To a beginner who is barely beginning to get acquainted with all the features of Japanese and japanese to english translation, it may seem that the two syllabaries of this language – hiragana and katakana, are similar to each other. We hasten to agree: this is true. Both alphabets have the same set of syllables, which even when pronounced do not have any special differences. But if you dive deeper into the study of the alphabets, it turns out that there are differences.

Difference #1. Writing words.
Look at the two alphabets. With the help of hiragana, native Japanese words are written, and the outlines of the letters are smooth, reminiscent of handwriting. And katakana is an alphabet created for writing borrowed words. Here you can clearly see that the letters are sharp and straight, reminiscent of printed characters. Objectively, it is hiragana that is more difficult to write.

Difference #2. Appointment of the alphabet.
Since all Japanese words are written using hiragana, it lacks sounds that are not in this language. These are the sounds “f” and “v”, as well as signs of longitude. But in katakana all these sounds are present.

Difference #3. Frequency of use.
With the help of katakana, foreign words are written, the number of which is low compared to words of Japanese origin. Consequently, this alphabet is less common, which causes problems with its memorization. But hiragana is found almost everywhere, which makes it easier to study and memorize sounds.

Difference #4. Hearing perception.
Here, opinions differ – someone is given katakana faster, and someone masters hiragana and japanese to english more easily. But in practice, reductions, doublings and other features of the pronunciation of sounds are not easy to remember and repeat, practice is needed.


So which of the two alphabets is more difficult? For a beginner, both.