February 14, 2008

Table 1

Table 1 - The 46 Syllables of the Japanese Syllabary (romanized)
a ka sa ta na ha ma ra ya wa n
i ki shi chi ni hi mi ri
u ku su tsu nu fu mu ru yu
e ke se te ne he me re
o ko so to no ho mo ro yo wo

あ か さ た な は ま ら や わ ん
い き し ち に ひ み り
う く す つ ぬ ふ む る ゆ
え け せ て ね へ め れ
お こ そ と の ほ も ろ よ を

The above are the 46 syllables of the Japanese Syllabary. Individually they are called mora. Plurally they are called morae. One mora in particular is the focus of this article. The Tsu mora.
When the tsu syllable is added before the consonants k,p, and t, a hardened double consonant sound is produced. You spit out the words Like the sound of the doubled k in bookkeeper, adding the syllable tsu to ka, ki, ku, ke, ko . This special pronunciation of the doubled consonant is denoted by lowered case or subscript tsu in either hiragana or katakana. Some examples are as follows:

1. makka – deep red
2. jikken – experiment or test
3. shuppan – publish , shuppatsu – departure
4. zettai – suredly, absoluteness
5. tokkyo – not the city toukyou which has the elongated
6. happi – the English word happy in katakana

Note the use of the doubled consonant sound in Japanese is indicated by a lower case tsu followed by the doubled consonant sound.

When n is not connected to a vowel as in the very last syllable of the Japanese syllabary which in fact is just n or , it is like a syllable unto itself. It receives a full count if language were a music it would receive the same amount of time that a 2 lettered syllable receives., and is denoted by the apostrophe ‘. For example:
1. Kin’en this is Japanese for no smoking not kinen or the word for anniversary.
so it has 4 syllables and the word for anniversary has 3.

To say the ra ri ru re ro line of the syllabary say first in English eddy then make sure the tip of your tongue is touching delicately behind the upper front teeth. If you say it like this you come close to a true pronunciation of the Japanese word for collar, or eri.

As always Ganbatte ne! Do your best! Makurasuki