, and think of the time it took you as a child to form a more aesthetic handwriting. Or, perhaps, you never really got to the point where you had aesthetically pleasing handwriting. Even still, that’s what the stroke order is for~! Once you’ve seen a lot of native Japanese handwriting, which has the same ranges as in any other handwriting: anywhere from smooth and beautiful to grainy and angular. You’ll realise the importance of stroke order in sussing out what it says, as handwriting can often differ greatly from the usual fonts you see. This is why it’s very important to focus on the strokes as they will not only assist your writing, but your reading skills.
For now, we don’t want to overload you with too much more information as we’d like to give you the time to absorb the current information and really practise your writing skills. We’re sure your handwriting will be perfectly beautiful in its own way. If anything, be proud that you’re putting in the effort and doing your best, and hopefully having at least a bit of fun doing it.
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Thank you for joining us! We hope that you continue with us on this adventure, and we appreciate that you’ve chosen us to assist you on your Japanese learning journey.
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