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42 votes
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Why is the term オナニー (onanī) written in katakana?

More specifically, オナニー is from German Onanie. Interestingly, German apparently borrowed the term from older English onania (per Duden's etymology here), which in turn was a derivation of the name ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
35 votes
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Why is the word オタク written in katakana?

In this case, katakana is used to indicate オタク is used not in its original sense but in its derivative sense. おたく was (and still is) an honorific expression used to refer to someone's family. So オタク ...
naruto's user avatar
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28 votes
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Why is this written in katakana instead of hiragana?

の in traditional proper nouns are commonly written in katakana. 壇ノ浦 三ノ宮駅 鬼ノ城 沖ノ鳥島 Practically, this can help people notice that this の is part of the proper noun and not the ordinary particle. ...
naruto's user avatar
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25 votes

Why were hiragana and katakana never merged into one system?

“What’s up with upper case and lower case? We have two different forms for each letter, sometimes similar, sometimes completely different. Why weren’t these merged to make it easier to learn to write?”...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
24 votes
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How to pronounce the English alphabet? (A, B, C, ...)

I share your experience. Sticking straight to the katakana pronunciation below, I have never had the problem of someone not understanding me any more. I believe this is the pronunciation currently ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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23 votes

Why does 'アプリストア’ mean appstore?

The word application in Japanese is 「アプリケーション」. The shortened form (akin to app) is 「アプリ」, rather than just 「アップ」 as one might expect coming from English. Therefore the word for app store is, as you'd ...
Basil's user avatar
  • 495
18 votes
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Is there a particular name for the rows and columns of the hiragana/katakana charts?

The columns (or rows) that have the same initial consonant are labeled as the first item in that column (consonant + a) followed by [行]{ぎょう}. Examples of such are あ行, か行, さ行, た行, etc. The rows (or ...
Blavius's user avatar
  • 8,105
18 votes
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Which language レシート is adapted from?

Derivation of レシート Numerous dictionaries state that レシート is from English receipt. See, for instance, the Dajisen and Daijirin entries visible here at Kotobank (in Japanese), or here at Wiktionary (...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
17 votes

Why is "Wikipedia" written as ウィキペディア instead of ワィキペディア?

ウィ is the standard way of transcribing [wi] or [wɪ]. Similarly ウェ is used for [wɛ] (for example website → ウェブサイト) and ウォ for [wɒ] or [wɔ] (for example wombat → ウォンバット or walkman ウォークマン). Here ウ is ...
Earthliŋ's user avatar
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16 votes

Why Can't A Name Be Written Literally In Japanese?

Basically, there are just some sounds that exist in other languages which cannot easily be phonemically represented in Japanese. Disclaimer - this is a simplified answer, but ... As with any ...
kandyman's user avatar
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16 votes

Why do textbooks and other sources pretend special katakana don't exist?

ウェ, ティ and so on are collectively called extended katakana. As you can see in the link, the full list of extended katakana is fairly long, to the point where it's not suitable for beginners. ...
naruto's user avatar
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15 votes
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Why is beatboxing called 「ヒューマンビートボックス」?

The term is a loanword from the English term human beatbox or beat box: a person that makes musical sounds using the human vocal organs. The abbreviated term is beatbox or beat box. The performer is ...
Jack Bosma's user avatar
  • 6,757
14 votes
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Non-standard katakana (エナジー vs. エネルギー)

Basically what I know エナジー & エネルギー both are gairaigo words & interchangeable (shown up as alternative of each other in dictionary), but they have different origins. 1) エナジー originated from ...
Tetsuya Yamamoto's user avatar
14 votes
Accepted

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

テロップ (from English telop) is the generic word for any type of superimposed text on TV, and it's understood by everyone. You can see many テロップ's in the image below, at the top, right, left and bottom ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 319k
13 votes

Difference between katakana so and n

You need to be careful on the start point and stroke inclination as you can see on the image above ・ソ so ・リ ri ・ン n Btw, Marilyn Manson is written in Japanese katakana character as マリリン マンソン. ...
ferbass's user avatar
  • 251
12 votes
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Does a small tsu double all consonants?

A small tsu (sokuon) geminates (doubles) the following consonant. In native vocabulary, only unvoiced consonants can be geminated. This includes the さ, た, か, and ぱ rows. A double n as in おんな is not ...
Fox's user avatar
  • 236
12 votes
Accepted

How can the well-known Tintin become タンタン in Japanese?

The タンタン rendering has a lot to do with the source French pronunciation, [[tɛ̃tɛ̃]]. The [[ɛ]] vowel in the International Phonetic Alphabet is the open-mid front unrounded vowel, halfway between [[a]]...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Why using です in katakana?

The final part of a Japanese sentence is sometimes rendered in katakana for various reasons. Examples include: ごめんネ ひどいヨー 分かってマス! 美味しいデス 大丈夫かナ? In fiction, this typically happens ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 319k
12 votes

How would you translate this? バタコチーズライス

As a fact-based answer, there is nothing much to say besides that コ here stands for コーン (corn). However, I'm pretty sure that the exact word form バタコチーズライス is chosen because it makes a reference to ...
broccoli forest's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Why is this katakana not reversed?

Historical Background According to the 歴史的{れきしてき}経緯{けいい} section of the 縦書{たてが}きと横書{よこが}き article on the Japanese Wikipedia, apparently in the late 1800s it wasn't altogether uncommon for printed ...
Eiríkr Útlendi's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Is this 8px height font understandable for japanese knowing people?

TLDR: Use at least a 9px font unless you want negative reviews. This is 美咲フォント, isn't it? Actually, it's indeed 7px per glyph plus 1px padding :) I know this font, but didn't mention it in my previous ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 319k
11 votes

Why is the term オナニー (onanī) written in katakana?

It's derived from the Biblical story of Onan, which would mean its origin is foreign.
Angelos's user avatar
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11 votes
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Long vowel AND extension?

It would just be pronounced as if any of those two were removed No, that's not true. Japanese people will pronounce ルナラ, ルナーラ and ルナアーラ very differently. ルナラ is 3 morae long, ルナーラ is 4 morae long, ...
naruto's user avatar
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11 votes
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How do you pronounce a ッ followed by a ー?

Good point. It's actually unpossible. 「アッ」と発声した後息を溜める所作を表現したものと思われるが、「ッ」の後に「ー」が続くという発声の不可能性からネットミームとしてウケ、やがて同性愛関係で「ア」のつく発声を表記する際に多用されるようになった。 (source) While supposed to be transcription of a gasp ...
broccoli forest's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Why are "loanwords" written in katakana?

Because that's the original purpose of katakana. Katakana was invented to denote the readings of unfamiliar foreign words (although, in those days, "foreign words" mainly referred to words in Asian ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 319k
10 votes
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Why does the katakana ラ look similar to the hiragana う?

It is just a coincidence. As you (probably) know, both hiragana and katakana came into existence as shorthand for kanji. Here's the graph shown on Wikipedia. So you can see that ラ and う are derived ...
istrasci's user avatar
  • 44.2k
10 votes
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what is the dakuten katakana character in the image?

It's グサ, a common onomatopoeia for a sound of "stab". It also describes how someone's harsh word sticks into your heart. It's listed on jisho.org in the form ぐさりと. It looks like ワ, too, but ワ does ...
naruto's user avatar
  • 319k

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