カタカナ. That form of the Japanese kana syllabary which is not cursive and is most commonly used for (but not restricted to) writing words borrowed from other languages.

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= sign in a katakana name

I was surprised when I came across this Wikipedia page: アーシュラ・K・ル=グウィン Does someone knows what that = sign is? I can see it works as a separator like 「・」 Is it simply an alternative?
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101 views

Confusion regarding writing a word in Kanji and Katakana

In the One Piece manga, it's quite common to see the names of character's attacks written in both Kanji and Katakana. Take as examples: Gekko Moriah's Doppelman (影法師(ドッペルマン) Dopperuman, literally ...
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58 views

What is the frequency of katakana in writing? [closed]

I'd like to know how frequently each katakana character is used in writing, but I've been unable to find anything through googling, except this table which lists the frequency of hiragana characters. ...
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82 views

Katakana that I can't get right

"渡辺さんってサブラの?" - what could this mean? Just can't catch the meaning of "サブラ". Help please.
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130 views

Learning, where to start? [closed]

No, i'm not gonna ask you for tutorials, websites, books. I've already started learning Japanese, i know a few words and can type them (well, the Japanese driver just puts the Japanese characters ...
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39 views

Where can I find full katakana combinations list?

Katakana have some combinations beyond low ャ, ュ and ョ that uses low ァ, ィ, ゥ, ェ, and ォ. But I can't find complete list of such combinations. Where are lists like http://goo.gl/Lai88W available, but ...
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90 views

What is the acceptable procedure for writing proper names in Japanese academic papers?

What is the acceptable procedure for writing proper names in Japanese academic papers when you don't know the official Japanese translation or the katakana for it? Is there an expectation that all ...
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154 views

What does the word 「いいんスよ」 mean?

Here is the conversation that includes the word. A: そんな つめてえこといわないで...   ひと目{め}でいいんスよ ほんのちょいとあうだけでいいんだから B: だめっていったら だめーっ And I'm curious why the syllable 「ス」 in the word has to be ...
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Distinguishing handwritten シ, ツ, ソ, ン? [duplicate]

How to distinguish (non-calligraphical) handwritten forms of シ, ツ, ソ, ン?
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169 views

Are ミツバチ and イルカ more frequently written in katakana?

I was looking through a list of words that normally are written in kana, instead of their kanji. Two caught my attention because the list has them written in katakana, instead of hiragana. But, as ...
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Do Japanese actually pronounce the “v” sound?

Do Japanese actually pronounce the "v" sound? They do have a kana character (ヴ) dedicated to transcribing foreign "v" sounds, but do they actually pronounce them like the English phoneme /v/ (using ...
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110 views

Was katakana used in the teaching of Japanese as a foreign language?

The Wikipedia article Japanese language education in Vietnam, says that during the 1940s, Japanese was taught in Vietnam using either romaji or katakana. Is it true that katakana, rather than ...
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169 views

Why are there multiple katakana readings for a single kanji?

When I look at a kanji word I see one, or multiple Hiragana pronunciations (or should I call it translation?) - sometimes the pronunciations are for different kanjis, but that's not the question. ...
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112 views

Why is イチゴ written in katakana?

From which language did it come to Japanese? And why does it have its own kanji?
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147 views

Why the random katakana in 「すみっコぐらし」?

Some of you may be familiar with the San-X line of characters called すみっコぐらし. The shtick is that they're timid and like "living (ぐらし) in the corner (すみっこ)" I know katakana is frequently used for ...
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144 views

For furigana, can katakana be used instead of hiragana?

From the first day I started to learn Japanese, I saw people use hiragana to help read kanji, they are usually written on the top of those kanjis. But recently I also saw some Japanese use katakana, ...
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132 views

レアチーズケーキ: Does 「レア」 originally come from “rare” or from “layer”?

レアチーズケーキ is a kind of cheesecake which is not baked. What is the etymology of the レア part of this word? Academic references needed, as this is a controversial topic: The top Google result claims ...
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236 views

What does パー mean by itself?

