Hiragana is used, along with kanji, for native or naturalised Japanese words, and for grammatical elements.
Some of the basic hiragana characters above are also written with modifiers that change the consonant sound slightly. For example, by adding two small vertical dashes or a small circle, the pronunciation of the hiragana for "ha" becomes "ba" or "pa". The chart below contains the complete list of possible combinations:
When a ya, yu, or yo sound follows certain characters in Japanese, the sound is shortened and so instead of two separate characters, the sound is written as the combination of the first character and a small, subscripted version of the ya, yu, or yo sound that follows: