Hiragana and Katakana: Other Combinations

In Japanese writing systems, hiragana and katakana consist of lines, each representing a specific set of sounds with variations achieved through modifications like tenten and maru. Understanding the distinct pronunciations associated with these lines is crucial for accurate language acquisition.

Maru and Ten

Let's start with maru (〇) and ten (・), two symbols that are integral to Japanese writing. The maru symbol, resembling a circle, is often used in writing to enclose or highlight text. In contrast, the ten symbol, a dot, is employed to modify characters and create new sounds.

が・ぎ・ぐ・げ・ご (Ga, Gi, Gu, Ge, Go): These combinations utilize the ten symbol to modify the initial sounds of the characters か・き・く・け・こ, resulting in the softening of the pronunciation. For example:

が (Ga) is a modification of か (Ka).

ぎ (Gi) is a modification of き (Ki).

ぐ (Gu) is a modification of く (Ku).

げ (Ge) is a modification of け (Ke).

ご (Go) is a modification of こ (Ko).

Continuation of the Hiragana Table:

ざ・じ・ず・ぜ・ぞ (Za, Ji, Zu, Ze, Zo)

だ・ぢ・づ・で・ど (Da, Di, Dzu, De, Do)

ば・び・ぶ・べ・ぼ (Ba, Bi, Bu, Be, Bo)

ぱ・ぴ・ぷ・ぺ・ぽ (Pa, Pi, Pu, Pe, Po)

Moving on to the katakana counterparts, the same logic is applied:

ガ・ギ・グ・ゲ・ゴ (Ga, Gi, Gu, Ge, Go)

ザ・ジ・ズ・ゼ・ゾ (Za, Ji, Zu, Ze, Zo)

ダ・ヂ・ヅ・デ・ド (Da, Di, Dzu, De, Do)

バ・ビ・ブ・ベ・ボ (Ba, Bi, Bu, Be, Bo)

パ・ピ・プ・ペ・ポ (Pa, Pi, Pu, Pe, Po)

In summary, the application of ten and maru symbols in both hiragana and katakana tables showcases the dynamic nature of the Japanese writing system. Understanding how these modifications influence various characters is crucial for learners aiming to grasp the intricacies of pronunciation and expand their vocabulary. As we explore further, remember that these modifications play a vital role in shaping the sounds and meanings of countless words in the Japanese language.

Understanding Combinations

Certain combinations bring forth unique sounds not found in basic hiragana or katakana characters alone. In this exploration, we'll delve into some of these exceptional combinations, unraveling their distinct sounds and providing insight into their applications.

しゃ (Sha): Combining し (Shi) with ゃ (ya), this combination produces a sound not represented by basic hiragana. Pronounced as "sha," it is commonly used in words like しゃしん (shashin - photograph).

びょ (Byo): The pairing of び (Bi) with ょ (yo) results in びょ (Byo), creating a sound distinct from standard hiragana. This combination is found in words like びょうき (byouki - illness).


The small tsu, represented by っ, is a distinctive and crucial element in Japanese writing, serving a unique purpose in pronunciation. Commonly known as a "sokuon" or "geminate consonant," the small tsu does not represent a specific sound itself but rather modifies the consonant sound of the following character. When encountered in a word, the small tsu indicates a temporary pause or stop in the pronunciation, often doubling the consonant sound of the succeeding kana.

For example, consider the word "ちょっと" (chotto), where the small tsu between ち (cho) and っと (tto) creates a brief pause, influencing the pronunciation and contributing to the overall rhythm and flow of speech. This modification plays a significant role in differentiating words that might otherwise be homophones, enhancing clarity and emphasis in communication.

In conclusion, embracing these character combinations is a key step in mastering Japanese. Integrate them into your studies and daily practice, enhancing both your spoken and written language abilities. These nuances not only refine your proficiency but also unveil the artistic depth of the Japanese language. Happy learning!