Lesson 4 – Hiragana (Ma ~ Yo), Diphthongs


Lesson 4 Hiragana Chart

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve all been keeping up thus far. In this lesson, we will be going through the 7th and 8th columns of the Hiragana chart, as well as diphthongs that can be produced.

Hiragana – Seventh Column

The seventh column is associated with the ‘m’ sound, so the the first letter, ま, is read as ‘mah’, and so on.






Hiragana – Eighth Column

This column is associated with the ‘y’ sound, and is a special column because there are only three letters.





The ‘y’ column can be used to produce diphthongs, or contracted sounds. Just like for doubled consonants, small versions of や, ゆ and よ are added after almost all consonants ending in the ‘i’ sound. The result is that the two letters are said together really quickly, so it is like the ‘i’ sound is replaced with the ‘ya’, ‘yu’ or ‘yo’ sound.

For example, for き (Ki), you can add small や, ゆ and よ to produce the diphthongs:

1. きゃ
Romaji: Kya

2. きゅ
Romaji: Kyu

3. きょ
Romaji: Kyo

Do click on the audio clips if you’re unsure on how to pronounce. Also, note that long vowels also work for diphthongs, so you can have words like きゅう and きょう. Also, for し and じ, the Romaji are written as Sha, Shu, Sho and Ja, Ju, Jo respectively (‘y’ is not included).

Example Words

Below are some words and phrases that can be formed by combining all the letters we’ve learnt thus far.

  1. きょう (Kyou) – Today
  2. だいじょうぶ (Daijoubu) – I’m fine
  3. まえ (Mae) – In front/before
  4. あと (Ato) – Behind/later
  5. いま (Ima) – Now
  6. いみ (Imi) – Meaning
  7. もし (Moshi) – If
  8. いもうと (Imouto) – Little sister
  9. ぎゃく (Gyaku) – Reverse
  10. しょうがっこう (Shougakkou) – Elementary school
  11. ちゅうがっこう (Chuugakkou) – Middle school
  12. きょうふ (Kyoufu) – Fear/Terror
  13. きゅうけい (Kyuukei) – Rest/Break
  14. やっと (Yatto) – Finally
  15. しょうせつ (Shousetsu) – Novel


In this lesson, we learnt the 7th and 8th columns of Hiragana, as well as diphthongs. If you have any questions, be sure to comment below. I hope to see you in the next lesson!

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