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Lingo

Japanese Onomatopoeias: You’re kidding me, right?


In English, we have a number of different onomatopoeias used to describe sounds, like BANG or BOOM. But what if you want to describe the sound of a smile?

If you haven’t discovered this already, the Japanese have a separate grouping of words called giongo (擬音語) and gitaigo (擬態語) that are used to describe sounds coming from animals and people, as well as to describe actions or emotions, respectively.

Of course, when first studying the language, it is important to cover all of the critical vocabulary you need to leverage in basic communication.

However, there will be a time in your life when you invite your Japanese friends to your place for a drink, and they happen to see your pet dog or cat laying quietly on the couch.

If your friend is a Japanese female, this observation will quickly be followed by 

あー!猫だね。ちょーモフモフじゃん!

and you will be completely lost in translation.

In this simple example, the gitaigo used was モフモフ, and roughly translates to fluffy or soft. This is a relatively simple gitaigo(擬態語), so let’s take a look at another example:

ほら、見て!あのビルの電気がピカピカしてる

Hey, look! That building’s lights are flashing!

In this example, the gitaigo used is ピカピカ, and is used to add sound to the action of lights flashing. This is the same noise made by Pikachu, which is directly related to Pikachu’s electrical powers.

We hope you enjoyed this article on giongo and gitaigo, and follow Bondlingo to keep up with the latest vocabulary and Japanese lessons

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Japanese and English Language Differences: Writing Systems

In English, an alphabetized system is used which includes 26 unique letters.

In Japanese, there are three writing systems, Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji (Chinese characters), which are composed of 46, 46, and thousands of unique symbols respectively.

What’s the reason for this?

Well, when forming the language, the Japanese decided to adopt two other systems, Katakana (カタカナ) and Kanji (漢字), as they often borrowed foreign loan words and adopted many words from China.
This way, the Japanese could separate distinctly where words originated from as a point of reference in communication.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of Katakana and Kanji uses.

マクドナルドの料理は食べやすいけど健康じゃないです。

This sentence roughly translates to “McDonald’s food/cooking is easy to eat, but not healthy for you.”

In this sentence, we see the word “マクドナルド” written in Katakana, and “料理” (riyouri) as well as “健康” (kenkou) written in Kanji, or Chinese characters.

McDonald’s is a fast food chain that was initially started in the United States but exists globally and can be found among many cities in Japan.
As a result, when Japanese refer to this restaurant with foreign origin, they use the foreign writing system.

The same goes for “Cooking” and “Healthy”, as these are words that when created in Japanese, were pulled from the Chinese language system.
As a result, the Japanese writing system selected is Kanji.

One thing worth pointing out is that when studying Japanese, you will find that some Japanese words, while have a usable Kanji version, the Katakana version is more commonly used.
While not that common, this is something you will want to pay attention to.

That’s all for this lesson. The team at Bondlingo hopes you enjoyed this quick lesson, and please subscribe for more quick reads!

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Word Excision in Japanese: More Flexibility than English

Have you ever spoken to someone in Japanese, and noticed that they seem to cut out words from a sentence that you typically would include in English?

If not, you’ll notice this soon.

Japanese is an extremely high-context language, meaning that the speaker makes certain assumptions with regard to the listener’s ability to comprehend certain sentences.

This contrasts heavily with English, a lower-context language that requires that words are explicitly conveyed in order to process the meaning.

Let’s take a look at an example.

In the sentence, “Did you eat the sandwich that you brought to school today?”, the speaker is clearly talking to “you”, and includes all essential particles, such as “the”, “that”, and “to”.

However, if we look at the same sentence under casual Japanese, we see major differences:

今日、学校に迎えに行ったサンドイッチ食べた?

If this were to be directly translated into English, it would look like:

“Today, sandwich brought to school ate?”

We see many differences here. The sentence only really includes the key words needed, and therefore is significantly shorter in length, the major particles can be dropped, and the verb lengths in casual discussion can be shortened (in this case 食べましたか goes to 食べた).

If we tried using the word for you (あなた), as well as the particles (を、か), the listener would still understand the question, but it would not sound very natural.

In conclusion, there is a lot more context that is required in Japanese, as Japanese people often drop key topics or people they are referring to if it has already been previously introduced in an earlier sentence.

They also do not necessarily use key particles, and can shorten verbs in casual, non-formal discussions.

While this does not exist in English, the benefit of English communication is that words and expressions are clearly expressed, and there is no confusion.

We hope you enjoyed this quick read, and stay tuned for more language lessons from BondLingo!

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Japanese and Plural Forms

Learn Japanese Plural Forms?

If you’ve started studying Japanese already, and are wondering how to turn cat into cats, forget about it. In Japanese,

there are basically no plural forms; 猫「ねこ」remains , and so forth.

This is quite the opposite in the case of English, as we can specify within the word whether or not there are multiple of a noun by adding “s”.

In Japanese, there is however, a way to specify plurality not in the word itself, but in a counter.

Let’s take a look at an example using the same topic of cats:

If we want to say “There are three cats sitting on the table” in Japanese, we would say:

「テーブルの上に三匹の猫がいます。」

We see here that the counter 三匹 「さんびき」is used to express plurality, while the word does not change. There a number of counters used in Japanese to refer to specific kinds of nouns, but we will not go into those details in this article.

