Archive for the ‘katakana’ Category


While it’s fine for Latin and other dead languages to not require knowing how to speak it aloud, if you are learning a new language, it’s most likely to speak it for one reason or another and the first step to speaking a language is learning how to pronounce words. Thankfully, Japanese is a relatively simple language in this regard. Whereas in English we have numerous rules and exceptions to said rules and different pronounciations for words, Japanese has a relatively small amount of sounds that a word can be made up from and they form the basis for the kana.

For example, in English, just look at tomato. “You say tomato, I say tomato.”, is a popular phrase that illustrates two distinct pronounciations for the same word, with the same meaning that is not associated with an accent or specific dialect.

In contrast, in Japanese, if you see か or し, they are always pronounced the exact same way with very defined exceptions and those exceptions cause the sounds to be identical every time. This means there is a very limited number of sounds from which a word can be pronounced which is a good and bad thing, as you will come to see later.

So, for our first step to learning Japanese, you should familiarize yourself with the hiragana and katakana. Both are identical in the sounds they allow you to speak, but it would be beneficial to get a glimpse of two of the three writing systems Japanese uses.



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