A syllabary is a set of symbols that represent syllables. In the case of Japanese (the syllable is usually consonant sound followed by a vowel sound). Hiragana is used mainly for inflections and katakana is used to transcribe foreign words. Kanji, the Chinese logographs, represent the word roots. Hiranaga is used by children as they learn kanji. They have to learn in total about 2000 kanji characters before leaving school.