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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

8
votes
1answer
108 views

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 ...
6
votes
0answers
89 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
115 views

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 ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
99 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
152 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
217 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
68 views

Katakana ダメ to end a sentence - emphasis?

In the following sentence (from the Legend of Zelda guidebook I am translating) this sentence appears when talking about fighting enemies. My question is about the purpose of ダメ at the end. ...
6
votes
1answer
218 views

Orthography at the turn of the previous century

A couple of days ago I purchased an old book published in 1908. It uses a strange orthography I haven't encountered before. Everything that is not in kanji is written in katakana, including ...
3
votes
2answers
116 views

Do people write ありがとう in katakana?

Since サヨウナラ, when written in katakana it gives a more cool/deep nuance. How about ありがとう? Do Japanese people choose to write it in katakana if they want the nuance of the word to look cooler? It's ...
-1
votes
1answer
144 views

こおれえぐす, こーれーぐす, こおれえぐうす, or こーれーぐーす to get the word 高麗胡椒? [closed]

高麗胡椒 is a condiment originating in Okinawa that consists of chilis immersed in awamori. I don't know how to type it, especially the long vowels. I can get neither the katakana nor the kanji spelling ...
2
votes
1answer
259 views

How to write the name !xobile in Katakana?

So I have been wondering from this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiWiYjW1Xrc How would one write the Katakana for this name that has an exclamation mark? And how would we pronounce it? ...
7
votes
1answer
203 views

Why is カラオケ (karaoke) written in katakana?

I noticed カラオケ (karaoke) is always written in katakana on signs/buildings in Japan, despite it being a Japanese word. Why is it not written in Kanji or Hiragana? As I understand it, the usual reasons ...
2
votes
4answers
188 views

Difference between katakana so and n

I am having high confusion between katakana n ン and katakana so ソ. They look very similar even with the different stroke directions, they look very similar. Could anyone suggest how to differentiate ...
2
votes
1answer
155 views

Why is “Yamata no Orochi” written in katakana?

In the game Okami, the demon Yamata no Orochi is written here, and also in a separate game here as ヤマタノオロチ, not やまたのおろち. Even the particle の is in katakana. I'm curious as to why this is. I know that ...
0
votes
1answer
94 views

What loan words have a Hepburn romanization that matches the spelling of the original language?

For example, the word サッカー is "soccer" in English, but the romanization "sakkā" bears little resemblance to the original word. Are there any loan words in Japanese that preserve the spelling of the ...
-1
votes
1answer
280 views

By what's better started first, hiragana or katakana? [closed]

I'm beginner in to learn japanese and will would know by what's better start first, hiragana or katakana and why?, Thanks in advance
3
votes
2answers
217 views

Can someone help me determine what this SFX/onomatopoeia is?

Here's an image of it: It looks kind of like ダダ (da da) to me, but then I'm not sure what to make of the last mark. Can someone offer their insight, please? Thanks!
5
votes
1answer
284 views

Why is katakana /va/ normally written ヴァ rather than ヷ?

Even though there is a katakana character ヷ, most of the time when I see something that is transcribed into Japanese as /va/, it is in the form ヴァ (say, for example, in the title of the anime series ...
2
votes
2answers
114 views

How would you write the name Anibal in Japanese?

So my name is written Anibal, I'm from Brazil, just so you know. I'd like to know how would you write it in japanese, I'm in doubt between A-ni-ba-ru and A-ni-ba-e-ru. Any further explanation would be ...
5
votes
1answer
452 views

Legal characters for first names include: hiragana, katakana, jinmeiyo and joyo kanji. What about latin letters?

Is it legal for parents to give to their child a first name with latin letters (romaji, I guess), instead of using katakana, hiragana, or kanji? For example, if Japanese parents want to give their ...
4
votes
1answer
163 views

What does ホイっと mean?

in a manga I was reading this expression appeared. It was about a lazy girl, who was thinking about getting herself a boyfriend (so that he can do the house chores for her), and then her friend ...
4
votes
1answer
245 views

Method for deciding whether to use katakana or kanji version of the word?

I often see words in sentences written in カタカナ or 漢字 that could be swapped for a common word of the other form. I am aware that there are lots of カタカナ words that do have a 漢字 form, but where the 漢字 ...
10
votes
2answers
464 views

How do you write the sound “wu”?

As in "Wu Tang" or something similar. Would it be something like ウゥ? I know that "wool" is written as ウール, but 1) the "woo" sound is pronounced slightly differently than "wu", and 2) ウール doesn't ...
6
votes
3answers
867 views

イケメン translation to English

I am in a Japanese 101 class. We are suppose to translate the following sentance: 日本ぶんかの先生は、イケメンですが、ぜんぜんやさしくないですから、あまり好きじゃありません。 I am having trouble with that katakana イケメン. So far, I have: The ...
-1
votes
1answer
361 views

Kana to kanji mapping for a rōmaji keyboard [closed]

I've been tasked with implementing a rōmaji keyboard in a medical device. As I understand the problem, the user is to be permitted to enter katakana, hiragana, and/or kanji via the rōmaji keyboard. ...
4
votes
2answers
335 views

How is アェ pronounced?

A video game I've been playing has the following word in it: アェウクス I'm not familiar with アェ. Does it represent a specific sound? If so, what sound? If it makes sense to do so, please include ...
2
votes
2answers
285 views

Does an international OR standardized phonetic alphabet/notation system exist to depict all the Hiragana/Katakana sounds?

