Using Hiragana, how would you write a word/transcribe a sound which ends in a consonant? Such as 'kon'. Relevant to this, I don't understand why 'hajimemashite' doesn't pronounce the 'shi' in the word, and why in the phrase 'watashi wa ______ desu' the 'su' isn't pronounced, and in 'watashi wa _______ to iimasu', again, the 'su' isn't pronounced. Is there a grammatical reason for this?


I am really afraid to say this, but I assume you are a quite beginner.

Therefore, I would like to help you somehow, but since your question is too abstract, I can not help you unfortunately. HOWEVER, both ta and su are consonants. Only when written in English, it "looks like" they are ending in vowels. In Japanese, they are consonants.


| improve this answer | |
  • Thank you. Are there any other consonants in Japanese other than ta and su ('shi' in 'hajimemashite')? So, just to clear this up- 'ta' and 'su' are just the way you pronounce the LETTERS, but in a WORD are CONSONANTS. Like how in English the letter 'B' is pronounced 'bee' but actually a short 'bu'. – Questioner Jan 3 '15 at 13:59
  • 6
    I'm afraid it doesn't make sense to say that "both ta and su are consonants". Phonemically, each is a string of one consonant and one vowel. Phonetically, it's possible that the vowel may be reduced or even entirely deleted in su in some contexts. We have some existing questions about this, such as japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/1904 – snailplane Jan 3 '15 at 14:02
  • Hmmmm...actually "it makes sense". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vowel_diagram "Phonemically, each is a string of one consonant and one vowel." This is a way of "English" thinking. Kindly check above, IPA has a, i, u, e, o, or the combination of these such as ae, eu, ou, frequently used in English. – Kentaro Jan 3 '15 at 14:19
  • HOWEVER, Japanese has only 5 vowels. a あ, i, い, u, う, e, え, o, お. Thus ta, although in English as I said it LOOKS LIKE it is ending in the vowel a, ta = た is consonant in Japanese. ( or in order to satisfy you, it is so "categorized" ). Same with su, す, in Japanese, a consonant. I am sorry, please be aware in mind every language is not same, that's only what I am able to say. Thanks! – Kentaro Jan 3 '15 at 14:21
  • 5
    「た」も「す」も、「子音」ではありません。「子音+母音」です。参照→Wiki子音 「p, t, k [p, t, k]: 日本語のパ行、「タ」「テ」「ト」、カ行の子音。」「五十音では、似た子音を持つ仮名が、ひとつの行を構成する。」 Wiktionary日本語の発音 「/p/ 「ぱ、ぴ、ぷ、ぺ、ぽ」の子音。音価は[p]。」等 – user1016 Jan 18 '15 at 15:15

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.