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. We’re here with our computer robot friend, QUIZBO™, to help you to not only help you differentiate characters as well as help with your handwriting, but hopefully to enrich your Japanese language learning experience. Even in the digital age, the kinaesthetic experience of writing by hand can’t be discarded. It’s an important part of the way humans learn. Whether you’re an auditory, visual, or kinaesthetic learner, language is one of those special subjects of life that truly does require all of these. And, the more senses you engage, the better! But, that doesn’t mean it happens overnight. If you’re still working on making ひらがな五十音, hiragana gojuuon, a permanent part of your writing repertoire, we understand. Just take your time, and we’ll meet you at your current pace. That’s why we try our best to give you all of the tools you need which you can access wherever and whenever you need them. And, if you’re still struggling with some of the previous characters, then today’s focus on this set of 拗音, youon, may surprisingly assist you with more than just differentiating ひらがな拗音, youon, versus 五十音, gojuuon, with their 小さいゃゅょ, small ya yu yo.
Depending on the learner, maybe 濁点、dakuten, and 半濁点、handakuten, were simple to differentiate, but similar characters still stumped you. Then again, maybe everything was a bit of a challenge, or maybe everything was a breeze. Either way, we always end up encountering many people with the understandable mix-up between「さ」and「ち」. We get it, your brain can sometimes mirror characters, and other characters that are similar, but not so symmetrically, find themselves being more easily differentiated, like 「ろ」and「る」or 「れ」and「ね」or 「め」and 「ぬ」. They’re similar, but there’s just something about it for many people when a character is just simply mirrored that can turn them around. But, that’s where today’s ひらがな拗音, youon, steps in!
One thing you can count on is that in regular everyday Japanese, you won’t encounter ✖「
さゃ」, rather you’ll see 〇「ちゃ」. (Of course, there’s fun stylisations and playing around with characters, but that’s something you won’t need to mind for right this moment during your initial studies. This isn’t the terribly misguided ‘i before e except after c‘ advice that isn’t the rule, but rather the exception to the rule; rather, this should help you actually get your bearings for which way 「ち」is meant to face.) Now, in 拗音, youon, you’ll always see ち’s mouth facing away from 小さいゃゅょ, small ya yu yo. They’re tiny little things and you don’t want 「ち」to eat them. If you see さ, with their mouth facing the little ones, you’ll know they’re in danger! So, keep 小さいゃゅょ, small ya yu yo, safe and be sure 「ち」is always facing the correct way.
Though such a visualisation may not be fool-proof, hopefully seeing them and writing them in their correct orientation should help your mind solidify how they’re meant to look. So, whether you’re here to focus on 拗音, youon, or you’re still stuck on some ひらがな五十音, hiragana gojuuon, you’ll get something valuable out of today’s activity and lesson.
And, though even giving the lesson a few moments of your time several times is useful, we want to be sure you get the most out of this. That’s why we recommend this method to get the most out of your sessions!
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 「ちゃちゅちょ」, 「たちつてと」、「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 「ちゃちゅちょ」– 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 4.
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「ち」 character in its own width.
Kiki+Koko’s Helpful Hints:
There’s not much else we can add that we didn’t mention in the beginning or in the previous lesson, and we’d rather have you apply your time to proper revision and writing practice rather if you already have the previous hints taken to heart. But, again, if you have trouble with these stroke orders on their own, have a look at lesson 8 and lesson 4. 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 4.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.
Wow-wow, we’ve reached the end of this lesson! That was「ちゃちゅちょ」! We hope that this has at least started to solidify the difference between 「ち」and「さ」so you don’t find yourself writing the wrong honorific or an incorrect honorific, or just the basic faux pas that can occur with writing something with a 「ｐ」instead of a「ｑ」or 「ｄ」versus「ｂ」. So, if you’re having a tricky time, still, just remember, at one point, if you’re reading this lesson in English, you’ve had to differentiate those previous characters. It may take a bit more time and effort, but we know you can do it with a positive attitude and patience. Remember, learning isn’t necessarily a destination, it’s a journey with milestones. There’s always more to learn, and not everyone travels at the same pace. Sometimes it takes several trips backward to truly memorise the path and be able to traverse it as easily as your own hometown. No matter the pace, no matter your goals, we’ll be there for you every step of the way, adding new lessons and resources for you! We hope to continue this oasis of relaxing learning and a journey that fits your life and your pace.
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