Are there written systems (preferably international & standardized) that you can use to depict how to pronounce any word from Japanese and any language. Something similar to Romaji but one that ...
6
votes
1answer
244 views

Was the の particle sometimes written in katakana?

In "Maiko Haaaan!!!", a bridge going over Yumekawa (a fictional river in Kyoto) apparently has "夢ノ橋" written on it, rather than "夢の橋". I had two theories about why that may be the case. One was that ...
6
votes
1answer
151 views

Why did the translator use ゴナラ here?

I've got a copy of "オ・ヤサシ巨人BFG", Taeko Nakamura's translation of the famous children's book by Roald Dahl, The BFG. The story concerns a friendship between a little girl named Sophie and a friendly ...
6
votes
2answers
241 views

Is there a generally accepted “rule” for truncating loan words?

I've noticed that sometimes loan words (usually pairs) are truncated to just the first two morae from each word: Smash Brothers ➤ スマッシュブラザーズ ➤ スマブラ "Don't mind." ➤ ドンマイ I assume this is ...
8
votes
4answers
433 views

Is the “wa-particle” in katakana ワ or ハ?

Is the "wa-particle" in katakana ワ or  ハ? (Just a quick question - I think I have seen both used, but if ワ is correct then I have just seen the results of a computer o/p automatically using ハ)
2
votes
1answer
179 views

Is one transcription of “Andrew” more standard than another?

I recently looked at the disambiguation page for Andrew on the Japanese Wikipedia, and found that there were several "アンドルー"s, and several "アンドリュー"s. I couldn't discern any trend that one form ...
6
votes
1answer
288 views

Katakana words with Kanji. How did that happen?

Some words are written with katakana, but also have kanji. For example: コーヒー 珈琲 ページ 頁 How did this happen? They are loanwords, but no doubt had Japanese equivalents before these variants were ...
6
votes
7answers
709 views

Why are the katakana important to learn?

I've just started, and everything says learn your hiragana and katakana first. The hiragana, very clear. I guess you can say an awful lot of things in Japanese with hiragana. But everything I've been ...
3
votes
3answers
419 views

Correct kana for foreign name

I am Portuguese, and my name is João, which has a peculiar pronunciation that is very difficult for foreign people. It is the Portuguese equivalent to the English John, but the pronunciations are very ...
12
votes
4answers
430 views

What determines whether a word gets a kanji compound or katakana?

I read electronics/computing articles, and I find an incredible amount of terms are written either in kanji (almost similar to Chinese) or katakana. There are times when it's confusing as to know why. ...
3
votes
1answer
514 views

Does the ー represent a double vowel or a long vowel sound?

For words like パーティー (party), I know ー is doubling the ア and イ. But for a word like センセイ (and let's assume for the sake of argument that it is regularly spelled in katakana), would it be センセイ or センセー ...
1
vote
1answer
383 views

Beginner: book/ website for reading comprehension and vocabulary [closed]

I'm looking for a book/website that helps me to increase my reading skills and vocabulary. The only "problem" is, that it should be only written with hiragana and katakana. At the very best there ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Can Hiragana or Katakana stand alone?

Writing Japanese requires a mix of Kanji and Hiragana, usually some Katakana as well. I have read that some Kanji characters can be replaced with Hiragana characters for easier writing. My question ...
6
votes
3answers
534 views

What are the rules determining the use of the dash in katakana?

As explained in this question, a dash character is used in katakana as an extension of a sound. First, what exactly is this character called? A "nobasu mark"? Anyway, I saw this sign in Shibuya the ...
5
votes
5answers
384 views

learning order for kana?

I'm trying to use some flash cards to learn the kana (hirigana first, but both in time), and there's simply too much for me to learn at once. Is there a recommended or practiced learning "order" or ...
3
votes
2answers
487 views

Why is katakana sometimes used to replace hiragana? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why “dame” is written as katakana (ダメ) in manga? The question title kinda says it all! This confuses me, as I thought katakana was used exclusively for loan ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Who decides what katakana will be used to form English loan words?

I love katakana, mostly because of how the characters look. But I am constantly baffled by why certain loan words from English are constructed using certain katakana sounds. For example, if someone ...
6
votes
1answer
325 views

Why does furigana occasionally appear as katakana?

I've seen some kanji whose furigana is actually katakana. For example, see the following manga cover for 桜蘭高校ホスト部. When would a kanji character ever be pronounced as a loan word?
11
votes
1answer
198 views

Spelling over the phone

In Japan I often have to call somewhere and explain my name such that the person on the other end can write it down. My name is "Sepponen Bemmu", which I want them to write down as "セッポネン・ベンム". Is ...
16
votes
4answers
5k views

Why was both katakana and hiragana created?

Nowadays, katakana tends to be used for gairaigo and onomatopoeia, while hiragana tends to be used for native Japanese words. This is a slight simplification - more information is available here. ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Why are there 3 ways of writing in Japanese?

Why are there kanji, hiragana and katakana? Is there a logical reason behind this or just tradition?
6
votes
1answer
441 views

Are the names of some food items written in katakana?

Japanese for Busy People 1 (lesson 11) mentions when talking about [キス]{kisu} (whiting) at a [てんぷらや]{tempura-ya}: NOTE: Names of fish, fruits and vegetables etc. are sometimes written in katakana. ...
7
votes
2answers
403 views

Are there any risks in self-learning the kana?

I've found learning to speak Japanese in a classroom, rather than being self-taught, is useful because you get feedback on whether what you're saying sounds correct. Is the same true about learning to ...