So, you want to learn Japanese writing?
Learning to read and write Japanese is quite an undertaking, considering there are a total of four official scripts.
The four scripts used in Japanese are:
- Katakana – phonetic alphabet used mostly for foreign/borrowed words and in advertising. Also used for animal sounds!
- Hiragana – phonetic alphabet used to write native Japanese words and sentence particles.
- Kanji – imported Chinese characters that have a specific meaning.
- Romaji – a romanization of Japanese.
Learning to Read and Write Japanese
Not all scripts are created equal.
For the Japanese learner the most important scripts to learn early are Hiragana and Katakana. Learning them doesn’t take too long. You can learn them well within a week using the bonus software included with the Speak Japanese Fast system.
Knowing Hiragana means you can read native text and will find studying much easier.
Knowing Katakana means you will be able to read any foreign words in Japanese writing (this comes in handy in Japan because often menus are written entirely in Katakana).
A huge benefit of knowing Hiragana and Katakana is that your Japanese pronunciation will improve a lot.
Kanji is a longer term project. It is good to begin familiarizing yourself with Kanji, but it will take time. The good news is, you don’t need Kanji in order to speak and communicate in Japan.
I recommend using romaji as little as possible. Relying on romaji means your pronunciation will not improve as quickly as you would like.
To learn Katakana and Hiragana fast, check out the bonus software that comes with Speak Japanese Fast at http://www.SpeakJapaneseFast.com