In the anime "Fairy Tail", I came across the line 「ってか お色気代 1000ジュエル パーだわ これ」 which the translator subtitled as "By the way, I spent the 1000 jewels I saved by using my sexual appeal for this..." I ...
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399 views

Why are the names of plants and animals often written in katakana?

I was wondering why fruits, vegetables, animals and plants, are written in katakana? Often, there exist kanjis for those, so why aren't they written with those kanjis instead? For example: カマキリ ...
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224 views

Should I start with Hiragana, Katakana or Kanji? [closed]

I want to start learning to read Japanese (I already know romaji) and I was wondering which writing system would be better to start with. Or should I start all at the same time?
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177 views

Intentional hiragana transcription for foreign names

Is it possible and acceptable to transcript foreign names into hiragana instead of katakana for aesthetic or other personal purposes? How would Japanese people judge this choice? Would they perceive ...
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216 views

Why is Austin spelled with an オ?

Based on the pronunciations here, what I hear in Anime, and the way I hear kana pronounced in Japanese class, it seems to me that Austin should start with ア rather than オ, but it is clearly spelled ...
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397 views

What “non-standard” katakana are commonly used?

I know about the "standard" special katakana, like ファ fa, ディ di, ヴ vu, etc. However, I keep running into others I can't find on any list, including the ones in What special kana are used to write ...
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Why does katakana even exist?/ Why not use hiragana and kanji for everything? [duplicate]

From what I know, katakana is used for writing foreign words, scientific words, onomatopoeia, emphasis, and food on some menus in Japan. Also the sounds in the hiragana and in the katakana ...
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161 views

Compound words with 漢字 and カタカナ? (例えば:新メニュー)

Today, a magazine about restaurants in my area arrived in my mailbox. It proudly proclaimed : 10月の新メニュー! I am quite curious as to the following points: How is this pronounced ? I would have ...
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How to write “yi” in katakana

I'm trying to write the name of a Chinese friend, Ying. I know that the sounds "yi" and "ye" don't exist any more except for the deprecated hiragana characters, and katakana doesn't have either of ...
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250 views

Why do some loanword sounds get “abbreviated” when katakanized, but not others?

Not sure the best way to word this. Why is it that some sounds from a loanword get combined down to a shorter or different sound while other do not? Here are some examples: Shortened, but sound ...
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138 views

Did the modern usage of katakana predate the Americans?

How long has katakana been used as today, to represent non-Japanese words, onomatopoeia et al.? But specifically, has this usage been around since before U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Japan ...
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226 views

Why is Danny written & pronounced ダニー and not ダニ?

In Japanese, using Katakana, why is the name Danny written and pronounced ダニー. Why not just ダニ? I'm not sure why the i is being extended when this doesn't really happen in english. Thx.
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118 views

Is マラソン always 42.195 km?

ALC translate the Japanese マラソン into the English "marathon", which the English Wikipedia says has an official distance of 42.195 kilometres. Is マラソン always 42.195 km? Or has the Japanese word a ...
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154 views

Is there any difference between the two “エ” in 「エフェクト」?

Is there any difference between the two "エ" in 「エフェクト」? The first is bigger and the latter seems smaller.
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133 views

Recognizing a Kanji?

One of my friends is translating some stuff, and he told me he needs "A second opinion for this one since he's having troubles to identify the first one". I know the second one is だ, but I really ...
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497 views

Are katakana names pronounced as they are written?

My name is Laurence. I would write this in Japanese as ロレンス (rorensu). My question is, when I introduce myself, do I pronounce my name as it is in katakana, or as it is in English?: That is, would I ...
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263 views

Etymology of ギリシャ: what language does “girisha” come from?

I have trouble remembering that Greece is called ギリシャ. Understanding the etymology behind would probably help me? What is the etymology of the word ギリシャ? What language(s) was the name inspired by?
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252 views

How often will a katakana term have an equivalent kanji spelling?

