Learning the basics of Japanese language

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Photo credit: Hararie Japan 

Now that school has closed for the Christmas/New Year/winter vacation, we need to come up again for a plan on Pristine’s activities at home. Unlike last summer, at least it’s cool outside so my mom (who takes care of her while I work, bless her heart!) can take her to the nearby park to play. They will be going back to school on the 4th of January 2010 yet so she has almost three weeks of staying at home.

I’ve started to introduce her to the Japanese alphabet, starting with Hiragana and amazingly, she has put up so well like she’s made to do this! Hiragana (Hee-rah-gahnah) is the basic Japanese language alphabet. It has 46 characters total and some of the characters can have marks added to them to change their pronunciation. It is the first step to learning the Japanese language…or as I view it, looking back to the days when I was a newbie in Japan: the first step to your worst nightmare.

writing hiragana

I am not a good homeschooler with my very short patience and I’m so lucky I didn’t have to belt out my bitchy tone when my student couldn’t get it. I know, I need to get rid of this awful behavior and be a proper educator mother. I hate myself when I find myself impatient and being cross. Any ideas where I can buy a bucketful of patience?

So we have a day to day schedule and since I am not hurrying her up – we do 1-2 alphabets per day until we finish with the first 46. She writes it so many times, following the proper stroke order until she memorizes it then I check it and give her a sort of spelling test when I get home from work.

Pristine doesn’t get any proper Japanese language education in school because she’s enroled in an international school following the British curriculum. There she learns English (the medium of instruction), Arabic (mandatory for all private school in the UAE) and French as a “second” language – obviously they don’t know how to count! She’s fairing well with Arabic and French – at least as seen in how she writes and speaks it – to which I do NOT understand ANY! Regarding her Japanese studies, I thought it would be great to expose her to her father’s native language while she’s young as children have an amazing power to act like a sponge and absorb anything thrown at them.

At first, I thought there’d be any kind of resistance but as days pass, she’s getting more motivated and very eager to one day finally memorize all the Hiragana characters and read a Japanese story book (in Hiragana) I read to her at night, by herself. Last night she said, “Mom, I want to be able to read like you!”

I’m looking forward to that day too!

*****

By the way, it’s her 6th birthday today.

20 thoughts on “Learning the basics of Japanese language

  1. Happy birthday to the talented, intelligent and incredibly adorable Pristine!!! May her life always be full of joy and learning and fun in the presence of her loving parents 😀 I think I’ll have a go myself at trying to learn these artistic letters of the Japanese alphabet – my husband is a HUGE fan of manga and anime and would love it if I showed more of an interest 🙂

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  2. The Japanese alphabet, and you say the Hiragana is only the basic alphabet, meaning there’s more beyond that? I’m getting a headache just looking at the first few characters.

    I think learning to write the Japanese alphabet requires heavy usage of both brain hemispheres. From what I can see, it requires both precision and artistry. It’s only right therefore to start learning something like this as a child, as like you said, their minds are very flexible and absorbent.

    Happy birthday Pristine! 🙂
    .-= Jenny M.´s last blog ..Cheap Popcorn Machines =-.

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  3. Happy Birthday Pristine!

    We’re hoping we could make it to your place tonight. Hopefully there’d be no rain or traffic jam.

    On Hiragana, I’m afraid she writes way better than I do. I’m afraid I even already forgot how to write them all. 😦 She’s brilliant, no reason for you to get impatient.
    .-= rose´s last blog ..we?ve moved, but? =-.

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  4. Happy Birthday Pristine! =)

    Pretty impressive with all the language learning going on. And like you said, starting young is excellent – being a multilingual these days is really important 😉

    I have Japanese on my to-do list for the next, oh, ten years or so. One day, I’d really like to speak it!
    .-= Kaleido´s last blog ..Me =-.

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  5. HaPpY BirTh DaY PresTineY (f)
    The Japanese alphabet, and you say the Hiragana is only the basic alphabet, meaning there?s more beyond that? I?m getting a headache just looking at the first few characters.

    I think learning to write the Japanese alphabet requires heavy usage of both brain hemispheres. From what I can see, it requires both precision and artistry. It?s only right therefore to start learning something like this as a child, as like you said, their minds are very flexible and absorbent.

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  6. Please say Happy Birthday to your adorable daughter from me!

    I think it is wonderful that you are teaching her Japanese. Japanese language alphabet looks so beautiful and artistic.

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  7. Aw, please wish her a very happy birthday for me!!
    It sounds like she has grasped the Japanese language pretty well so far-Despite what you say, I think she has a great teacher 🙂
    Next it shall be my turn! LOL I haven’t given up-I’m going to make sure I do a little each day when the New Year hits!
    .-= Kayla´s last blog ..Merry Christmas Everyone!! =-.

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  8. Happy 6th Birthday to an amazing and beautiful young lady!!
    I am in awe of all you can do my lovely Pristine! You are an artist, a model, and a wonderful daughter. Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us. Good luck with your studies and with reading the Hiragana book to your mother.
    Grace, thank you for teaching us yet another wonderful thing about your husband’s beautiful culture. I am also impressed with how much you have to share with us and with your precious daughter.
    .-= Lorie Shewbridge´s last blog ..Good Will in a Box – at Crazy Adventures in Parenting =-.

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