Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Name That City!
The Japanese, who like to make nothing easy, keep their society complicated partially due to 4 alphabets. Two of them, hiragana and katakana, are small symbols that make up the Japanese sounds in every word (in each of these two alphabets there are 47 symbols for each sound such as ga, wa, se, mi, etc...). The third alphabet is for words, and is called kanji. You may recognize it as pictographs, like Chinese writing. The fourth alphabet is the roman alphabet, called romanji, and is used in various forms such as writing bad grammar on t-shirts or spelling out words for stupid gaijin (foreigners like me).
Of the four alphabets, katakana is the most useful to know, as this is the alphabet that is used to spell out foriegn words that are not native to Japan. These words include such gems as clinic (ku-ri-n-ku), or America (a-me-ri-ka). As I have hinted in previous blogs, the Japanese have no sounds for some letters of our alphabet, such as l, th, or most blends.
I am telling you this because every day I come across a word that has been loosely translated from a foriegn word to fit the letter sounds that the Japanese have. This is a constant source of amusement for me, and tonight, I found the ultimate set of words, using Japanese sounds, to share with you.
So... please... see if YOU can name these cities, continents, and countries in the world (hint: it helps to sound each one out slowly):
2. Nyu yoku
(post your answers in the comments spot - prize for the most guessed correctly - and no peeking at others' answers!)