Japanese Alphabets- Hiragana Charts

Hiragana is a Japanese script, which is used to write words that cannot be written in kanji. These can also appear as okurigana, words which have a kanji in the beginning but ends in hiragana (食べるtaberu to eat). In hiragana script, there are 5 vowels (あ、い、う、え、お), 40 consonants and 1 particle (を). Hiragana consonants are formed by attaching a vowel sound to a consonant sound (か、き、く、け、こ……). A single consonant itself forms a syllable in a word. However, there is one exception to this, i.e. ん. This consonant never starts a word.

The table below shows all the hiragana alphabets along with the pronunciations on the right.

 

aiueo
kakikukeko
sashisuseso
tachitsuteto
naninuneno
hahifuheho
mamimumemo
yayuyo
rarirurero
waon

 

When the ‘dakuten’ or ‘ten ten’, a symbol looking like [ \\  ] is add to the top right of the consonants producing ‘k’, ‘s’, ‘ts’ and ‘h’ sounds, we get the ‘g’, ‘z’, ‘d’ and ‘b’ sounds respectively.

To be more specific, dakuten is a diacritic which is used to transform the voiceless consonants into voiced consonants.

gagigugego
zajizuzezo
dajizudedo
babibubebo

NOTE when dakuten is added to し ‘shi’ and ち ‘chi’ the sounds produced is ‘ji’ in both cases but NOT ‘zi’ or ‘di’.

 

Handakuten is another diacritic which is put on the top right of the ‘h’ consonants to get the respective ‘p’ sounds. It looks like a small cirle ‘ 。 ‘.

papipupepo

 

When や ‘ya’, ゆ ‘yu’ or よ ‘yo’ are added to the right of the ‘i’ ending consonants the following sounds are produced. (This palatalization of ‘i’ ending consonants with ‘ya’, yu’ or ‘yo’ is called yōyon)

きゃkyaきゅkyuきょkyo
ぎゃgyaぎゅgyuぎょgyo
しゃshaしゅshuしょsho
じゃjaじゅjuじょjo
ちゃchaちゅchuちょcho
にゃnyaにゅnyuにょnyo
ひゃhyaひゅhyuひょhyo
びゃbyaびゅbyuびょbyo
ぴゃpyaぴゅpyuぴょpyo
みゃmyaみゅmyuみょmyo
りゃryaりゅryuりょryo

NOTE that the や ‘ya’, ゆ ‘yu’ or よ ‘yo should appear smaller than the ‘i’ ending consonant they are added to.

The consonant ‘y’ in English is considered as a semi vowel or a glide. In Japanese, the  や‘ya’, ゆ‘yu’ or よ‘yo’ are adjoined with the ‘i’ ending consonants (き、し、ち….) to create a glide.

 

 

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