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High school freshmen:

"Do you want to know why I never misspell the word 'together'?"


"I always remember it this way: To get her!"

"... Wow!"



I have just discovered your blog, and your posts are fascinating to an English-speaker learning Japanese. It is so rare to get an inside view of the language from someone so eloquent in English; from someone who can explain the nuances and distinctions so well.

Also, as someone who has long been interested in Hokkaido, it is wonderful for me to read about life in northern Japan. I look forward to more!


Hi, ゴードンさん. Thanks for the comment. It's always nice to hear from visitors.

Whenever you have specific subjects on the Japanese language that you want me to blog about, feel free to tell me. I'll try.

Uh, yeah, I think Hokkaido is a perfect place to enjoy visiting, though not necessarily a good place to live in. ;)

What a very clever student!

Native speakers of English use all sorts of mnemonics to remember spelling. One frequent spelling error is to write "seperate" for "separate". You'll spell it correctly if you remember that there is "a rat" in "sep*arat*e".

As for Japanese grammar or writing, are there common errors that native speakers of Japanese make in which have common mnemonics to help students remember them correctly?

Good question, M. I could certainly use some mnemonic tools! Anything to help me cram more vocabulary into my feeble brain. So often I have trouble remembering when the vowels and consonants are extended, which isn't helped by words like kite (きて), kiite (きいて), and kitte (きって)!

Oh yeah, M, "a rat"! Very interesting. I'll teach it to my students. Or rather, I guess *I* have to memorize it that way. Haha.

As for mnemonics (hey, why don't you pronounce the "m" that sits very first!), Japanese speakers use them when learning kanji. "女" (on-na: woman), for example, is "くノ一" (ku-no-ichi). And strangely, my image of the kanji "祭" (matsuri: festival) is "タヌキ" (tanuki: raccoon dog)!

And, ゴードン, to native speakers of Japanese, those distinctions are as distinctive as English speakers can naturally distinguish "vest" from "best." ;) Well seriously, I know native English speakers find the pronunciation of "kitte" very difficult since there's no equivalence in English pronunciation.

Kiyo! It's been a while! How are you doing these days? I hope you're well. Good to see you blogging again.

Have you started teaching at high school now? Or are these students at your school?

Hey Clive,

They are the same old funny students at my school that you know. ;)