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, your guides to Japanese language and culture. And, this lesson, we’ve reached the momentous occasion of the last of the main hiragana characters! Don’t fret, though! There’s still more hiragana concepts and combinations that we have in store for you. But, let’s not have that take away from the fact that you’ve reached such a milestone! If you’ve been writing with us since 「あいうえお」learning all of the 五十音順, ごじゅうおんじゅん, then climbing up to the 濁点, だくてん, and finally reaching the heights of 半濁点, だくてん, we can’t express how proud of you we are! You not only showed perseverance, thus far, but you’ve also shown your determination and ability to follow through in a way that bodes well for anyone looking to become fluent in Japanese, or really anyone with any long term goals! But, perhaps it’s been a bit of a struggle for you, and maybe you haven’t made it to this point, and even still, we have to congratulate you on your efforts! Everyone doesn’t learn at the same pace, and these are characters entirely different than you may be used to writing, so just be patient with yourself and keep doing your best. Each new character you can master is one more than you would have known without doing anything, so be proud of yourself for that! But, maybe, you’re someone who’s never actually learnt any of this, and if you’re looking to learn Japanese, we implore you start this journey with us, as reading and writing are invaluable and essential to learning any language.
If you’ve spent enough time with these lessons, you’ll probably already know what we continue to repeat which is the importance of using all of your senses. Writing by hand isn’t just an important cultural aspect, it promotes kinaesthetic learning. That’s why many people will take the time to rewrite their digital notes by hand on paper to really reinforce the information. Each stroke, each line, it all adds up to more connections in your mind to the concept of everything from sounds to vocabulary. That’s why we recommend that you use this opportunity to practise your reading, as well. You can always go back and reference previous lessons in order to compose full sentences with beautiful handwriting and correct stroke order to practise previous vocabulary lists. Or, if you’re still working on character recognition and differentiation, you can always try writing each of the similar characters such as 「は」「ば」and「ぱ」whilst listening to the pronunciation and saying them aloud. It’s important to really point out and isolate similar characters in order to understand their differences and know the proper pronunciation when reading or which character to use whilst writing.
But, it’s also important to get the main characters as a solid concept in your mind before doing this. That’s why we recommend having a look at the previous lessons. You can open these even on a different device or a different window, then play QUIZBO™’s soundbyte in order to get some auditory learning and rote memorisation going, then repeating after to put it in action. Also, once you’ve really gotten these into your muscle memory, we recommend sort of taking yourself off guard and trying to write the characters at random times, then checking if it’s correct. It can be easy to simply find yourself copying and never really applying the stroke order, but taking the stabilisers off of your bicycle can really help. But, luckily, these stabilisers are easy-on and easy-off, as you can check and double check your form and pronunciation at any time to make sure it’s not drifting off of the mark. And, anyway, even if you don’t plan on going indepth, this is a great opportunity to have another go at QUIZBO™ and our quiz along with the initial lesson. We’ll be here waiting for you when you’re ready!
brought to you by 「ぱぴぷぺぽ」
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 「ぱぴぷぺぽ」– 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:
Even though the base of the character should be written almost exactly like its 五十音順, ごじゅうおんじゅん, counterpart: 「はひふへほ」ーunless you see it stylised in certain fonts or handwriting, but it’s best to focus on the proper handwriting before getting fancyーyou’ll want to note the stroke order of the 半濁点, はんだくてん、as well as the placement.
So, normally, JSL students probably wouldn’t even pay any mind to the stroke order of the 半濁点, はんだくてん、however almost all Japanese teachers will place heavy importance on stroke order (even when it comes to Latin or Roman letters!) So, even if you don’t really hold any merit to it, knowing this extra bit of stroke order is visible in your handwriting, and you’ll certainly impress your instructors. And, who doesn’t want to do their best when they can?
Anyway! Whilst the rest follows 「はひふへほ」, you’ll notice the handakuten starts at about 5 o’clock on the circle and continues clockwise. This is noticeable mostly when the character is written with a brush, but can still stand out in pencil. Luckily, this little maru-chan can find a nice perch in the crux of the third and second stroke which keeps it close enough to not mistake it for a full stop at the end of a sentence.
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
Again, you’ll find this follows the「はひふへほ」stroke order, and as you’ll notice, the placement o the handakuten luckily corresponds with the placement of dakuten. Just right there in the upper right hand corner is where you’ll find this little rising circle. You’ll almost always find it there with the only differences relying on handwriting and how tilted or lengthy the strokes become. Otherwise, if you’re stuck on anything, you can always refer to the original gojuuonjun lessons linked in the hiragana above.
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
You can definitely benefit from a refresher from the 「はひふへほ」lesson because there is quite a bit to keep intact. This will definitely reflect your handakuten placement. As always, it’s found in the top right-hand corner, however if the first stroke carries over very far, you may find it almost atop of the stroke. Otherwise, you can usually try to nestle it above the third stroke and next to the first stroke in order to keep it close to the character. Not that it isn’t always important, but due to the handakuten being similar to a full stop in Japanese, it can be vital in vertical writing to keep it close to the general quadrants of the character.
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
The handakuten placement for 「ぺ」always reminds us of a sun rising over a hilltop or mountain. And, that’s generally how you can remember the placement on such a broad character, just keeping it in the top right quadrant without having it stray too far away in vertical writing.
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
Just as the placement in 「ぼ」, this placement of the handakuten can differ depending on font and handwriting. It’ll always be found in the top right corner, however sometimes, you’ll see people squish the area of the second, third, and fourth stroke in order to sort of fit the handakuten atop the ledge to keep it from looking as though it could be part of a different character as a full stop in vertical writing, or to give it a neat stylisation in any other scenario. However, you’ll often find it written identically to usual, just keeping the handakuten sort of parallel with the end of the fourth stroke, keeping it within its area and making sure it doesn’t try to float away. Otherwise, as long as you keep your handwriting neat and the handakuten is in the correct quadrant, you should have a lovely looking character.
Wow, wow! And, that’s a wrap, for now!! That’s 「ぱぴぷぺぽ」in all of its glory with all of its adorable little 半濁点, handakuten, bubbling everywhere. Hopefully you’ve had a good grasp of 「ばびぶべぼ」and perhaps it helped you with the placement and your handwriting of the base 「はひふへほ」. With all of these similar characters, it can certainly be a struggle for some to differentiate, but no worries, with time and exposure, we’re sure you’ll become a master! And, even still, just focus on each of them in their set, then you can start to differentiate them from each other, and then in other instances whilst you’re reading and writing full words and sentences! So, even though this is a huge milestone, be sure not to forget to return to it and do your best at mastering it until it’s become second nature.
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