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.
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.
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 ‘ 。 ‘.
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)
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.