Kanji Essentials vs Hiragana and Katakana

Comparison

Kanji Essentials

A quick reference guide for learning the 1,945 General-Use Kanji officially documented by the Japanese Ministry of Education.

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      Hiragana and Katakana

      Ideal for students who are just starting to learn Japanese, this reference guide will help you to remember the characters, practice stroke order and learn the pronunciations using flashcards.

      Get now

          Kanji Essentials

          A quick reference guide for learning the 1,945 General-Use Kanji officially documented by the Japanese Ministry of Education.

          Ideal for students who already know Hiragana and Katakana, this learning tool will help you to:

          Download now


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          Learning Japanese iPhone and iPad apps © Dale Clifford 2012-2020.
          These applications made possible by the following resources:


          Hiragana and Katakana

          A quick reference guide for learning Hiragana and Katakana, diacritics and digraphs.

          Ideal for students who are just starting to learn Japanese, this reference guide will help you to remember the characters, practice stroke order and listen to the spoken pronunciations.


          Frequently asked questions

          Does Kana represent the Japanese alphabet?

          Not really. Japanese Kana are syllabic writing (each character represents one syllable), consisting of Hiragana and Katakana characters – though you might consider this is somewhat similar to an alphabet.

          What are diacritics?

          Diacritics are accent characters which change the voiced sound of certain characters – for example カ (“ka”) becomes ガ (“ga”).

          What are digraphs (compound characters)?

          Compound characters (digraphs) are two Kana which are pronounced as one sound, not individually. These are formed by appending smaller versions of “ya”, “yu” and “yo” to the syllables from the “i” sounding Kana (“ki”, “shi”, “chi”, “ni”, “hi”, “mi”, “ri” and their variations) – for example キ (“ki”) + ョ (small “yo”) = キョ (“kyo”).

          What are Hiragana?

          The more cursive and widely used form of Kana.

          What are Katakana?

          The more angular form of Kana, primarily for words of foreign origin – these have the same sounds and pronunciations as Hiragana.

          Why do I need to practice stroke order?

          Japanese characters are composed of strokes and each character is intended to be written in a certain order. It is very important to learn the correct stroke order as this will help you intuitively know how to write new characters and it has a big effect on how readable it ends up looking.

          Why don’t some of the stroke order diagrams match the displayed Kana?

          This is because the glyph (shape) of the handwritten form is different from the printed (typed) form. Example: き (ki).

          How are long vowels written?

          A long vowel is written in Hiragana with an extra “あ”, “い”, “う” “え” or “お” depending on the previous vowel sound – for example おねえさん (oneesan, “older sister”) or おおきい (ookii,”big”). In katakana, it’s written with a dash – for example, メール (me-ru, “email”).

          How are double consonants written?

          The double consonant is written by adding a small “tsu” (“っ” or “ッ”) in front of the doubled consonant syllable – for example, “どっち” (docchi, “which”).


          Comparison

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          Hiragana and Katakana

          Kanji Essentials

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