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Lesson Transcript

Hi!
Welcome to Introduction to Japanese.
My name is Alisha and I'm joined by...
Hi everyone.
I'm Risa!
In *this* lesson, you'll learn the basics of Japanese writing.
The Basics.
In English, we use *one* script – the English Alphabet, to write in English.
To write in *Japanese* however, you will need to use three different scripts together.
And they are:
- ひらがな
- カタカナ
- and 漢字
ひらがな, is like the basic Japanese alphabet.
Instead of 26 letters however, we have 46 characters.
Each character represents one syllable.
These five characters, for example, represent the five vowels in Japanese.
あ、い、う、え、お
All other characters except for one, are made up of a consonant and one of these vowels.
か、き、く、け、こ
さ、し、す、せ、そ
And so on.
カタカナ is almost *exactly* the same as ひらがな, the only difference is that it's written a little differently.
ア、イ、ウ、エ、オ
カ、キ、ク、ケ、コ
ひらがな is more cursive, while カタカナ has a lot of sharp corners.
The final script is 漢字
Kanji is the use of *Chinese* characters, in *Japanese* writing.
And this is because Japanese writing *actually* originated from China.
Right.
A long time ago Japan *only* used Chinese characters.
Today, we use all three scripts together to write Japanese.
Unlike ひらがな and カタカナ though, 漢字 is nothing like an alphabet.
Kanji characters are a special type of character that represents an idea or concept. They act more like entire words than individual letters. And unlike the alphabet, there are thousands and thousands of Kanji characters.
Not to mention, there are many different ways you can read them too. So the pronunciation actually changes according to the context.
OK. Now you know that there are three different scripts used to write Japanese, but *why* is this the case? Let's look at each script in a little more detail.
Hiragana
You can think of ひらがな as the default script used to write most things in Japanese.
It's the most common of the three scripts because it's used to write functional words, including most grammatical particles, such as possessive...
私のペン。
prepositions...
学校にいる。
as a subject marker...
ジョンは学生です。
And it can also be used to write words that lack a kanji rendition, or whose kanji is obscure, or considered too difficult for the reader to understand.
Additionally, it's used as inflectional endings for adjectives and verbs together with kanji.
見る、押す、白い、古い
In theory, you could use this script to write everything in Japanese.
For this reason, it's generally best to learn ひらがな first.
Katakana
We mentioned before that カタカナ is *exactly* the same as ひらがな、the only difference is that it looks slightly different.
This is the least common of the three scripts because it's used to write foreign words and names...
コンピューター、ビール、ロンドン、ジョン
and onomatopoeic sounds...
ワンワン、ニャン
It's common to learn カタカナ *after* you learn ひらがな because of their similarities.
Kanji
The final script is kanji, which is undoubtedly the hardest one of all to learn.
Kanji is used to write most words of native Japanese, or of historically Chinese origin. This includes most nouns...
人、学校
the stems of most verbs and adjectives...
見る、行く、赤い、怖い
and most personal and place names...
田中、博子、東京、大阪
Learning kanji may be difficult since there are thousands and thousands of them. They are, however, an integral part of Japanese writing.
OK. Let's wrap up this lesson by recapping what we've learned.
In this lesson, you learned that there are three different scripts used to write Japanese.
ひらがな is the most common, and it's used to write functional words and particles.
カタカナ is used to write foreign words and names.
And 漢字 is used to write native Japanese words, or words of Chinese origin.
We've covered the very *basics* of Japanese writing.
Check out our 簡単かな series to learn the ひらがな and カタカナ scripts that we talked about in this lesson.
And check out our 'Introduction to Kanji' series, where we teach you the quickest and most effective way to tackle learning kanji!
In the next lesson, you'll be entering Japanese boot camp, where you'll learn useful beginner phrases to get you speaking Japanese right away!
See you in the next lesson. Bye!
Bye~!

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
March 25th, 2016 at 06:30 PM
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Did you like this video? Please leave us a comment!

JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 17th, 2022 at 10:10 AM
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Jenniferさん


Thank you so much for your comment😄

It takes time to learn kanji, but when you get to know how it really works, you're going to enjoy learning it😇

When you want to start, you can start with this Introduction to Kanji series👍

https://www.japanesepod101.com/lesson-library/introduction-to-japanese-kanji/


Please let us know if you have any questions :)


Sincerely

りょうま(Ryoma)

Team JapanesePod101.com

Jennifer
June 16th, 2022 at 04:28 AM
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The video is very informative! I'm a little worried about learning kanji though.😞

JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 31st, 2022 at 01:43 PM
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Christian Johnsonさん


Thank you so much for your comment😄

You can study this lesson for や😉

https://www.japanesepod101.com/lesson/how-to-write-in-japanese-hiragana-and-katakana-9-the-hiragana-y-column-and-digraphs/?lp=160


Please let us know if you have any questions :)


Sincerely

りょうま(Ryoma)

Team JapanesePod101.com

Christian Johnson
May 29th, 2022 at 09:13 PM
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How do you write the hiragana ya? It is so confusing.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 24th, 2022 at 05:51 PM
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aliさん


Thank you so much for your comment😄

Definitely!! It will be very difficult to learn the language without knowing all three😅 You might find resources in romaji or hiragana for the beginner level, but not after that, so you will most likely find it difficult to continue onto the next levels.


Please let us know if you have any questions :)


Sincerely

りょうま(Ryoma)

Team JapanesePod101.com

ali
May 21st, 2022 at 03:16 AM
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is it important to learn hiragana, katakana and kanji for learning how to speak and understand japanese

JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 15th, 2022 at 03:37 PM
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Hi Stewart,


Thank you for your comment!

We are glad to know that this lesson is helpful for you😊

Hope you enjoy learning Japanese with us.


Please let us know if you have any questions:)


Sincerely,

Miho

Team JapanesePod101.com

Stewart
May 14th, 2022 at 05:42 AM
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Great lesson, thanks for the detail on the differences between Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. Doesn't seem as overwhelming from your perspective! 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 11th, 2022 at 04:07 AM
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Hi Sergio Esteban,


Thank you for your comment. We are glad that you liked the lesson! And we hope that you will continue to enjoy learning Japanese with us!😄


If you have any questions, please let us know.


Cheers,

Yoshimi

Team JapanesePod101.com

Sergio Esteban
May 8th, 2022 at 11:34 AM
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¡Hola! = )


Sí, me ha gustado mucho este video de introducción, la verdad los sigo en el canal de YouTube, tanto Alisha como Risa se me hacen geniales, Risa me ha hecho sonreír mucho, por eso decidí estudiar con ustedes, estoy comenzando a viajar y me gusta saber el idioma del país para poder conversar más localmente con las personas, además Japón siempre ha sido el país de mis sueños y me gustaría tener una bonita novia japonesa = D y claro, los demás países son también geniales, hay personas increíbles en todos, saludos y pues a aprender muchos idiomas y gracias por todo su apoyo en ello. 😄❤️️👍