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ン ん what is the difference between this 2 ?

October 21, 2017



The first is katakana, the second is hiragana. Japanese uses two main alphabets and kanji (chinese characters).


Yup! And they use these two main alphabets to distinguish between foreign words and native words. Kanji is used to differentiate between words that sound the same and also because they are usually commonly used. If these answers don't suffice, you can easily search on YouTube "why does Japanese use 3 different scripts?" and get a great answer. :))


Some additional remarks: Kataka is not only used for foreign loan words, but also for onomatopoeia (like 「ドキドキ」 for a heart beat or 「ワンワン」 for a dog's bark) and other things. Sometimes words are written in katakana just to appear "trendy" or "hip" ;)

Kanji also help a lot with structuring a sentence while reading. Japanese doesn't use whitespaces between words, and a potentially loooong string of kana (hiragana or katakana) can be very hard to grasp. It's much harder to make sense of 「わたしはとりおさんわかっています」, compared to 「私は鳥お三羽飼っています」.

And it may sound a little smart-alecky, but neighter hiragana nor katakana (nor kanji) are an "alphabet". An alphabet has one default, authoritative order for its letters. We all know our ABCs, meaning that the letters of the western alphabet go in that specific order - a, b, c, d and so on. There are several commonly used orders for kana, but no one authoritative sequence. Therefore, kana are better called "scripts".


I noticed that the course makes no note of the difference between hiragana and katakana. If I didn't already know this I would probably be confused too. The beginning of the course could really use some more explanation about the kana and the different circumstances in which they are used.

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