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In the last lesson, we learned the Hiragana characters や(ya), ゆ(yu), よ(yo) and the long vowels. If you are not feeling confident about those, review the last lesson before continuing on here. Less than 10 hiragana characters left, you almost know them all.
Let’s get started with ら(ra). For starters, pay attention to the pronunciation. Your tone slightly touches the roof of your mouth when you say it. 1 and 2. The top piece when written is bent at an angle, but sometimes you see it as a straight line. The bottom part should curve and get close to a circle but not touch.
Here is ほら(hora) which is said to get your attention.
And here is さくら(sakura) “Cherry blossoms”.
Next is り(ri). Again be careful to pronounce it as “li”. When printed, り(ri) is sometimes just one stroke, not two but when you write it, usually it becomes two separate lines with the はね(hane), pointing to the second line but some people connect the lines when they write it too.
Have you ever seen a りす(risu) in the wild? りす(risu) is Squirrel and you might have seen it in the もり(mori) which is forest.
Now let’s move on to る(ru). る(ru) is all one stroke with three parts. 1, 2, around and
あかるい(akarui) means bright.
And する(suru) is a verb meaning to do. Many verbs end in る(ru).
Now let’s try れ(re). First we do one short stroke almost straight down. Then like this, then up and the curve. This looks a lot like ね(ne) but there is no loop on the end and the part here curves in a little, not out. Remember how we said ね(ne) looked like a fish in a net. Well then, the fish got away.
たれ(tare) is a word that means a thick sauce
And ゆうれい(yūrei) is ghost. Notice that this word has two long vowels ゆ(yu) and れ(re).
The final character today is ろ(ro). All one stroke and almost the same as る(ru) but without the last loop. An easy way to remember the difference between る and ろ is, in ろ(ro), the loop at the end __ the way.
The word ろく(roku) means “six”
And ひろい(hiroi) means “spacious” or “wide”.
Now let’s have a short quiz. I will show you the Hiragana and you read it. Bonus points if you remember what it means.
りす(risu), “Squirrel”
ゆうれい(yūrei), “Ghost”
ろく(roku), “Six”
Now it’s time for Chihiro’s tip. If you pick up a kid’s book in Japan, you will notice a lot of little Hiragana near the kanji. Those are called 振り仮名(furigana). Japanese kids haven’t learned many kanji yet. So the 振り仮名(furigana) helped them know how to pronounce the more difficult kanji. You can find them in comics, novels and a lot of JapanesePod101 videos too. Have you ever seen 振り仮名(furigana) written around you? We are almost there. After just one more lesson, you will be able to read and write all of the standard Hiragana. So I will see you next time.