What are the difference between hiragana, katakana and kanji?

For Japanese learners

There are 3 characters in Japanese: Hiragana, katakana and kanji. I think most of you know that, but ‘Which should we use?’ That is the big issue for learners.

For example, ‘私の名前はターナーです。'(私=わたし 名前=なまえ The meaning is ’My name is Terner.’) is using all of the characters but is very natural Japanese sentence.

I want to explain it in very easy way. Let’s go!

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What is hiragana?

First of all, hiragana and katakana represent what kanji can’t do, also used as phonetic guides.

And hiragana is used for Japanese words.

For example:
-うどん (Udon noodle)
-にわとり (chickens)
-phonetic guides like
かん じ ←phonetic guide
「漢字」
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What is katakana?

Katakana is used for writing foreign names or countries, or foreign origin words.

For example:
-coffee コーヒー
-cards ジュース
-curry カレー
-Karen(name) カレン
-Bob(name) ボブ
-America(country) アメリカ
-India(country) インド

These are not Japanese original things, and represented in katakana.

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What is kanji?

Kanji is made in ancient China, and also called ‘Chinese letter’. Kanji is Japanese base writing system. You can’t understand Japanese writing without learning kanji.

There is approximately 3,000 kanji in Japanese.

We Japanese don’t know all of kanji.
To pass JLPT test, you need to learn 
N1 -2,000
N2 -1,000
N3 -600
N4 -300
N5 -300
If you learn 1 kanji per day, you can get 365 kanji. Keep going!!

 

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What should learners learn first?

To learn Japanese, you sould learn

1. hiragana
2. katakana
3. kanji

To memorize them, write down on your notebook. Japanese students do so since in elementary school, and they have kanji test every morning. You can’t memorize hiragana, katakana and kanji without writing.

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Examples

とうきょう           はじ
東京オリンピックが始まりました。
Tokyo orinpikku ga hajimari mashita.
‘Tokyo Olympics are opened.’To distinguish characters:
東京=noun, Japanese prefecture name ‘Tokyo’
オリンピック=noun, foreign original word ‘Olympics’
が=particle
始まりました=Japanese verb  ‘started, opened’

わたし なまえ
私の名前はジェシーです。
Watashi no namae wa Jesi- desu.
‘My name is Jesse.’To distinguish characters:
私=noun ‘person’ how to call myself
の=particle
名前=noun ‘name’
は=particle
ジェシー=Foreign name ‘Jesse’
です=particle

わたし す    た   もの
私の好きな食べ物は、ピザです。
Watashi no sukina tabemono wa piza desu.
‘My favorite food is pizza.’To distinguish characters:
私=noun, person. how to call myself
の=particle
好きな=Japanese verb ‘like’
食べ物=noun ‘food’
は=particle
ピザ=noun, foreign original word ‘pizza’
です=particle

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