The 46 sounds on the so-called hiragana chart are mainly written and pronounced in Japanese. In addition, there are other characters with small dots or circles above the letters, as well with smaller “ぁぃぅぇぉ”, “ゃゅょ”, and “っ”, so in reality, many more sounds can be expressed.
This series will explain the 46 characters on the hiragana chart, 25 hiragana and katakana characters with dots and circles above them, and their pronunciations.
The 「あ」 Column: あ, い, う, え, お
Pronunciation of each letter
Mouth position: Jaw is down.
Tongue position: Lower the tongue.
Mouth position: The corners of the lips pull to the side slightly.
Tongue position: The front part of the tongue arches up toward the roof of the mouth.
Mouth position: Purse the lips slightly as if about to blow out the candles on a cake
*Do not stick out your lips like the pronunciation of the English [u]. Just relax your lips and don’t pucker them.
Tongue position: The back part of the tongue stretches up towards the soft palate. The front part of the tongue is behind the bottom front teeth.
Mouth position: Lips are wide (though not as wide as for pronouncing [i]), and the jaw drops slightly.
Tongue position: The front part of the tongue arches up slightly toward the roof of the mouth.
Mouth position: round your lips slightly
Tongue position: The back of the tongue is midway up in the mouth.
Samples of handwriting
The next sound: The Japanese か(“ka”) column