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Thread: Japanese Lesson #6: Basic Hiragana Review ~ animals

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    Japanese Lesson #6: Basic Hiragana Review ~ animals

    Lesson 6: Basic Hiragana Review

    Lesson filepack: http://www.aragami.org/japanese/Japa...ic_Lesson6.zip
    Quiz: Japanese Lesson #6 Quiz
    Master Thread: Free Weekly Japanese Lessons

    Material covered in this lesson
    1. Vocabulary Building - Animals
    2. Review and Ordering Drills

    Dissapointed that after 2 months of studying you still can't speak any Japanese? Don't be! Think back to when you first learned English! Did your parents expect full sentences from you? Of course not!

    Let's just say you've got a long way to go to catch up to most Japanese toddlers -- Once you've got a good command of pronunciation and basic vocabulary, you'll be surprised how quickly you can jump into practical (and natural) speech. So bear with me here -- you're going to be learning quite a few things you'll probably never learn in a formal Japanese course but would be expected to know as a Japanese kindergartener!

    1. Vocabulary Building: Animals

    We're going to boost your vocabulary hardcore this week with some very basic words that all Japanese children know (but quite a few foreigners don't). There are no new hiragana this week... so you can commit all of your mental prowess to memorizing this list!

    あり ari - ant
    うし ushi - cow
    うま uma - horse
    むし  mushi - bug
    きりん kirin - giraffe
    けむし kemushi - catterpillar
    さる saru - monkey
    しか shika - deer
    せみ semi - cicada
    たこ tako - octopus
    とら tora - tiger
    ねこ neko - cat
    かに kani - crab
    いぬ inu - dog
    はと hato - pidgeon, dove
    くま kuma - bear
    おうむ oumu - parrot
    かめ kame - turtle
    てんとうむしtentoumushi - ladybug
    いか ika - squid
    ほよこ hiyoko - chick
    りす risu - squirrel
    つる tsuru - crane
    かえる kaeru - frog
    わに wani - alligator
    いのしし inoshishi - wild boar
    あひる ahiru - duck
    からす karasu - crow, raven
    たぬき tanuki - tanuki, racoon-dog
    おおかみ ookami - wolf
    きつね kitsune - fox
    にわとり niwatori - rooster
    ほたる hotaru - firefly
    さかな sakana - fish
    ふくろう fukurou - owl
    はち hachi - bee
    やもり yamori - gecko
    うに uni - sea urchin
    はえ hae - fly

    Cultural Notes:

    きりん - The word for "giraffe", "kirin" is also the word for a legendary animal. A cross between a horse, a dragon and a deer with a body that can burst into flames, the kirin is often called "The Asian Unicorn". It originates in Chinese myth but also appears in stories and artwork from Japan and Korea. Incidentally, the Korean word for both this animal and a "giraffe" is also "kirin". Now the animal is best known internationally as the mascot for a Japanese brewery: the makers of "Kirin" beer.

    けむし - Literally "hair bug", this word is rather specific to fuzzy catterpillars. Oddly enough, Japanese children tend to dislike catterpillars thanks to a few prominent species native to Japan that sting or cause skin irritation when touched.

    せみ - cicadas are a summer annoyance that virtually no part of Japan is free from. During the warmest months of the year, their droning continues from dawn till dusk, sometimes so loud that windows need to be shut or music played just to drown them out. The sound is associated with extreme heat. Children like catching them and can often be seen with long nets trying to scoop the big droning bugs out of trees. You've probably heard the sound of cicadas before, even if you weren't aware of it. The sound of droning cicadas plays almost constantly during the outdoor scenes in Neon Genesis Evangelion. The "higurashi" in "Higurashi no Naku Koro" ("When They Cry") is also a species of cicada.

    YouTube - Damn Cicadas!! SHUT UP!!
    YouTube - evangelion episode 1 clip

    たぬき - is often mistranslated as "badger" or "racoon". It is, in fact, neither. A real animal that used to be quite plentiful in the mountains and forests of Japan, tanuki are actually "racoon dogs": stocky dark brown badgerlike animals with racoonlike masks around their eyes. They are now incredibly rare (like most Japanese wildlife) but have captured a place in the Japanese imagination. According to folklore, tanuki are tricksters who use leaves to transform into humans or perform other illusions. They like drumming out songs on their bellies and have incredibly large testicals. Statues of tanuki can be seen outside of businesses while tanuki often play large parts in both traditional fairy stories and contemporary Japanese childrens' books. For a great overview of tanuki in Japanese culture, check out Studio Ghibli's classic "Pom Poko."
    YouTube - Rare Japanese Tanuki at Chiba Animal Resue
    YouTube - Pompoko Trailer

    きつね - Like tanuki, Japanese foxes have become famous as tricksters, illusionists and children's characters. It's said that foxes can take human form and seduce or outfox unsuspecting humans. According to older legends, their tricks tend to be a bit more sinister than the tanuki and they seem to cause very real heartbreak through their manipulations. They are also guardians of the Rice Goddess, Inari and their statues line the entrances to her shrines. Foxes are often featured as protaganists in children's stories ("Kitsune no Denwa Box", "Chirunapp no Kitsune", etc.)

    ほたる - Popularized by a famous poem by Issa, quite a few older Japanese tell a story about fireflies being the reincarnated souls of two very famous warring samurai clans: The Minamoto (Genji) and the Taira (Heike).

    2. Drills

    + Reading Drills +

    - Copy or print out the vocabulary list then cover or white out the romanizations.
    Attempt to read through the list on your own, figuring out the pronunciation from
    the hiragana alone.
    - Read the list out loud (without looking at the romanizations)
    - Write your own version of the romanizations/readings for the whole list, then compare
    to the correct version. Review any characters that gave you trouble.

    + Writing Drills +

    - write each word in hiragana 10 times
    - make flash cards for each: one side hiragana, the other in English

    + Memorization Drills +

    - go through your flash cards a few times with the goal of memorization

    - lay your flash cards on the floor or desk hiragana side up and group them by the following:
    -> land, sea, or air
    -> pets or wild animals
    -> animals that you have (personally) seen in the wild vs. those you have not
    -> animals you would eat vs. those you would not

    - lay your flash cards on the floor or desk English-side up and group them by the following:
    -> 2 syllables or more (each hiragana represents a syllable)
    -> arrange in Japanese alphabetical order (あーん)

    Recommended Study Regimen:

    How you memorize these words is entirely up to you. Just remember you are also supposed to be working on ordering as well! There will be both vocabulary and ordering sections on the quiz.

    Worksheets To Complete:
    Last edited by tsurara; Dec 24, 2007 at 05:47 PM.

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