Hiragana Practice

Hi team,

I’m looking for online resources where they have Japanese words written in Hiragana and the accompanied audio so I can practice the linking of Hiragana sounds together. I started WaniKani but the readings don’t have the audio & I would like to be more confident in my pronunciation (and also burning Hiragana) before proceeding too far

I thought this would be everywhere on the net but a few quick searches did not show many results. Wondering if I am barking up the wrong tree?





I got a little confused reading your post. There are audio files for the vocabulary words on Wanikani, you can turn on the setting in your menu to make them play automatically when the reading section comes up if you like. Even when you put in the correct answer for a reading with vocabulary words it will play.

The kanji/radicals aren’t technically words so they don’t have audio cues when they come up. Also it wouldn’t really know what to play since all of the kanji have multiple on and kun readings. As far as knowing the sounds for the hiragana/katakana there are some good youtube channels that have those specifically like Japanese Pod 101 you can watch their playlists.

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Ok I was at the beginning and thought that WaniKani doesn’t have audio but I guess it does when it get’s past the Kanji/radicals?
Kind of confusing because they have readings for the Kanji (example below with the Hiragana) but there is no audio?

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Maybe this helps? If I understood your question about „linked hiragana“ correctly, you can find those towards the bottom of the post.


Thanks but I have used this. I don’t mean the DYO, JYO linked Hiragana but putting multiple hiragana sounds together to make a word rather than just learning them in isolation - also helps to create context around a sound when you can use it practically in a word - e.g.にいんじゃ for Ninja etc

Kanji items have no audio, because they often have many possible readings and there’s no “correct” way to pronounce them.

Vocabulary have audio.


Yes but the example I have above has 1 example of a Hiragana reading (and the helpful hint is an English word that sounds like a Japanese reading) wouldn’t it make sense to have the audio of that 1 reading available?

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入 has 3 relatively common readings. Only one is taught in the initial lesson. There are other less common ones as well. But if you tried to record those, you would necessarily introduce other aspects of pronunciation into the mix that don’t exist for kanji alone. Like… what pitch accent would you choose. Pitch accent is a pronunciation feature that appears at the word level, but you would have to choose some kind of pitch to record audio for a kanji, and that could lend the impression that there is a pitch accent for individual kanji.


Ok I am an extreme beginner so thanks for your patience but this is confusing. So the Kanji has no pitch accent on it’s own, this is determined by the word the Kanji is apart of & hence it can’t have an audio…but to remember the Kanij Reading you need to sound it out & they provide the Hiragana for it.

It’s like they are saying it sounds like this but you can’t say it and we won’t give you the audio for it…

Or maybe I am just completely lost :joy:

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You of course can say it, and when you say it, it will have some kind of pitch accent, because it’s not possible to say something with no pitch accent (you don’t have to worry about the details of what pitch accent means yet).

That’s fine if you’re not doing it to teach people how to pronounce things and just doing it in your living room.

It’s just simpler to only record the words that do have some kind of established correct way to pronounce them, than to record all of these parts of words as well. It may seem simple on the surface, but it does introduce annoying questions.


Ok I will just go with it but will be happy once I get to the WaniKani lessons that have the audio because I think it is difficult without it :sweat_smile:

You can look up random words on jisho if you wanted, to hear sounds strung together as words. But some kind of… application? That just strings out characters would be sort of odd/useless due to pitch concerns as expressed above.
You can also listen to the classic songs…!

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I read down and saw that Leebo answered a lot of the questions but I did still want to respond. I saw that you said you are an extreme beginner and I have only been learning Japanese for a couple of months but one of the things that was really good for me to get through my head was this.

At the beginning I for some reason assumed kanji represented vocabulary words and that isn’t the case. Kanji represent ideas effectively. They have multiple readings take the kanji you have in the photo for an example. It has to do with Enter/Insert but when it becomes a part of a vocabulary word it can have many different meaning all still sort of centered around that general idea.

So for the readings of that kanji per jisho: Kun:




That is a ton, and for the very first recognition of that kanji wanikani is only showing you one of the MANY possible readings for it, which it why it doesn’t give you the audio.

I would again highly recommend hammering down and learning hiragana and katakana using a video/audio source with something like the Japanese Pod 101 youtube channel, once you know basic sounds of the language it will be much easier to visualize the stems sounds (on and kun readings) of the kanji. But once you get to Vocabulary, you will definitely get to hear the actual words. Hope that helps!


