Japanese/Kana/Lessons/Hiragana/Lesson 6

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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 は、ひ、ふ、へ、ほ. 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 to は、ひ、ふ、へ、and ほ will produce ば、び、ぶ、べ、ぼ. Adding a small circle called a (はん)(だく)(てん) handakuten, but commonly known simply as a (まる) maru, "circle" causes clear sounds to change to their plosive sound. Thus, adding a (まる) maru to は、ひ、ふ、へ、and ほ will produce ぱ、ぴ、ぷ、ぺ、ぽ.

Brush Stroke: は-bw.png ば-bw.png ぱ-bw.png
Sound:

ha

ba pa
Mnemonic:
  • It looks like Ha, but the left arm of the H is broken, and the a is squeezed under the right arm.
  • It's a stand-up comic, with a microphone on a stand to his left. Ha ha!
  • It's a missionary, holding up a cross and laughing, "Ha!"
Example:
  • はこ (hako) box
  • はね (hane) wing
  • はる (haru) springtime
  • ばか (baka) fool
  • ばしゃ (basha) carriage
  • ばら (bara) rose
  • ぱちんこ (pachinko) slotmachine type game
  • かっぱ (kappa) water imp (in Japanese folk tales)
  • らっぱ (rappa) trumpet
Note: "は" is pronounced wa when used as a particle.
Brush Stroke: ひ-bw.png び-bw.png ぴ-bw.png
Sound:

About this sound hi

bi pi
Mnemonic:
  • Somebody's mouth as they say "hi!" really loudly. Just remember that the 'i' is pronounced like 'ee'.
  • Someone smiling wide at a good joke, 'Heeheehee'. He thought it funny to be (bi) hit by (bi) a piece (pi) of pie.
Example:
  • ひと (hito) person
  • ひめ (hime) princess
  • ひる (hiru) daytime
  • びじゅつ (bijutsu) fine arts
  • びしょう (bishou) beautiful
  • びん (bin) bottle
  • えんつ (enpitsu) pencil
  • しんぴ (shinpi) mystery
  • ねんぴ (nenpi) mileage
Brush Stroke: ふ-bw.png ぶ-bw.png ぷ-bw.png
Sound:

About this sound fu

bu pu
Mnemonic:
  • The squiggly line looks like a snake - think of the game Snake. The other lines are the food (fu) that the snake is going after.
  • The squiggly line leads to the top of Mt. Fuji.
  • It looks like an upside question mark, asking who? (fu?)
Example:
  • ふうふ (fuufu) married couple
  • ふえ (fue) flute, whistle
  • ふく (fuku) clothes, uniform
  • ぶき (buki) weapon
  • ぶた (buta) pig
  • ぶん (bun) sentence
  • しん (shinpu) priest
  • あっく (appuku) subdue
  • せんうき (senpuuki) electric fan
Brush Stroke: へ-bw.png べ-bw.png ぺ-bw.png
Sound:

he

be pe
Mnemonic:
  • Hehe, that guy's mustache looks funny - it's longer on one side than the other.
  • It is an arrow pointing to heaven.
Example:
  • へい (hei) fence
  • へそ (heso) navel
  • へや (heya) room
  • べんきょう (benkyou) study
  • べんじょ (benjo) toilet
  • べんとう (bentou) traditional box lunch
  • ぺきんご (pekingo) Mandarin Chinese
  • ぺらぺら(の) (perapera) fluent; talkative
  • ぺてんし (petenshi) swindler
Brush Stroke: ほ-bw.png ぼ-bw.png ぽ-bw.png
Sound:

ho

bo po
Mnemonic:
  • It's a hobo standing next to a lamp post.
  • The stand-up comic (は) is even funnier when he puts on a silly hat. Ho ho!
  • Think mini-golf. The line on the left is the putter, the lines on the right are the flag, and the circle is the hole (ho).
Example:
  • ほうき (houki) broom
  • ほね (hone) bone
  • ほん (hon) book
  • ぼう (bou) stick
  • ぼく (boku) A first personal pronoun usually used by men
  • ぼろ (boro) defect
  • しっ (shippo) tail
  • ぶんう (bunpou) grammar
  • こどもっい (kodomoppoi) childish