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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. In the last lesson, we learned the katakana characters ワ(wa), ヲ(o) and ン(n). If you are still feeling a little unsure of these, go back and review the previous lesson. Now you know all the kana. In this lesson, we will review some concepts taught in lesson 11 and apply them to some katakana characters.
We will start with てんてん(tenten). Do you remember how to make voice sounds? Right, you add てんてん(tenten) to the character which are the little markings on the top right. This goes for all 20 katakana characters as well. For example, when we add てんてん(tenten) the カキクケコ(kakikukeko) row becomes ガギグゲゴ(gagigugego). Now we can write ギター(gitā) or guitar. Remember in hiragana, we could also do this with the soft word. The same thing applies here サシスセソ(sashisuseso) becomes ザジズゼゾ(zajizuzezo). Here is ザラザラ(zarazara). The word that describes a rough surface. Again タチツテト(tachitsuteto) becomes ダヂヅデド(dajizudedo). You might not see ヂ(ji) and ヅ(zu) as often as ジ(ji) and ズ(zu) but they are used from time to time. Since the pronunciation is the same, it might be a little hard to guess. So double check before writing it. For now, let’s write ドア(doa) “door”. The last characters we can add てんてん(tenten to ハヒフヘホ(hahifuheho) which become バビブベボ(babibubebo). A word you might hear often in Japan is アルバイト(arubaito) which means part time job and comes from the word for “work” in Germany. Likewise, if you add a まる(maru) or the circle to the katakana counterpart, ハヒフヘ(hahifuhe) and ホ(ho) it becomes パピプペポ(papipupepo) . Let’s write パパイヤ(papaiya) “a papaya” and プロペラ(puropera), “propeller”. Now for some little catches. Do you remember the little ヤユヨ(yayuyo)? In katakana, you can also make the ア(a) row small. Here are examples of some words that use the smaller characters. シェアー(sheā) which is “share” and ティッシュ(tisshu) which is “tissue”. These smaller characters are used to create combinations of sounds that are not usually heard in Japanese. You are all familiar with Wikipedia right? When rendered into Japanese, we get ウィキペディア(Wikipedia) which also uses the smaller characters. So if you keep your eyes open, you will definitely see combinations that seem unusual. Katakana is more flexible than hiragana in this way in that it can bend the rules according to what needs to be conveyed.
Let’s have a short quiz. I will say the word and you try to write it in katakana. Bonus points if you remember what they mean.
アルバイト(arubaito), “part time job”
シェアー(sheā), “share”
ウィキペディア(Wikipedia), “Wikipedia”
パパイヤ(papaiya), “papaya”
Popeye. Now it’s time for Chihiro’s tip. This is an overall tip about pronunciation. If you speak English as your first language, it’s easy to want to stress certain syllables in a word. For example, “important” or “project”. When speaking Japanese, try to shut this habit. All of the syllables in a word get more or less the same amount of time and stress. We will take a look at some hiragana and katakana around us in the next lesson. I will see you then.


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JapanesePod101.com Verified
December 17th, 2010 at 06:30 PM
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Mina-san, do any of you use てんてん in how you write your name in Japanese (for example, ジョン)? If not, tell us your favourite Japanese katakana word using てんてん! :)

JapanesePod101.com Verified
November 20th, 2017 at 02:06 PM
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Harald Klein さん、


I'm very sorry for the late reply!!

Thank you for a kind consideration for us!! :)

Yes; your name would be as you wrote.

Town/city names are often written with original pronunciation and it seems like

Mainz is マインツ in Japanese.

It seems Rheinland-Pfalz is ラインランド・プファルツ...

Does it close to the original sound?

Natsuko (奈津子),

Team JapanesePod101.com

Harald Klein
September 10th, 2017 at 03:36 PM
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I hope every one of your team is doing fine since I am writing this at the time when Hurricane Irma is hitting the land. If some of you or your relatives might be affected, good luck and stay safe!

Now that I've completed カタカナ (片仮名), I'd like to give my name a shot: Harald Klein would be ハラルド・クライン , or am I wrong there ("Klein" actually is pronounced like the English version "Cline" and has the meaning of 小(さな) in German (I always wonder if I would name myself "Small" or "Little" if I'd ever decided to emigrate. ^^ - Well, anyway ...)).

I also would like to try to transcribe the town name "Mainz". Would it be マインツ , or would you rather use the French version "Mayence" for transcription into Japanese like マヨース , which, as I experienced, is often used in English instead of the original German name?

Last but not least, I'd assume that the name of the state, "Rheinland-Pfalz" could be transcribed like ラインランド・ファルス , right?

Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my comment.


Harald Klein

JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 8th, 2017 at 08:43 AM
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Asa san,


You are welcome.


Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

April 14th, 2017 at 09:53 PM
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Thank you!

JapanesePod101.com Verified
April 14th, 2017 at 08:09 PM
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Asa さん、


The answer is ‘yes’, when the u is katakana only.


Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

April 1st, 2017 at 03:19 PM
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Konnichiwa Japanesepod101.com!

Does adding tenten to the letter u make it a v sound?

I've seen that in many places so I'm just wondering

JapanesePod101.com Verified
November 9th, 2016 at 11:00 AM
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Sarahさん こんにちは。

Thank you for your comment!

You have a good question.

The answer is that native speakers use all of three characters on writing.

You can write in hiragana and katakana because that is what Japanese kids do before they learn kanji.

As you mentioned, katakana is used for writing names, but mostly foreign names, like Peter, Chris, and your name, Sarah. Some anime has characters who have their name in katakana, like Pokemon, but it's not common in daily life.

We use the mixture of kanji and hiragana&katakana sometimes to help readers to read easily.

It's because kanji convey sounds and meanings at the same time.

For more details, the video lesson, "Introduction to Japanese Lesson 4. Introduction to Japanese Writing" will help you.


Hope this helps,


Team JapanesePod101.com

October 29th, 2016 at 02:38 PM
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Please can you answer this question:

I don't know where and when to use hiragana's and when to use katakana's and where to use kanji's,it's like when I'm writing something in Japanese,I don't know if I have to use hiragana's or katakana's or kanji's. The only thing that I know is that we use katakana's to write names(like yukine and hiyori and my name Sarah......)but truly I'm not sure if it's right 100%.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
September 22nd, 2016 at 03:04 PM
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I'm not too sure, but isn't -ee- in your name Sateek is pronounced long, like the alphabet E?

In Japanese, making a difference between short and long sounds is important and we

do distinguish them. So, if your name is supposed to be pronounced like

sa tii k

it'd be サティーク [sa tii ku] and if it's a short sound (satik), it'd be サティク [sa ti ku],

but if it's with a little pause like 'satick', then it'd be サティック [sa ti kku].

Is your surname Roy or Roj?

And how is it pronounced?

Natsuko (奈津子),

Team JapanesePod101.com

September 13th, 2016 at 05:28 AM
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Konnichiwa! My name is Sateek Roy. I'm guessing "サティク" should be Sateek in Japanese. However, I'm not quite sure how to write Roy. Also could you tell me how to write Raj in Japanese?