I think it would be best to teach yourself the Japanese alphabet, before going on to words for conversation, because this alphabet will help you better understand the concept of the Japanese language and conversation.
For those who are interested but don't know the writing, here are Hiragana and Katakana charts
"a" as in father
"i" as in teeth
"u" as in food
"e" as in egg
"o" as in mole
Japanese "r" is a cross between English "r" and "l"
Everything else as written
These are the Kana. As for Kanji.... well, good luck on the basic 2,000-something. XD (Technically there are as many Kanji as there are Chinese characters, but Japanese only have to learn about 2,150)
As for my status, I can read Hiragana, I'm learning Katakana, and I know 10 Kanji from memory (Moon, Sun, Bright, One, Two, Three, Small, Tree, Woods and Forest)
Thank you SO much for this information. The pronunciations helped me out a lot more. I've always wanted to learn the language a little faster, and this definitely helps a ton. Thanks again!
There are three alphabets, the first two, Hiragana and Katakana, are the easiest and don't take very long to learn. The third one, Kanji, is very difficult and uses Chinese characters.
Hiragana and Katakana are not aphabets, they're syllabaries. Kanji are adopted logograms from Chinese (or maybe morphograms but anyways).
In an alphabet, each character represents a foneme, like in Latin where "p" represents /p/ (in a broad sense, but still remaining the relation character-sound).
In a syllabary, each character represents a syllable, so it's quite self-explanatory. Like in Hiragana where "も" represents /mo/ (actually Japanese syllabaries are moraic, but at least it's not just character-phoneme).
In a logogram, each character represents a word or phrase (more as a concept rather than a sound), like in Chinese where "木" represents something like a tree or wood.
I've always found Kanji/Hanzi to be pretty much a brick wall, it's sad that it is so impenetrable to the wider world.
This can be helpful though: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ipa-furigana/jnnbgnfnncobhklficfkdnclohaklifi?hl=en
but if it seems as a brick wall, try grabbing a blank notebook, write down what you have trouble with and keep practicing. PERFECT practice makes perfect.
Sorry, I didn't mean to imply you were being rude... sometimes I forget being born in Britain, my blood cells are comprised of 80% sarcasm, it's hard to tone it down on occasion :)
As for what I originally mean though, I wasn't trying to say you can't learn Japanese or Chinese if you stick to it, it's just that in my experience, it is that much harder than other languages for the simple reason that there are so many glyphs to memorise. I can actually remember quite a lot, and yet I still feel like I haven't even scratched the surface. I guess you have to have a certain degree of stubbornness.
oh sorry...im british too, and I've been here in america a long time, so i understand...i can be very sarcastic myself swell and it's finally nice to know that I'm not the only brit here in duolingo. ^-^
true, but remember, you always want to start with the easiest and then the hardest, along with also remembering the characters and trying to use them to create words, and if it seems overwhelming to remember all of them, get a notebook and write it down. it is very good to want to try to study an alphabet to any language before trying to learn ❤❤❤ to make words and conversation out of that language.
i will soon add a picture of a Japanese alphabet, once i figure out how you guys even put pictures and gifs on discussion pages. ( -_-)
This is how you do it:
*first type an !
*then make two brackets 
*then put the link to your photo in parentheses (www.ThisIsNotARealLink.com/notarealphoto/notareallink)
*When you post the comment or discussion it will display the photo
The photo needs to be from Imgur for it to work.
NOTE: are no spaces between the exclamation mark, brackets and parenthesis
Me too! I just took this test to quiz what I have learned in the past three days! http://www.csus.edu/indiv/s/sheaa/projects/genki/index.html Hopefully someone can benefit from it like I did!!
The Hiragana is not so difficult to learn, i learned it in 6 moths 10 years ago, even if i forgotten some letters now
Katakana is used mainly for representing foreign names and vocab while, hirigana is used for mainly representing grammatical elements and native words not written in kanji. Hope this gives you some clarification on the differences between the two.