Vocabulary (Review)

Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

みなさんこんにちは。(Mina-san, konnichiwa.) Hi everyone, I am Chihiro and welcome back to JapanesePod101.com’s Kantan kana. In the last lesson, we learned the Hiragana characters ら(ra), り(ri), る(ru), れ(re) and ろ(ro). Be sure to review the last lesson if you are not feeling confident. We have just three more characters left, so come on, let’s get started.
Let’s take a look at わ(wa) is written like this. First, the line down, then like this here and finish with the curve but don’t close it. You may notice that わ(wa) looks a lot like ね(ne) and れ(re) but わ(wa) curves in and doesn’t loop.
An important Japanese word to know is わかる(wakaru) , “to understand”.
And かわ(kawa) which is “river”. While we are on the subject of わ(wa), do you remember when we talked about は(ha).Let’s try to read a sentence. わたしはえきへいきます。(Watashi wa eki e ikimasu.) This is not a mistake. When used as a particle は(ha) is pronounced as “wa”. In Japanese, particles are often one character that goes between words to show relationships. When you learn about sentence structure, this will make a lot more sense. But for now, just remember that this character can be pronounced as “wa”. The other character to look out for is へ(he). In the sentence, へ(he) is read “e”. Once again, this is because the pronunciation changes when it’s used as a particle.
While we are on the subject of particles を(o) is often used as a particle. When it’s a particle, the sound stays the same but the character changes. 1, 2, 3, it kind of looks like と(to) right? Think of を(o) as と(to) with を so much more.
For example, we have くすりをのむ(kusuri o nomu) which means “to take medicine”. This is a phrase made up of the words くすり(kusuri) meaning “medicine”. And のむ(nomu) literally meaning to drink and the を(o) sound between くすり(kusuri) and のむ(nomu) is the particle showing the relationship of these two words. So we use the particle を(o) instead of the お(o). We learned the first lesson.
Ready for the last Hiragana character? Here we go. The last one is easy to remember but a bit of a special one. It’s ん(n). Let’s write it. It’s all one continuous stroke, down at an angle, up a little and then back down. It’s really easy to remember because it kind of looks like a lower case “n”.
So let’s look at some words with ん(n).
Here we have にんにく(nin’niku) or garlic
And here is かんたん(kantan) which means “easy”. Hence the name of our series Kantan kana. Now the reason ん(n) is special is because ん(n) is the only Hiragana character that is just a consonant. It must be connected with another character in front of it. There are no words in Japanese that start with ん(n).
Now let’s have a short quiz. I will show you the Hiragana and you will read it. Bonus points if you remember what it means.
かわ(kawa), “River”
くすりをのむ(kusuri o nomu), “To take medicine”
にんにく(ninniku), “garlic”
Now it’s time for Chihiro’s tip. You may have noticed that there aren’t very, many characters with the “W” sound. Actually there used to be ゐ(wi) and ゑ(we). Here is what these Hiragana look like but don’t bother learning them. They aren’t used anymore in standard Japanese. You now know all the Hiragana but we haven’t covered all the sounds used in Japanese. In the next lesson, you are going to learn how to make 23 more sounds using the characters you already know. See you next time.