Japanese Lessons: Part 2
Last lesson covered hiragana so this lesson is going to cover katakana. Katakana is a slightly more advanced lesson than hiragana, but only because it seems to be harder to grasp for a lot of learners. One nice thing about learning katakana (and there aren't many) is that it is an exact equivalent to hiragana. All the sounds and placements are the same. The only difference is in how it's written. So if you have hiragana down already (which is a good idea) it shouldn't be too difficult to memorize katakana.
So here they are:
It's pretty much exactly what you see with hiragana. Some of the shapes repeat with either a pair of lines (゛) or a circle ( ゜) marking them as different kana. (I've marked them again in gold and turquoise.) The same gaps for unpronounceable sounds are there, and so on.
There is one additional kana worth bringing up now:
This is used to mark a long vowel (as opposed to a short vowel). It comes on the end of any katakana (except ン which isn't a vowel sound) to make it, well, longer. It's more or less the same as adding an extra matching vowel kana at the end of one of your other kana. For example:
By itself it is just "ta."
Now it is the equivalent of "taa." "Taa" could also be written as タア and it would be pronounced the same. (If ya wanna know why they do this then just ask me, but I'm not getting into it here.) Moving on~.
According to many people the biggest problem with learning katakana is that so many of them look similar to each other. Case in point:
マ and ム
ク and ケ
モ, テand チ
(mo) (te) and (chi)
ス, タ and ヌ
(su) (ta) and (nu)
ウ, フ, ラ, ワ and ヲ
And so on. Side by side it's easier to see how they are different, but picking them out of a sentence can be trickier.
The trickiest are probably ソ and ン(so) and (n), and シand ツ (shi) and (tsu). How you can tell them apart is by the direction the lines are made. With ソ (so) things are more top-to-bottom:
With ン (n) it's more side-to-side:
It's similar for シ (shi), which is more sideways, and ツ (tsu), which is more vertical:
There is unfortunately no easy way to learn these. You just have to practice recognizing them with your reading and, especially, writing. Even if you're only using a computer to write the more you use them the more familiar they become.
So without further ado it's time for a quiz~! Pick out the right answer from the wrong answers.
1. toire (toilet)
2. meido (maid)
3. pinku (pink)
4. sukaafu (scarf)
5. teeburu (table)
6. muun (moon)
Answers in the spoilers. No cheating.
If you have any questions or anything, just ask.
Posted December 19th, 2011 at 12:59 PM by Kura
Posted December 19th, 2011 at 1:11 PM by jpp8
Posted December 20th, 2011 at 4:41 AM by Alternative
Posted December 20th, 2011 at 7:01 AM by jpp8
Posted December 20th, 2011 at 10:34 AM by Esper