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Confused about the Japanese writing systems. A couple of questions.

 

I find the Japanese writing system very confusing. I know there are 3 systems, Katakana which i know is mainly used to write loan words , Hiragana the main Japanese alphabet and Kanji the chinese charchters.

What is Kana,? Am i right in thinking it is the name for all 3 sytems together?

I really want to write Japanese as it should be written and not write everything in Hiragana but how do I know when to write the Kanji for a word or the Hiragana?
Apart from foriegn loan words are there other times you write using Katakana? Also I believe many words are made up of kanji and hiragana systems, how can this be?

Please could you tell me more about how to write Japanese correctly I am so confused here, anything you can tell me will really help!

Thanks in advance!!

For learning: Japanese
Base language: English
Category: Uncategorized

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    Best Answer - Chosen by Voting
    wow a very big topic :) I hope I can help you a little.

    "Kana" generally means hiragana and katakana. Kanji is not "kana".

    I think you can start studying by writing just in hiragana. After you get used to hiragana, you can start using katakana and kanji. I think learning all the hiraganas is hard enough! I don't know how much Japanese you know already, but if you are not familiar with the hiragana yet, you can start from learning hiragana first.

    >how do I know when to write the Kanji for a word or the Hiragana?

    Words which can be written in Kanji, we mostly write in Kanji. For example
    日本語の勉強は楽しいです。(nihongo no benkyou wa tanoshii desu, It is fun to study Japanese). We don't write にほんごのべんきょうはたのしいです。Kids who still don't know kanji will write like this, but once you learn kanji of the words you just use kanji.
    But for examle, apple is りんご(ringo) in Japanese. There is Kanji for this, 林檎, but most people don't write ringo in Kanji, they just write りんご. Some words which are too difficult/complex to write in kanji, we just write in hiragana.
    I think you just need to read lots of books and copy how Japanese people use their hiragana/kanji.

    >Apart from foriegn loan words are there other times you write using Katakana?

    For onomatopoeic words and imitative(mimetic) words we use katakana.
    For exapmle, キラキラ(twinkle twinkle), ゴシゴシ(sound of washing),スヤスヤ(sound of sleeping quietly) etc.

    > Also I believe many words are made up of kanji and hiragana systems, how can this be?

    Sorry I couldn't really understand what you mean by this.

    I wish you all the best in your Japanese study!!!


    Elizabeth,I really want to help you ,but I know nothing about Japanese.I'm so sorry

    i am confusing too

      OOPT

    In addition to foreign words and onomatopoeia, names of vegetables, fruits, plants, and animals are often written in katakana even though they have kanji. But it's still no prob to write in hiragana or kanji.

    Example:
    rose=バラ, ばら, or 薔薇
    salmon=サケ、さけ、鮭

    I think happyrabbit has given a quite complete answer and I've learnt a lot in it

    I just wanted to add some more information. There was a list of 常用漢字(jouyou kanji) in wikipedia. Jouyou kanji is the kanji we learn in our compulsary education (from primary shcool to Juniour highschool).

    http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%B8%B8%E7%94%A8%E6%BC%A2%E5%AD%97%E4%B8%80%E8%A6%A7

    There are 1945 kanji in the list.
    The wiki list is quite interesting, if you see under 学年(year), you can see when we learn these kanji. 1 ~6 is kanji we learn in primary school ( 1 is kanji that we learn in year 1, 2 is in year 2, so on....) and S means kanji that we learn in juniour highschool.

    These are the kanji that we basically use. And for foreigners, I think this is quite enough! Remember it takes Japanese children 9 years to learn all the jouyou kanji!! If you are learning kanji now, don't rush just take your time, learn a bit by bit :)

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