皆さん、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, the only site run by twin [ℝ𝔼𝔻𝔸ℂ𝕋𝔼𝔻] and a sentient robot computer. We’ll take you by the hand and guide you through every twist and turn that lies on the path of your Japanese language learning journey. We’re your guides, taking you by the arm, leading you across the street and looking out for what may try to block your way! We’re Kiki and Koko! And, we’re joined again by said good computer robot friend: QUIZBO™! If not for his screen, we wouldn’t be able to guide you on these lessons. Speaking of which, if you haven’t met us before, you may not have seen the previous lessons. Of course, learning at any level is useful, but in order to get the best out of this experience, we recommend that you learn the first 五十音「ひらがな」, gojuuon hiragana. We’ll be referring to those lessons heavily and it’s just simply the best way to learn. Otherwise, you may get lost on the path and have to go back to the beginning anyway. From there, it’s important to know 「がぎぐげご」 because in that lesson, we explain 濁点, dakuten, and it’s the best way to begin learning how these modifications function for future use. And, also, it’s useful to also return to old lessons because we try our best not to repeat too many times unless it really fits within the flow. If not, it really simply bogs down lessons and might make the process less helpful. However, those who have been here since the beginning and already know the original characters will also benefit from practising today’s stroke order!
As we’ve mentioned in previous lessons, employing all of your senses is the best way to learn. Your brain has more connections made to the character this way, and it makes learning much more effective. So, when you’re revising and practising stroke order, you’re engaging in kinaesthetic learning. For many, this is a main factor in their learning, but honestly, everyone benefits from every type of learning, whether auditory, visual, or otherwise. It’s just about being as involved as possible, as your brain uses this as a better way to not simply memorise like a phone number you may forget a few moments after you stop repeating it and write it down on a piece of paper, but rather, like your native language where forgetting certain words feels impossible because of all of the connections you have to each of them.
On top of this, for those who feel they’re progressing quite smoothly, there’s never any harm in being sure you keep your handwriting neat and tidy. For many, when they become very comfortable with writing and begin writing more words and sentences, they begin to become lax in their stroke order or legibility. And, if you’re going to learn a language, as well as how to write it, then it’s only natural to want to make a good job of it! There’s nothing more rewarding than being complimented on pretty penmanship, and hopefully this is a great time for those who have learnt the original 五十音順, gojuuonjun, to ‘brush up’ on their handwriting skills. And, even still, by writing these, it makes you more aware of the differences between the original and the modified versions. Not to say that two dots are much of a difference, but beginners definitely can easily overlook such a small modification when reading or writing. So, it just gets your eye looking for the modification more easily especially when you have the mechanics of it encoded in your mind.
Another useful tip ties back to just a moment earlier. Engaging as many senses as possible in a useful way can make learning new characters much more effective. One useful method, when you’re first learning is to hear the pronunciation, repeat the pronunciation, write the character, hear the pronunciation, then repeat the pronunciation again. Even if you do that a few times over the course of several days, it should combine several skills into one session. But, of course, there’s still nothing that beats simply writing. And, in that case, if you’re already comfortable with the pronunciation, you can simply read the character aloud after you write it each time to really concretely put in your mind a connection between the reading and the way it’s written so that every time you see it, you’ll remember how to read and write it!
Overall, it’s really about what works best for you, though. We’ll continue to provide for you the resources you need along with useful suggestions on how to utilise them, but if there’s any methods that work for you that you’d like to share, you can always share them with us, and maybe it will help another person who may learn in the same way. Whilst we’ve taught Japanese language for quite some time, there’s always more to learn about the people learning the language. Be sure to always keep an open mind of learning no matter how skilled you become, as there’s always something new to learn or a new way you may not have thought to do something that could end up being useful.
