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Keywords: Japanese syllabaries, syllables, Katakana, Hiragana, Japan

Global Regions: Asia , East Asia

Countries: Japan

Universities: Columbia University

Subjects: Foreign Languages

Resource Types: Curriculum

Time Periods: Contemporary

Themes: Culture and Society

Levels: High School (9-12)


Japanese Syllabaries

An exercise in writing Japanese, using the Hiragana and Katakana syllabaries.

The Japanese language is written using a combination of two syllabaries, Hiragana and Katakana, and Chinese characters, Kanji.

This online curriculum unit focuses on Hiragana and Katakana. Hiragana is used for inflected word endings, grammatical particles and other words. Katakana is used for foreign loan words, foreign names and for emphasis.

In English, each letter represents a consonant or a vowel, but in Japanese, each symbol represents a complete syllable. This unit provides charts of both Hiragana and Katakana syllabaries along with four excercises. In the excercises, students are asked to write some familiar Japanese words using Hiragana, and some foreign words, some borrowed words and their names using Katakana.

This unit is meant to be used in tandem with the Japanese Language unit which includes a more extensive explanation of the Japanese syllabaries.


Produced at: Columbia University, Weatherhead East Asian Institute

Recommended by: Weatherhead East Asian Institute

Year Produced: 2002

Material: Online text, charts, excercises

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