I believe that it's in Intro here because it's teaching you that katakana is used for loan words like, for example, foreign names such as John (ジョン) or Maria (マリア) or my name Joshua (ジョシュア)
I noticed that there is both katakana and hiragana here. I like this method. Go with the flow. You could also look for a workbook to practice writing.
It even threw in a few Kanji, I am liking this so far...it's a lot like how Japanese mixes up all three writing systems in everyday writing.
The O sound doesn't get doubled unless there is an う after it. There always was one in the earlier lessons, but not here.
Also, these are katakana.
So let me get this straight: hiragana and katakana are two different alphabets for Japanese writing? And what is the use of them? When to use one and when the other?
My understanding (someone correct me if I'm wrong) is that hiragana is used for Japanese words, katakana is used for foreign words. The examples here are Western names, so they're foreign and use katakana.
Someone please elaborate on to this, I read on another comment that the different alphabets are used in writing to distinguish words apart in sentences
Both katakana and hiragana are historically derived from the kanji. Today, hiragana is used for grammatical particles and endings, and also some instead of uncommon/rare/hard-to-write kanji. While katakana usually is used for emphasis or foreign words. But previously they were used almost in the opposite way.
My native-speaking Japanese professor told me that historically, men wrote in the angular katakana and women wrote in the flowy hiragana.
I also read that from a book. They now have different uses as mentioned before.
In addition to what Kiryn wrote, katakana is also used for emphasis, the same way we used italicized letters.
I wonder why this is spelled as ji-yo-n, rather than, for example, ji-a-n.
The "yo" being smaller means it is a modifier, turning "ji" into "jo". So it's really read as "Jo-n"
I think they may be referring to the fact that, in English, the name "John" is said more with an "あ/ア" sound than an "お/オ" sound. And in such case I agree; I have also noticed this with other Western names in Japanese as well, and I always found it a bit unusual.
I think you mean "in American English" ;)
American pronunciation of あ and お is quite well known in Japan, and often when parodying someone's poor Japanese for comedic effect. For me, it's easy to understand thay most American accents in English lend themselves to mixing up the pronunciation of あ and お, whereas my Australia accent makes it quite easy to pronounce them the same way Japanese people do. Unfortunately, most Japanese people don't have much exposure to other kinds of English besides American English (through school and media), thus propagating the foreigners speak "poor" American Japanese stereotype.
Joshua, thank you for your comment, and please accept my apologies in advance for the absurdly long response you are about to read. I spent way too much time writing this because this is actually something about Japanese that has itched my curiosity for years, and I have never received a satisfactory answer!
To begin with, please allow me to clarify that I personally have no issue with distinguishing vowel sounds in Japanese, as they are virtually identical to those in Spanish, a language in which I am fluent. You are right, Americans often butcher their vowels in other languages, but the possible mistake I am seeing in this case is with the Japanese spelling & pronunciation, not the English.
First, to respond to your comment, I would like to establish that in both American English as well as Australian English, the name "John" is definitely pronounced not with an お (IPA "o"), but closer to an あ (IPA "a"), as is demonstrated nicely here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-zl_QL3Qbo
Second, regardless of any possible differences between American English and other varieties, you yourself state that "most Japanese people don't have exposure to other kinds of English besides American English"; furthermore, much of the initial exposure that Japan had to the English language was from Americans. Thus, one can reasonably conclude that English words and names that made their way into Japanese would be based primarily on American English.
With those two things in mind then, i.e. that 1) in American English, the name "John" is pronounced closer to an あ (IPA "a"), and not an お (IPA "o"), and that 2) Japan's primary exposure to the English language (and thus also its names, like John) came and comes through America and its variety of English, here is the question that I was trying to state (and what I think abuchbinder was trying to say as well):
Why in Japanese is the English name "John" written as "ジョン" (with the vowel sound "o") and not as "ジャン" (with the vowel sound "a")?
It baffles me why the first people to transliterate this name did not choose to spell it as "ジャン", and why, after all these years, this different pronunciation still sticks. As stated, the English pronunciation is distinctly closer to an "a" sound, and the Japanese language obviously has an analogous vowel to that sound!
I will admit that, despite my experience with other languages, I am most definitely a novice with Japanese, so perhaps there is an obvious cultural or linguistic explanation that I am missing. Still, there it is. That is all I am trying to ask. If you or anyone else can shed some light on this mystery, it is certainly appreciated! (And thank you, in any case, for the tidbit about Japanese comedy and American vowels; I did not know that!)
Violet, no need to apologize :) I'm glad I'm not the only one posting stupidly long comments to a simple katakana recognition exercise :v
To respond to your points in order, I have to say that's an interesting clip. Like I said, I'm Australian and in my head, my "John" sounds a lot like it uses the IPA "o", but perhaps it does end up coming out sounding like the IPA "a" ┐('～`;)┌
Your question actually makes a really good point, which, embarrassingly, I have never really thought about. I'm afraid I don't have a good answer for you, but a few thoughts do spring to mind.
・The most unsatisfying possibility is that Japanese was just really inconsistent when adopting words from English. That is to say, there's no rule for deciding whether one follows the English pronunciation or the English spelling. But I realized as I was trying to come up with examples that that's not the case. The general rule seems to be to follow the pronunciation; it's even done for other English names like マイク maiku for Mike, and ジェイソン jeison for Jason.
The only case I could think of where Japanese follows the spelling over the pronunciation is ビタミン bitamin for vitamin, which actually just makes things more confusing. If Japanese predominantly follows US pronunciation, it would sound like バイタミン baitamin, but it follows the UK pronunciation instead?
・I'm not sure how these next two ideas hold up historically, but here goes. The first being the relative popularity of the name John in the US vs the UK at the time when Japan started getting familiar with English, with British "Johns" being more prevalent, thereby cementing the IPA "o" pronunciation.
