Sunday Soundcheck 13

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OK! Almost fully into the blogging habit again. Time to continue the Soundcheck series after a two month hiatus. It also happens to be the first of June, so maybe I should make a commitment to posting daily for the entire month. I posted almost nothing in the National Blog Posting Month, so this will be my month.

To refresh your memory, we are on the third character in the ‘K’ row with the sound change to ‘G’. The characters are ぐ, in hiragana, and グ, in katakana, representing the sound gu, which sounds similar to the English word ‘goo’.

Guai (ぐあい) is condition. We use it to describe things like: food being prepared the way you requested; your schedule being available (or not) for some activity; or how something is coming along. I realized this is one of those words that I hear a lot, but don’t use enough. My vocabulary includes other words for each of the definitions, but such a useful tool should be added to my repertoire. We write it in kanji as 具合.

Gurume (グルメ) is either ‘gourmet’ or ‘gourmand’. This is just one more of the katakana words which throw me for a loop. Sometimes katakana English words have odd pronunciation because Japanese has only five vowel sounds, and if English spelling – being the crazy mess it is – gets pronounced as if it is just Romanized Japanese weirdness abounds. For example, ‘hot’, ‘note’, ‘book’, ‘food’, and ‘women’ all have different sounds associated with ‘o’, but only the second one is the same as a Romanized Japanese ‘o’. However, in the case of words like ‘gourmet’, I would expect the kana to be gorume. I suppose the French ‘ou’ is technically closer to the Japanese ‘u’, but my study of that dead language is more than 25 years in the past.

I will try to enter the Sunday Soundchecks ahead of time, so they will appear regularly. Next week is ge.

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