It’s カタカナ time!
Lesson 5 – ナ to ノ。
ナ – NA
A nut cracker.
For me, it was always easy to remember that hiragana “na” means nun. And here is her cross!
二 - NI
These are two needles.
Of course, for those who know your numbers, “ni” also means two, and there are two strokes here. Infact, this is the same is the kanji for two, also pronounced “ni”:-
二 ニ can you tell which is the kanji and which is the kana?
ヌ - NU
A noodle stuck between your teeth.
The フ shape is the mouth with the noodle stuck in there.
ネ – NE
You’ll never find your way on these roads.
ノ – NO
A needle and no button.
This ties in with ソ and ツ stories with the buttons and needles. However, the way I always thought of it was like saying “NO!” and putting a stroke through what was wrong.
I hope your Katakana studies are going well. To be continued in our next exciting episode of Writing Katakana.Read More
It’s カタカナ time!
Lesson 4 – タ to ト。
タ – TA
a tadpole with one leg, soon to become a frog.
Try not to confuse this one with ク “ku”.
チ - CHI
a chicken‘s feather
ツ - TSU
A needle and two buttons.
Tie this in with ソ ”so” – you’ve now put on two buttons. And pronounce “two” like “tsu”. A bit abstract, but helps you remember which way the strokes go so not to confuse it with シ “shi”.
テ – TE
Looks like a television antenna.
I always thought of it like a logo for a television station.
ト – TO
A totem pole.
To me this always looked similar to hiragana と so I remember it that way, as a toe.
To be continued in our next exciting episode of Writing Katakana – ナ to ノ »Read More
It’s カタカナ time!
I think in learning katakana, it helps to know hiragana. Just like in capital letters and small letters in the roman based alphabet, there are some similarities. For instance, C and c both look similar. An example in Japanese would be か in hiragana and カ in katakana.
However, you have to be careful in Japanese, as there are some characters that look similar to others but at not the same at all. A good example here is せ – “se” in hiragana, and サ – “sa” in katakana. For me these two look very similar. I find for me the trick is to think “this is “sa”, which looks like hiragana “se” but the second verticle stroke is longer”. Maybe this method is confusing for others, but it works for me. Perhaps if you have any special method of remembering these differences, feel free to share them in the comments.
Let’s move on to “サ to ソ”
Lesson 3 – サ to ソ。
サ – SA
Sardines in a dish. This is one which is a bit odd to picture for some – the three strokes are the sardines, overlapping because they are in a dish. Perhaps some will prefer my method on remembering this character, which I outlined above.
シ - SHI
A ship with two sails. You can see it getting blown in the wind.
ス - SU
Soup is dribbling down his chin. Picture the first stroke as a mouth, with the second as a bit of soup.
Personally, I have always remembered this by remembering it looked like the letter “S”, but it is only this second I’ve realised it looks nothing like an “S”. More proof that my brain is crazy.
セ – SE
Someone setting the table. Perhaps this method works a lot by telling a story rather than by simply visualising images. This is an image of an edge of a table, with a hand reaching across, placing a plate on the table.
ソ – SO
You need to sew on a button. Actually, I think this one is clever. You can see the button hole plus the little hole where the button used to be sewn on to.
To be continued in our next exciting episode of Writing Katakana – タ to ト »Read More
It’s カタカナ time! Now we are on to “カ to コ”
Lesson 2 – カ to コ。
カ – KA
Cut the bread with a sharp knife.
The first stroke here outlines the break. Then the second stroke is a knife, cutting though the bread. Easy to remember because it is a more angular hiragana か without the second stroke.
キ - KI
This is a picture of a key. I always found this one to remember, as it is also similar to hiraga き.
ク - KU
Looks like a cook‘s hat. I remember this one from when I first learned Japanese in primary school. We learnt this one as “kookaburra’s beak”. Very Australian perhaps, but to me I can see the beak. For you, perhaps you can see a cook’s hat in this.
ケ – KE
Don’t confuse this one with “ku”. This is supposed to be a “kettle” but for me, I remember it as the same one I use for hiragana け - somehow I see another angle of the “keg“.
コ – KO
Half a tennis court. That’s easy to see. For me, again I use the hiragana keyword of “coin”. Because you don’t get confused if you use hiragana’s keywords, but I guess somehow my memory has latched onto these. These ones I don’t have trouble with either, so I guess it is not a problem for me.
To be continued in our next thrilling episode of Writing Katakana.
サ to ソ »
It’s カタカナ time! Katakana is the part of the Japanese Writing System that I perhaps have the most trouble with – I still have to sound out each syllable, and I can barely write it – only words that I know well. Even sounding out words is difficult – as often I’m trying to make out some kind of English word, something that I shouldn’t do as not all Katakana words are even Japanese-a-fied English. But that is another bag of worms.
I use the same method as Hiragana learning – associating Katakana with things of similar shapes. I’m not sure where this method came from, as I remember using this back in primary school, as well as more recently in University. If you know where this method came from, please tell me!
As for getting the Katakana into my head, I plan on working the same way as I did with hiragana, and currently kanji. Write with them whenever I can. I don’t encounter them as much as I do hiragana and kanji, one problem, but there are some good sources out there which feature a lot.
Enough blabbering, let’s begin:
Lesson 1 – ア to オ。
ア – A
A person sticking out their tounge and saying “Ah“. A picture of a mouth with a tounge poking out.
イ - I
An eagle. I guess this one is a stretch, but the way I think of it is a english “I” with out the bottom stroke. I seem to remember this because “E” looks like an “I”. Confusing but some how it works. Maybe eagle will work for you.
ウ - U
An old woman carrying a heavy pack on her back. “Oomph!” Can you see the woman bending over with the pack on her back? Be careful not to confuse this one with “ワ” – “wa”.
エ – E
The curtains close at the end of the performance. Image of closed curtains. I always somehow remember that the “e” looks like an “I”.
オ – O
And old orange tree with a broken branch. It is helpful to think of this as the kanji for tree: 木 with one “branch” missing. I guess it’s an orange tree to reinforce the “o” sound.
To be continued in our next thrilling episode of Writing Katakana
Katakana – カ to コ »