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[log in to unmask] wrote:
> although some characters have recently been added

Not new characters, just new combinations.  <ti>, for instance, is <te>
with a little <i>.

> I'm afraid I don't know what the roots in the words mean, aside from the fact
> that "kana" in general covers all the syllabic characters, from both sets
> (and I suspect "kana" is related to "kanji").

Kana = side, hira = plain.  Originally, hiragana was how women wrote, as
it was taboo for women to use kanji (a female friend of mine taking
Japanese, upon hearing that, said something to the effect of "I wish it
were that way now" :-) ), while katakana was used to indicate the
pronunciation of unfamiliar characters, or to render foreign terms,
especially common in the early days with Buddhist words.  Hence the
modern usage of katakana for foreign words.

--
Dievas dave dantis; Dievas duos duonos
God gave teeth; God will give bread - Lithuanian proverb
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