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Minasan Konnichiwa!

Day 3

(第三日目)

Today, Id like to talk about introduction of Japanese characters: Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji.

Have you watched todays video, Features of Japanese Language” already? If you havent seen it, please watch it first. To watch the video, please click below link.

mov

Here is an example Japanese sentence:

Katakana  私はコーヒーを飲みます。 Kanji Watashi wa koohii o nomimasu.
Katakana
 私はコーヒーを飲みます。
Kanji
Watashi wa
koohii
o
nomimasu.

As you see above, there are three types of writing forms in Japanese:

Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. The former two are original Japanese writing and the latter derived from China.

Hiragana Japanese is a syllable-timed language while English is stress-timed. That means, you can understand how to read any Japanese words once you know how to pronounce each Hiragana character and some pronunciation rules. (on the other hand for English, you need to know the spelling as well as the pronunciation. We never know how to pronounce an English word such as “photo” by just knowing how to read alphabet: a,b,c…). Japanese pronunciation rule is very systematic, thus, once you know it, it’s much easier for you to study Japanese further up to the upper level.

Each Japanese syllable is made up of either a single vowel: /a/, /i/, /u/, /e/ and /o/ or a combination of a consonant plus a vowel. The only exception is the /n/,

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/m/ or /ŋ/ sound which is represented by the character . There are 46 basic Hiragana, 25 voiced or semi-voiced variations (called Daku-on) and 33 contracted sounds.

Katakana Basically, Katakana and Hiragana charts are correspondent each other. There are 46 basic Katakana, 25 Daku-on, 33 contracted sounds and some special combinations of Katakana to describe foreign words. For example: TV (terebi) and radio (rajio). In casual writing, Katakana is used when the meaning is emphasized (youll see many Katakana in comics). Also katakana is used for a variety of “onomatopoeia –sounds and emotional wordin Japanese. (e.g. doki-dokito represent a fast heart beat)

Kanji is an ideogram, which means, each kanji has meaning in it. Even though the pronunciation is quite different from Chinese, Japanese and Chinese can make basic simple communication through writing because we share the meaning of each Kanji. Japanese Kanji uses so-called traditional Chinese characters, which are used in Taiwan, and there are 1945 commonly used Kanji in Japan.

Hiragana and Katakana were developed around 1000A.D. How were the Hiragana and Katakana developed?

As you see below pictures, Hiragana was developed using a whole picture of Kanji, whereas Katakana was developed using a part of kanji.

Kanji, whereas Katakana was developed using a part of kanji. Hiragana is very curvy and Katakana

Hiragana is very curvy and Katakana is mu ore square-like letters.

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Hiragana and Katakana charts

Basic 46 Hiragana

Hiragana and Katakana charts Basic 46 Hiragana Basic 46 Katakana If you ’ re interested in

Basic 46 Katakana

and Katakana charts Basic 46 Hiragana Basic 46 Katakana If you ’ re interested in learning

If youre interested in learning Japanese letters (Hiragana and Katakana), here is my recommendation.

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