Japanese made easy!

Kana!

 Kana? What’s kana?

    Kana is hiragana and katakana, and I'm sure it includes furigana too.  But before I explain what kana is, let me tell you WHY kana was is.  

     Most people know that the Japanese use a writing system called kanji. Kanji originated in China.  The Japanese didn't have a writing system, so because of the Chinese influence, they adopted it as their own.  Although they put Japanese words to the kanji changing the meaning of each kanji from the Chinese. However Kanji alone wasn't enough, the Japanese needed something more to help form the sentences they wrote, so kana was born!   

     Kana is used to fill in the areas that kanji couldn't handle alone. Don't get scared, you don't need to learn kanji yet. A person needs to know about 2,000 kanji to be doing well in Japan. And I believe there are 500 kanji needed to just barely get by. But that’s not are lesson.  It’s possible to write in kana and be perfectly understood. Kanji is preferred but not needed.

    Hiragana is the writing style Japanese people write with to write Japanese or Chinese originated words.

    Katakana is used for writing foreign words coming from different countries like America, France, Italy etc.

ex.  cola - kora
        taxi -takushi 
        orange- orenji
        beer- biru

    Furigana is the little hiragana and katakana that is seen above kanji, so children who don't know kanji can read it.  Since I know very little kanj, furigana is so useful to be able to read some books. However furigana isn't everywhere, so Kanji will eventually be needed.

 

 Learning hiragana and katakana

    It is extremely important to lean kana.  Anyone striving to learn a language must be able to read and write it.  On the kana charts page, there are listed all the kana you need to know.  Of hiragana and katakana there are about 46 main symbols that you need to know. The rest are either modiflted with "ten ten", "maru" or are glides. 

 

Ten Ten

さ ざ

(If you see little boxes above, then the Japanese language pack is not installed on your computer.) 

 

    The first symbol is "sa" the 2nd one is "za" The two little lines to the top right of the symbol "za" are called "ten ten", they turn a "sa" into a "za" etc. See Kana charts for details.
 
Maru 

 

は ぱ

    Here the first one is a "ha", then 2nd one is a "pa".  The little cirlce in the top right of the "pa" is called "maru". It makes a "ha" into a "pa" etc.

  Glides  

plusequels きゃ

Glides are made with any 

plus any 

や ゆ よ.

To make kya,sha, cha, nya,hya, mya, rya, gya, ja, bya, pya etc.

 More coming soon!