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Japanese Language and Culture

Which type of Japanese language characters are used most often?

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June 18, 2007 2:25PM

The modern Japanese language really has three distinct alphabets: "Kanji," are the ideograms that the Japanese share with the Chinese and are symbols for objects or ideas-they number in the thousands and are therfore highly inpractical. The Japanese, realizing that Kanji had it's limitations, invented an alphabet of sound rather than symbols similar to ours, which is referred to as "Hiragana", which expresses all of the sounds of the Japanese language. There is also a totally separate alphabet that is used to express words that are foreign, which is referred to as "Katakana." Of all the alphabets, Hiragana is used the most in modern Japan. ADDITIONAL INPUT: I would like to add that in my 20 years of speaking, reading, writing Japanese, I have learned that learning KANJI is ABSOLUTELY essential to being able to get along in "adult" level Japanese. It's a must. Once you learn upwards of 2000 characters, reading will be a breeze. Much more efficient than English, actually! Check out Heisig's books on how not to forget Kanji.