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Tips to write using Japanese Syllables

28.06'13 - Jörg Nitzsche, Japan Interpreter
Categories: Japanese Language
Japanese language uses three system of writing: hiragana, katakana, kanji forms the bulk of the Japanese written language. Each kanji represents an entire word, and is written differently depending on the meaning of word it represents even if the syllable is the same. Learning enough Japanese to read a newspaper requires you to know over 1,900 kanji. Kanji often have hiragana and katakana, the syllabic scripts, written over them for clarification. If you learn how to read and write in these scripts, you can write basic Japanese.
  1. Use hiragana script to write words native to Japanese. Hiragana is a more curved script than katakana.

  1. Look up the Japanese translations of English words in the Japanese-English dictionary and write them as hiragana by consulting the hiragana chart.

  2. Use katakana to write words that are foreign to Japanese. Katakana are more angular than hiragana.

  3. Reproduce the phonetic sounds of foreign words as closely as possible using the existing Japanese syllables. For example, the word "ice cream" in English would sound like "aisu-kuriimu." According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Japanese syllables end in either a vowel or the letter "n."

  4. Write the line of script from top to bottom, moving from the right side of the page to the left if you want to emulate the traditional Japanese manner. Write from left to right, top to bottom to reproduce modern Japanese.



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