こんにちにゃあ～！Welcome to Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online, the site with the ever-growing library of Japanese language and culture lessons and articles! We’re your instructors and curators of references for the duration, leading you down the halls of knowledge and up the stairs of learning; we’re your guides to Japanese language and culture, Kiki and Koko! However, we are not alone in this endeavour, for this time, we will be doing more than simply instructing; we will be assisting you in testing your skills or simply practising them. We have alongside us, the invaluable helper, reader of Japanese words, creator of challenges; it’s QUIZBO™, our robot computer friend! An important part of learning isn’t simply only revising lessons. Of course, returning to them often is an essential step to memorisation, however there is also the need to actually properly practise said lessons. You may notice when you’re reading your native language, you’re not looking at each letter individually. In fcat, if you’re a nvitae or naer-navite Eglisnh skeeapr, a good hlaf of tehm can mkae out waht tihs menas! (Or if you’re not part of that percentage who can read scrambled letters, as it’s definitely not reader-friendly for non-native speakers or those who don’t get along well with letters, it says: In fact, if you’re a native or near-native English speaker, a good half of them can make out what [that] means!) The point of it is that a lot of reading is context. So, you may take for granted each letter, even when you begin to read some vocabulary words with which you’re familiar. However, that’s why in the first stages of learning to read, it is important to pay special attention to differentiation of characters. English has the same facet where many letters looking very similar, but context and rote memorisation makes the difference clear. But, when you’re looking at characters like 「は」vs「ほ」 and 「ば」vs 「ぼ」, it becomes more important not to take that context for granted, as especially when you’re learning new vocabulary, you may not know which feels like the more natural and real word or if it’s a very closely pronounced word, or if you’ve simply overlooked the 濁点, dakuten. Either way, we’re here to assist you with this special quiz, asking the age old question: Do You Know 【ばびぶべぼ】？
No matter what we teach, we always make sure to not simply tell you: you have to learn it simply because it’s how it’s done. We make sure to give you incentive. Of course, if you’re passionate about learning Japanese, that’s reason enough to want to do your best and learn the most that you can, but unlike your teachers with the Pythagorean theorem in school, we’d rather give you real world applications. Though, it can be said, even for that, the point is just to stretch your mind like an exercise for future logical problem solving and memorisation rather than that specific equation on its own.
For some, reading Japanese can feel daunting because of the differentiation that can be very close to one another. But, once you get your mind and eye used to these differences in something smaller and ‘simpler’ like hiragana, then you’ll find yourself better prepared for kanji, which objectively becomes much simpler to differentiate once you start to understand the reused elements, rather than looking at it as a jumble of strokes. When looking at 「あいうえお」for the first time, it may be difficult to know what to focus on or how to really grasp onto them as well as further down the queue when you start to see more similar characters. But, that’s why, rather than avoiding those difficulties, we try to bring them to the forefront so that you can put the characters head-to-head and truly make concrete for yourself what exactly makes these different from one another. And we know, if you can find a way to differentiate 「C」and「G」along with 「b」「d」「p」and「q」, then we know you’ll be able to make differentiating these characters natural with time.
We mentioned him in the intro, and now he’s here to help! We have our computer friend, QUIZBO™, here to read each of the hiragana aloud to you. Press the 「▶」button and listen to the pronunciation. Then, you can do your best to identify which character they said! If you’ve been here since the previous lesson, you’ll know that QUIZBO™ is always available to listen to in his mobile form as QUIZBO™ mini; so, no worries if you need to have him repeat something, he’s here to help!
Maybe you’re not quite sure about how each of these are read… But, that’s okay as well! If you’re not quite sure of the matching moji (文字, characters), you can still guess to study/revise. Or, if you want something a bit more concrete, be sure to visit the Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! blog or online site where we have a whole lesson for you on how to read from あいうえお to– well, the current lesson! QUIZBO™ is there to help you read as well!
As for this quiz: the overall questions are in the same order each time, but the answers are randomised, so you can always return or refresh to study/revise!
So, without further ado:
Let’s NihonGO!! ばびぶべぼ!!
[Questions with QUIZBO™]
#1.) Which hiragana do you hear? Hint: 【bi】
In romaji, 「び」 is transliterated as 「bi」which sounds like the letter 「B」or 「bee」in more of an American accent.
#2.) Which hiragana do you hear? Hint: 【bo】
In romaji, 「ぼ」 is transliterated as 「bo」which sounds sort of like the English word 「bow」as in what one would wear in their hair or put on a gift, just without the extra diphthong.
#3.) Which hiragana do you hear? Hint: 【be】
In romaji, 「べ」 is transliterated as 「be」which sounds sort of like the English word「bay」without the ‘y’ sound at the end.
#4.) Which hiragana do you hear? Hint: 【bu】
In romaji, 「ぶ」 is transliterated as 「bu」or 「du」which sounds sort of like someone trying to scare someone by saying, 「boo!」in more of an American accent.
#5.) Which hiragana do you hear? Hint: 【ba】
In romaji, 「ば」 is transliterated as「ba」which sounds sort of like 「bahh」
That’s all for now! Did you do well? Did you get many correct? Or, do you need a bit more practise? No worries! You can retake this as many times as you wish just by refreshing the page! It’ll clear all of your answers, and even randomise the options under each answer to give you a bit of a challenge. Each numbered question will be in the same order, but at least you won’t end up memorising the order of the options instead of the actual characters you’re meant to be differentiating. If you’ve only just been introduced to these characters and you’re not feeling quite so confident in them, that is completely understandable. Remember that it takes more than a few glances to memorise these, and more usage for it to become naturally read and recognised within less than a second’s notice in order to read fluidly and fluently. And, even whilst you’re learning these, you’re also oddly enough continuing to learn other skills like proper romanisation which will assist in future, even though you shouldn’t rely on it forever as a beginner. No matter what, though, no matter how long it takes, QUIZBO™ will always be here for you to revise, day or night, reading for you whether everyone is busy or you’re only able to study for a random moment of the day.
Again, don’t feel the need to rush yourself. If you’ve studied with us thusfar, you’ve already learnt so much! It’s important to look forward and meet future goals, but it’s equally important to show yourself how far you’ve progressed. You can do that by going back and trying your hand at the previous quizzes. And, don’t forget, it’s still important to keep up with your handwriting and stroke order! Though we’ll be getting back to that quite shortly, you may want to try to write some vocabulary words in the meantime that use the previous stroke orders you’ve learnt. Though if you’ve learnt something thoroughly, it usually won’t leave you, it’s still important to keep these skills at the forefront of your mind and continue to keep them fresh!
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