SayJack » 2011 » January

Online Input Method Editor (Japanese, Chinese and Korean)

If you are interested in inputting Asian characters, for example, you want to create your own vocabulary lists, but you are not sure how to input the characters, or your computer does not have that capability, now you can use our online input method editor to do so.

I used to call this online IME a typewriter, but I guess not many of you associated a “typewriter” as something you can use to type Asian characters, and I hope by using the more technical term IME (Input Method Editor), you know what it is all about.

If you haven’t tried it out yet, please give it a try. Below I am setting the default to type Korean, but you can use it to type Japanese or Chinese by simply clicking on the corresponding radio button.

Once you click on the input area above, a little menu will show up on top of the area for you to choose either the input script (Japanese and Chinese) or the input method (Korean). Your choice will be remembered. It should be useful for those who need to type Chinese and Korean, as you don’t need to come back every time to choose traditional or simplified script for Chinese, or Revised Romanization or Dubeolsik input method for Korean.

The Korean IME should be as good as any desktop solutions (on your Windows or Mac machine). If you are not sure how to type, please refer to the legend on this Learn to Type Korean page. Basically if you are an absolute beginner and wanna input some easy Korean, e.g. annyeonghaseyo (how are you), you may do so by using the Revised Romanization input method, but make sure you are aware that, the romanization system does not attempt to represent the sound of the words, instead, it is an one-to-one correspondence of Latin letters to Hangul Jamo. You will have a lot of typos if you simply try to type according to how Korean words sound like. For more details about Revised Romanization, please visit this wikipedia page.

Dubeolsik (2-bul Layout) is the national standard for Korean keyboard layout. It worths your time to learn how to type using Dubeolsik, if learning Korean is more than just a casual hobby for you. Again, please refer to this Learn to Type Korean page for a quick legend and explanation of this input method.

The Chinese Pinyin IME is quite primitive, you can only input one character at a time. So far it supports about the most frequently used 2000 characters. Also you will probably need to wait a bit before the choices will show up (below the input area). For instance, if you type de, 4 words will appear under the input area, namely , if you hit spacebar, you are gonna choose the first choice from the list, or you can either click on the word to choose, or press the number associated with the choice to choose. If more users are using it, I will spend more time to make it faster, and to make it support multi-character vocabularies.

The Japanese IME does not yet support inputting Kanji. I know this is definitely a must-have if I want more advanced Japanese learners to use the IME… for now, if you only need to input hiragana and katakana, it should be as good as any desktop solutions, and no installation is required!

I put the IME on the front page so that when you come back to the site, you don’t need to navigate through the site to find the IME and use it. Also, this IME will show up on input areas (supposed to have Chinese, Japanese or Korean vocabularies) when you are creating your vocabulary list. I hope it will make you easier to create your own vocabulary lists.

Let me know what you like and dislike, and if you want to see any additional features, or any bug you may have found, just leave me a comment below. Thank you!

Tensing and Pronunciations of Korean Consonants

Recall that tensing is one of the 3 important concepts for Korean pronunciations, and it is the easiest one to memorize – all the “doubles” are tense. The opposite of tenseness is lax, and as you expect, are lax consonants.

So when would you pronounce a lax consonant as a tense one? The whole idea of this kind of phonetic change is to make the pronunciation more natural, and if you ask a native speaker, most probably they would simply tell you “When it sounds more natural that way.” Fortunately, a lot of tensing occur with a regular rule, as follows:

When a consonant ㅂ ㅈ ㄷ ㄱ or ㅅ follows another consonant other than the nasal (ㄴ ㅁ ㅇ) or ㄹ, you need to pronounce it as ㅃ ㅉ ㄸ ㄲ or ㅆ (i.e. tensing).


좋습니다[졷씀니다]It is good
책 보세요[책 뽀세요]Please read the book

As you can see from the last example, this tensing process can apply across word boundary, depending on the focus of the phrase or sentence.

Tensing without a Rule

While we have a regular rule for tensing, unfortunately there are many other Korean words which tensing applies without a rule. You will need to learn them on a case-by-case basis down the road of your Korean learning career.


WordMeaning [Pronunciation]
한자Chinese characters [한짜]; one character [한 자]
시가market price [시까]; city streets [시가]
장기special talent [장끼]; chess [장기]
인기popularity [인끼]
출장business trip [출짱]
먹을 거things to eat [머글 꺼]
먹은 거things that I ate [머근 거]

In the first 3 examples, you can see that different meanings in the same word are distinguished by with or without tensing in the second hangul. The last 2 examples is to demonstrate that the pattern with future tense modifier …을 거 is always tense but not the pattern with present/past tense modifier 는/은 거.

