hiragana = cursive, native
katakana = print, foreign
kanji = chinese

Clause format: Subject – object – verb/copula/predicate

Think of particles like mathematical operators.

あ a
Asahi
morning sun
い i
Iroha
ABCs
う u
Ueno
え e
Eigo
English
お o
Osaka
ゔ v
か ka
? prt
Kawase
exchange
き ki
Kitte
postage stamp
く ku
Kurabu
club
け ke
Keshiki
landscape
こ ko
Kodomo
child
が ga
topic prt
ぎ gi ぐ gu げ ge ご go
さ sa
Sakura
cherry blossom
し shi
Shinbun
newspaper
す su
Suzume
sparrow
せ se
Sekai
world
そ so
Soroban
abacus
ざ za じ ji/zhi ず zu ぜ ze ぞ zo
た ta
Tabako
tobacco
ち chi/tshi
Chidori
plover
つっtsu
Tsurukame
crane+turtle
て te
Tegami
message
と to
Tokyo
だ da (ぢ ji/dzhi) (づzu/dzu) で de ど do
な na
Nagoya
に ni
Nihon
Japan
ぬ nu
Numazu
ね ne
Nezumi
mouse
の no
Nohara
plain (geo.)
はha/wa
Hagaki
postcard
ひ hi/hyi
Hikoki
aircraft
ふ fu
Fujisan
Mount Fuji
へ(h)e
Heiwa
peace
ほ ho
Hoken
insurance
ば ba び bi ぶ bu べ be ぼ bo
ぱ pa ぴ pi ぷ pu ぺ pe ぽ po
ま ma
Matchi
matchstick
み mi
Mikasa
む mu
Musen
radio
め me
Meiji
も mo
Momiji
maple
やゃya
Yamato
ゆゅyu
Yumiya
bow and arrow
よょyo
Yoshino
ら ra
Raijo
radio
り ri
Ringo
apple
る ru
Rusui
caretaker
れ re
Renge
lotus
ろ ro
Roma
Rome
わ wa
Warabi
fern
(ゐ wi)
wido
well
(ゑ we)
Kagi
key
を(w)o
Owari
んn
Oshimai
finish

Hiragana Character Pedagogy

  • の no -> め me -> ぬ nu -> あ a -> お o
  • い i -> け ke -> せ se
  • と to -> さ sa -> き ki -> を wo
  • つ tsu -> う u -> ら ra -> ち chi
  • て te -> そ so
  • し shi -> も mo -> む mu -> す su
  • よ yo -> は ha -> な na -> ま ma -> ほ ho
  • や ya -> わ wa -> ね ne -> れ re -> ん n -> え e
  • こ ko -> に ni -> た ta
  • ろ ro -> る ru

Particles

  • bakari/bakkari/bakka/bakashi: just/only/full of
    • (n) Tōkyō wa hito bakari da.
      Tokyo is just full of people.
    • (v-ta) Tabeta bakari da.
      I just ate.
    • (v-te) Kare wa tabete bakari iru.
      He’s always eating.
  • bakari ka: not only – may be accompanied by さえ sae (“but also”)
    • (n) Sofu bakari ka, sōsofu sae ikite iru.
      Not only is my grandfather living, but so is my great-grandfather.
  • dake: only; a limit. Noun.
    • (n) rōmaji dake no jisho
      a romaji-only dictionary
    • (v-v) Netai dake nereba ii.
      You can sleep as much as you want [to sleep].
  • da no: and, things like. Often negative. Used less often than to ka.
    • (n,a,v) Nattō da no, shīfūdo da no, wasabi da no—nihonshoku ga nigate da.
      Natto, seafood, wasabi—Japanese food isn’t my thing.
  • de: can be used as “at” or “by means of”. When serving as the continuative TE form of a subordinate clause, de substitutes for da/desu, carries the meaning “is, and so…”, and takes on the tense of the final verb of the sentence. Originally an alteration of ni te, later treated as a conjugation of the copula da.
    • (n-instrument) Jitensha de ikimashō.
      Let’s go by bicycle.
    • (n-location) Koko de yasumitai.
      I want to rest here.
    • (n-language) Nihongo de tegami o kaita.
      I wrote the letter in Japanese.
    • (TE form of copula: “is, and so…”) kimi ga suki de yokatta
      You are loved (and so) I am glad. / I am glad that I love you.
  • de mo: “even; or; but, however; also in”
    • (n,prt:even) Uchū kara de mo Banri-no-Chōjō ga mieru.
      Even from space you can see the Great Wall of China.
    • (n:or something) Ocha de mo, ikaga?
      Would you like tea or something?
    • (n:also in) Nihon de mo eigo o benkyō suru
      In Japan also, we study English.
    • (start:but, however, even so) De mo, watashi wa sō omowanai
      But I don’t think so.
  • dokoro ka: anything but, far from
    • (n) Kare wa keisatsukan dokoro ka, hanzaisha da.
      He’s anything but a policeman; he’s a criminal.
  • e: “to, in”; direction. written with へ rather than え, reflecting old kana usage.
    • (n-direction) Nihon e yōkoso!
      Welcome to Japan!