What is Katakana for? and Kanji? - ひらがな&カタカナ&漢字 | Summary and Q&A

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January 4, 2020
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Yuko Sensei
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What is Katakana for? and Kanji? - ひらがな&カタカナ&漢字

TL;DR

Hiragana is used for Japanese-origin words, Katakana is used for non-Japanese words and sounds, and Kanji conveys the meaning of the words and helps with sentence structure.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why do Japanese people use both Hiragana and Katakana?

Japanese people use Hiragana to spell Japanese-origin words and Katakana for non-Japanese words or sounds of things or animals. This is because the two writing systems serve different purposes and indicate different pronunciations.

Q: What is the function of Kanji in the Japanese language?

Kanji conveys the meaning of words in Japanese. It helps distinguish between homophones, as different Kanji can have the same pronunciation but different meanings. Kanji also aids in understanding the structure of sentences and units within them.

Q: How many Kanji do Japanese people learn?

Japanese people typically learn about 1000 Kanji by the time they finish elementary school and around 2500 to 3000 Kanji by the time they graduate from high school. The number of Kanji known may vary among individuals, but it aids in reading and understanding written Japanese.

Q: Are Katakana only used for English words?

No, Katakana is not exclusively used for English words in Japanese. It can be used to spell words from any language, such as French, Korean, Spanish, or others. Katakana is also used to represent sounds made by people, things, or animals in Japanese.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Both Hiragana and Katakana are phonetic letters used to indicate pronunciation in Japanese, but they serve different purposes.

  • Hiragana is used for Japanese-origin words, while Katakana is used for non-Japanese words and sounds made by people, things, or animals.

  • Kanji is another writing system in Japanese that conveys the meaning of words and helps with sentence structure.

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