I am very new at learning Japanese. I have done some Rosetta Stone, but my friends suggested to me that I try back my study up by reading "Japanese for Busy People 1, Kana version". The Kana version, of course, required that I also memorize the basic kana. Once I finally finished doing that, I went back to Japanese for Busy people, and discovered that I actually can sound out the examples now. While I'm very excited about this, I find that sometimes, I read something and it just sounds really wrong to me. Just from a few days of trying to read in kana, I'm finding that I'm already quickly adapting. At first, it was extremely taxing to read even a few words. Now, I'm already skimming through them a little. However, my occasional confusion over words that just sound clunky to read has me concerned that there may be major gaps in my kana reading knowledge. Before I get past that "brand new learner" stage of reading kana and things set in, I want to make sure I'm not learning things wrong that I will have to work harder to correct later.

How can I solidify my basic kana reading know how before I continue to get used to reading kana in actual practice?

  • Thank you! Generally, I have the kana memorized. I may be missing a few here or there, but I've got pretty much all of them memorized. What I'm more concerned about now are things I may not know about reading composed kana. For example, わ is written like は in certain cases where it's used for grammar. I'm concerned that nuances including sound combination, character accents, distinguishing individual words, and things I don't know about may throw me off. I'd like to not learn things the wrong way by skipping past them while I'm new. Aug 18, 2012 at 5:02
  • Thank you. If this question would be more appropriate there, I would understand it being moved there. I have been reading through the link that Chris provided, and have learned some useful things from it. Aug 18, 2012 at 5:27
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    A difficulty with questions like this is what will work for you is probably different from what works for another learner of Japanese. Learning a language is much easier if you have a good teacher who can find and correct your bad habits (if any), but it is not always easy to find one. Aug 19, 2012 at 19:40
  • Maybe writing Hiragana and Katakana in the typical rows & colums could be helpful. Thank you :)
    – M H
    Nov 9, 2020 at 10:35

3 Answers 3


Probably you already know this, but anyway…

From the post, I cannot tell whether your this-must-be-wrong feeling is legitimate or not. You might really have found that you picked a bad habit, or your pronunciation is fine and you are judging yourself incorrectly because you are not used to Japanese. It would be very helpful if you have your pronunciation checked by a good teacher with experience of teaching Japanese to non-native speakers, or at least by a native or fluent speaker. But otherwise I do not have a good suggestion.


It's a fairly simple method, but one way might be to get a list of words in Kana, write out the Romaji of each word and check you've transcribed them correctly (it's one of methods I used at least when learning/trying to increase my recognition speed of Kana.)

If you want to check you've written them correctly or want to know how a word is pronounced, you can use Google Translate to provide Romaji by toggling the "read phonetically" button, and listen to how the words sound by using the "listen" button.


I would recommend sources which have audio matched to the text - if there is a CD with the textbook, for example, you could read along while listening to the audio. That should help identify places where the audio doesn't match up to where you expect it to be.

Some of the questions under these tags may be relevant:



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