Pronouncing The First Five Hiragana
“Shame is the leading cause of death of the potential for actualizing giftedness.” - Maria Rocamora
The first five hiragana are the most important five to learn. They set the foundation for every other kana in the entire hiragana alphabet. If you learn these five well (and properly), you’ll learn the rest of them well (and properly). If you do a bad job learning these five, it’ll hold you back for a long, long time. That being said, you should spend some time on these five.
Let’s take a look at them, one by one.
a あ (a)
“a” is pronounced like the “a” in “car.”
a い (i)
“i” is pronounced like “eeee,” or the “ey” sound in “key.” Think of it like you’re saying the letter “e” (not pronouncing it, but reading the letter).
a う (u)
“u” is pronounced “ooh,” like saying “ooh ahh” when fireworks are going off.
a え (e)
“e” is pronounced “eh” like the “e” in “egg” or “elephant”
a お (o)
“o” is pronounced “oh” like in “oh my gosh”
Before you move on, I’d like you to be able to do the pronunciation of these five kana really well. I don’t care if you can associate the actual writing part of it. That doesn’t matter right now. I just want you to be able to look at the romaji (the a, i, u, e, or o) and then pronounce it in Japanese, using the audio provided above.
Every other column after these first five follow the same pattern (you’ll see once you jump to the next page), so learn these well now so everything else can be a lot simpler for you.
If you’d like some extra practice, here’s a video you can follow along with.