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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29
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10answers
2k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
4k views

Why “dame” is written as katakana (ダメ) in manga?

"Dame" which means "not good" or "don't do that" is sometimes written in manga as katakana. Is it because katakana is used to express a strong feeling ?
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. ...
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 ...
12
votes
4answers
429 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. ...
11
votes
2answers
459 views

Pronunciation and meaning of  [closed]

I just received an email ending like this: 是非是非また誘って How to read the  ? Zero results on Google. As for the meaning, is it equivalent to よ ?
11
votes
5answers
144 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 ...
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
463 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
496 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
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
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?
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)
7
votes
2answers
402 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

What are the differences/characteristics between katakana, kanji and hiragana?

I already know that romaji is the conversion from those to the roman alphabet, so which are the differences or characteristics between those? Are they used on a different context? Is one of them more ...
7
votes
1answer
202 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
78 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
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
860 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
531 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
217 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
324 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?
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
1answer
287 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
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
440 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. ...
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
450 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 ...
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
423 views

Why is マシ written using katakana?

Does マシ come from English? Or is it a semantic emphasis?
5
votes
1answer
282 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 ...
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
244 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 ...
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
123 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
229 views

Katakana changes

The katakana changes with time, and so recently they introduced the "v" "ヴ", and I'd like to know if there's a possibility they'll add letters like "si" "セィ" or something similar in the future? Do the ...
3
votes
1answer
97 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
485 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
512 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
211 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
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 ...
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!
2
votes
2answers
283 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
185 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
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 ...
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 ...