Sunday Soundcheck 49


Today’s sound is be, pronounced kind of like the start of ‘best’, and written in hiragana and katakana as べ and ベ respectively. Notice a subtle difference in position of the two characters? In some fonts they are identical, but usually the angle of the katakana character is slightly changed.

Having watched a little of Wimbledon late at night, I’ll lob a couple tournament related katakana words up for you.

Besutoeito (ベストエイト) is from the English words ‘best eight’ and translates as ‘quarterfinals’.

Besutofuoo (ベストフォー) is from the English words ‘best four’ and translates as ‘semifinals’. I was disappointed that they didn’t continue the pattern and call the finals besutotsuu. Also, the Romanization of best four is not completely accurate, but I won’t explain that for many weeks when I talk about lower case characters: hold tight for that.

Bekkan (べっかん・別館) is our first hiragana word for this week. Annex is a suitable translation for this word; separate and hall are the kanji characters. This word caused me some confusion regarding a bookstore chain nearby. It is named Bessho Shoten (べっしょしょてん・別所書店). Shoten is the Japanese word for a bookshop, and bessho is written with the kanji characters for separate and place, which lead me to think of it as a kind of annex or such; however, it is a common family name in our region. So, this is kind of like Anderson’s Bookshop or something along that line. I’m so easily confused. I’ve also noticed Bessho Computers, Bessho Dermatologist, Bessho Pet Groomers, etc., since this realization.

Berabera (べらべら) is a word used with shaberu (しゃべる・喋る) to refer to prattling on. In Soundcheck 54, I’ll explain how it is used in a cute pun. For the next five weeks, this can be a puzzle for the readers.


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