<< Previous

How to learn the Kana

You will be learning 5 new Kana at a time. The new Kana will be introduced in a lesson and you can then review them using the Flashcards associated with the Quiz for the new Kana.

The Flash Cards for the Kana include Stroke Diagrams and Animations showing you how to write them. If you have a pen and paper available (highly recommended) you should first practice writing the new Kana 5-10 times each while saying the reading out loud.

When you feel comfortable with all the new Kana, take the quiz. If you come back after a couple days and find that you can no longer accurately remember the last 5 or 10 Kana then just go back one or two quizzes and work you way forwards again.

Stroke Order
Each Kana will have a stroke order diagram and an animation showing how to draw it. In general the strokes for a character go from left to right and from top to bottom. This is true for Hiragana, Katakana and the Kanji.


Japanese Syllables
Take a look at the Japanese words below and see if you notice a pattern:
  • TO-YO-TA
Did you notice that every syllable is a consonant followed by a vowel?Now look at these words and see if there are any syllables that don't match that pattern:
  • I-KA
  • SA-MU-RA-I
  • KO-I
Notice that some syllables are just vowels.

There are only 5 vowels in the Japanese language and Every syllable is either a vowel or a consonant followed by a vowel. Keep that in mind as you learn the Kana.

The single exception is N which is the only consonant that can be written by itself without a vowel. This means that every Japanese word ends with either a vowel or N.

Next Steps
Of course learning to read the Kana is only the first step in learning Japanese. Your next challenge is to start learning learning the Kanji with TenguGo Kanji . There are many more Kanji than Kana so this is a longer term project (don't burn out by pushing yourself too hard).

Check out our website www.tengugo.com/japanese for your next steps.

And remember, like any language, conversation practice with a native speaker is key to gaining fluency in Japanese.