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Learning Hiragana: The Second and Third Row of Characters

October 5, 2009

Learning the Japanese language can seem intimidating, so many characters, so little time. The good news is learning the first alphabet, Hiragana, is actually quite simple. There are only 52 characters that cover the entire phonetic structure of the Japanese language. If you’re reading this article and have not yet read “Learning Hiragana: The Foundation for any Japanese Language Learner” then please read that article first. This article is an extension of the first five sounds, A – I – U – E – O, and will expand to include “KA KI KU KE KO” and “SA SHI SU SE SO”.

In the first article, remember the pronunciation for main vowel sounds of “A I U E O” is “Katrina Needs Food Hates Home”. Those sounds will be applied to the next two rows of characters as well. Without further ado, let’s introduce the next two rows of the alphabet, with stroke order included:

ka ki ku ke ko

The next row of characters have the same vowel sound, just add a S or Shi in front of them, as below:

sa shi su se so

So there are the next two rows of characters for Hiragana. Please when learning Hiragana, make sure to sound out the characters, but also write them five times each. When writing Hiragana it’s important with each stroke not to take your pencil off the paper, this is especially apparent when writing “SO”. Also pay special attention to stroke order, and memorize how each character is written out. Learning Hiragana is the first step to becoming proficient in Japanese, pat yourself on the back, you’ve memorized 15 characters so far!

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