Yep. This is my first time learning japanese and I was wondering why were there more than one character for the exact same sound. Before reading your comment I had no idea.
I don't get why Duolingo can not just put the footnotes (whatever they are called) you have on the web also on the apps. In this case there's no web version yet, but once they launch it I'm changing to that. Reading those footnotes before making the excercises is the best way to learn.
I recommend to you and everyone else to use the Memrise lessons to learn Hiragana and Katakana alphabets/symbols. Memrise does it much better than duolingo, and even teaches more useful words to keep it in your head, as konnichiwa, ohayo, oyasumi, matane, iko, and much more.
Ever since I heard that Japanese has three "writing systems"* I keep wondering: 1) How do Japanes Keyboards work? 2) How do you guys play scrabble? 3) How long does it take school kids to learn all the systems?
Please enlighten me :-)
*I don't know if it is called "writing system", but I couldn't come up with a better word.
Generally, to type in japanese, is used tradicional keyboard(with the roman alphabet), and they type romaji(the way the symbols sounds), so, when they do that, the symbol pops up. To do the kanjis, just type the comolete word in hiragana and press space. It is a little more complicated than that, so you can search on the youtube for the video made by Yuta, which he talked about it. (Sorry for my english, it isn't my native language ç.ç)
Sort of. They have different functions, but you could definitely see them all in a single sentence. There are some oddball uses as well that could trip you up if you don't expect them. For example, using the 'wrong' kana (ie. Hiragana for a loan word) can be seen as cute or intersting. Using katakana for native words also happens sometimes, particularly in comics to show that someone has a foreign accent. The rules are pretty simple, but then you find that people regularly break them.
This can also happen with the name of foreign products, like for English made video games or whatever lingo it may had come from e.g. ババイズユー (baba is you) And sometimes for their own products: マリオカートwii (Mario Kart) マリオメーカー (Mario Maker) But for the majority of useage to my knowledge is that katakana is for lonewords and foreign names, in history it where used for medicial paper writings but I cannot tell you about that part of history that well just yet.
Not sure if knowing the context of the kana makes this more difficult or not knowing makes it less difficult based on the lesson setup. I was confused at first thinking I'm misreading them (its been awhile since I've brushed up on the kana).
Even though the starting lessons only mention Hiragana for course titles, there is also Katakana and Kanji being mixed without proper explanation.
Hiragana - Characters are more curvy and tend to be for Japanese words. Katakana - Characters are more straight and tend to be for foreign words. Kanji - Character that tends to be a word on its own
My name is Maria, and a Japanese person once showed me how to spell my name in Japanese using Kanji. But Duolingo is using Katakana. And if I put it into a translator, I get Hiragana. So are all three correct? How do you know which system to use and when? This to me is the most confusing aspect of Japanese.
Use katakana. Foreign names are always written in katakana. You can devise ways of writing foreign names in kanji, but this is really just for fun. You'd look pretentious or silly if you actually wrote your name in kanji. Use katakana. If your translator gives you hiragana, it's wrong.
Hiragana can represent the entire japanese language. Katakana is used for foreign words.