Learn Katakana


4 Things You Should Know When Learning Katakana

Point 1

Katakana is known as the more ‘masculine’ of the Japanese writing systems.  This is because it is rigid with sharp turns.  Katakana is mainly used for foreign loan-words.

Hiragana and katakana work and sound in the same way.

Point 2

Katakana is used for loan words from western languages, including foreign names. It is used for emphasis similar to the way that italics are used in English.

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Katakana is also used to replace the many unfamiliar kanji of things like fish or produce at a market or restaurant.

Point 3

Katakana is the one of the three Japanese writing scripts. The two others are hiragana and kanji. The combination of all three is used for writing.

Roughly speaking, kanji represents blocks of meaning and hiragana expresses the grammatical relationship between them.

Katakana is used for foreign names, the names of foreign places and words of foreign origin.

Point 4

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The word katakana literally means “part syllabic script.” The “part” refers to the fact that katakana characters are derived from and represent parts of kanji.

Katakana was originally used by Buddhist monks in the 9th century to indicate correct pronunciations of Chinese texts.

This writing script contains 48 syllables and was considered to be men’s writing, as opposed to hiragana, which was considered to be women’s writing.

Since the 20th century, katakana has been used mainly to write non-Chinese loan words, onomatopoeic words, foreign names and so on.

Moving on, why not learn how to write katakana?