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Japanese’s writing styles

[deactivated user]

    I am new to Japanese and have a couple questions; First, what is katakana and how do I learn it? Second, what is romaji and is it important? What writing styles should I learn first? Thanks!

    March 23, 2018



    Hiragana & Katakana are both Japanese characters. Hiragana is used to phonetically spell out Japanese words (Ex. こんにちは: こ- Ko ん - n に - ni ち - chi は - ha/wa), while Katakana is used to spell foreign words (Ex. ハンバガ - Hamburger). Romaji is translating Japanese characters into romanized letters (Ex. Konnichiwa). Romaji is typically used for typing so don't worry too much about it. It's pretty easy to pick up.

    It's recommended to learn Hiragana first since its basically the buildup to learning Japanese. Like learning the alphabet. Then afterwards, you can move up to Katakana. Again, you should be able to pick up Romaji while learning Hiragana, so don't worry too much about that.


    You explained very well. I just wanted to add a few words. Romaji is just spelling out how it sounds. We Japanese never use them except when you apply for a passport! がんばって勉強(ベンキョウ)してください! I used Hiragana and Kanji (Katakana) to demonstrate how it looks like.


    Katakana is just like Hiragana in that there is a symbol for every syllable. It's mostly used for loanwords. Just google "Katakana chart" and make yourself some flashcards. Romaji is Japanese using Latin letters, so: "kono bun ha romaji de kaite aru" (meaning "this sentence is written in romaji") There is nothing to learn about romaji and it's not that important either. Definitely learn Hiragana before learning Kanji.


    Hope I can help :3

    Katakana: Japanese alphabet for foreign words (Like McDonalds, Microsoft or your name) and some other things. It has 46 characters.

    Hiragana: Is nearly the same as Katakana but the letters look different (but they sound the same) and it is used for Japanese words, like samurai, sumo etc. This one has as well 46 characters.

    Kanji: Is the Chinese alphabet that Japan adopted from china when they didn't had their own writing system (Hiragana,Katakana) , most Kanji have multiple meanings and you have to learn at least 2100 Kanji-characters to be able to read japanese fluently. This one has so much characters you could study them your entire life and still not leanr all of theme.

    Fun-fact: Hiragana is often used when u don't know the kanji, you can actually write everything only with hiragana but there are some problems, since a lot of japanese words sound the same but have totally different meanings, so you have to use kanji to tell what you actually mean.

    Why 3 alphabets you ask? In japanese they don't have spaces in between their written words so those 3 different looking alphabets help to distinguish the words from one and another :D

    romanji is the alphabet I used to write this comment, I'm sure you are perfectly able to read it :D

    <pre> Tipp </pre>

    start with Hiaragana then go on with Katakana and the hardest at last, Kanji

    Here are some amazing videos teaching Japanese alphabet

    Hiragana playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AMfCY8sm0E&list=PLPSfPyOOcp3SxDZf7gkbApq_PrJsGf7Pn&index=1

    Katakana playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIJhOR8fPkE&list=PLPSfPyOOcp3Q8DNjJvUzMFcgM0tZ_0a87

    Kanji playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5B8ZyYRczU&list=PLPSfPyOOcp3T_aUjrx4OZsWgJ4tP-Ulpg

    Hope you have fun learning, I sure do! :D

    [deactivated user]

      So is romaji just taking the letter sounds and putting them together?


      romaji is basically writing for example thank you as arigatou instead of ありがとう


      so you have 3 systems to learn a. the old one (chinese characters) than the second for japanese and the third is for foreign names, words etc. when you see a japanese newspaper you can see that all these systems are combined. You have to follow the duolingo course and you will learn the main systems. The japanese course is well done, the chinese course makers can learn from them how to do it


      Welp, that was... detailed. I think you should learn Hiragana first though. To give you a feel of the words and stuff.

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