Again, I'm completely uninformed when it comes to historical usage, but could it also be possible that the American accent did use the IPA "o" during that period, but now no longer does? I have no idea.
・When you mentioned if it was a possible cultural explanation, this idea immediately came to mind, but I honestly doubt it's accuracy: in Japanese, じゃん is a very casual contraction of 「じゃないですか」which roughly translates to "don't you think so?" An example would be 「あの子、チョーキレイじゃん」 ano ko, chou kirei jyan, which would be along the lines of "that chick is super hot, hey?" (disclaimer: this is extremely casual and will be considered extremely crass and offensive if said to basically anyone who isn't your best friend). But it's funny to imagine the first John that any Japanese came across introducing himself わたし、じゃん "hey, it's me, don't you agree?"
Alternatively, and arguably more hilariously, じゃん is also an onomatopoeic word in Japanese used when revealing something, kind of like "tah-dah!" in English. So the first John in Japan would be like "hey, it's me tah-dah∽∽" (I'm imagining his exasperated gestures when they keep laughing at his name must have looked like jazz hands :P)
In either case, the only logical conclusion is that the Japanese who met the first John decided it was rude to keep laughing at his name, and upon seeing him write it, found a solution to their problem :v
As a non-native English speaker, comparing the Japanese and English of "John", in my opinion, the English name "John" sounds more like ジョン then ジャン. ジャン being used for the name "Jean" (in the Euopean/French pronounciation). "John" seems to be "dʒɒn" and Jean "ʒɑ̃". Of course, bot are pronounced different than the counterparts but that's to be expected given the sounds used in Japanese.
I just can't see that It's small..it appears like the size of the other characters, that's confusing!
Okay to clarify, Hiragana is used for native Japanese words. Katakana is used for words that are borrowed from other languages that are not Japanese. Or used to emphasize or stress a natural Japanese word.
みかん "tangerine" (typically seen in hiragana and not kanji)
パン "bread" (borrowed from the French word from pan)
アニメ "animation" (not only for animation from Japan but for any animated feature from anywhere in the world)
I hope this helps.
(Just a little useless note: "Bread" wasn't borrowed from the French word "pain", but from the Portuguese word "pão".)
Not sure but is the last one "anime" instead of "animation"? Or is it just pronounced that way but meant "animation"?
In Japanese many loanwords from other languages are used in an abbreviated form most of the times. While it's easy to see where some of the short forms came from, some of the original forms are not that easy to deduct (since they e.g. use the first part of the first word and the first part of the second word for one short form). Anime is one example of a shortened loanword. アニメ(anime) is the abbreviation of the loanword アニメーション (animēshon = animation). So, contrary to popular belief, anime is not an original japanese word but a loan word in itself. However, the shortened form might be something uniquely Japanese. It refers to all form of animations, though, and not only Japanese.
What he wrote in quotes is the meaning and not the pronunciation. The first one is pronounced Nakan (from what I have learnt here).
na in hiragana is な
Just as an addition: Chinese loanwords are also not written in Katakana (which kinda makes sense). Though I guess most of them might feel like they are Japanese at this point.
"Shi- yo- n" "Shon" "John" Are pronounciations adapted to sound LIKE the foreign words or am I wrong and "Shy-yo-n" is not how you say this?
ジ is "ji", not "shi". "shi" is
ョ is not pronounced separately, but rather modifies "ji" to "jo".
シ shi - two dash lower
ツ tsu - two dash upwards
ン n - dash upwards
セ se - little stick
ヒ hi - no stick
マma - facing left
ム mu - facing right
These were the katakana I would always get confused with.
You mean ジ? It is the character ji. Without the accent mark at the upper right it would be shi.
That “accent mark” is called a dakuten: 濁点 (だくてん). It is used to mark a voiced consonant.
The other one they have is the handakuten: 半濁点 (はんだくてん). Used to mark semi-voiced consonants.
ジ. The little marks in the upper right (called "ten-ten") makes the difference between "shi" and "ji". And the mini
ョ is what turns the
ジ ("ji") into
Jon and John are the two common ways to spell the name. I don't see Jhon very often, so I wouldn't expect to see it coded into Duo.
excuse me for the stupid question, but how does this translate into john and not jijon? (sorry this is only my third time doing this lesson)
The size of the character matters. Modifying characters are written half-size and are not pronounced in the usual manner. Here, the small ョ(which is pronounced "yo" in its full-size form) modifies "ji" to "jyo" (or as we render it with our English-language pronunciations, "jo").
Might sound dumb, but in one of the Naruto Mangas Kakashi-Sensei wrote his name on a tree in Katakana. I thought Katakana is only used for foreign words so can someone explain.
Katakana is also used for stylistic emphasis (similar to the use of CAPS or italics in English). Another possible explanation is that, although Japanese people commonly use hiragana to "spell" kanji, it's not unheard of to use katakana.
Also, historically katakana was considered the "male" script (1) and writing in hiragana was only widely done by women (2). I'm not sure whether the creators of Naruto were aiming for historical accuracy or not, but that could be another explanation.
Not all foreign names and words came into Japanese recently. Even if it is considered Japanese today, its foreign origins are still reflected by using katakana.
I dont need to learn how tonread John. Inwant ..hotel, ramen,washroom, plane,police,...important stuff. Who cares about John !
You know, no one's forcing you to do this course. It's free anyway, so it's not like you've lost anything learning about John. There are other ways of providing feedback that don't make you sound like a spoilt brat.
Besides, if you really want to learn that badly, you could look it up online yourself. ホテル、ラーメン、洗面所、飛行機、警察... 重要なもの