3.2. Double hiragana used only for imported words


The double hiragana shown here are used only for imported words. You don't have to memorize these hiragana now, because they are not necessary to learn Japanese grammar.

Instead of the smaller hiragana of (ya), (yu), and (yo), the smaller hiragana of (a), (i), (u), (e), and (o) (hiragana for vowels) are often used.

Since katakana are used for imported words, these morae are commonly written with katakana, not hiragana as shown here. I will explain katakana later.

HiraganaRomanizationPronunciationDescription
(i)(small e)ye[je] Japanese "y" + Japanese "e".
(u)(small i)wi[wi] Japanese "w" + Japanese "i".
(u)(small e)we[we] Japanese "w" + Japanese "e".
(u)(small o)wo[wo] Japanese "w" + Japanese "o".
(ki)(small e)kye[kje] English "k" + Japanese "y" + Japanese "e".
(gi)(small e)gye[gje] English "g" + Japanese "y" + Japanese "e".
(si)(small e)sye[she] Similar to English "sh" + Japanese "e".
(zi)(small e)zye[d_zhe] Similar to English "j" + Japanese "e".
(su)(small i)s'i (si)[si] English "s" + Japanese "i".
(zu)(small i)z'i (zi)[dzi] English "dz" + Japanese "i".
You can pronounce it as English "z" + Japanese "i".
(ti)(small e)tye (che)[che] Similar to English "ch" + Japanese "e".
(tu)(small a)tsa[tsa] English "ts" + Japanese "a".
(tu)(small i)tsi[tsi] English "ts" + Japanese "i".
(tu)(small e)tse[tse] English "ts" + Japanese "e".
(tu)(small o)tso[tso] English "ts" + Japanese "o".
(te)(small i)t'i (ti)[ti] English "t" + Japanese "i".
(de)(small i)d'i (di)[di] English "d" + Japanese "i".
(te)(small yu)t'yu (tyu)[tju] English "t" + Japanese "y" + Japanese "u".
(de)(small yu)d'yu (dyu)[dju] English "d" + Japanese "y" + Japanese "u".
(to)(small u)t'u (tu)[tu] English "t" + Japanese "u".
(do)(small u)d'u (du)[du] English "d" + Japanese "u".
(ni)(small e)nye[nje] English "ny" + Japanese "e".
(hi)(small e)hye[hje] German "ch" + Japanese "e".
(bi)(small e)bye[bje] English "b" + Japanese "y" + Japanese "e".
(pi)(small e)pye[pje] English "p" + Japanese "y" + Japanese "e".
(hu)(small a)fa[Φa] Japanese "φ" + Japanese "a".
You can pronounce it as English "f" + Japanese "a".
(hu)(small i)fi[Φi] Japanese "φ" + Japanese "i".
You can pronounce it as English "f" + Japanese "i".
(hu)(small e)fe[Φe] Japanese "φ" + Japanese "e".
You can pronounce it as English "f" + Japanese "e".
(hu)(small o)fo[Φo] Japanese "φ" + Japanese "o".
You can pronounce it as English "f" + Japanese "o".
(hu)(small yu)fyu[Φju] Japanese "φ" + Japanese "y" + Japanese "i".
You can pronounce it as English "fy" + Japanese "u".
(mi)(small e)mye[mje] English "m" + Japanese "y" + Japanese "e".
(ri)(small e)rye[[flapje] Japanese "r" + Japanese "y" + Japanese "e".
(vu)bu (vu)[bu] English "b" + Japanese "u".
This kana is used to transliterate "v", but Japanese pronounce it with "b".
(vu)(small a)ba (va)[ba] English "b" + Japanese "a".
(vu)(small i)bi (vi)[bi] English "b" + Japanese "i".
(vu)(small e)be (ve)[be] English "b" + Japanese "e".
(vu)(small o)bo (vo)[bo] English "b" + Japanese "o".


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