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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone! Welcome to BASIC JAPANESE WRITING. The fastest, easiest and most fun way to master the Japanese alphabet!
You've learned these 43 katakana characters from the previous lessons.
In this lesson, you'll learn the last three characters in basic Japanese writing.
The first katakana character for this lesson is ワ. ワ.
This character looks like a WINE glass.
Katakana ク and ワ looks similar doesn't it? Well, just remember that ワ is wider and ク has more curved lines.
Katakana ワ is written in 2 strokes.
The first stroke is a short vertical line in the upper left corner. It's important to keep this stroke vertical so it's easier to tell it apart from a Katakana ク.
The second stroke starts where the first stroke starts, goes straight to the right, and then turns and makes a curved diagonal going down the bottom center.
Ok, let's see it again.
The third katakana for this lesson is ヲ. ヲ. It is also commonly said as "o." "o."
To remember katakana ヲ, try to think of it as part of the Olympic torch.
Katakana ヲ is written in 3 strokes.
The first two strokes are parallel, horizontal lines going from left to right. However, the second one starts a bit more to the left.
The third stroke starts from where the first stroke ends then it curves diagonally towards the bottom left touching the second stroke along the way.
Ok, let's see it again.
Our final character for this lesson is the katakana ン. ン.
It looks like a spacecraft ENTERING the Earth's atmosphere.
Many people confuse ソ and ン because they look very similar. One thing that could help distinguish the two is that ソ is slimmer.
Just like the hiragana ん, you can never start a word with a katakana ン. It can only be found in the middle or at the end of words.
Again, just like in hiragana, the pronunciation of ン varies a bit depending on the syllable that comes after it.
It sounds like an "mm" sound when it comes before a "b" or "p" sound. For example: ハンバーガー, and キャンプ.
It can also sound like an "ng" sound when it comes before a "g" sound like in シングル.
Katakana ン is written in 2 strokes.
The first stroke is a short slanted line.
The second stroke is a curved diagonal line starting from the bottom left going up to the top right.
This character should be wider than your katakana ソ to make them easy to tell them apart from each other.
Ok, let's see it again.
Let's see all the characters again. ワ, ヲ or "o" and finally, ン.
Quiz time!
Now, let's review what you've learned. I'll show you a character or group of characters and give you time to say them. Ready?
Which one is the katakana ン? (pause 3 sec) It's this one.
つ. Just like a TSUNAMI.
Which one is the katakana ワ? (pause 3 sec) It's this one – the wider one.
コンビニ. This means "convenience store." You'll find a LOT of them in Japan.
ワイワイ. This is an onomatopoeia for a noisy crowd.
エアコン. This means "AC" or "air conditioning."
It's ラーメン! It's a famous noodles and soup dish in Japan.
ワンワン. This is a dog's bark In Japanese.
プレゼント. This means "a gift."
コンタクト. This actually refers to contact lenses.
サラリーマン. This is a general term for men working for a company. They're mostly distinguished by their shirt and necktie attire.
Great job! There's actually a very fun word game in Japanese called "Shiritori." Basically, one person says a word and the next person says another word which starts with the last syllable of the word said by the previous person. But remember, no Japanese word starts with ん so anyone who gives a word ending with it loses!
Ok, let's wrap up this lesson by recapping what you've learned.
In this lesson, you learned the katakana characters ワ, ヲ and ン.
よくできましや!You've now mastered all 92 hiragana and katakana characters!
Here are the 46 katakana characters. They are the exact equivalents of the 46 hiragana characters but are used to write most country names, foreign names, loan words, onomatopoeia sounds, and technical or scientific words. They are also used to indicate emphasis.
These are the five vowel sounds and the rest are a combination of a consonant and a vowel sound except for ン.
A long vowel sound in katakana is signified by a ー instead of another vowel character.
On the other hand the "dakuten" or "ten ten" mark is used the same way in katakana to signify that the consonant of the syllable is voiced. It can modify the characters under the K, S, T and H columns.
Unique to katakana, the "dakuten" is also used with the character ウ in order to signify the letter V.
The "handakuten" or "maru" mark which makes the consonant sound plosive, is also used and it's unique to the H column as well.
There are more unique digraphs in katakana to accommodate the sounds from foreign words. These include:
イェ, ウェ, ウィ, ウォ, ヴァ, ヴェ, ヴィ, ヴォ, シェ, ジェ, チェ, ティ, ディ, トゥ, ドゥ, ファ, フェ, フィ, and フォ.
The rest are formed by adding a small ャ, ュ, or ョ to a consonant + "i" syllable just like in hiragana.
Pronunciation of katakana characters is a constant except for the following with alternate pronunciations:
ヲ is actually more commonly pronounced as "o."
And ン can sometimes be pronounced "mm" or "ng" depending on the syllable that comes after it.
Congratulations! You now know all of the characters making up the Japanese basic alphabet. The next step now is to start learning kanji to be able to unlock more Japanese! Try watching our Kanji Series here at Japanesepod101 and you'll pick up on how to use kanji in no time!And before you go, practice writing the following words on your own!
And to learn MORE Japanese, go to JapanesePod101.com.
Do you know the top 10 conversational phrases in Japanese? Here's a hint, "kawaii" is not one of them! Find out the most important words you'll need in order to have fun, fluent conversations with native Japanese speakers! Click the link to get the top 10 conversational phrases in Japanese for free!
See you in another lesson! またね!