Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

Katakana Review

Oni's picture


This part is a little different... Take it slow and you should be able to catch on


How to make the 'ten-ten' letters. A 'ten-ten' is like a double- quote (") It changes the sound of the letter to a harder sound. You can ONLY 'ten-ten' the 'K' row, the 'S' row, the 'T' row and the 'H' row. (look at the chart to the right - the red ones are the ones with slightly difficult pronunciation)

Now look at the chart below. You will see that

  • the 'K' row becomes 'G' (still the same good ole ka only with a ten-ten ; notice it is a harder sound)

  • the 'S' row becomes 'Z' (again harder sound)

  • the 'T' row becomes 'D'

  • the 'H' row becomes 'B' or 'P' ('B' is with a ten-ten (ex. ba) and 'P' is with a circle (ex. pa))

  A I U E O
K -> G ga - ガ gi - ギ gu - グ ge - ゲ go - ゴ
S -> Z za - ザ ji - ジ zu - ズ ze - ゼ zo - ゾ
T -> D da - ダ ji - ヂ zu - ヅ de - デ do - ド
H -> B ba - バ bi - ビ bu - ブ be - ベ bo - ボ
H -> P pa - パ pi - ピ pu - プ pe - ペ po - ポ

NOTE: Actually if you allow it to sink in, the sound changes seem quite logical. You will get used to it quickly


PART TWO - LAST - Some finishing touches

  • There are only 5 vowel sounds
  • All other characters (except n ) are made of a consonant sound and one of the 5 vowel sounds.
  • The not-so-logical-pronunciation letters are chi , tsu , and fu . BE CAREFUL
  • The R letters are pronounced somewhere between the R and L sounds of English - Click here for more
  • n cannot be used to start a word
  • A small tsu causes a slight pause or break between syllables. For example in English we say a slight pause after "boo k " in "boo K C lub"
  • You cannot 'ten-ten' vowels
  • Combinations are formed using only ya, yu, and yo 'helpers' and the i column (ki, shi, chi, ni, hi, mi, ri)

ki shi chi ni hi mi ri
ya キャ シャ チャ ニャ ヒャ ミャ リャ