A lot of borrowed words have an optional tensing in the initial consonant, such as 바스 [바스 or 빠스] for bus, 바나나 [바나나 or 빠나나] for banana, or 게임 [게임 or 께임] for game. For native Korean words, very often tensing for the initial consonant is to emphasize intensity, such as 작아요 [짜가요] to emphasize it is small.

Learn Korean Hangul »

Modifying Japanese Adjectives to Adverbs

Recall that an adverb is usually used to modify a verb, just as an adjective is usually used to modify a noun. In English, in general, you add “ly” to change adjectives to adverbs. For example, aggressive is an adjective and aggressively is an adverb. In Japanese, there is also a regular way to change adjectives to adverbs, as follows:

い-adjective: change い to く

な-adjective: change な to に

Exception: change いい (good) to よく (well).


早いはやい)is an い-adjective which means early. When it is used as an adverb, change い to く and it becomes 早く.

Please get up early.
早い to 早く.

Unlike English, which you may put adverb either before or after the main verb in a sentence, you usually put the Japanese adverb before the main verb.

静かしずか)is a な-adjective which means quiet. When it is an adverb, it becomes 静かに.

Please walk quietly at the library.
静か is a na-adjective.

Japanese て-form and Action Verbs

In order to make more complex sentences, you need to use verbs or adjectives other than their simplest dictionary form. In English, in general, you add “ly” to change adjectives to adverbs. However, for example, when you change “happy” to “happily,” you need to modify “happy” to “happi” before adding “ly” at the end of the word. Technically this kind of modification is called morphological changes.

In Japanese, a widely used morphological changes is the て-form (te-form). By making a verb or an adjective in its て-form, you are ready to “glue” the word with more unit of meanings.

て-form of Japanese Verbs

If you know how to conjugate Japanese verbs to their plain past form (た-form), you shouldn’t have any problems to conjugate verbs to their て-form, as the conjugation rules are identical.

る-verbs Ending with Replace with Example
→ て 食べる → 食べて
う-verbs Ending with Replace with Example
→ して 出す→ 出して
→ いて 書く→ 書いて
→ いで 泳ぐ→ 泳いで
る, う or つ → って 作る→ 作って
む, ぶ or ぬ → んで 飲む→ 飲んで
Irregular verbs Replace with Example
する → して 勉強する → 勉強して
くる → きて 持ってくる → 持ってきて

Verb+ている and Ongoing Actions

One of the easiest applications of て-form is to represent ongoing actions. You attach いる to the verb in て-form. It is equivalent to gerund (-ing) form in English.

Verb+ている and Resultant State

However, when the verb in use are in motions, such as 行く, 来る, 帰る or 出かける, its ている form does not imply an ongoing action. Instead, it represents a resultant state, meaning that the action is already completed. You may simply consider the て-form as a connector between the motion verb and the verb いる.

Tanaka-san has gone to Japan.
and he is there now.

In many other cases, the context or the nature of the verb implies that its ている form represents a resultant state.

I am married.
I am wearing a T-shirt.
Note that the action “wearing” has been completed.
Do you know?

Verb+ている and Habitual Actions

You may also use ている form to express repeated habitual actions.

Nasal Assimilation and Pronunciations of Korean Consonants

When you say thank you (감사합니다) in Korean, you say gam-sa-ham-ni-da. You do not say gam-sa-hab-ni-da, due to nasal assimilation.

Nasal assimilation, or nasalization, is a process to convert a consonant into one of the nasal sound ㅁ(m) ㄴ(n) ㅇ(ng). When an ending consonant of a hangul is followed by a hangul with a beginning consonant ㅁ(m) or ㄴ(n), then nasal assimilation takes place. See the table below for the assimilation process.

Ending ConsonantPronunciationAfter AssimilationExample
ㅂ ㅍ ㅄ ㄿ ㄼ감사합니다 [감사함니다]
ㄷ ㅌ ㅈ ㅊ ㅅ ㅆ ㅎ믿는다 [민는다]
ㄱ ㅋ ㄲ ㄳ ㄺ작년 [장년]

Here are more examples:

ExamplePronunciation After AssimilationMeaning
고맙습니다[고맙슴니다]thank you
앞문[암문]front door
몇년[면년]how many years
갔나요?[간나요]Is he gone?
밥 먹어요[밤 머거요]I am eating rice
옷 많아요[온 마나요]There are many clothes

As you can see in the last 2 examples, the nasal assimilation process can apply across word boundary, especially when you say it fast enough and do not pause between the words.

Learn Korean Hangul »

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