Sunday Soundcheck 69

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Time for a second week of Sunday Soundcheck. Internet should be connected at the new house late this week, making it easier to keep Sunday posts up to date. So, the sound for this week is ‘re’, which we represent as ‘れ’ or ‘レ’ in hiragana or katakana respectively.

So, let’s throw a string of katakana words out today. These all have similar sound, but are very different words. Early on, I was often confused, but have most of these down now.

  • Reesaa (レーサー) is a racer or race car driver.
  • Reezaa (レーザー) is a laser. This word is getting used more and more as this technology finds it’s way into more public contact.
  • Rezaa (レザー) is leather.
  • Rezaa (レザー) is a razor. Yes, it is identical to the previous word. Japanese people will accent it to discriminate the two; however, let context be your guide. After all, one rarely hears about someone being cut with leather in a fight or buying a car with razor seats.
  • Rejaa (レジャー) refers to leisure activity.
  • Ressaa (レッサー) is lesser. This one is in very common usage because to the popularity of the red panda in Japan. In contrast to the giant panda, they refer to the red panda as the lesser panda, or ressaapanda (レッサーパンダ)

And for the hiragana word, let’s go with reigai (れいがい・例外) which refers to an exception. As a teacher of English, I often need this word when I am explaining English spelling or grammar ‘rules’. “Generally, we spell things <this way> but in this case there is an exception.”

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