KATAKANA

Introduction

The Japanese language uses 3 writing systems:
Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji.

In Japanese, broadly three scripts are used in a mixed way.

Hiragana and Kanji are used widely in a sentence. Katakana is mainly used for borrowerd words from foreign language.

For example,

ラジオ日本をきいた。(I heard a Japanese song on radio)

In the above sentence all the three scripts are used as follows:

Hiragana: で, の, を, きいた
Katakana: ラジオ
Kanji: 日本, 歌

 

Table of Contents

The Goal of this Session

  • Master Katakana alphabets within 3~20 days.
  • To be able to pronounce the alphabets correctly.
  • To be able to write Katakana  alphabets with correct order of stroke.
  • To be able to read simple vocabulary in Katakana. The main goal is to focus on reading, so do not worry about the meanings at this moment.

Do you know this Kanji?

What is Katakana?

  • Katakana is used for foreign loan words. For example, 
    Radio
    in Japanese is ラジオ(rajio),
    Towel
    in Japanese is タオル(taoru),
    Pen
    in Japaneses is ペン(pen), etc.
    Such words which are borrowed from english language are written in Katakana.
    Also, names of people or places from countries other than Japan are written in Katakana.
  • Katakana and Hiragana alphabets represent exactly the same set of sounds.
  • Katakana alphabets are formed by taking a part of Kanji.
  • Katakana is also a set of 46 basic alphabets like Hiragana. All the rules are same as Hiragana.
  • In addition to 46 basic Katakana letters called as gojuuon, there are modified sounds like:
    20 dakuon , 5 handakuon, 36 yoon, 1 sokuon.
  • You can download and print Katakana chart(PDF) for practice.

    The meaning of each has been summarized below:

  • Gojuuon(五十音): basic 46 alphabets
  • Dakuon(濁音): addition of 2 small dots (called as dakuten) to the hiragana in カ(ka), サ(sa), タ(ta), and ハ(ha) rows.
    For example,
    adding 2 small dots to ハ(ha) becomes バ(ba).
  • Handakuon(半濁音): addition of a small circle (called as handakuten)
    For example,
    adding a small circle to ハ(ha) becomes パ(pa)
  • Yoon(拗音): is described by :
    i-column letter + small ヤ(ya)、ユ(yu)、or ヨ(yo)
    For example,
    キ(ki) + small ヤ(ya) = キャ(kya)
  • Sokuon(促音): is described by small ツ(tsu)
    small ツ(tsu) means that the alphabet in the next character is doubled and a slight pause results.
    For example, ハッピー(happi) 
  • In Katakana, long vowels are represented by adding a ー(dash).
    For example,
    コーヒー(coffee): prolong ‘o’ sound + prolong ‘i’ sound
Gojuuon(五十音)
  • In Japanese, alphabets are organized in 5 x 10 matrix. This table is known as gojūon-zu which means `Table of 50 sounds`.
  • In total, 46 letters (45+1) are counted as gojūon (50 sounds).
  • The first row alphabets ア (a), イ (i), ウ (u), エ (e) and おオ(o) are five vowels of the Japanese language.
aiueo
a a
i
u
e
o
ka ka
ki
ku
ke
ko
sa sa
shi
su
se
so
ta ta
chi
tsu
te
to
na na
ni
nu
ne
no
ha ha
hi
fu
he
ho
ma ma
mi
mu
me
mo
ya ya
yu
yo
ra ra
ri
ru
re
ro
wa wa
wo
Dakuon(濁音)
  • Dakuon means two small dots
  • Dakuon can be added only to カ(ka), サ(sa),     タ(ta), and ハ(ha) rows. Dakuon is usually added to the right top of the letter.
  • and  are pronounced the same as ji.
  • and are pronounced the same as zu.
 aiueo
ga
ga


gi


gu


ge


go

za
za


ji


zu


ze


zo

da
da


di


du


de


do

ba
ba


bi


bu


be


bo

Handakuon(半濁音)
  • Handakuon means a small circle.
  • Handakuon is added to the right top of ハ(ha) row only.
 aiueo
ha
pa


pi


pu


pe


po

Yoon(拗音)
  • Addition of small ヤ(ya), ユ(yu), or ヨ(yo) to consonants is known as Yoon(拗音)
  • Formula:
    i-column letter + small ヤ(ya)、ユ(yu)、or ヨ(yo)

 

~ya~yu~yo
kiキャ kya
キュ kyu
キョ kyo
shiシャ sha
シュ shu
ショ sho
chiチャ cya
チュ cyu
チョ cyo
niニャ nya
ニュ nyu
ニョ nyo
hiヒャ hya
ヒュ hyu
ヒョ hyo
miミャ mya
ミュ myu
ミョ myo
riリャ rya
リュ ryu
リョ ryo
giギャ gya
ギュ gyi
ギョ gyo
jiジャ ja
ジュ ji
ジョ jo
diヂャ dya
ヂュ dyu
ヂョ dyo
biビャ bya
ビュ byu
ビョ byo
piピャ pya
ピュ pyu
ピョ pyo

Practice test 1

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Practice test 2

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Videos

1. Video lessons

Coming soon……….

 

2. Fun way to Memorize!!

To memorize the  Katakana letters, we have provided a video link that will help you to learn musically! It will also help you in developing your listening skills because songs can be useful in language learning as they provide a format for memorizing vocabulary and rhythm of the language.

So, we suggest you to become a kid again and use your creativity to widen your language learning potential

Final Test

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Download

Free Katakana Chart

To download the Free PDF of Katakana chart download button. 

 

 

Free Katakana Practice sheet
  1. To download the Free PDF of Katakana Practice book, please the download button. 
  2. This e-book contains stroke order of all the katakana letters.

Did You know ?

Japan in Japanese is Nihon or Nippon.

Recommended books

For more practice, we recommend the books below. Click on any book to get a detailed review. Also check out some popular dictionaries and Flip cards that can boost your study method.

To summarize

Practice reading and writing Katakana alphabets as many times as you can until you become Perfect. And then you are ready to shift to JLPTN5 and learning Kanjis.

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