There's a similar question here: Katakana words with Kanji. How did that happen? Question Some words are written with katakana, but also have kanji. For example: コーヒー 珈琲 ページ 頁 How did ...
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Origin of katakana ン (カタカナの「ン」の字源)

Looking on various pages, the origin of ン seems to be very confused. Most lists either don't include ン, or list one theory. So far I've found the following options: 一 爾 无 尓 二 冫 Wikipedia also ...
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Why doesn't Japanese have a special Katakana form for “hu”?

They have created many new Katakana words such as ファ フィ ヴァ ヴィ ティ テゥ to write foreign sounds. But why didn't they create a new combination for "hu" such as ハゥ or ホゥ? Instead they use the same kana for ...
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208 views

What do ジャンルくじイラスト and デリケートなジャンル mean?

My circle (student club) at a Japanese university is preparing for the school festival. One option for participating is to draw and submit a 「ジャンルくじイラスト」. Does this translate to "genre lottery ...
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154 views

Improved romanisation of Katakana

I'm in the planning stages of programming my own Katakana => Romaji converter. However, I've noticed that every other converter already out there just converts literally. I want to try and employ a ...
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424 views

Is しゃぶしゃぶ typically written in hiragana rather than katakana?

Is しゃぶしゃぶ typically written in hiragana rather than katakana? If so, why is it written in hiragana? Wikipedia says that it is onomatopoeia: The term is an onomatopoeia, derived from the sound ...
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690 views

How would one emulate capitalized letters in Japanese?

Capitalized letters look like I'M SHOUTING AT YOU. How would you reproduce this effect in Japanese? I don't think any of the obvious choices, using カタカナ instead of 漢字 or ひらがな, using punctuation, ...
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172 views

Question about mixed kana in おススメ

I read this line in a blog today: 料理に使えるおススメ品や、ご飯屋さんを紹介しています。 and I have two questions: 1) I know that the writer can use katakana for emphasis or for some other reason, but why is it mixed ...
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How to know when I should use katakana form words referring to animals, lesser creatures, or other organisms?

I know many words for animals are usually written in katakana in contemporary Japanese, even though kanji exist: イルカ クマ And it seems some very common domestic animals I don't seem to notice ...
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Why does this store named サァラ have a small ァ in the name?

Over on this awesome answer about old and unused katakana forms, I notice that among the examples is the word "valve", written as ヷァルブ. It has a small ァ character in addition to the ヷ that precedes ...
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204 views

What does it mean to write wasei-eigo and gairaigo in Romaji?

Wasei-eigo and most Gairaigo (especially in a text or sentence as opposed to being by itself) is usually written in Katakana (イメージ, ジュース, スマート,パンツ,アベック). However, there are times that have seen some ...
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What is the origin of ポイ as in “タバコのポイ”?

I was trying to see how much of the writing on the signs in the park I could make sense of today and found something of interest. A sign stating what not to do in the park covered not littering and ...
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Are there words which consist of katakana and hiragana letters together?

Obviously many Japanese words consist of kanji characters plus hiragana since the latter are used for okurigana: 食べる 水割り 鷹の爪 Recently I'v started to discover a few words that use kanji characters ...
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187 views

Specific differences to consider between any individual katakana and hiragana?

I already know hiragana and I am teaching myself katakana now. Both are essentially two different versions of each sound, but I am wondering if there are actually any functional differences between ...
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467 views

What special kana are used to write foreign words?

How does Japanese handle sounds outside the 五十音図【ごじゅうおんず】? Are there ways of distinguishing sounds such as V or L in katakana renderings of foreign words? How are the missing sounds in the ワ column ...
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405 views

In the japanese The legend of Zelda (e.g. Ocarina of Time), why is navi spelled ナビィ and not just ナビ?

I started playing the Japanese version of Ocarina of time and noticed that navi is spelled as ナビィ instead of just ナビ. I know that you can combine e.g. フ and イ for フィ, but the one in ナビィ seems ...