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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Hikaru no Go Manga - dialogue question

So this is a sentence I picked from Hikaru no Go, Vol. 1, that I am reading. どれもこれもパツとしないなあ What does パツ mean in this sentence and how do you usually find those kind words? When I searched on ...
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83 views

What does モンロス mean?

It seems to be used as a na-adjective, but I couldn't find the meaning anywhere.
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197 views

Meaning of トッツケ on a house plan

Same as with my question about a Kanji I tried to identify on a bad image source, I have a katakana word I need to understand / translate. The word reads トッツケ, as marked in this image: I tried to ...
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1answer
76 views

Learning Japanese alphabet [closed]

Konbanwa, I just started learning about Japanese alphabets, and I started with Hiragana, so is it right to start with Hiragana then Katana? and if I learned about the both writing systems which one ...
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113 views

Why is there a ツ in 四ツ谷?

When I stopped at Yotsuya (四ツ谷) Station this summer, I noticed a katakana tsu (ツ) in the station name. Is there a reason why the katakana character is used (instead of a hiragana one)?
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167 views

What is the katakana of STAR WARS?

スター・ワーズ? Sutaa Waazu? スター・ウォーズ? Sutaa uoozu?
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128 views

What would be the best katakana for this book title?

I'm trying to write about a Spanish book in Japanese. I'm a beginner at Japanese so have patience. The English title is 'Chronicle of a Death Foretold'. クロニックル・オ・エー・デス・フォートールド I'm not sure on the ...
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101 views

How has Japanese kanji and kana usage changed since 1945

How has the percentage of writing using each script changed since 1945? With script reform, increasing influx of loanwords, and stylistic choices, several factors affect how much certain parts of the ...
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118 views

What does “fūtsu” mean?

This is from Yuki-onna: Mosaku no kao ni iki wo fu-tsu to fukikaketa. The "fuutsu/fu-tsu" is written in katakana and is most likely an onomatopoeic word, related to breathing. It's not essential ...
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1answer
551 views

Cheering Japanese (volleyball) team (ゴーリゴーリ)

Watching Volleyball World Cup on TV now, I started to wonder where does the cheering 「ゴーリゴーリ」 come from? Seems to be independent of which team serves, but is more loud when Japanese hold the ball. Is ...
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180 views

Meaning of トルネル is actually misspelling of トンネル? [closed]

I need to know what トルネル means in the following sentence from a manga I'm reading (slashes are where the line-breaks are): このトルネルから / 出る! The katakana is throwing me off. Is it one or two words? Is ...
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103 views

Why would the Japanese transliteration from Greek Χριστος be spelled as ハリストス instead of キリストス?

Although it's not as common as キリスト, ハリストス is seen in the name of Japan's Orthodox Church. But why ハリストス if the pronounce of the Greek Χριστος is khristós (with a clear kri sound)? There is キリストス too, ...
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3answers
229 views

Why is Eden written as エデン in Japanese?

I just started watching "Eden of the East" and noticed that the Katakana used for Eden was エデン. I'm wondering why isn't it instead イデン which would be pronounced the same way as in English (which I was ...
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1answer
1k views

= 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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147 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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84 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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90 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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175 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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1answer
48 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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189 views

How to translate historical names which don't necessarily have an equivalent in Japanese?

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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184 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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49 views

Distinguishing handwritten シ, ツ, ソ, ン? [duplicate]

How to distinguish (non-calligraphical) handwritten forms of シ, ツ, ソ, ン?
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4answers
223 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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120 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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286 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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161 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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280 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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2answers
216 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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150 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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243 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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3answers
682 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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303 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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215 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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239 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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681 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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485 views

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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2answers
173 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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4answers
2k views

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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4answers
303 views

Why do some loanword sounds get “contracted” 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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1answer
152 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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1answer
370 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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166 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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161 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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138 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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586 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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329 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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2answers
272 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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300 views

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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3answers
2k views

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 ...