Questions tagged [katakana]

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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53
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7answers
16k 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, ...
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10answers
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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 ...
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5answers
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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. ...
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8answers
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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 ...
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6answers
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Do Japanese people see ツ as a smiling face?

Tsu (ツ) kana is sometimes used on the internet as a smiling face, such as in the emoticon ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I'm wondering if Japanese people notice it or is just another character for them? The reason I'm ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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1answer
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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?
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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 ...
24
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1answer
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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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3answers
2k 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 ...
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1answer
4k views

Why is it 「ロワイアル」?

Always loved the "Battle royale" anime, but am curious about why in the Japanese title it's「ロワイアル」. Shouldn't it be something like「ローヤル」, if you wanted to match the French pronunciation? Why the「ワ」? ...
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2answers
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Why is the word オタク written in katakana?

Why is the word オタク(otaku) written in katakana? I thought only foreign words are written in katakana. Is this word maybe foreign after all? But it is used in Japanese, so I am confused. Please give ...
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2answers
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How to pronounce the English alphabet? (A, B, C, …)

I just had to tell a long booking number over the phone, and realized that some characters like V/B can be hard to convey. So, I want to learn exactly how each letter is currently taught in Japanese ...
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3answers
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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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4answers
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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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8answers
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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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2answers
964 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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7answers
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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 ...
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4answers
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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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2answers
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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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3answers
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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
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Why is the term オナニー written in katakana?

I know what the term means, just curious about the katakana spelling.
14
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2answers
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Why is this written in katakana instead of hiragana?

Why in this image ノ is written in katakana and not in hiragana?
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6answers
276 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 ...
14
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1answer
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Is there a particular name for the rows and columns of the hiragana/katakana charts?

When i see Hiragana/Katakana Charts i see them always take a form similar to this i see a logical pattern here (except for ん but it's a one off). i am wondering is there a particular name for the ...
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4answers
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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. ...
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4answers
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How would you translate this? バタコチーズライス

So I'm working on translating a short recipe that I found online. The title calls it バタコチーズライス. I know that バタ is "butter", チーズ is "cheese", and ライス is "rice", but I can't for the life of me figure ...
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3answers
519 views

Why is this katakana not reversed?

Just saw this image about Nintendo on Kotaku: Clearly the company name, description, and location are written in traditional right-to-left orientation. Even かるた is right-to-left. So why is トランプ ...
13
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1answer
326 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 ...
13
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1answer
772 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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2answers
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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 ?
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3answers
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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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3answers
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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, e....
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3answers
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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 ...
11
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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3answers
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Does a small tsu double all consonants?

In several sources it's mentioned that a SMALL TSU doubles consonants. My problem is, some websites give almost identical examples with: っ/ッ + (S, T, C, K, G, B, P) But what about the others?: ...
11
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1answer
652 views

Why using です in katakana?

This question might sound stupid but it got me thinking for some hours. A friend bought me this gel pen from a Japanese store in my country, and it is written in the pen: かわいいデス instead of かわいいです ...
11
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2answers
696 views

Can タコ be an offensive word?

In a manga I found the following sentence: ひき戻すな、タコ。 The person to which the word タコ refers to is a secondary character that rarely appears. His name was never mentioned before. Since the person ...
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1answer
675 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 ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
2k views

What is the name of the writing that appears on the screen when watching television?

When watching the news and other shows on television, I often see various written content displayed on the screen for brief periods of time, usually on the bottom, but sometimes on the right. I just ...
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1answer
534 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 particles,...
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1answer
437 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 ...
10
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1answer
303 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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7answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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What term would be used for words that are borrowed from Japanese and used in other languages?

Many Japanese words are used in other languages, sushi, anime, karaoke, tsunami.... Is there a term to identify these words? I am familiar with terms such as 外来語 to indicate loanwords borrowed from ...
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1answer
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Why do textbooks and other sources pretend special katakana don't exist?

Take, for example, katakana such as ウェ, ティ, or ジェ. Many, many textbooks and other language sources, when showing a list of katakana, omit these. For example: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/...
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Correct kana for João

João is a Portuguese name 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 different. ...
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3answers
682 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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