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I was looking at a chart of hiragana and trying to find the characters to form the name of a song Inochi no Namae. I started with i, then no, but there's no chi. I then started wondering where chu and cho are, among others. I'm guessing it has to do with the diacritic marks. Then I got "na," and the "mae" threw me.

Explanation appreciated.

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

You will find "chi" in the "t" row and "i" column, hence "ti". There are various ways to transcribe Japanese into Latin script. Whether you spell it chi or ti, it is the same Japanese sound: ち.

For cha, chu, and cho, it is chi + ya, chi + yu, and chi + yo. You could also spell it tya, tyu, and tyo.

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Good start for an answer. So is to equal to cho, and so on? – Aerovistae Jul 12 '12 at 14:48
Added details for cha, chu, and cho. – Dono Jul 12 '12 at 14:50
Thanks! Makes sense. And "Mae"? And you ignored my edit. :[ – Aerovistae Jul 12 '12 at 14:50
What is problematic about mae? It is ma + e. You can find ma in the m-row with a-column and e is along with the rest of the vowels, the fourth from the left. – Dono Jul 12 '12 at 14:52
Just in case anybody is wondering, "to" and "cho" are two completely separate sounds (besides the fact that they end with an "o" sound) in all romanization methods that I've seen. "to" is と and "cho" is ちょ. – atlantiza Jul 12 '12 at 15:02

As @Dono answered, "chi" is the "t+i" sound in the chart. Some others that maybe are not obvious are "shi" (s+i), "tsu" (t+u), and "fu" (h+u).

Also, the singular "n" can be difficult in some instances. Since you are a beginner, you are probably mostly seeing words in romaji (Roman letters). A romaji "n" will be associated with a vowel immediately following it unless a dash (-) or apostrophe (') is used. For example, "tanin" (other people) is "ta+ni+n". However, "man'in" (many people) is "ma+n+i+n".

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