Haiku reflections on Japan

shi – し – but not as we know it

Who knew that learning

a children`s song could be so

useful to us all

For learning about pronunciation and grammar, especially the grammar of olden days.  Maybe not useful now but interesting nonetheless to us linguists out there.    My teacher in University did give my class the words of a traditional Japanese song once but that was it.  One song.  Another teacher used to encourage us to learn tongue twisters.  I can barely manage them in English, nevermind in Japanese, but yeah I suppose they`re a nice break from the grammar classes.

So, anyway I came across a traditional song called Furusato which they teach to all kids in school but adults sing this song as well because it`s about a person`s original home life.   Like `my country home`, my origin, so to speak.  Where I spent my childhood.   Through another Japanese learning website, I learned what the words meant and that many of the grammar forms are from old Japanese.   Like the し form that we add to the stem of a verb to denote `not only … but …` this し used to represent the past tense when added to the stem of the verb.   Another example of `ye olde Japanese` is  `〜〜〜がたき` which is the old form of `~~~にくい` meaning `hard / difficult to ~~~`.

Another song, commonly named Edo no komoriuta is a lullaby, handy if you`re ever minding a baby who won`t go to sleep, if twinkle twinkle little star doesn`t work.    The tune is quite nice as are the words.      Nothing too remarkable about the grammar in this one so it`s really the words you pay attention to.

Of course these songs are also good for pronunciation and just knowing them is nice in itself.

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