こんにちにゃあ～！Welcome to Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online! This is a special mini-milestone, as for those following along since the beginning and those who simply have made it this far in learning hiragana and youon. Yes, this special blend is a regular, one we’ve served you nearly every lesson and article since the beginning. You may have sampled this, enjoyed this blend with your eyes hundreds of times, but now, you will finally be able to fully understand and read every part of our greeting as your guides to Japanese language and culture. And that greeting is: こんにちにゃあ. Whilst it’s slang spelt many ways, this 「にゃあ」should serve all of you cool cats and kitties well, as this is one of the ways one can meow in Japanese. You see, some people say we resemble Earth felines, and we can certainly see the resemblance, so we’ve embraced this by spicing up our 「こんにちは」with a 「こんにちにゃあ！」. Though, greeting a business professional or a stranger this way may not exactly work so well… For that, we recommend a look at some greetings, as in 「🔊Hello, Goodbye!| Japanese Greetings #1A」and 「🔊Hello, Goodbye!| Japanese Greetings #1B」ーBut, there’s many more greetings where that came from! And, we’ll be sure to add more in future in an even more indepth form that we hope you’ll enjoy. But, for now, let’s focus on this lesson’s youon. Though, in order to do this, you’ll want to know exactly 「拗音とは？｜What is youon?」after a go at understanding 五十音順、gojuuonjun, and from there, you should take a dive into the previous blends, soaking it all up before you make your way here. This would include:「きゃきゅきょ」, 「しゃしゅしょ」, and 「ちゃちゅちょ」. After that, you should be prepared to have a sip of today’s tasty blends!
Now, we always want to emphasise as lessons continue that each of them are built atop of one another, leading you from one concept to the next to make each concept less of a leap and more of a step. If you’re attempting to learn a new language, it can be difficult enough, and we don’t want you to find yourself becoming overwhelmed. That’s why, if you haven’t already, again, we recommend that if you’re even dabbling in Japanese language, you’ll want something to guide your linguistic palate. Being presented with a smörgåsbord of various teas and coffees may leave you interested but if you’re unsure which is which, it’ll all just be a sea of hot beverages that you can’t make out. But, if you have a proper guide, you’ll immediately be able to perceive the intended flavours and minutia whilst being able to get to that higher plane of enjoyment. So, if you’re just getting started, we recommend you have a look at our super quick guide: How Do You Write in Japanese? | Japanese Writing System Demystified . It’ll give you a basic look at what you can expect out of the Japanese writing system so that you won’t just see a bunch of lines and squiggles, but different sets of writing that we’ll break down into proper digestible serving sizes for you currently and in future. It’s an important and essential skill, knowing how to read which we explain in the linked article, but one should still be familiar with romanisation spelling, which, again, we explain in the linked article, but it’s just important not to rely on it. You can, however, rely on us to assist you with these concepts and more during each lesson! We’ll take you by the digital hand and lead you down the journey towards your Japanese learning goals! The first step can be taken right here: Let’s Read HIRAGANA!! | with Kiki+Koko &QUIZBO™.
Though the second round of lessons listed are of the large version of 「やゆよ」ーnot the small version we’ll be using today, which is 「ゃゅょ」ーit’s important to go back and keep these fresh in your mind. Though it can be helpful when it comes to stroke order when characters are utilised in different ways, it can become a bit muddied when it comes to differentiating them, especially in some fonts where the small characters may not be extremely tiny. So, just be sure to use this as an opportunity to be sure you’re comfortable with the initial characters before moving onto these new blends. And, here to help us introduce you to these new blends, we should probably welcome back your computer friend and ours, QUIZBO™くん！(The ™ is silent)
If you remember from previous instalments, this is a portable version, QUIZBO™ Mini, who lives here on the site. He’ll be here to help sound out these hiragana for you. You can click the sound ‘bytes’ as many times as you’d like, QUIZBO™ won’t mind. ( Get it, bytes? … Computer? ……..bytes? ………sound bites….? …..Yeah, we’ll be holding off on our stand-up careers. ) Afterwards, you’ll be able to take a quiz with QUIZBO™ to help you review them or test your knowledge!
Are you ready!?
Let’s NihonGO!! にゃにゅにょ!!
We’re going to show you the character(s), then you you can click the play button to hear QUIZBO™ sound it out for you. But, as a better visualisation of each sound, we also have the romanised pronunciation of each character so you have something in English to which you can compare it.
In romaji, 「にゃ」 is transliterated as「nya」which sounds like「nyahh」.
Helpful Hints with Kiki+Koko:
Just as in the previous lesson, it’s important to remember this is one singular syllable when spoken. Rather than the incorrect ‘✖nee-yah’, it is pronounced as simply ‘〇nyah’. With time, it will become easier to automatically see characters ending in a い vowel next to a tiny ヤ行, y-row, character which automatically negates the い vowel, leaving you with a proper blend.
Also, you’ll notice that when romanised in revised-hepburn, it shows the pronunciation rather than the spelling. This is another instance where it’s very important to learn how to read the hiragana spelling as only simply seeing ‘nya’, though it may leave you with a half-way decent pronunciation, you’ll find it impossible to recognise in its actual Japanese form. So, now that you’re learning it, you’re already ahead of the curve, now! Good on you!
In romaji, 「にゅ」 is transliterated as 「nyu」which sounds sort of like the saying the British English word「new」with the 「ñ」soundーsort of as in 「/njuː/」with no diphthong.
Helpful Hints with Kiki+Koko:
You can use the sound of the English word’s equivalent in order to get used to the single syllable of 拗音, youon！When many say ‘chew’, there’s no gap betwixt the ‘ch’ sound and the ‘yu’ sound. So, just be sure to keep the middle 「い」sound out of the equation when you encounter it with a small 「ゃ」「ゅ」or「ょ」
In romaji, 「にょ」 is transliterated as 「nyo」which sounds sort of like 「nyohh」.
Helpful Hints with Kiki+Koko:
There’s not much more we can add that we haven’t said in the previous hints, however one helpful hint is that you’ll often find this one and the one above paired with う in長音, chouon. So, it’s important to always be able to differentiate whether it’s simply ちょ, romanised 「nyo」, or if it’s been romanised with a long vowel as in original Hepburn with the macron above: 「nyō」which can be confusing as to know whether it’s 「にょう」,「にょお」or even 「にょー」! However, you needn’t worry about that after you learn to read hiragana. Though, this does bring up 長音, chouon, which is a useful concept you can read about in our previous article: 長音とは？｜What is chouon?
And, there you have it! That was 「にゃにゅにょ」! These are certainly quite fun and useful 平仮名拗音, hiragana youon, and hopefully it won’t be too terribly much for you to study. We hope that this pacing and our hints will assist you and help you in a relaxing and positive studying environment and process. Always remember that it can be both a positive point and a difficult one when learning very similar characters. The similarities mean you can just store one form in your mind without having to think too much more about it, but the differences, though minute, are the things that will hopefully remind you to give as much thought and care to these as the original characters. (We’re sure you will, though!) And, again, we want to always mention how proud we are of you, expanding your horizons and delving into a new language that may be quite different to your own (and according to the fact Japanese is its own language branch, it’s more than likely it’s entirely different to your native language.) But, even still, with a positive attitude, patience and time, we’re sure these characters will become second nature to you. And in the meantime and in future, we’ll be there for you, assisting you along your Japanese language learning journey, every step of the way.
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