Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Language Discoveries

Akikosan came for our Japanese lessons today. She wants us to learn both Hiragana and Katakana - AT THE SAME TIME. Zander and Stacia basically opted out. I may have to officially excuse Zander. These two will pick things up from listening...but I think learning to read two new alphabets is a stretch. It is nice that there are only 5 vowels in Japanese and they make one sound each.....nice.

We figured out how to spell all of our names in Katakana. Each Hiragana and Katakana symbol represents a sound. The problem is that several of the sounds in our names ARE NOT in the Japanese language. "Jared" gave Akikosan trouble as there is no "r" sound in Japanese - or it's different. Alex was a challenge as there is no "x" sound....Stacia was interesting as there isn't a "st" but there is a "tsu"... When we take the symbols and phonetically pronounce them....

Jared becomes Jad (a as father)

My name is a good Japanese name...they have a De E and Ta sound. LOL

Michael becomes Ma i ke lu

Alex is a hoot - A le tsu ku su - he's not very impressed.

Stacia doesn't sound like Stacia at all and I think we'll need to revisit it. Its the Tsu te i si a (tsute e see a).

We are all working on writing our names in Katakana by next Wed. The good news is that once we get some Hiragana and Katakana under our belts we should be able to figure out the traffic signs. ::snort:: If you want to try your name in Katakana this is a fairly good spot to visit. They don't have De'Etta or Jared...but their explanation of sounds is good....just remember "ru" is pronounced more like "lu".

In others discoveries.....remember I mentioned that Pimsleur taught us to say "Cha mata" (See you) for goodbye. On our first trip to the Nursing Home I said this. Over and over. The lady was perplexed and told me no, she didn't know what I was saying. I gave up and said, "Goodbye".

Today, Akikosan taught us "Cha Mata" for see you. I told her about my experience at the nursing home...she smirked, she smiled, she explained, we laughed. It seems that Cha Mata is less formal, almost slang, "See Ya", used by youth, families, close friends...and not a phrase you would expect to use with elders at all. Hmmm....and we learned that there is a word for "me" that Nolan and Alex can use, but the rest of us can't...gender and age....The adventure continues.

Choosing Joy!
©2009 D.R.G.

~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...


Paula said...

When I was learning hiragana I liked to make pictures out of the symbols, that linked them to the sound in my mind--mu, for example, became a cow (see the head on the left?) saying moooo, yo was a yoke (like for oxen), to was a big toe, nu was a noose--and ne was a noose around a neck, lol. It is confusing to have to learn two totally different symbols for each sound though.

Paula said...

I just remembered something else that may be helpful, though you may already have something like this. A friend taught me the order of the kana (used, for example, in dictionaries) by singing to the first part of the tune "Frere Jacques (are you sleeping)" A, Ka, Sa, Ta, Na, Ha, Ma, Ya, Ra, Wa, N... (are you sleeping are you sleeping brother john...that's as far as it goes) that gives the order of consonants, and of course the vowels following each consonant always go in the a, i, u, e, o order.

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

Paula - this will be incredibly helpful...thanks.

I need to contact a friend from TX and ask for the name of the book she had that showed photos with the symbols to help young kids...that would be helpful too for the younger ones and ME.

Anonymous said...

I think I would be a lost cause.

love/prayers --- Mom T.

Romany said...

Learning languages gives us useful insights into history and culture, doesn't it?

Well done. And enjoy the snow!

Kim said...

I talked to my local expert about the katakana for your kids names. SMILE!

He used to work for a company called Alex. The symbol "tsu" is silent - that makes Alex's name alright.

For Stacia - he says, the first should be su not tsu. In case you wanted our 10 yen worth! SMILE!

As I told Jared - Jun has the hiragana down and is starting on Katakana! Can you guys beat her!?!?! It's a RACE!!!

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

Kim, I think Jun is destined to win this race!

BUT...I'm looking forward to knowing enough to converse and read a few signs. LOL

Anonymous said...


At least Alexander can have a similar nick-name "A le"... :):)

l/p Mom T.