There are 3 Japanese scripts : Hiragana, Katakana & Kanji. Mostof the Japanese sentences are written in Hiragana, Katakana & Kanji, all three.
Hiragana is used for the endings of verbs and for grammatical particles.
Katakanais used for transcription of words borrowed from foreign languages(except Chinese), like country names, personal names, etc.
Both Hiragana and Katakana letters are phonetic representations of sound, representing exactly the same set of sounds.
Kanji, which is a set of Chinese characters called sinograms, is used for the nouns and the radicals of verbs.
The Hiragana script has a Kanji equivalent (excepts the endings of verbs and the particles).
The Katakana script does not have a Kanji equivalent.
Whereas Hiragana and Katakana are phonetic representations of sound, Kanji conveys sounds as well as meanings.
A sentence in Japanese can be written in Hiragana and Katakana only (without Kanji).
Romaji (Roman letters) is simply the transliteration of Japanese in the Latin script. It is sometimes used for the convenience of foreigners, mostly on sign-boards and at stations.
The Romaji vowelsā,ī, ū,ē signify emphasis, and hence are also written asaa, ii, uuetee. ex.īe = iie
The vowel ō becomes ou and notooex. gakkō = gakkou
In Katakana, the emphasis on the vowel signifies a long sound written as ー. ex.nōto (notebook), will be written in katakana as : ノート
Example. The sentence 'Is there is a computer in your classroom?' is written in :
Japanese Romaji :Anata no kyōshitsu ni konpyūta ga arimasu ka? ;
Japanese traditional (Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji) : あなた の教室にコンピュータがありますか。; where Kanji = 教室 (kyōshitsu = classroom) ; Katakana = コンピュータ(konpyūta = computer) and the rest is Hiragana. Note that the question mark ? is omitted.
Japanese Hiragana and Katakana (without Kanji) : あなた のきょうしつにコンピュータがありますか。 Note - The Kanji in the sentence written in Japanese traditional, 教室 is replaced by its hiragana equivalent きょうしつ.