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! We’re your guides to Japanese language and culture, Kiki and Koko. And, we’re here with our computer robot friend, QUIZBO™ to help you add some kinaesthetic learning to your Japanese language life as well as to help you differentiate pronunciations and characters in future! If you’ve already learnt to read and write ひらがな五十音, hiragana gojuuon, then writing 拗音, youon, shouldn’t be much of a shock to your system. Whilst it’s useful to be able to store the same stroke orders in your mind for different occasions, at times, it can make things a bit more muddled when it comes to differentiating. That’s why we’ve tried our best to make things clearer for you by also presenting scenarios where you can learn the sizing differences of ひらがな拗音, youon, versus 五十音, gojuuon, and become used to only seeing the proper characters that would be matched with 小さいゃゅょ, small ya yu yo. So, even if you feel like an expert at this lesson’s hiragana, the action of writing and identifying these will help you now and down the road.
Whilst 「しゃしゅしょ」may prove to be only a few strokes and not much to write, the important point of focusing on this is to be sure you always remember to differentiate in both your writing and reading. It can be easy as a beginner to want to pronounce the 「い」sound between these characters, but it’ll really drive the point home and give it a cuppa if you spend time practising reading and writing these, then comparing them directly with their counterparts. That being said, you know how we said that Japanese hiragana are fairly straightforward and the same all of the time? Even though we were referring mainly to 五十音、gojuuon, technically, it’s still true of these. You just have to think of these 拗音, youon, as a grouped or blended character all its own, almost like when you’re changing 五十音、gojuuon, with 濁点、dakuten, and 半濁点、handakuten. The way we can best explain thinking of it is to think of 小さいゃゅょ, small ya yu yo, as modifiers. Even though they take up their own space different to濁点、dakuten, and 半濁点、handakuten, that keep themselves close to the initial character, it does modify the sound of the character before it, and maybe that could be a way that you can store it in your mind.
In future, kanji will contain other kanji and components that repeat themselves amongst other characters. So, it’s thought processes like these that can assist your future learning. It’s almost just as important how you think of these concepts as much as it is to get the concepts recorded in your mind in the first place. That’s why it’s important to never brush off anything that seems difficult or even easy. It’s important to really think about how to learn and how to organise them mentally so that when you encounter similar situations, you’ll already have a protocol.
We know revising, memorising, practising, and keeping a positive attitude can already be a lot to carry, but balancing all of these with the proper methods will bring the best out in all of the other scenarios and lighten the load a bit.
Get the most out of your session:
As you write these, we recommend you take the usual steps we mention in the writing section along with a few others in order to get the most out of your study sessions:
- Open up the reading lesson on a different device or in a different window
- Play QUIZBO™’s soundbyte of that specific character (or blend)
- Repeat after QUIZBO™, pronouncing it aloud
- Write the character (or blend) using the stroke order
- Say the character (or blend) aloud once more
- Listen to QUIZBO™’s pronunciation once more to make sure you have it correct
brought to you by 「しゃしゅしょ」, 「さしすせそ」、「やゆよ」, and 五十音順
Now, once you have your reference ready, you can take a look if you should forget how to pronounce them, if or if you’re just making sure your pronunciation is accurate, or if you’re using the previous lessons for differentiation and revision. 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 「しゃしゅしょ」– 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. And, remember, if you’re having trouble with the step-by-step bits, just have a look at the previous stroke orders to see how each character is meant to look throughout each step of the process.
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, be sure to take a look at the original related stroke order.
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 youon!
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
Whilst our usual helpful hints tend to be focused on the form of each character, we reckoned it more important to focus on placement, as if you’d like to get a bit more hints about how these characters are written individually, you can always have a look at the previous lesson 8 and lesson 3.
So, with 拗音、youon, you’ll want to focus on size and placement of the 小さいや、chiisai ya, aka:「ゃ」. In handwriting, the 「ゃ」is about a fourth of a regular character. To reinforce this, QUIZBO™くん placed guidelines to show these quadrants which should also help with placement.
When writing horizontally, (e.g. left to right), you’ll place it in the lower left corner.
However, if you are writing vertically, (e.g. top to bottom), you’ll place it in the upper right hand corner of its own space / the space below the「き」 character in its own width.
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
Again, if you have trouble with these stroke orders on their own, have a look at lesson 8 and lesson 3. . But, otherwise, all of the same hints from the previous hint apply to this one.
Also, if you’d just like some hints on 拗音, youon, writing in general, we have some useful ones in the previous lesson.
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
Have a look at lesson 8 and lesson 3 if you’re finding any trouble with these or would like some character-specific hints. But, otherwise, all of the same hints from the previous hints apply to this one.
You’ll often see this one and the previous one written with 長音, chouon, as well. So, it can be useful to practise writing 「う」with this or practising with some words that include 長音, chouon.
We can’t believe we’ve already made it to the end of the lesson! That’s 「しゃしゅしょ」for you! And, of course, 「し」isn’t the most complicated character of the サ行, sagyou, or the 「さ」row, but it’s still important to give it as much attention as you would any other lesson. As we explained, it can be a bit tricky to differentiate pronunciations of things like 「しゃ」vs「しや」if you’re not familiar with putting these two characters next to each other and really picking out, despite their extreme similarity, what makes them different for you to recognise whilst reading or writing. And, even if this is a bit tricky for you, we know you’ll get it! Don’t ever underestimate certain concepts or characters or limit yourself to a certain amount of time to learn. Everyone takes different times and different paces with their learning, and we hope thinking about how you learn and study will assist you well into your Japanese language learning journey. Whilst having the supplies and resources are useful, as we’d hope, it’s still important to know how to use those resources to get the most of your journey. And, likewise, we’ll be here for you every step of the way, making sure to keep you on track towards your goals whilst hopefully keeping things light and enjoyable.
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