Beginner Japanese/Kana

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Welcome to the kana lessons course, where you will learn how to read, write, and pronounce hiragana and katakana, the two syllabaries of the Japanese language.

Like kanji, the kana are not just geometric shapes but rather three-dimensional paths. Character strokes must therefore be arranged in a certain way.

Reading[edit]

Lesson[edit]

The kana consists of two scripts, namely 平仮名(ひらがな) hiragana and 片仮名(かたかな) katakana. Hiragana is mainly used to write grammatical elements and native Japanese words not written in (かん)() kanji, while katakana is used to write foreign names and vocabulary.

Characters[edit]

Rōmaji Hiragana Katakana
a
i
u
e
o
ka
ki
ku
ke
ko
sa
shi
su
se
so
ta
chi
tsu
te
to
na
ni
nu
ne
no
ha
hi
fu
he
ho
ma
mi
mu
me
mo
ya
yu
yo
ra
ri
ru
re
ro
wa
wo
n

Practise[edit]

The kana are generally best learned by rote though mnemonics can help with the initial memorisation. Find yourself a nice drilling program or website and practice every day until you can consistently remember the entire kana. Build on a small subset and work from there.

You will find links to useful software in the textbook Practice section.

Mix in plenty of writing practice as you learn the readings. It will take many repetitions to get used to the movements to make your characters look nice. You can practice writing on this sheet.

Further reading[edit]