I'm writing a language learning program to learn Japanese. For a client. It's a really cool project since learning languages has this strange rearranging effect on the brain. And the project that teach you something about the world are always best! So here's a few things I've learned about Japanese.
Check this out:
That's Japanese. And it consists of multiple types of symbols. The more complicated ones are Kanji, i.e. 高校. The simpler ones are Kana (which itself is a combination of Hiragana and Katakana), i.e. ぐらい. For beginners or for just really complicated words the Kanji can get a Hiragana supertext called Furigana.
For a long time I thought Furigana was another symbol system, but actually it just refers to the position of the text. To be clear Furigana is any text that is above the primary. In this example the Furigana is written in Hiragana and all it does is write the Kanji again in a simpler form.
Kanji apparently is actually the Chinese alphabet. So there's that.
There's also Romaji which uses the Latin alphabet to visualize Kanji for westerners. It looks kind of silly actually: mōkōkō1nenseiguraikara tabun. Romaji is short for Romanized Japanese. Pretty cool.
Romaji can also be written as a Furigana:
This image is taken from a really cool learning tool called J-Talk.
Building this tool has been really fun. I'm learning a language while doing it :) Hope this was interesting for you to read too.