Extended Katakana

In the last lesson you learned the syllabic N character. A super simple lesson for sure. Now we’re going to dive into modifiers that change some of the characters into new consonants: G, Z, D, B, and P.

Things are starting to pick up pace now.

Just like in hiragana, katakana has extended characters sounds too (called dakuten). I’m going to explain these exactly as I did in the hiragana course.

These extended characters are just minor cosmetic changes that you’ll recognize easily — based on the K, S, T, and H consonant sounds only, no others.

A modifier is applied to each character, changing its consonant sound. The two modifiers are: ゛ and ゜ (but ゜ is only applied to the H consonant).

The K, S, and T Consonants Extended

In hiragana the K, S, and T consonants are the only ones modified with ゛ to change their sound. The H consonant has two modifiers.

This is still true in katakana, but there is a special extra I’ll go over below these tables.

K > G = GA GI GU GE GO

  • → ga (like “gah)
  • → gi (like “gie”)
  • → gu (like “goo”)
  • → ge (like “gey”)
  • → go (like “go”)

S > Z = ZA JI ZU ZE ZO

  • → za (like “zah”)
  • → ji (like “gee”)
  • → zu (like “zoo”)
  • → ze (like “zey)
  • → zo (like “zo”)

T > D = DA JI ZU DE DO

  • → da (like “dah”)
  • → ji (like “gee”)
  • → zu (like “zoo”)
  • → de (like “day”)
  • → do (like “doe”)

The H Consonant Extended

H is special… it has two modifiers. When  is applied it changes to B, but when the modifier is applied it changes to P.

H > B = BA BI BU BE BO

  • → ba (like “bah”)
  • → bi (like “bee”)
  • → bu (like “boo”)
  • → be (like “bay”)
  • → bo (like “bow”)

H > P = PA PI PU PE PO

  • → pa (like “pah”)
  • → pi (like “pee”)
  • → pu (like “poo”)
  • → pe (like “pay”)
  • → po (like “poe”)

Vu

In katakana there is a V consonant, but it sounds like B when spoken in Japanese. In the next lesson, katakana combinations, you’ll see the other V consonants– they are combinations. Vu is the only modified character in the V consonant.

  • ヴ (vu) — sounds like “boo.” It’s meant to be as close to the “voo” sound as is possible for Japanese speakers.

Two ZU’s and JI’s?

Just like in hiragana, you’ll notice is that there are two “zu” and “ji” characters. and are used most of the time, but why have two then?

is used when the “ji” sound follows a チ character. For example, チヂ.

The same applies to the  character. It is used when the “zu” sound follows a  character. For example, スズ.

Study Point

The main takeaway from this lesson is that you make it very clear in your mind these extended hiragana characters make the G, Z, D, B, and P consonant sounds from K, S, T, and H consonants only.

No other consonant has modifiers.

Recall Practice

Time to practice! Just like in all lessons, do this as many times as it takes for you to feel like you can confidently select the correct answer without guessing.

This recall covers all the modified characters all together – 26 characters in total, a bit longer than the previous lessons.

Good job! Continue practicing until you can confidently complete this with ease. Use the buttons below to restart the practice (challenge yourself with inverted and challenge mode).

Once this practice feels easy to you it’s time to take a quick break and then move on to the next lesson.