Japanese characters consist of two scripts, hiragana (ひらがな) and katakana (カタカナ)
Hiragana represents sounds, and on the other hand kanji represents meanings or words.
You may think that katakana is not necessary because you can make sounds into letters with just the hiragana that you learned as a beginner.
Do you think that is accurate? Let’s find out!
How is カタカナ used in the Japanese language?
Katakana is mainly used to represent words whose origins are of a foreign language other than that of Chinese, and is often used for the names of animals and plants.
In ancient times, Japan adopted the characters (kanji) from China. Initially, they ignored the meaning of the kanji and used kanji that had sounds similar to Japanese sounds to form the Japanese language.
However, the construction of the kanji was complicated, hard to write and consequently, only partial components were extracted and used for writing.
This is the beginning of katakana. Many of the its characters not only represent the sounds of the Japanese language, but are also used as part of the composition of kanji.
Have you ever used Katakana for a composition of kanji?
Some of the Katakana characters are also used as kanji, such as “タ(ta)” for “夕(yuu)” and “ロ(ro)” for “口(kuchi)”.Additionally, there are also a few combinations that form kanji characters, such as “ナ(na)” and “ロ(ro)” for “右(right)” and “ナ(na)” and “エ(e)” for “(left).”
Don’t be afraid of Katakana!
As you can see, certainly there are many elements in katakana that form the basis for kanji. In addition, writing system has the convenience of representing the sounds of any language.
The original pronunciation sounds of foreign words are slightly different in the Japanese language due to the fitting of katakana pronunciations.
You might be surprised to know that you already can speak a little Japanese! You may ask how!
The most common use of Katakana is to transcribe foreign words, with an origin mainly from the English language.
Thus far you know the pronunciation of the majority of Katakana words, making the learning process of its characters much easier.
Lastly, let’s see a few frequently used Katakana words: ↓
Once you saw these examples, do you now feel more confident about learning and speaking the Japanese language?
How much time do you think it takes to perfect Katakana and Hiragana?
Get your answers below:↓
Can you learn Katakana with We Languages?
We have a student-centered approach, hence the reason for creating our own Katakana and Hiragana cards for our students to enjoy.
The cards will help you learn in a fun and structured way, so now you’ll be reading katakana and Hiragana in no time. Each character of the two writing systems are associated with an image to increase visual learning and attentiveness.
Learning Japanese has never been more fun!
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