Sunday, 26 May 2013

Hiragana and Katakana

Japanese is written using several different kinds of characters for different purposes.

English alphabet style (Roman) letters are called romaji. These are often used for trademarks, advertising slogans and commands to some old-fashioned computers.

The kanji are Chinese-style characters that the Japanese adopted around the fifth century A.D. Kanji are still used to write many words in Japanese.

The kana are simpler symbols that stand for sounds. There are two kinds of kana: hiragana and katakana.

The hiragana characters are written in a curving, flowing style. They are used for writing some native Japanese words and word endings.

The katakana characters are more angular. They are used mostly for writing foreign-derived words, words adapted into Japanese from English or other European languages are usually written in katakana.

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