Katakana
カタカナ

1. Katakana Chart

Memorize the reading of all 46 katakana characters as quickly as you can.

 

 

2. Writing of the Characters

1) General Rules of Stroke Orders

Both kana (hiragana and katakana) and Kanji have the same general rules of stroke orders.

a. Write from top to bottom, and left to right

top line first
left line first

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

b. Horizontal before vertical

When horizontal and vertical lines cross, horizontal lines are usually written before vertical lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

c. Character-spanning strokes last

Vertical line that pass through other strokes are written after the strokes passed through are written.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice writing Katakana

When you write Japanese characters, pay special attention to:

a. length of each the line
b. small hooks
c. how the lines curve
d. angles of lines
e. space between lines

If you cannot see the stoke order movie clips below, go to this page.

 

 

 

3. Katakana with Diacritical Marks

You can create 23 additional sounds by adding diacritical marks. With short parallel lines, the unvoiced consonants [k], [s], [t], and [h] become voiced consonants [g], [z], [d], and [b] respectively. Additionally, by adding a small circle to [h], the sound changes to [p].

 

4. Transcribing Contracted Sounds

When small 「ヤ」「ユ」「ヨ」are added to the letters in the 「イ」column except for 「イ」, it transcribe contracted sounds. Contracted sounds are single syllable.

 

5. Other Rules

1) Long Vowels

The long vowels are written with 「ー」symbol.

キ ke e ki (cake)
アイスクリム a i su ku ri i mu (ice scram) 
コンピュ  ko n pyu u ta a (computer)

 

2) Additional combination with small letters for foreign sounds

These sound combination was created for transcribing foreign words because Japanese language did not have them.

 

ウィ ウィキペディア ui ki pe di a Wikipedia
ウェ ウェディングドレス ue di n gu do re su wedding dress
ウォ ウォークマン uo o ku ma n Walkman
シェ シェイクスピア she i ku su pi a Shakespeare
ジェ ジェームズ je e mu zu James
チェ チェリーパイ che ri i pa i cherry pie
ファ ファイナルファンタジー hua i na ru hua n ta ji i Final Fantasy
フィ フィギュアスケート hui gyu a su ke e to figure skating
フェ フェ ka hue cafe
フォ フォトショップ huo to sho ppu Photoshop
ティ パーティー pa a ti i party
ディ ディズニーランド di zu ni i ra n do Disneyland
デュ フォンデュ huo n dyu fondue

 

3) The sound [v]

[v] sound is usually written with 「バビブベボ」as in 「ージニア」(ba a ji ni a: Virginia), however, sometimes it is written with「ヴ」letter to be closer to the pronunciation of the original language.

ィーナス:vi i na su (Venus)

 

 


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