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?
3
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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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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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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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83 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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131 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
40 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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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 ...
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91 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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821 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 ...
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48 views

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

How to distinguish (non-calligraphical) handwritten forms of シ, ツ, ソ, ン?
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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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2answers
197 views

Is it hard to write Japanese? [closed]

I see the Japanese symbols, but never asked myself how hard is to write using these symbols. It seems very inviable. How do you guys do when writing at Japanese? Is it really harder than, for example, ...
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3answers
691 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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397 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 ...
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4answers
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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2answers
5k 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 ...
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3answers
865 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 ...
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2answers
2k views

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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1answer
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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2answers
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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1answer
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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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 ...
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2answers
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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4answers
726 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)
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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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7answers
4k 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?
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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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Why are katakana preferred over hiragana or kanji sometimes?

I noticed that "dame", which means "not good" or "don't do that", is sometimes written in manga as katakana. I was wondering, is it because katakana is used to express a strong feeling? Sometimes, ...
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401 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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1answer
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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What are the differences/characteristics between katakana, kanji and hiragana?

I know that romaji is the conversion from those to the roman alphabet, but what are the differences or characteristics between katakana, kanji, and hiragana? Are they used on a different context? Is ...
6
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3answers
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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2answers
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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4answers
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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. ...
3
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331 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
162 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
1k 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
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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1answer
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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1answer
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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498 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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1answer
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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276 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 ...