Looking at the English sentence above, we see that the grammar uses a counter “three” and adds an “s” to “cat”, clearly showing the modification of plurality within the word itself.

There are a few rare exceptions to this rule in Japanese, where the word itself is actually changed, and that really only occurs with pronouns referring to people.

Let’s look at a couple of examples:

僕「ぼく」      to 僕たち or 僕ら

俺「おれ」   to 俺たち or 俺ら

私「わたし」  to 私たち

We see here that ~たち or ~ can signify plurality, and actually modify the pronoun itself.

That’s it for today’s lesson. We hope you enjoyed this quick read, and best of luck on the language learning!

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If you haven’t already, we would love it if you followed us on social media at @BondLingo

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Japanese Alphabet, All Hiragana, Katakana chart

The first step to learning the Japanese language is to learn the Japanese alphabet.
If you are new to learn Japanese, You will want to start with Japanese alphabet.

Hiragana ひらがな

あ 
a
い 
i
う 
u
え 
e
お 
o
か 
ka
き 
ki
く 
ku
け 
ke
こ 
ko
が 
ga
ぎ 
gi
ぐ 
gu
げ 
ge
ご 
go
さ 
sa
し 
shi
す 
su
せ 
se
そ 
so
ざ 
za
じ 
ji
ず 
zu
ぜ 
ze
ぞ 
zo
た 
ta
ち 
chi
つ 
tsu
て 
te
と 
to
だ 
da
ぢ 
ji
づ 
zu
で 
de
ど 
do
な 
na
に 
ni
ぬ 
nu
ね 
ne
の 
no
は 
ha
ひ 
hi
ふ 
fu
へ 
he
ほ 
ho
ば 
ba
び 
bi
ぶ 
bu
べ 
be
ぼ 
bo
ぱ 
pa
ぴ 
pi
ぷ 
pu
ぺ 
pe
ぽ 
po
ま 
ma
み 
mi
む 
mu
め 
me
も 
mo
や 
ya
ゆ 
yu
よ 
yo
ら 
ra
り 
ri
る 
ru
れ 
re
ろ 
ro
わ 
wa
を 
wo
ん 
n/m

Hiragana ひらがな Combination

きゃ 
kya
きゅ 
kyu
きょ 
kyo
ぎゃ 
gya
ぎゅ 
gyu
ぎょ 
gyo
しゃ 
sha
しゅ 
shu
しょ 
sho
じゃ 
ja
じゅ 
ju
じょ 
jo
ちゃ 
cha
ちゅ 
chu
ちょ 
cho
にゃ 
nya
にゅ 
nyu
にょ 
nyo
ひゃ 
hya
ひゅ 
hyu
ひょ 
hyo
びゃ 
bya
びゅ 
byu
びょ 
byo
ぴゃ 
pya
ぴゅ 
pyu
ぴょ 
pyo
みゃ 
mya
みゅ 
myu
みょ 
myo
りゃ 
rya
りゅ 
ryu
りょ 
ryo

 

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Katakana カタカナ

ア 
a
イ 
i
ウ 
u
エ 
e
オ 
o
カ 
ka
キ 
ki
ク 
ku
ケ 
ke
コ 
ko
ガ 
ga
ギ 
gi
グ 
gu
ゲ 
ge
ゴ 
go
サ 
sa
シ 
shi
ス 
su
セ 
se
ソ 
so
ザ 
za
ジ 
ji
ズ 
zu
ゼ 
ze
ゾ 
zo
タ 
ta
チ 
chi
ツ 
tsu
テ 
te
ト 
to
ダ 
da
ヂ 
ji
ヅ 
zu
デ 
de
ド 
do
ナ 
na
ニ 
ni
ヌ 
nu
ネ 
ne
ノ 
no
ハ 
ha
ヒ 
hi
フ 
fu
ヘ 
he
ホ 
ho
バ 
ba
ビ 
bi
ブ 
bu
ベ 
be
ボ 
bo
パ 
pa
ピ 
pi
プ 
pu
ペ 
pe
ポ 
po
マ 
ma
ミ 
mi
ム 
mu
メ 
me
モ 
mo
ヤ 
ya
ユ 
yu
ヨ 
yo
ラ 
ra
リ 
ri
ル 
ru
レ 
re
ロ 
ro
ワ 
wa
ヲ 
wo
ン 
n/m

Katakana カタカナ Combination

キャ 
kya
キュ 
kyu
キョ 
kyo
ギャ 
gya
ギュ 
gyu
ギョ 
gyo
シャ 
sha
シュ 
shu
ショ 
sho
ジャ 
ja
ジュ 
ju
ジョ 
jo
チャ 
cha
チュ 
chu
チョ 
cho
ニャ 
nya
ニュ 
nyu
ニョ 
nyo
ヒャ 
hya
ヒュ 
hyu
ヒョ 
hyo
ビャ 
bya
ビュ 
byu
ビョ 
byo
ピャ 
pya
ピュ 
pyu
ピョ 
pyo
ミャ 
mya
ミュ 
myu
ミョ 
myo
リャ 
rya
リュ 
ryu
リョ 
ryo

Learn more Japanese online ? Check our Youtube channel as well !↓↓↓

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