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Video:Learn Japanese: What Are Hiragana Characters?

with Yuki Nakano

Hiragana characters are one of the alphabets commonly used to write Japanese. Here's a brief video overview of what Hiragana characters look like and how they sound.See Transcript

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Transcript:Learn Japanese: What Are Hiragana Characters?

Hello! My name is Yuki for About.com. Today I would like to talk about how you write and pronounce Hiragana.

Hiragana Is One of Three Japanese Writing Systems

There are three writing systems in Japanese: Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. For Kanji, we inherited it from China. Kanji is symbolic and, for example, for one Kanji there are a couple of ways to read and pronounce. As for Katakana, it is phonetic and we use Katakana for foreign words and onamatopeia. Hiragana is the Japanese alphabet. It is the first writing system that we learn at school. You can write anything in Japanese using Hiragana. But later we learn to combine Hiragana with Kanji for Japanese words and Hiragana with Katakana for foreign words and loan words.

Individual Hiragana Characters

There are 46 individual characters in Hiragana and Hiragana is phonetic. "A," "I," "U," "E," "O," "KA," "KI," "KU," "KE," "KO," "SA," "SHI," "SU," "SE," "SO," "TA," "CHI," "TSU," "TE," "TO," "NA," "NI," "NU," "NE," "NO," "HA," "HI," "FU," "HE," "HO," "MA," "MI," "MU," "ME," "MO," "YA," "YU," "YO," "RA," "RI," "RU," "RE," "RO," "WA," "WO," "N". That's some information about using, pronouncing and writing Hiragana.

For more information about Hiragana and the Japanese language, please visit About.com.

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