4.2. Hiragana table


A table of the hiragana ((hi)(ra)(ga)(na) "hiragana") is called (go)(zi)(small yu)(u)(o)(n)(zu) "gozyûonzu", which means a fifty-sound chart. It contains all the hiragana except ones with voiced sound marks, ones with semi-voiced sound marks, and small hiragana (/Q/ and double hiragana). Since Japanese characters are ordinarily written vertically from top to bottom, the table items are written in that way. The lines are written from right to left.

Each hiragana is shown with its Romanization, and it is linked to audio files.

warayamahanatasakaa
(n)
n*3
(wa)
wa
(ra)
ra
(ya)
ya
(ma)
ma
(ha)
ha*1
(na)
na
(ta)
ta
(sa)
sa
(ka)
ka
(a)
a
a
(wi)
i*2
(ri)
ri
(mi)
mi
(hi)
hi
(ni)
ni
(ti)
ti
(chi)
(si)
si
(shi)
(ki)
ki
(i)
i
i
(ru)
ru
(yu)
yu
(mu)
mu
(hu)
hu
(fu)
(nu)
nu
(tu)
tu
(tsu)
(su)
su
(ku)
ku
(u)
u
u
(we)
e*2
(re)
re
(me)
me
(he)
he*1
(ne)
ne
(te)
te
(se)
se
(ke)
ke
(e)
e
e
(wo)
o*1
(ro)
ro
(yo)
yo
(mo)
mo
(ho)
ho
(no)
no
(to)
to
(so)
so
(ko)
ko
(o)
o
o

*1 There are special single-kana words with these kana.
*2 These two kana are not used in modern Japanese.
*3 This kana actually doesn't contain the vowel "a".

This is an additional table that contains hiragana with voiced sound marks and semi-voiced sound marks:

pabadazaga
(pa)
pa
(ba)
ba
(da)
da
(za)
za
(ga)
ga
a
(pi)
pi
(bi)
bi
(di)
zi
(ji)
(zi)
zi
(ji)
(gi)
gi
i
(pu)
pu
(bu)
bu
(du)
zu
(zu)
zu
(gu)
gu
u
(pe)
pe
(be)
be
(de)
de
(ze)
ze
(ge)
ge
e
(po)
po
(bo)
bo
(do)
do
(zo)
zo
(go)
go
o


Consonant groups are called (gi)(small yo)(u) "gyô", which means lines in Japanese, and vowel groups are called (da)(n) "dan", which means columns. So the hiragana (si) is the hiragana of (sa)(gi)(small yo)(u) (i)(da)(n) "sagyô idan" (sa-line, i-column). The hiragana (n) is the only exception; it doesn't belong to a vowel column because it has no vowel.

Voiced sound marks and semi-voiced sound marks have no effect on the order of characters in dictionaries. So (ha), (ba), and (pa) have the same order. Small hiragana also have the same order as ordinary ones. So (ya) and (small ya) have the same order.

As you know, some of the hiragana have different pronunciations from what you might expect them to have. You may think the vowel "i" works almost like "yi". Linguists call it palatalization. That's why "si" is like "shi" and "ti" is like "chi".

The order of kana came from Devanagari, which is a phonetic alphabet used for Indian languages such as Sanskrit and Hindi. Devanagari's vowel order is: a, â, i, î, u, û, r, e, ê, o, ô. Its consonant order is from the back of the tongue to the lips: velars (k, g, ng), palatals (ch, j, ny), retroflexes (.t, .d, .n), alveolars (t, d, n), bilabials (p, b, m), semivowels (y, r, w), and fricatives (sh, s, h). Japanese doesn't have retroflexes, and the consonant of the syllables now represented by "h" + vowels was "p". In addition, some linguists think the consonant of the syllables now represented by "s" + vowels was "ch". (Other linguists think it was either "ts" or "sh".) Devanagari's consonant order thus gives the Japanese consonant order: k, ch (later s), t, n, p (later h), m, y, r, and w.



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