こんにちにゃあ～！Welcome to Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online! Just when you may have thought that the carafe of learning had run dry, we burst in with a brand new bag o’ beans! After becoming acquainted with 「きゃきゅきょ」, 「しゃしゅしょ」、「ちゃちゅちょ」, 「にゃ、にゅ、にょ」 , 「ひゃひゅひょ」,「みゃみゅみょ」, and 「りゃりゅりょ」, you may have already sensed something…lackingー A flavour profile you’re sure you’ve experienced before, but in a less complex way. Perhaps, you’re reminded of a certain sort of garnish that adorns yet somehow adds a sense of piquancy. As we’ve been sure to remind you as we’ve presented the previous characters, one must feel amply familiar with the original sounds in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed at the similarities between the modified and unmodified sounds. Yes, as you may have suspected from the title, we’ll finally be presenting you with the first of the set of phonetically modified organisms, proven healthy for your Japanese language sustenance; it’s 「ぎゃぎゅぎょ」！！
So, again, you may have noticed there were many sounds that you may have heard before that didn’t seem to be covered quite yet. This leg of the journey, we’ll be introducing you what you may even consider a modification of a modification at this point. But, if you’re just starting out on your Japanese language learning journey or you’re simply dabbling in Japanese for fun, we recommend getting the full sort of genome of what we’ve taught previously. You may have learned the concept of 平仮名五十音、hiragana gojuuon, or you may have hopefully even kept up with us to understand the concept of 平仮名拗音、hiragana youon, but this time, you’ll need to combine this concept with 濁点, dakuten. But, what is dakuten? No worries! We have an explanation built into one of our previous lessons entitled: 「🔊 Let’s Read!! w/ QUIZBO™ 【がぎぐげご】| 濁点とは？| What is Dakuten?」. But, the simplest way to put this is that this is indeed a modification of a blend. That’s why it’s important to first have a strong understanding of each of these concepts along the way, because once these concepts start to stack on top of one another, it can become less than simple.
It’s important to reiterate that 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™. (We’ll have the blends and more included soon directly in the guide.)
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!! ぎゃぎゅぎょ!!
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, 「ぎゃ」 is transliterated as「gya」which sounds like 「gyah」
Helpful Hints with Kiki+Koko:
The most important thing to learn this lesson is that this is not pronounced ‘GEE-YAH’, it’s simply ‘GYAH’, one syllable. This is very important to get accustomed to, and we understand it can be difficult. That’s why we have this helpful hint! When you see a tiny ヤ行, y-row, character next to a character ending in the い vowel, ignore the い vowel and only pronounce the consonant. So, even though it’s 「ぎ」, it becomes the「G」sound when it’s next to tiny ゃ、ゅ、or ょ.
In romaji, 「ぎゅ」 is transliterated as 「gyu」which sounds sort of like if the 「l」 in 「glue」 was replaced with a 「y」.
Helpful Hints with Kiki+Koko:
This is a useful way to think of these 拗音, youon！Notice, when you say 「glue」, there’s no gap between the 「g」sound and the 「l」sound. Just replace that 「l」with a 「ｙ」. Be sure to ‘mind the gap’ when you’re attempting to say these blends, properly blending them together into one syllable without saying the vowel in the middle.
In romaji, 「ぎょ」 is transliterated as 「gyo」which sounds sort of like if the 「r」 in 「grow」 was replaced with a 「y」.
Helpful Hints with Kiki+Koko:
This is another sound that can be difficult for many English speakers to break the habit of pronouncing as two syllables rather than the correct single syllable. That’s why we made an article explaining why ‘Tokyo’ is a myth, being two syllables in English instead of three– 「Tou-kyou」. So, in pronouncing this and practising this word, you can practise pronouncing these blends as one smooth syllable. (Even though this is a different character, this can still be helpful to anyone who still finds it difficult to blend these sounds.)
And, there we are! 「ぎゃぎゅぎょ」！If you’ve already mastered or have become familiar with 「かきくけこ」versus 「がぎぐげご」, or 「きゃきゅきょ」versus 「きやきゆきよ」, we’re sure you’ll be able to differentiate 「きゃきゅきょ」versus 「ぎゃぎゅぎょ」in the same way as you can differentiate「C」and「G」along with 「b」「d」「p」and「q」in English. Just remember, it’s important to keep a positive attitude. Learning a new language totally different to your own can be challenging, but it’s a new adventure with benefits you would miss out on, otherwise. Each passing day is another day you could spend a bit of time studying, or even mindlessly scrolling the lessons, and before you know it, you’ll at least know more than you would have otherwise. Though, of course, we recommend active and mindful studying tactics that will make the most of your time, it’s still commendable to do what you can. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish with some time, effort, and patience. If you ever feel like you’re spinning your wheels, just take a break! Learning with us should be an oasis from the norm, something enjoyable you can use to invest in yourself. It doesn’t mean it will always be easy, but anything interesting or enjoyable usually takes a bit of effort. Just remember, you can either spend your effort avoiding the possibility of learning a language you enjoy, or you can spend the time you’d use with those passing thoughts to simply get to revising! And, we’ll be there for you any hour of the day, any day of the week, whatever you need for your Japanese language learning journey.
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