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Every Day is Equal

Yesterday was Christmas. I spent it in New Jersey with my parents, sister, aunt, uncle, and three of my cousins. We played board games (Scattergories!), ate Christmas dinner together, and I "helped" my cousins play with their new toys they got for Christmas.

And then, in between those events, I did two hours of Japanese practice and also spent time writing content for Life Nomadic.

I have a lot of good habits as well as a lot of bad habits, but one of my best is that I treat every day equally.

Day 7: Furigana the pronunciation guides

On Learn Japanese With james0vince

OK, so today I will be learning about Furigana, the practice of applying Hiragana to the side or the top of Kanji. This is a practice I found out about while reading Teach Yourself Read and Write Japanese Scripts. It is a remarkable book. It not only teaches you Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana but tells you why they came about, how the symbols have evolved over the years and even the importance of stroke order and why it is done that way.

Furigana is usually an aid for kids or Japanese learners, but you will see it from time to time in mature reading material as well for Kanji which is hard to pronounce. Japanese people write both horizontally (yokogaki) and vertically (tategaki). When written in Yokogaki style the Furigana is placed on top of the Kanji, whilst when writing in Tategaki style it will be to the right of the Kanji.

As you can see Furigana can be very useful in trying to remember or pronounce the Kanji. The top character in the Tategaki 漢 (or left in the Yokogaki) has かん (ka and n) to the right of it and the bottom character 字 has the voiced consonant じ Ji (shi without the voiced quotes " ). Making Kan and Ji or Kanji. Many beginners materials will include lots of Furigana and are very helpful. Look out for them next time you pick up a Kanji learning book.

They are also useful to know whether the writer intends the Kanji to have an on reading or a kun reading.

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