Jump to content
Linguaholic

Kanji ?! Hiragana ?!? Katakana !?!?


Recommended Posts

Kanji ?!?!  Hiragana ?!! Katakana !?!?

My friend tell me, in Japanese there are three different writing system. Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. It sounds so confusing. It maybe is a stupid question but when do I need to use which language system? I mean what is the rule there or can I just decide by myself if I write something in Kanji or in Hiragana ? What would be strange too haha

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good Evening Sabraina  8)

I try to shed some light on your question about Kanji, Hiragana and Katana. Hopefully you will get my point :=)

Kanji

Kanji are basically Chinese Characters that have been imported to Japan a very long time ago. You could simply say that you use Kanji for everything you do not use Kana (Hiragana and Katakana for). You will need to know about 2'000 Kanji in order to be able to read a “normal” Japanese Text (of course you need to know the Kana as well).and when I say you need to know 2'000 Kanji, it means that you do not only have to know the meanings of every single character, but you will, of course, also need to know the different character combinations (obviously resulting in different words).

Let's move to the next writing system: Hiragana:

This is considered to be the first, “original” writing system in and of Japan. You will need this for all the grammar parts in Japanese and for all the words that are simply never written in Kanji for one reason or another. You will also use Hiragana for words that you do not know the Kanji for :=))

Maybe it is good to know also that in Japan, children first start with Hiragana, then study Katakana and then Kanji. They do start at a very young age with all the writing systems though :=))

Katakana

: Katakana is mainly used for foreign names/places/objects and loan words. Moreover, “sound effects” (cinema and so on) are often in Katakana and you can also find this writing style in Mangas and in food menues...(and in many other “places”).

Romaji ( to complicate things a little bit more haha)

You also have the romanized form of Japanese, which is called Romaji. Foreign learners of Japanese often use it, as it drastically simplifies things (at least at the very beginning...on the long run there are plenty of disadvantages using it though). You also use Romaji for typing Japanese on the Computer ( the natives use Romaji as well for typing on the computer). You can compare this to Pinyin in Mandarin Chinese..google it, if you wanna know more about it, please :=)))

It is true that all the three writing systems get “mixed up” in normal writing. This, however, is a little bit more complex to explain and we should attack this topic at a later stage :=)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

HI!

Japanese uses a complex and intricate system of sound effects, like "BANG-BANG!" or "BOOM-BOOM!!!" or "TICK-TOCK" in English. They are different from sound effects in English and other European languages because they can be used even in formal written Japanese, they are used in regular speech in combinations with verbs and even nouns to modify the meanings and lastly, they are much richer than in English because they can even to used to express ideas that have no "sounds" in English!

For example "WAN-WAN" is the sound of a dog barking (like "WOOF-WOOF" or "BOW-WOW" in English).

A sentence like "The dog barked" in Japanese would be "Inu ga WAN-WAN suru", literally "The dog will make a WOOF-WOOF!". This type  of construction is very common in Japanese and especially in manga and novels where they are used for dramatic effect. They are always written in katakana.

Instead of saying "It rained lightly.", the Japanese will say "It rained SAA-SAA". In order to say 'It rained heavily", they will say "It rained ZAA-ZAA".

Then there is the word "SHIIIN" which is the sound of silence. Yes, in addition to the sounds of noises like "BANG-BANG" or "BOOM-BOOM" in English the Japanese also have a word for the opposite - "SHIIN" or the lack of noise.

"A silent room" would be "SHIIN to suru heya", a room that goes "SHIIN"!

I hope this helps! Learning Japanese can be daunting (even for speakers of other Asian languages).

Good Luck!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
Scribendi: World-Class Editing and Proofreading

The thing is that most asian languages rely heavily on acccent and pronounciation, this is why they are so difficult and vast.

It depends, Japanese has a simple consonant and vowel system but it does have a pitch accent, where the position of the accent will make a difference on the meanings of words. Chinese has tones, depending on the dialect, between 4 and 10 tones per syllable, which can drastically change the meanings of words. Thai and Vietnamese also have tones, while Korean, Indonesian and Filipino do not have tones at all.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

The thing is that most asian languages rely heavily on acccent and pronounciation, this is why they are so difficult and vast.

Well, like BWL said, the Japanese language has a fairly simple pronunciation system. It is not as complicated as English. Say for example, the letter "A" in English has a lot of pronunciations while in Japanese the vowel "A" (あ) only has one sound.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...