こんにちにゃあ～！Welcome to Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online! Serving you the freshest blends three times a week for your discerning linguistic palates. We’ve been doing our best to present the hiragana blends you need, pressing on and hopefully not leaving anyone in the dust. It’s always our goal to give an opportunity to learn at your own pace. Japanese is part of an entirely different language branch, therefore most likely very different to many’s native language. And, we want to be sure you have the time to really let these flavours settle on your palate and really marinade in your mind! For those that do live and learn at a fast pace and you’re looking to learn even more even faster, we want to be sure to caution you not to speed through too quickly! It’s important to go back to previous lessons, because even as we can relate to both sides of the coin, one can find oneself memorising just to memorise instead of really letting these sink in. It’s important to help these concepts make that jump from short term to long term memory. So, if you finish this introductory lesson wanting more, be sure to remember to go back and revise, have a look at previous lessons and make sure they’re fresh in your mind. Also, take some time to practise previous lessons with the guided practise ideas! There’s no end to the ways you can be sure to practise your Japanese language skills. But, this is the beginning of a set of characters you’ll soon become quite acquainted with after you’ve become familiar with the ハ行, ha-gyou‘s function in future characters. So, consider this an investment in future blends.
But, we can’t be so naïve as to think everyone who’s visiting is completely up-to-date on lessons. And, all of this talk of ‘blends’ may seem confusing, and you may be wondering where your nice cuppa tea or coffee is waiting for you. But, we have something that will last you even longer: 拗音, youon! You can find out 「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」、 「ちゃちゅちょ」, and 「にゃ、にゅ、にょ」 . 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!! ひゃひゅひょ!!
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, 「ひゃ」 is transliterated as「hya」which sounds like「hyahh」.
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 ‘✖hee-yah’, it is pronounced as simply ‘〇hyah’. 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 ‘hya’, 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, 「ひゅ」 is transliterated as 「hyu」which sounds sort of like the saying the English word「hue」or 「hugh」.
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 ‘hue’, there’s no gap betwixt the ‘h’ 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, 「ひょ」 is transliterated as 「hyo」which sounds sort of like 「hyohh」.
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 ひょ, romanised 「hyo」, or if it’s been romanised with a long vowel as in original Hepburn with the macron above: 「hyō」which can be confusing as to know whether it’s 「ひょう」,「ひょお」or even 「ひょー」! 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 「ひゃひゅひょ」! With only a few to learn, it shouldn’t be too terribly much to practise, however that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it the care and attention it deserves. You’ll need to keep these concepts properly differentiated between their hiragana gojuuon counterparts as well as future 拗音, youon. But, we know that if you’ve already made it this far, your mind is already expanding to the point where we know you’ll be able to memorise these and utilise them with time! It’s all about revision, patience, and a positive attitude. Whether you study often in shorter time periods or with spaces between for longer times, it’s all about exposure. You want to keep these fresh in your mind and once they’re concrete, you’ll want to contrast them with their similar counterparts to face the difficulties head-on so that you can more easily differentiate. And, no matter what method works best for you, we’ll be there for you every step of the way, providing you with the resources you need, on your Japanese language learning journey.
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