Either way, we’ve provided the previous two lessons for you below so that you can keep them open in order to revise the readings and pronunciations of these characters whilst you revise. And, hey, you can always go back to previous vocabulary to see if there’s anywhere you’d use these, then write the words. In future, we’ll certainly have some useful practice as we have in the past, but this should be a useful opportunity all the same. Anyway, you can open these even on a different device or a different window, and return any time you’re ready!
brought to you by 「ばびぶべぼ」
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 「だぢづでど」– 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:
Before we give our helpful hints, we want to be sure to remind you that the main part of this character is exactly like its 五十音順, ごじゅうおんじゅん, counterpart found in
Firstly, be sure to note that the main part of this character is identical to its いろは counterpart in 「はひふへほ」, except the only part you have to do differently is the dakuten. Now, these hints will most likely be about dakuten placement, so if you require hints on the base, be sure to visit the 「はひふへほ」lesson. But, when it comes to 「ば」、it has a useful shelf on the angle of the 「t」shape. You’ll usually if not always find the dakuten placed in that area. It keeps it visually identifiable, and it’s just a convenient spot where you can easily see it when reading.
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
Whilst the hints for the original can be found in the 「はひふへほ」lesson, we’ll help you with dakuten placement! The rule is generally just the top right corner, but in this case, there isn’t a convenient shelf on everyone’s handwriting. So, just try to keep it close to that last line of the first stroke, keeping it on the outside. Usually, no matter the handwriting, it’s still generally thought of as the top right-hand corner, so if you do have trouble, just keep it close to the character without having it trail off into another area.
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
With so many strokes, we definitely recommend having a look at the original 「はひふへほ」lesson to be sure you have a good grasp on it. Otherwise, there’s usually a useful nook for the dakuten next to the first stroke and above the third stroke that is always open. Just keep it neat, and keeping that area available should work. Otherwise, even if it trails above the sharp turn of the first stroke, you should still be able to place it above the sharp turning angle if you end up having a wide area. But, either way, it still follows the usual placement.
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
This dakuten has a perfect placement aesthetically, as you can simply imagine it as a hill and birds fly above that hill, being the dakuten. Usually, you’ll just put it on the right side of the hill, just as in the diagram. Though, it does kind of break the rules as it usually looks more as though it’s in the middle of the longer leg of the hill rather than perfectly in the top right hand corner, but this is just erring on the side of keeping the dakuten close.
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
This has an oddly changing placement depending on not only the font but also the handwriting. Some people change their handwriting on this versus the usual way as it keeps the dakuten closer in the area. You’ll often see the ま area, without the tippy top portion, scrunched a bit with the dakuten put on top in an attempt to keep it all on one space. However, it’s just as legible and widespread to simply write 「ほ」and add the dakuten to make「ぼ」without worrying. It’s just that in handwriting, it’s more difficult to put such small dakuten, which is why the scrunching will happen in some people’s handwriting. So, whether you smoosh the character and keep the first stroke tall or you write it normally and hope the dakuten fits, you should still have a nice looking character.
And, there you have it! 「ばびぶべぼ」! Hopefully if you’ve already learnt「はひふへほ」, this served as a useful revision and a way to differentiate from dakuten. The dakuten placement on its own is something with which people often struggle, especially when the placement feels ambiguous after viewing others’ handwriting. And, in fonts as well as handwriting, the difference can be very small, so it’s important to have a concrete difference in your mind the more similar characters can be. One would think that it would be more difficult to remember very different characters, but it can be the similarities for which you have to watch out. So, be sure to do your best and take your time practising these for better. And, the method which you use can mean all the difference between a useful session and one that doesn’t quite stick.
Maybe there’s a trick you have that’s helped you? Be sure to leave a comment as maybe it’ll help someone else, as well. But, maybe you’re ready for even more information to store in your mental cupboard. You can subscribe to the Electronic Mailing List of Tomorrow, today, found usually at the bottom of the site page or the sidebar on desktop. You’ll get the latest alerts, tools and resources for everything from surviving in Japanese language to our latest projects sent straight to your inbox. That’s articles, videos, podcasts, and more!
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