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Lesson Transcript

みなさんこんにちは。(Mina-san, konnichiwa) Hi everyone, I am Chihiro and welcome back to JapanesePod101.com’s Kantan kana series. If you’ve seen and practiced the last 13 lessons, then you’ve already learned Hiragana. Great job. Like always, if you come across any Hiragana characters you don’t recognize, be sure to review the previous lessons. We will be using what you’ve learned about Hiragana for the next alphabet. So make sure you are on top of it. That’s right, the next alphabet.
Kana is a term used to describe both Hiragana and Katakana. Both are used in Japanese writing and it’s usually the next alphabet learned after Hiragana. Every Hiragana has a corresponding katakana character. This means that there are 46 hiragana and katakana. There are no new sounds to learn, but katakana is used for very specific purpose. We learned Hiragana which are used for Japanese words but how would you write words that aren’t originally Japanese such as computer or Brad Pitt. The answer is, the word is set as closely as possible to the original or just using the Japanese sounds that we learned when studying the Hiragana. So computer becomes コンピューター(konpyūtā) and Brad Pitt becomes ブラッドピット(Buraddo Pitto). Some words sound very close to the word in the original language like アメリカ(Amerika) for “America “but some words get pretty beat up like キャリア(kyaria) for “career”. カタカナ(katakana) is also used for other things but we will get into those over the course of the next few lessons. For now, let’s take care of the first five characters.
We will begin with ア(a) 1, 2. The first stroke starts straight and then bends. The second stroke curves to the left. This character kind of looks like a capital A on its side.
Next up is イ(i) 1, 2. Just the slightly curved diagonal line over a straight line. Make sure this line goes right down the middle.
Here is ウ(u) 1, 2, 3. The first two strokes are straight up and down. Does this character remind you of a Hiragana version? They look similar, don’t they?
This is エ(e) 1, 2, 3. Bottom stroke should be slightly longer than the top stroke.
Our last character is オ(o). 1, 2, 3. Notice the はね(hane) at the end of the second stroke.
Now it’s time for Chihiro’s tip. The first thing that might jump out at you about Katakana is how angular their shapes are compared to Hiragana. Most of the lines are fairly straight compared to Hiragana. So it may look slightly mechanical. Because of this when Robots or computers speak in Japanese Manga, the author will often write their words in katakana. How do you find the カタカナ(katakana) so far? In the next lesson, we will take on five more characters and start to make words. I will see you then.

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JapanesePod101.com Verified
October 8th, 2010 at 06:30 PM
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Welcome to the first set of katakana characters! Much more boxier and angular than their hiragana counterparts, aren't they? ;)

JapanesePod101.com Verified
November 9th, 2021 at 11:13 AM
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こんにちは Meyu,


Thank you for your comment. 😇

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

We wish you good luck with your language studies.


Kind regards,

レヴェンテ (Levente)

Team JapanesePod101.com

Meyu
November 5th, 2021 at 10:27 AM
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Started learning Katakana today~!

JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 12th, 2021 at 07:09 PM
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Hi Nat,


Thank you for your comment!

Yes, we have writing sheet to practice katakana as well😊

Please use it for your katakana practice!


Thank you for learning Japanese with us:)


Sincerely,

Miho

Team JapanesePod101.com

Nat
February 22nd, 2021 at 08:16 PM
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I just love these lessons so easy to follow and I'm not struggling that much with pronunciation because my language has similar-sounding syllables 😁

My only question would be is there a similar lesson as hiragana with sheats that one is really good because it has exercises and that made me memorize hiragana so much easier after practicing.

👍❤️️

JapanesePod101.com Verified
January 22nd, 2021 at 04:48 PM
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Emiさん


Thank you so much for your comment😄

You can work on this Level 1 pathway. If you find some lessons that you've done already, you can simply skip them and go to the following ones😇

https://www.japanesepod101.com/lesson-library/level-1-japanese/

がんばってください👍

Please let us know if you have any questions :)


Sincerely

Ryoma

Team JapanesePod101.com

Emi
January 21st, 2021 at 10:40 AM
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Hello! Thank you for the lesson.


I've memorized hiragana, and practicing katakana. I've done basic lessons like greetings and how to introduce yourself. And I was wondering, what other lessons should I take as a beginner? There are many different lessons on here, and I'm not sure what I should start with, other than the things I've already done (Greetings and Introductions).

Any suggestions?


Thank you!

JapanesePod101.com Verified
November 6th, 2020 at 08:14 PM
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こんにちは Adrianna,


Thank you for asking.

Generally, Gairaigo (外来語), or borrowed words, is primarily written in katakana so katakana characters are mainly used to write foreign names, corporate branding, western loanwords and onomatopoeic words.

かえる(蛙) exist in Japan too so no need to write in Katakana. however, some words like this which have complicating Kanji, We often use katakana in order to simplify.

Also emphasize some names or onomatopoeia, We often use Katakana in informal situation.


Keep up the good work and Feel free to ask us any questions.

Sono

Team JapanesePod101.com

Adrianna
October 23rd, 2020 at 07:54 AM
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Hi!


How should I know if the word is Japanese origin or not?

I'm doing Katakana worksheet Lesson2 and there is a word :frog. I check it on Jisho.com and the word frog can be written in hiragana or kanji かえる(蛙).

JapanesePod101.com Verified
October 2nd, 2020 at 01:53 PM
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chrispbaconさん


Thank you so much for your comment😄

I agree with you👍👍

Please let us know if you have any questions :)


Sincerely

Ryoma

Team JapanesePod101.com

chrispbacon
October 1st, 2020 at 09:36 AM
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japanese trap sounds really nice