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There‘s also this article on Tofugu which explains japanese pronunciations in-depth, and there‘s also a part on pitch in sentences towards the end. Have you read that one? :blush:


I was following the Tofugu guide to Japanese & don’t think I got to this article yet, it was basically:

Learn Hiragana
Learn to Type Hiragana
WaniKani up to Level 10
Begin grammer

So I am up to the WaniKani part & don’t think this article has come up yet…thanks

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Thanks - the original application was to continue to test and learn Hiragana in a setting which is not just isolated sounds but a number of sounds together like you would see in a word…I was not aware of the Pitch Accent concept before raising this question

Thanks & I think you have nailed my problem. My understanding was that the Kanji I posted above meant Enter…I still don’t understand how they represent ideas and can have all those different readings…

Can I layout my current understanding and you can correct it for me :cold_sweat:

You lean the Kanji (for example the above is Enter)
Then this kanji is used in words (Vocabulary)
The reading of that Kanji can be very different depending on the word it is apart of
Hence the Kanji is kind of an indicator of what the word means but it can sound like many different things?

My brain is hurting already :joy:

Kanji aren’t words. They’re more akin to letters in that they form the basis of words. You -can- pronounce them, but they aren’t really used that way in practice. Some kanji can be used alone to make a word, but its pronunciation could be one of numerous readings associated with that character. You needn’t worry so much about this until you get to the latter half of level 1 when actual vocabulary starts showing up. You’ll start to understand the concept more at that point.

You should probably be very familiar with hiragana (and a little katakana) before proceeding any further. The pronunciation of hiragana in complete words is fairly straightforward if you know the pronunciations of the individual kana. There are some little things that can change based on accents or other common variations in speech, such as the common shortening of す (as in です). You will pick these up as you see and hear them more, but if you want examples of actual audio recordings, you can find them all over the place, including dictionaries such as Jisho. You can also use a site like Forvo to look up words and hear their pronunciation by native speakers. Keep in mind, however, that you will definitely run into pitch accents that may confuse you as to the “correct” way to pronounce something. The truth is that there are often multiple ways, and most native speakers are going to be able to understand them regardless (as long as everything else you said made sense.)

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Apologies in advance if I make your brain hurt even more, but I think it‘s helpful to get into the history of the connection between kanji and the japanese language a bit. So, basically you are right with your explanation. Maybe you already know all that follows, but I‘ll say it regardless.

Now, kanji were „imported“ to Japan at different times in history by chinese monks. Since the Japanese already had their own spoken language, which was/is way different from the chinese spoken language, the on‘yomi/kun‘yomi duality arose. Basically, the Japanese incorporated the chinese characters to use them to write their own language.

When learning a new kanji on WaniKani usually you will be introduced to the/a on‘yomi sound first (there might be more than one chinese sound for a single kanji, because it was imported at different times, multiple times, and the chinese spoken language evolved, too). The on‘yomi sound is the chinese sound for the kanji, or rather, the japanese version of it, which is more or less close to the original chinese sound.

When kanji are used in composite words made up from more two or more kanji, in japanese usually these „chinese sounds“ are used. However, when a singular kanji is used as a word, usually the kun‘yomi (japanese sound) is used. That‘s why, when you learn a kanji on WaniKani as a kanji only, you will usually learn the on‘yomi sound, and when learning it as vocabulary, you will learn the kun‘yomi sound.

There are probably better written articles on this, so apologies if this was confusing - but maybe it helped, too. :blush:

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I know what you mean, my brain hurts all the time…haha!

It will definitely become clearer in your mind the more you study and work with Wanikani, like when you start getting to the vocabulary in Level 1. If you click on that kanji in the levels area or the kanji area at the top menu bar it will give you a list of all the vocabulary words it is used in. That way you might get an idea of how that kanji fits into some of those words as examples. It helped me to do that early on.

Yes, first step is to learn and recognize the kanji and the hiragana on or kun reading that wanikani teaches you initially. That kanji will then either be introduced by itself or with other kana/kanji in the vocabulary words for you. The kanji is usually a good indicator of what the vocabulary word will mean. There are some that may be a little hard to grasp but they are still usually relevant.

Just be careful that sometimes the vocabulary words can be single kanji, however, they are specific words in that instance and there will be a specific reading Wanikani will give you for that word.

It definitely sounds so confusing at the beginning, and I am confused a lot of the time still with grammar and other things I am learning with the Japanese language, but as long as you take the time and put in the effort to keep going, you will start getting everything little by little!