Sunday, December 27, 2009

Japanese readings for Kanji

Hello there!! 毎度です。
I haven't been posting for a while and felt it was time to drop some lines in here.
I have some topics in mind and will be posting more regularly in addition to putting more videos on my youtube account.

Anyway, today's topic is about why is it so difficult to learn Kanji.
The main reason for that is that contrary to Chinese and Korean, where IN PRINCIPLE there's only one reading for each character (了,的,得,地,行 are some of the exceptions I can remember in Chinese), Japanese might have several readings.
The reason for that is that the Chinese characters were borrowed during 3 different periods and that resulted in the following readings:
呉音(go'on: go reading: readings brought to Japan from the 4th through 6th century)
漢音(kan-on: kan reading: readings brought to Japan starting from the 7th century)
唐音(tou-on: tou reading: readings brought to Japan during the Heian period, which started in 794 and the Meiji period, which finished in 1912).

The readings above are included in the 音読み(on-yomi: phonetical reading for the Kanjis).
In addition to the readings above, Japanese also use the kun-reading(訓読み), which is an adaptation of Japanese words to the Kanjis.
For example, the kanji can be read as "manabu" in Japanese but has its on-reading as "gaku" (similar to the Korean reading of the same character).

I made the following video for youtube recently and hope it helps shedding some light on this subject:


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Kanji in daily life 2

Hello there!! こんにちは! After a while without posting I've decided to give continuity to the kanjis series.

Today we'll learn the kanjis in the following sign:

The kanjis on the sign are:
(kami): paper in the word はり紙(harigami): placard
禁止(kinshi): prohibition

Which means this sign says "placards forbidden".

One can also see the word 「禁止」in the following kanji combinations:

駐車禁止(chuusha kinshi) : No parking
飲酒運転禁止(inshu kinshi): No drinking when driving
禁止命令(kinshi meirei): Injunction
禁止装置(kinshi souchi): Prohibitive measures
禁止地帯(kinshi chitai): Prohibition zone

Well, I hope you learned lots of used words and bear in mind 「挫折禁止」(zasetsu kinshi): Giving up is forbidden!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gratitude in Japanese

Hi there!! 毎度!
This is a video I made some time ago but had trouble posting at the time. I really hope you like it and help me make better ones.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Proverbs in Japanese

Since my time as a student at Rio de Janeiro Federal University (UFRJ) I used to learn a lot of proverbs because my teacher would impose them but I realized they might be useful and also give an amazing impression about your Japanese.

Here are some proverbs you might listen or want to use:

1) 虎穴に入らずんば虎児を得ず (koketsu ni irazunba koji wo ezu): Literally you can't get the tiger babies without entering the tiger's den, i.e., no pain no gain.

2) 可愛い子に旅をさせ (kawaii ko ni tabi wo sase) : Literally "let the cute child travel", which means that people must experience all sorts of things in order to grow up.

3) 塵も積もれば、山となる (chiri mo tsumoreba, yama to naru: Literally "if dust piles up it will become a mountain", i,e, "Many drops make a shower".

I hope you like these proverbs and don't feel discouraged if you don't use them right away because as the proverb 「五重の塔も下から組む」(gojuu no tou mo shita kara kumu:" Even a five story stupa must be built from below" so take your time and enjoy learning Japanese.

matane!! see ya!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Kanji in everyday life

Looking around my neighborhood I finally realized I'm surrounded by signs written in Kanji but totally forgot that my friends who come to visit me might have no idea what's written in them. Also, sharing some of these signs here could be useful so here comes the first sign:

This is a sign I see every time I take my son to the dentist and is composed by these two words:
1) 京都 (kyoto). Even though I live in Osaka, it's very close to Kyoto.
2) 銀行 (ginko): bank
In other words, Bank of Kyoto. There are other banks that are worth quoting:
東京三菱銀行: Tokyo Mitsubishi Bank, りそな銀行: Resona bank.
Anyway, keep your eyes open for the kanjis 銀行 because it might be the place to withdraw some money!!!

See you next time!! またね!!!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Expressing gratitude in Japanese

I would like the first lesson on this blog to be about gratitude since the Japanese people are very polite and put a great value on thanking people for using their time and effort for somebody else.

I believe that most people know the word "Arigato" (有り難う), which can pretty much show how much you appreciate what people have done for you but wouldn't be enough if you would like to thank for something people will do for you, which can be expressed with "Arigato gozaimasu" (ありがとうございます). Let's say that somebody promised you a Japanese dictionary and you had the chance to use the expression we have just learned. Right after the gift has been giving to you it would be nice to say "arigato gozaimashita" (ありがとうございました)since "gozaimashita" is the past tense of "gozaimasu" (to have) and shows gratitude in the past. Well, before you freak out about this expression let's move on to the expression "sumimasen" (すみません), which shows gratitude in the sense that one might have bothered someone and "sumimasen" could be also a way of apologizing for having someone to do something for you. It is no wonder that many Japanese say "sorry" when actually they mean "THANK YOU". "Sumimasen" can also mean "Excuse me" and is a very useful word.

When you want to thank for something GREAT that was done for you the most polite expression is "osewa ni narimashita" (お世話になりました)and could be translated sort of as "I've been taken care by you" an is used specially at the end of the year with the set expression "kotoshi wa iroiro osewa ni narimashita, rainen mo yoroshiku onegai shimasu" (今年はいろいろお世話になりました。来年も宜しくお願いします).This expression means "I thank you for all the favor towards me this year and look forward to next year", which is very weird to be said in English.

Last but not least, one could also say "kansha shimasu" (感謝します)for expressing one's gratitude.

To wrap up this subject I would like to thank you for reading this posting but am confused if I should use "arigato gozaimashita" because I do hope you keep on reading my future postings so "arigato gozaimasu" would sound better or maybe "sumimasen" since you invested your precious time reading my blog. Anyway, kansha shimasu and see you next time!!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

ご無沙汰しております。I've been absent for a long time

お久しぶりですがいかがでしょうか。It's been a long time and I wonder if you're ok.
最近になってまた投稿しようかと思っていますが何について書けばいいか悩んでいます。I've been thinking of writing again but am not sure what theme it should be about.
In my Portuguese blog I've made some simple videos and wonder if it will be ok to do the same here. Anyway, should you have any requests and/ or ideas I will try to do my best and keep on posting in English, Japanese and Portuguese.

Peace out!! ほなな!!