Free Online Course
"KATAKANA -  JAPANESE LETTERS"
JAPASABI

INTRODUCTION

This course is for students who have already studied the Hiragana alphabet. If you haven‘t studied Hiragana yet, you can take my “Hiragana Japanese letters” course first. Katakana also has 46 alphabets, like Hiragana. Largely, the learners tend to feel taking more time learning katakana compare to Hiragana. You may need little bit more effort than Hiragana but again, this course is a completely self-paced course. So you don’t need to feel unnecessary pressure. You can focus on mastering Katakana.

 

Getting some ideas of Katakana is a purpose of this course. What you need in this course is a passion for studying Katakana! As I mentioned before, learning Katakana tends to take more time compared to when you study Hiragana. However, since you have mastered Hiragana if you don't forget about needing an effort, you will master Katakana, as well. Basically, all you need is to be able to access the internet. However, I suggest having a notebook and a pen to practice handwriting.

 

Steps for mastering Katakana:

 

Step 1,

Learn how to pronounce each letter. Watch the videos and practice how to pronounce each letter.

 

Step 2,

Learn how to write each letter and practice. You need effort in this step. Stroke order videos are available, please watch them and learn how to write each letter. Also, Printable flashcards are available. If you have a printer, you can print them out and use for studying.

 

Step 3,  

Trying the practice sheets and see the result. If you mastered Katakana, congratulation, your completed Hiragana and Katakana. If you are not satisfied with the result, I strongly recommend that you will review it again. In Japan, you see Katakana words more than you expected. Knowing Katakana letter will be very helpful.

Katakana

Katakana is phonogram like Hiragana. Each letter has only one sound. We use them for imported words from foreign cultures. However, It was not rare that the katakana names were given to baby girls before WWII.

Katakana was developed by taking the part of Kanji. In the Heian period, the writing system was divided into “Kanji World” and “non-Kanji world”. Katakana was included in the " Kanji world".

 

As I mentioned this in the Hiragana course, Hiragana was used for writing letters, poems, etc. and was used among women. Regarding Katakana, among monks who were studying Buddhism started to use them. When monks study the classic Chinese books or Buddhism materials, they use Katakana for taking notes. Since men had more opportunities to see Kanji or the classic Chinese writing, the border had to divide Hiragana and Katakana by gender, that was clear. Around the time between the end of the Heian period and Kamakura period, those two “Kanji World” and “non-Kanji World” met and became a current Japanese writing system.

 

In the spreading of cultural globalization, the number of Katakana vocabularies is increasing rapidly in Japan. If you go to any major Japanese shopping website, you can see it. Behind of the globalization, is the fact that the disparity between people who understand some Katakana vocabularies and don’t are expanding as well.

 

Writing Japanese words and sentences with only Katakana is possible. However, It is very uncommon and it is not easy to read even native Japanese people. It is like the code of ''the Matrix''. So If you would like to convey something efficiently, it is better to avoid it.

 

In casual writing like text messages or notes, sometimes people use Katakana for the purpose of emphasizing words.

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