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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28
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6answers
8k views

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, ...
38
votes
10answers
4k views

When is the katakana form of wo (ヲ) used?

I'm pretty new to Japanese, and I've been trying to learn hiragana and katakana. I know that in hiragana, wo (を) is used only for as an object particle, and it is always pronounced like o (お). This ...
5
votes
1answer
621 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 ...
13
votes
7answers
6k 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?
16
votes
2answers
680 views

Why did の disappear from 山手, but in 御茶ノ水 it's in katakana?

I realize that very likely the answer to this question is likely to be something along the lines of "that's just the way it is", but I thought it worth asking to see if there were some insights that ...
3
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
16k 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. ...
9
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
6k views

Can I write Japanese name “Midori” this way - 緑?

There is female Japanese name "Midori," and I want to know the ways I can write it. I know it means "green," but maybe the name and "green" are different words sometimes. I used google-translator to ...
13
votes
4answers
652 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. ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
966 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
517 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
1k 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)
3
votes
1answer
1k 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 ?...
13
votes
5answers
189 views

ユーザ or ユーザー, which is more in use or is there no difference?

ユーザ or ユーザー, which is more in use or is there no difference? I see both of them in use, but is there one that is more correct than the other or is at least the prevailing standard? a similar word is ...
9
votes
1answer
879 views

Are foreign personal names usually written in katakana rather than Romaji?

Are foreign personal names usually written in katakana, or is this dependent on the type or writing, and the target audience? For example, this Japanese Wikipedia entry on Steven Bradbury uses ...
8
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
463 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
1answer
701 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?
5
votes
4answers
334 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
183 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
291 views

Why is Toyota typically written in Katakana? (トヨタ)

Presumably, as a Japanese name, it should be written in Chinese characters or in hiragana.
3
votes
1answer
555 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
289 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
297 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
196 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
197 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
121 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. ...
0
votes
2answers
132 views

Can english video game be translated into japanese without kanji?

I want to get my game translated from english to japanese. Can it be done without the use of kanji(only hiragana and katakana)? Kanji characters seem that they will be too small to be readable at the ...