Learn Katakana-HA HI FU HE HO

In the last lesson we went over ナ二ヌネノ — a pretty simple lesson with not much to watch out for.

The H consonant throws a couple curve-balls at us though.

HA HI FU HE HO-ハヒフヘホ

  • → ha (like “ha”)
  • → hi (like “he”)
  • → fu (like “fwho”)
  • → he (like “hay”)
  • → ho (like “hoe”)

What the フ?

Fu I also covered in the hiragana course. It’s a strange one because it’s part of the H consonants (ha, hi, hu/fu, he, ho). But it doesn’t sound exactly like it looks. It’s not “foo” but instead “fwho.”

fwhaaa? 

Yep, imagine fu as “fwho.” It’s like saying who, but with a very faint F sound mixed with the w.

Lucky ヘ

It turns out (he) is nearly identical between hiragana and katakana (you’ll often see the katakana ヘ written just a bit sharper than hiragana’s).

Phew, one less character to worry about.

Look Out For フ-ワ-ウ

Sure seems like katakana is really fond of similar characters, doesn’t it?

You haven’t learned (wa) yet, but as you can see we have (fu) (wa) and (u). Almost seems like the characters build off each other — but then, why is u the most complex? Seems backward.

Just take note of the differences and use the recall practices to keep things straight in your mind. Eventually, these will be easy too.

Something Else: Double Modifier

Just like in hiragana there’s something else you will need to think about with the H consonants. There are two modifiers to change the sounds of these characters.

We’ll talk more about this later in the course.