Learn Japanese Online

Here is some basic information about Japanese stolen from various sources (intellectual honesty on the web is a laughing matter). Japanese has three scripts (kind of like alphabets). Two of these are phonetic, meaning that they describe the sound as you would speak. They are called hiragana and katakana. They are syllabaries because each symbol is associated with a syllable as opposed to let's say the latin alphabet we all know where you combine letters to form syllables.

Now enter Kanji. Kanji do not represent syllables however, they represent words. Yes! Kanji are logograms. Again individual Kanji represent individual words. Combining Kanji gives you compound words.

Here's an example:
The following symbol represents electricity:
And this symbol represents talk:
Put them together and represents telephone.

This of course is a gross oversimplification...

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