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Japanese Grammar

Consonants

Japanese has the following consonants:

b  d  f  g  h  j

k  m  n  p  r  s

sh  t  ts  ch  z

The Gojû table

This table contains the possible combinations of consonants and vowels in Japanese - the so-called '50 vowel table' (gojû-on-zu).

a  ka  sa  ta  na  ha  ma  ya  ra  wa  n

i  ki  shi  chi  ni  hi  mi - ri -

u  ku  su  tsu  nu  fu  mu  yu  ru -

e  ke  se  te  ne  he  me - re -

o  ko  so  to  no  ho  mo   yo  ro -

Anime - leilei

The horizontal lines are dan (level), the columns gyô (column).


daku-on

Dulled vowels (daku-on) are formed with the ka-gyô, sa-gyô, ta-gyô, ha-gyô consonants through dulling nigori:

ga  za  da  ba

gi  ji  ji  bi

gu  zu  zu  bu

ge  ze  de  be

go  zo  do  bo

Another series is formed with the ha-gyô and half-dulling (han-daku-on):

pa  pi  pu  pe  po

The gojû-on table is the alphabet used in Japanese dictionaries in the order of the individual gyô with the following dan:

a  i  u  e  o  ka  ki  ku  ke  ko  sa  shi  su  se  so  ta ...

daku-on and han-daku-on are inserted after the relevant sei-on.

All the above syllables are called choku-on (unbroken vowels) in Japanese, as they are represented by one symbol in written Japanese.


yô-on

Syllables with the half-vowel y[I] are called yô-on (broken vowels), as they need two syllable symbols. The symbols for ya, yu and yo to designate the half-vowels. They can be combined with the following consonants:

k  s  t   n   h  m  r  g   j  b  p

The syllable symbol for the relevant i-dan are used when writing. The following symbols are formed:

kya  sha  cha  nya  hya  mya  rya  gya  ja  bya  pya

kyu  shu  chu  nyu  hyu  myu  ryu  gyu  ju  byu  pyu

kyo  sho  cho  nyo  hyo  myo  ryo  gyo  jo  byo  pyo


soku-on

Double consonants (soku-on) - tension vowels - appear in Sino-Japanese and in pure Japanese words. They also appear in foreign words.

hatsu + sha -> hassha

datsu + sen -> dassen

kutsu + taku -> kuttaku

shutsu + hatsu -> shuppatsu

hachi + kai -> hakkai

ichi + tsû -> ittsû

nichi + chû -> nitchû

haku + kin -> hakkin

roku + hyaku -> roppyaku

seki + kô -> sekkô

Soku-on appear in pure Japanese words through vowel suppression onbin

torite -> totte

omoite -> omotte

kirite -> kite

mochite -> motte

yorite -> yotte

Japanese in the Latin alphabet (rômaji)

- the Hepburn system (Hebonshiki-rômaji)

- the Japanese system (Shin-kunresiki-rômazi)

The symbol system in Japanese

Two types of symbols are used in Japanese

- Syllable symbols (Kana)

a) Hiragana

b) Katakana

- Phonoideographic characters Kanji

Generally, Kanji serves for semantic representation, while Hiragana serves morphological and syntactic representation.


Syllable symbols

The syllable symbols (Kana) have developed in two forms:

- Hiragana from cursive forms of Kanji (from sôsho)

- Katakana from abbreviated or simplified forms of Kanji (derived from kaisho)

Each syllable symbol in Japanese represents the vowel value of a complete syllable.

Hiragana is usually used to represent all morphological forms. such as Joshi and Jodôshi, but also whole words in pure Japanese, e.g. Fukushi, Setsuzokushi or Kandôshi. Katakana is mainly used for foreign words from other - mostly European languages - and foreign names or designations. In both syllable alphabets individual syllables (the gojû-on-zu) are represented with one syllable symbol each. These syllables are also used as base characters in the combined vowel representation.

Hiragana table

hwa

wa

hra

ra

hya

ya

hma

ma

hha

ha

hna

na

hta

ta

hsa

sa

hka

ka

ha

a

(w)i hri

ri

--- hmi

mi

hhi

hi

hni

ni

hchi

chi

hshi

shi

hki

ki

hri

i

(w)u hru

ru

hyu

yu

hmu

mu

hfu

fu

hnu

nu

htsu

tsu

hsu

su

hku

ku

hu

u

(w)e hre

re

--- hme

me

hhe

he

hne

ne

hte

te

hse

se

hke

ke

he

e

hwo

(w)o

hro

ro

hyo

yo

hmo

mo

hho

ho

hno

no

hto

to

hso

so

hko

ko

hwo

o

hn

n


Katakana table

kwa

wa

kra

ra

kya

ya

kma

ma

kha

ha

kna

na

kta

ta

ksa

sa

kka

ka

ka

a

(w)i kri

ri

--- kmi

mi

khi

hi

kni

ni

kchi

chi

kshi

shi

kki

ki

kri

i

(w)u kru

ru

kyu

yu

kmu

mu

kfu

fu

knu

nu

ktsu

tsu

ksu

su

kku

ku

ku

u

(w)e kre

re

--- kme

me

khe

he

kne

ne

kte

te

kse

se

kke

ke

ke

e

kwo

(w)o

kro

ro

kyo

yo

kmo

mo

kho

ho

kno

no

kto

to

kso

so

kko

ko

ko

o

kn

n

Other vowel combinations are written in a certain way. daku-on are formed by adding two small parallel lines on the right on top beside the sei-on in ka-gyô, sa-gyô, ta-gyô, and ha-gyô.

daku-on

hbo

ba

hda

da

hza

za

hga

ga

hbi

bi

hdchi

ji

hji

ji

hgi

gi

hbu

bu

hdtsu

zu

hru

zu

hgu

gu

hbe

be

hde

de

hze

ze

hge

ge

hbo

bo

hdo

do/TD>

hzo

zo

hgo

go

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