why there’s 3 ways to write the same word in Japanese?

103 viewsOther

I’m vaguely aware there’s something like 3 alphabets kanji, hiragana, and katakana. I also read that katakana is used for foreign words, but for some words there is a way to use all 3 alphabets. I guess im more so wondering what would be the appropriate use for each, so F.E, mint. I found a kanji and katakana but also maybe hiragana way. 造幣局 ミント みんと

In: Other

7 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Katakana is only used for non-Japanese words – it’s a purely phonetic alphabet used to denote that a given word is foreign. It should only be used for loanwords or foreign words.

Hiragana is used for standard, work-a-day Japanese. It’s a straightforward choice if you just want to express a Japanese word. It’s phonetic, like katakana, so you can see how something should be pronounced just by reading it.

Kanji is the traditional alphabet. It’s *not* phonetic, so unless you know what the symbol means, the symbol by itself doesn’t tell you how to pronounce it… but each character is unique, and lets you express more with less characters.

Example: “Moon Rabbit” in hiragana is つきのうさぎ – “tsuki no usagi”. That’s writing it purely phonetically. You can match the characters to the syllables: “tsu-ki-no-u-sa-gi”.

But we had to use six characters to write that, and kanji has dedicated characters for both “moon” and “rabbit”. So you can be more efficient (and, many would say, write more elegantly) by using 月の兎.

In your case, you want to translate mint, as in the herb? That would be ミント in katakana, as there’s no Japanese word for it.

The kanji you’ve found, 造幣局, is the Japanese Mint Office, who design and make Japanese coinage.

You are viewing 1 out of 7 answers, click here to view all answers.