Chrome Web App of the Week: Learn Kana



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It helps if you have something in Japanese you really want to read, so it can help retain your knowledge. Like... as much as I hate to admit it, I learned Katakana solely because I wanted to be able to Japanese Pokemon names. And I learned the entire alphabet in about two weeks.



I started teaching myself Japanese awhile ago and eventually it just fell out of habit.  Maybe this can help me get off my lazy ass and learn it!



Actually, learning to speak Japanese is easier than reading and writing.  Almost all of the sounds in Japanese already exist in English, leaving the speaker free to focus in intonation and rhythm.  While the grammar is very different from English, it is hard and fast: there are two ways of doing things with almost no exceptions.  Once you learn the structure, it’s pretty simple to plug in nouns, verbs, and adjectives and communicate.


Reading and writing is more difficult.  Not only must you learn everything above, but you must also master the three alphabets: hiragana, katakana, and kanji.  In order to read a simple newspaper you must have mastery of 2000 kanji in addition to everything else, many of which are very similar looking. 


English is of course the opposite of this: very simple to read and write, but very difficult to speak and pronounce (as evidenced from the many foreigners who struggle to be understood.  For example, the r sound in “run” exists in no other language).  The grammar is also difficult to master.  It’s rife with exceptions that simply must be memorized.  Even native speakers struggle.  And English has the largest vocabulary of any language on the planet: somewhere north of 600,000 words.


Anyway, as reading and writing are perhaps the most difficult aspects of learning Japanese, an app that helps you learn these aspects is a cool thing.  Nice post.  Thanks.




I thank you for showing me this. I took Japanese I as one of my electives last year, but just narrowly passed it, and knew I wasn't ready for Japanese II. Hopefully this might help, as I can't remember a damn thing about what I learned in terms of Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. :/

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