Japanese Alphabets- Katakana Charts

Katakana is the Japanese script which is used to write loanwords. These words are not of Japanese origin or in other words,  a Japanese term does not exist for them. Katakana consists of 5 vowels (ア、イ、ウ、エ、オ); 40 consonants and(ヲ) a katakana of the particle を(in hiragana), but it is almost never used. The consonants are formed by attaching a vowel sound to a consonant sound (カ、キ、ク、ケ、コ……). A single consonant forms a mora. However, there is one exception to this, i.e. ン. This consonant never starts a word.

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. This diacritic changes voiceless consonants into voiced consonants.

gagigugego
zajizuzezo
dajizudedo
babibubebo

NOTE when dakuten is added to シ ‘shi’ and チ ‘chi’ the sounds produced is ‘ji’ in both cases but NOT ‘zi’ or ‘di’. ヅ is pronounced as ‘zu’ and not ‘du’.

 

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 ヤ ‘ya’, ユ ‘yu’ or ヨ ‘yo’ is 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 youon)

キャkyaキュkyuキョkyo
ギャgyaギュgyuギョgyo
シャshaシュshuショsho
ジャjaジュjuジョjo
チャchaチュchuチョcho
ニャnyaニュnyuニョnyo
ヒャhyaヒュhyuヒョhyo
ビャbyaビュbyuビョbyo
ピャpyaピュpyuピョpyo
ミャmyaミュmyuミョmyo
リャryaリュryuリョryo

NOTE that the ヤ ‘ya’, ユ ‘yu’ or ヨ ‘yo’ should appear smaller than the ‘i’ ending consonant it is added to.

The consonant ‘y’ in English is considered a semi vowel or a glide. In Japanese, the ヤ ‘ya’, ユ ‘yu’ or ヨ ‘yo’ are adjoined with the ‘i’ ending consonants (キ、シ、チ….) to create a glide.

 

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