For a language that has no common roots with your own to remember words I create an association in my head - often they are pretty un pc! For this one I think of me reading and being interupted by someone (which all readers hate with a passion!). So my association is 'Yo Moo(cow), don't interupt me while I'm reading!'.
It works :-)
That's how they taught it to me in school so it's a good way to learn some of them. Here are some of the ways I remember:
に - ni sounds like
knee (as you said)
む - mu looks like a cow which goes "
き - ki looks like a
と - to is in the shape of a
ふ - fu looks like a Mount
な - na looks like one's
nasal appendage, the nose. Or if you know German, think
Nase. This one is harder to visualize I think.
よ - yo looks like a
ん - n looks just like a baby
の - no looks pretty much like the symbol for "
Some of the others like ら which can be made to look like a
rabbit are hard to imagine without the supporting artwork, but I'm sure there are some other good ones I wasn't taught or can't remember.
I have developed a weird fun association for some symbols.... I see ま as a mother (ma) balancing two kids Then よ is a dude doing a handstand while saying "yo!" な is someone pushing the yo dude over while saying "nah" は is protecting himself from the nah guy by using a shield so he goes "ha!"
Possibly, but it could also be a lack of imagination on your end. Care to elaborate on which ones? I might be able to draw a quick picture to help you.
Here are some additional visualizations that might help.
FYI, I think even my worst example (na) is better than the one they use. Then again, this is subjective and in no way mandatory but an aid for those who choose to use it.
The response of John is kinda misleading. Japanese does have conjugations, but they are not like the European languages. They exist, but they are optional. A classical example is the verb to love; normally you say "love" instead of "I love you" as in English some people say "love you", but more extreme. And in this example, I ignored pronouns, but you can ignore even time and mode if it's obvious. If it's not obvious, then you add little particles that are rarely modified, so they're kinda easy.
Yes. As far as I know, よむ is like 'to read' in English. So 'I'm reading' is よみます and 'I read' (past tense) is よみました . It would probably be woth looking up some conjugation/grammar rules. *Edit 26/7/17 よみます means 'to read' (apparently I need to review some grammar rules :) )
読み (よみ) is what's typically called the verb stem, or sometimes the ます (masu) stem because it's what's leftover after you conjugate a verb into ます form and then take off "ます". It doesn't really mean anything on its own, since it's just a grammar construct.
読む (よむ) is what's known as the root verb, or the plain form, or the dictionary form, depending on the context of your discussion of it. 読む is the verb meaning "to read".
What you were taught was the '~te'-form of "yomu".
"Yomu" is how it appears in the dictionary translating as "to read", whereas "yonde" is specifically the '~te'-form of the word. It's a very versatile conjugation that can be used to give variations on the context of reading, depending on what you add after it. For example:
"Yonde kudasai" is the polite imperative form, meaning "please read"
"Yonde iru" or more politely "yonde imasu" is the present/future progressive form meaning "is reading" or "will be reading".
Again, "yomu" is the basic form and it has it's own uses. "watashi wa yomu" means "I read" or "I will read" and it has its own polite '~masu'-form: "watashi wa yomimasu".
Other conjugations include: "yonda"-- the '~ta' past-tense version meaning "to have read",
"yomimashita"-- the polite version of "yonda",
"yomunai"-- the negative '~nai' form meaning "to not read",
"yomimasen"-- the polite version of "yomunai"
here's an article explaining all the different possible conjugations for a japanese verb:
I think it's because the "u" is often not enterely pronounced when put at the end of a word. Not totally silent but almost. Same when it is stuck between two consonants. And for the "m" and "n", I observed they are often pronounced like "Mmmh" and "Nnnh" when followed by vowels at the end of a word ; which is a nasal sound and can be kind of confusing. I think "Yon" (Four) is more clearly pronounced, (like "Yo - n") and "Yomu" (Read) is more nasal ("Yo- mmhh"). I'm a beginner, so I may be wrong. Also, I hope it's understandable despise my poor english !
It's the dictionary (informal) form, meaning "to read", like as in "He likes to read" or "I read this book". Other forms do exist; for example:
"yomimasu": the polite form of "yomu" that doesn't nessesarily change in English, aside from a less crude, softer voice I guess.
"yonde": the imperative form where you command someone to read.
"yonde kudasai": polite version of "yonde" meaning "please read".
"yonda": informal past-tense version meaning "have read".
"yomimashita": polite version of "yonda".
and there's many more conjugations where those came from..
よむ is how you spell and pronounce the word that translates to the verb "read"
Asking why it means that is kind of like asking "why does "read" mean "to look at and comprehend the meaning of (written or printed matter) by mentally interpreting the characters or symbols of which it is composed."
Or "Why do the letters r,e,a and d put together have a meaning?"
Why do any words mean anything in any language?