A quick reference guide for learning Hiragana and Katakana, diacritics and digraphs.
Ideal for students who are just starting to learn Japanese, this reference guide will help you to remember the characters, practice stroke order and listen to the spoken pronunciations.
Not really. Japanese Kana are syllabic writing (each character represents one syllable), consisting of Hiragana and Katakana characters – though you might consider this is somewhat similar to an alphabet.
Diacritics are accent characters which change the voiced sound of certain characters – for example カ (“ka”) becomes ガ (“ga”).
Compound characters (digraphs) are two Kana which are pronounced as one sound, not individually. These are formed by appending smaller versions of “ya”, “yu” and “yo” to the syllables from the “i” sounding Kana (“ki”, “shi”, “chi”, “ni”, “hi”, “mi”, “ri” and their variations) – for example キ (“ki”) + ョ (small “yo”) = キョ (“kyo”).
The more cursive and widely used form of Kana.
The more angular form of Kana, primarily for words of foreign origin – these have the same sounds and pronunciations as Hiragana.
Japanese characters are composed of strokes and each character is intended to be written in a certain order. It is very important to learn the correct stroke order as this will help you intuitively know how to write new characters and it has a big effect on how readable it ends up looking.
This is because the glyph (shape) of the handwritten form is different from the printed (typed) form. Example: き (ki).
A long vowel is written in Hiragana with an extra “あ”, “い”, “う” “え” or “お” depending on the previous vowel sound – for example おねえさん (oneesan, “older sister”) or おおきい (ookii,”big”). In katakana, it’s written with a dash – for example, メール (me-ru, “email”).
The double consonant is written by adding a small “tsu” (“っ” or “ッ”) in front of the doubled consonant syllable – for example, “どっち” (docchi, “which”).