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Welcome to - Lesson Japanese Writing Katakana Part 1


In the previous lesson, we covered and finished the Hiragana for of Japanese writing system known as Kana.  Now, we are moving onto the system known as Katakana. How Hiragana is used for writing Japanese words. Katakana is used for any foreign or 'borrowed' words. Basically, most words from a foreign language would be written in this form. Think of it as a way that a reader would know the difference between a foreign word or a Japanese word that is spelled or sounds similar.
  
You would think that since this segment can deal with English words written in Japanese would make it easy. You would actually be kind of wrong. That's because these words are not written as you think they would look. It's how they sound. This is all about phonetics, how the words sound. I could best describe it as one of those games where you say a collection of words that when said fast enough together sounds as if you are saying something completely different.
 
Katakana can at times be more difficult to read and remember how the write. That's because many are written nearly the same way, but the stroke word varies slightly. You will see these in the characters for So & N, and Shi & Tsu. There are also a lot of modifiers, but we will get to those later.

Base Vowels

We covered the Base Vowels in the Hiragana lessons already, and the very same rules apply here. We are just now learning how the are written in Katakana.

(In the graphs. You will see how to write each of the characters. The red dot marks where you are to begin your strokes.)  

Base K


The K Base are easy enough to remember. The カ (Ka) and キ (Ki) are pretty similar to the originals. The only problem that may come in that there is a Kanji that is written just like this カ (Ka) Katakana, but the context is never the same. It just may confuse you the first few times you see it. Also, sometimes Katakana and Hiragana are written slightly smaller than full sized Kanji. Don't worry about it too much. Kanji will be much later.
 
Ka:
Hiragana - か
Katakana - カ
 
Ki:
Hiragana -  き
Katakana - キ


Base S


Here where you might notice something odd. The Katakana for サ(Sa) is almost a mirror image for the Hiragana せ (Se).

Writing and reading the シ (Shi) Katakana can be kind of tricky and annoying, but I think I will have a tip to help you remember. Notice the dash marks that start the Shi? They look similar to the Dakuten. The way they are written are almost horizontal. They are sometimes written as flat in some forms in Japanese went stylized in logos. Think of the two dashes as people laying down in bed, then they stand UP to get out of bed. The same way the final stroke starts at the bottom and moves upward.
 
A trick to remember the ソ (So) Katakana. Think of So as in South and it travels from north to south, From top and to down. The single dash in ソ (So) also leans more virticle.

Base T

 
The T Base are easy enough to read and remember with the exception of the ツ (Tsu). You will notices that is looks uncannily similar to シ (Shi). This can be maddening when trying to read, but I had a helpful tip on remember how to write this one.
 
Remember how ツ (Tsu) is the start of a Tsunami or a giant wave? You will notice that the dashes in this one are more vertical standing. The last stroke starts at the top and moves down. Think of the dashes as two people standing on surfboards and they surf DOWN the tsunami.
 
Next Lesson: Katakana - Characters Base N / H / M / Y
 
Back to Lesson Guide: HERE
 
-Kristoffer Remmell ( FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek.- Follow for lesson updates: @ animevice / @ FoxxFireArt
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