Learn Japanese writing from a native child’s perspective

At various points in my travels, I’ve picked up books for learning Japanese that are aimed at Japanese children. It is a fun challenge to try to use them in my own language learning. These books are aimed at kids who are native speakers but are now learning to write. In contrast, I already know how to write (hiragana well, still learning katakana) but my vocabulary is very small.

One book I have is titled “こくご” which translates to “national (Japanese) language.” It starts out by having you practice writing hiragana syllables and moves on to writing whole words. Some exercises have you draw lines to connect words with pictures.

The hardest parts for me are

  1. Reading the instructions (which are probably aimed at parents or teachers, since the kids are still learning to read and write).
  2. Coming up with the requisite vocabulary, which is simple but still a stretch for me.

For example, here is lesson 7 (click to enlarge):


I am using colored pencils because… why not use colored pencils? Much more fun that way!

You work right to left and top to bottom. First I wrote my name (キリ) and the date (month 8, day 5). The instructions translate as “in the box, opposite of meaning of word, let’s write.” So then I got to figure out what one phrase meant (read vertically) to figure out what to put in its vertical partner that would mean the opposite. #1 is “high mountain” so I entered “low” (mountain).

After completing a lesson, you get to put a sticker on it! The book came with a page of over a hundred stickers. I used a yellow mouse sticker on this one. :)

I also have “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein in Japanese. Someday I hope to be able to read it!

Post a Comment

I knew this already. I learned something new!