PA 101: Moras

snphan | Oct. 3, 2021, 8:06 a.m.


In the world of Japanese pitch accents, these are the basic units of sound (a Japanese equivalent of a syllable) and can have either a low or high pitch.
What is a considered a single mora? Anything that you see here in this list.

ใ‚ ใ„ ใ† ใˆ ใŠ
ใ‚ ใ„ ใ† ใˆ ใŠ
ใ‹ ใ ใ ใ‘ ใ“
ใŒ ใŽ ใ ใ’ ใ”
ใ• ใ— ใ™ ใ› ใ
ใ– ใ˜ ใš ใœ ใž
ใŸ ใก ใค ใฆ ใจ
ใ  ใข ใฅ ใง ใฉ
ใฏ ใฒ ใต ใธ ใป
ใฐ ใณ ใถ ใน ใผ
ใฑ ใด ใท ใบ ใฝ
ใช ใซ ใฌ ใญ ใฎ
ใพ ใฟ ใ‚€ ใ‚ ใ‚‚
ใ‚‰ ใ‚Š ใ‚‹ ใ‚Œ ใ‚
ใ‚       ใ‚’
ใ‚„   ใ‚†   ใ‚ˆ
ใใ‚ƒ   ใใ‚…   ใใ‚‡
ใŽใ‚ƒ   ใŽใ‚…   ใŽใ‚‡
ใ—ใ‚ƒ   ใ—ใ‚…   ใ—ใ‚‡
ใ˜ใ‚ƒ   ใ˜ใ‚…   ใ˜ใ‚‡
ใกใ‚ƒ   ใกใ‚…   ใกใ‚‡
ใขใ‚ƒ   ใขใ‚…   ใขใ‚‡
ใฒใ‚ƒ   ใฒใ‚…   ใฒใ‚‡
ใณใ‚ƒ   ใณใ‚…   ใณใ‚‡
ใดใ‚ƒ   ใดใ‚…   ใดใ‚‡
ใซใ‚ƒ   ใซใ‚…   ใซใ‚‡
ใฟใ‚ƒ   ใฟใ‚…   ใฟใ‚‡
ใ‚Šใ‚ƒ   ใ‚Šใ‚…   ใ‚Šใ‚‡
ไพ‹ๅค–: ใฃ ใƒผ ใ‚“  

Don't worry!  You won't need to memorize all of this. 
Basically, it boils down to 1 hiragana = 1 mora. The exceptions are as follows:

  1. Any hiragana combo with a small ใ‚„ใ€ใ‚†ใ€ใ‚ˆ because typically they become one sound when contracted with the "main" hirgana such as ใ—ใ‚‡ใ€ใ—ใ‚…ใ€ใฒใ‚‡ใ€€etc. Thus, the word ใ—ใ‚ƒใ‚‚ใ˜ has only 3 moras.
  2. The small ใฃ such as in ใ‹ใฃใจใ†. The word ใ‹ใฃใจใ† would therefore have 4 moras.
  3. Extensions (ใƒผ) that you see in Katakana also count as 1 mora such as ใ‚ฟใƒผใ‚ฒใƒƒใƒˆ which has 5 moras.

Let's look at some examples:

Word Number of Moras
ใพใก 2
ใ†ใ‚Œใ—ใ„ 4
ใ—ใ‚‡ใ†ใ‚† 3
ใใ‚“ใ ใ‚“ 4
ใ‚ณใƒผใƒ’ใƒผ 4
ใ‹ใฃใ“ใ„ใ„ 5

Check out the quiz to test your understanding ๐Ÿ˜