https://www.duolingo.com/Teenage_Polyglot

A Learner’s Guide to Learning Japanese: Lesson One- Building Blocks

A Learner’s Guide to Learning Japanese

Lesson One: Building Blocks


Is this you?:

Yeah. Me too.

Kanji can be pretty scary. Not just because it looks like short stabby characters that want to kill you.

.

And not just because there are over 10,000 of them...in a foreign language...that all seem different...oh, wait. Yeah, that’s why it’s scary.

It doesn't have to be that way. You could find a Japanese learning series written by a semi insane person whose learning Japanese. Oh, wait. You just found it.

This series is aimed by Japanese learners who are struggling with kanji. Like me. We may also eat sushi and look at cat memes along the way, but that’s a discussion for another time.

What the heck.


OK, let’s start by learning the words for **man, woman, boy, and girl. Easy enough, right?

男の人(man)
女の人(woman)
男の子 (boy)
女の子 (girl)

Yeah, it’s not that easy. That two legs looking thing. Both girl and boy have that symbol, so it’s doubly as scary. The weird box thing that both man and boy have….HEY! Wait a minute.

Take a look at those kanji again.

{@style=color:red;text-style:bold }男{@style=color:black;text-style:bold }の人(man)

{@style=color:red;text-style:bold }男{@style=color:black;text-style:bold }の子 (boy)

{@style=color:red;text-style:bold }女{@style=color:black;text-style:bold }の人(woman)

{@style=color:red;text-style:bold }女{@style=color:black;text-style:bold }の子 (girl)

Are you seeing what I’m seeing? Let’s compare man vs woman and boy vs girl.

男の{@style=color:red;text-style:bold }人{@style=color:black;text-style:bold }(man)

女の{@style=color:red;text-style:bold }人{@style=color:black;text-style:bold } (woman)

男の{@style=color:red;text-style:bold }子{@style=color:black;text-style:bold } (boy)

女の{@style=color:red;text-style:bold }子{@style=color:black} (girl)

WOAH! Any theories about the meaning of 男, 女, 子, and 人? Think about it for a little while.

Ready? Your mind is about to get blown.

男- male
女- female 人 - adult 子 - child

So male + adult= {@style=color:red;text-style:bold }man{@style=color:black}.

And female + child = {@style=color:red;text-style:bold }girl{@style=color:black }.

Is that cool or what???

(If that “の” threw you, don’t worry. You can just memorize it in that word, of learn it’s purpose here)


See, Japanese isn’t all that hard, just logical. Extremely logical. But a lot of words can be out together like that. Logically. Neato. Go ahead and learn the four kanji we learned today, as well as the four words that they go into.


Before we quit, let’s talk about radicals. Radicals confused me quite a bit when I started my Japanese journey, so let me try to explain it.

Radicals are the building blocks of Japanese kanji. Kind of. Because you want a better explination then that, look over this article. It’s a bit long, but it’ll be quite useful. Come back when you are done. I’ll just be here...waiting.

.


You're back? Good. I are all the sushi without you. Sorry.

Now that we know what radicals are, let’s learn a few. How about the easiest ones? One stroke only. There’s only six.

一 One; Ceiling or floor | Rod, Stick, Line; Lameness 丶 Drop, Dot ノ No (katakana) 乙 Second 乚 乱 Fishhook (right) 亅 Feathered stick, barb There. That wasn't too hard, was it. Six. One line only. Try committing these to memory before our next lesson. I’m using this Memrise course to do so, but you use whatever you feel confident will help you learn best.


Well, that’s it. I hope this guide was useful in your first steps of learning Japanese. Have a great week, a Happy New Year, and lay off the sushi. It’s mine.

Jack’s Resources

Demon-Kiyomi’s Japanese Lessons

Memrise Linguti


JAPAN PICTURE OF THE WEEK

Spring flowers on a hillside.

2 years ago

3 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/A_User
A_User
  • 23
  • 11
  • 9
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Well, I was going to wait a bit to take up Japanese again, but now I'm not sure I'm going to... :-D

And give me some of that sushi. :-D

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnIsAPandah

I've only learnt Hiragana, which I think I've forgotten a tiiiiny bit but oh well :P

Tip: To memorise that の is "no", just look at it as a no or stop sign :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/alex_tv80
alex_tv80
  • 12
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4

Thank you!

2 years ago
Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.