Kodansha’s Hiragana Workbook A Step-by-Step Approach to Basic Japanese Writing
Hiragana is used for a number of purposes, but the most significant for learners is that it is the script used to phonetically spell words of Japanese or Chinese origin—that is, roughly 90% of the words in the Japanese lexicon. Ordinarily, most words are written in kanji, or—in the case of adjectives and verbs—in a combination of kanji and hiragana. But any kanji, no matter how difficult, can also be written in hiragana. What this means is that learners who have mastered hiragana will be prepared to read kanji, so long as the characters are accompanied by—a kind of pronunciation aid written in hiragana.
Most Japanese dictionaries nowadays use hiragana rather than romanized Japanese, and some designed especially for learners also use kanji with furigana.
Hiragana is the first hurdle for any student wishing to read Japanese. With you’ll learn how to correctly read and write all the hiragana characters, step by step. At the same time, you’ll also learn more than 330 useful words and expressions. With the free audio files downloadable from kodansha-intl.com, you’ll get a feel for how Japanese actually sounds, and be able to tell the difference between similar-sounding words. Finally, with the knowledge of hiragana you gain from this book, you’ll be able to begin using a real Japanese dictionary.
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