Typically when a user starts learning Japanese, they learn it in Romaji. Almost every book starts with Romaji and some books don’t even attempt to teach any Kana or Kanji! Some people get addicted to Romaji and can never truly read Japanese. First off,
What is Romaji?
Romaji are the Romanization of Japanese words. It is essentially how you pronounce Japanese words using the Latin alphabet. It does not involve any Japanese related symbols what-so-ever.
Why use Romaji?
- Romaji is easier to learn for a English speaker.
- Romaji helps get a better grasp on the language from an English speaking perspective.
- Romaji lets you start learning right away without having to learn any new characters!
What are Kana?
Kana are essentially the Japanese alphabet. They are symbols originated from simple Kanji that make sounds. Kana consists of two syllabarys: Hiragana and Katakana. Hiragana are used for grammar and some words while Katakana are typically used to write loan words from other languages.
Why use Kana?
- Kana is real Japanese.
- Learning Romaji in place of Kana will slow you down by (possibly) having to relearn it when you switch to Kana.
- Kana gets you on the right track.
- Kana allows you to read words as Japanese would write it (minus the Kanji, of course).
- Kana allows you to actually write in Japanese!
So, which is best?
From a beginners perspective, Romaji is best. When you just start learning, you aren’t going to want to spend days studying Kana. It just isn’t appealing. But, while learning words in Romaji, it is good to practice Kana at the same time.
From a person looking for the most efficient way to learn, Kana is the way to go. It will save you lots of time in the long run and using it from the get-go will help familiarize yourself with it faster!
One way or another, if you’re trying to learn written Japanese, you must learn Kana.
How can I quickly learn Kana?
Here are books we highly recommend. Buying them from the link below helps support the site as well!
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