Japanese/Kana/Lessons/Hiragana/Lesson 2

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Hiragana: [ a ] [ ka ] [ sa ] [ ta ] [ na ] [ ha ] [ ma ] [ ya ] [ ra ] [ wa, wo, n ] [ ゐ and ゑ (ancient hiragana in disuse) ]
Katakana: [ a ] [ ka ] [ sa ] [ ta ] [ na ] [ ha ] [ ma ] [ ya ] [ ra ] [ wa, wo, n ] [ ヰ and ヱ (ancient katakana in disuse) ]

In this lesson you are going to learn how to read and write か, き, く, け, こ. Adding two small lines called (だく)(てん) dakuten, but commonly known simply as 点々(てんてん) tenten, meaning "two marks", causes clear sounds to change to their voiced sound. Thus, adding the 点々(てんてん) tenten marks will cause か, き, く, け, and こ to produce が, ぎ, ぐ, げ, ご.

Clear Sounds[edit]

Brush Stroke: か-bw.png が-bw.png
Sound:

ka as in karma, or like the ca in car.

ga
Mnemonic:

It looks like the head of a cock (rooster). The neck and wattle are on the left, and the beak is the stroke on the right.

Example:
  • かいもの (kaimono) shopping
  • かばん (kaban) briefcase, suitcase
  • かお (kao) face
  • がくせい (gakusei) student
  • がいこく (gaikoku) foreign country
  • がっこう (gakkou) school
Brush Stroke: き-bw.png ぎ-bw.png
Sound:

ki as in kiwi, or like the word key.

gi
Mnemonic:

It looks like a key!

Example:
  • きのう (kinou) yesterday
  • きって (kitte) stamp (postage)
  • きれい (kirei) clean, beautiful
  • ぎんこう (ginkou) bank
  • ぎゅうにく (gyuuniku) beef
  • ぎん (gin) silver
Brush Stroke: く-bw.png ぐ-bw.png
Sound:

ku as in kudos or haiku, or like the word coup

gu
Mnemonic:

It's a bird's beak opened wide to make the sound "Coo!" (Ku!)

Example:
  • くるま (kuruma) car
  • ください (kudasai) please (do me the favor)
  • くも (kumo) cloud
  • ぐんじん (gunjin) soldier
  • ぐうぜん (guuzen) coincidence
  • ぐあい (guai) condition (health, state)
Brush Stroke: け-bw.png げ-bw.png
Sound:

ke as in kettle or as in keg (or between these two sounds)

ge
Mnemonic:

It's a keg.
Picture a Spanish missionary facing you, holding up a cross, saying, "¿Que?" (Spanish for "What?")

Example:
  • けいさつ (keisatsu) police
  • けっこん (kekkon) marriage
  • けが (kega) injury
  • げきじょう (gekijou) theatre
  • げんき (genki) energy, healthy
  • げんだい (gendai) modern
Brush Stroke: こ-bw.png ご-bw.png
Sound:

ko as in koala or the co in cola.

go
Mnemonic:

The second line is a copy of the first one.
It's the top and bottom of a coin.
It's a race, with the finish line at the top and the starting line at the bottom (with a flag): ready, set, GO!

Example:
  • こども (kodomo) child
  • こめ (kome) rice (uncooked)
  • ことば (kotoba) word
  • ごご (gogo) afternoon
  • ごはん (gohan) meal, rice (cooked)
  • ごみ (gomi) trash