So, you might already know that there are three styles of writing in Japanese. Basic writing is done using what we call, Hiragana (平仮名、ひらがな). We have two other forms of writing called, Katakana (カタカナ、かたかな) & Kanji (漢字、かんじ).
In today’s article, I would like to give you an overview of what is Japanese Katakana is all about. Read on!
Each syllable in the Japanese language is represented by one character, or kana, in each system.
The following Katakana’s are the ones you need to know.
There are 4 main rules about using Katakana in Japanese.
1) Sound of Animals:
When expressing sounds of animals, we use Katakana to express it.
A dog is barking Wan-Wan.
Wan- Wan is a sound expression in Japanese. (In English, for example, “woof, woof” is common to use.)
To write this in Japanese,
Inu ga wan wan hoeteimasu. -犬がワンワン吠えています。（いぬが ワンワン ほえています。）
Notice that barking sound “wan wan” is expressed as “ワンワン” in Katakana.
Besides the sound of dog bark, we also use:
Chun Chun (チュンチュン) for bird sound
Nya Nya (ニャー ニャー) for cats
Bu- Bu- (ブー ブー) for pigs
Mo- (モー) for cows
This is an interesting video showing you how we express animal sounds in Japanese.
2) Any Type of Sounds
The sound of rain drop, bells, and trains, they are all expressed in Katakana in Japanese.
Gata goto (ガタゴト) – sound of train running
bochan (ボチャン) – sound of drops, when you drop something into a water
bari-n (バリーン) – sound of breaking, when you break a glasses or mirror
gahan (ガチャン) – sound of closing doors
3) Foreign words
When we use the words that are foreign origin, we use Katakana rather than Hiragana.
Mafura- (マフラー) – scarf
Pan (パン) – bread
pasocon (パソコン) – Personal computer
sofa-(ソファ) – sofa
orugan (オルガン) – organ
piano (ピアノ) – piano
4) Name of foreign country, landmarks. Names of foreign people
Name of countries and names of foreigners are all expressed using Katakana.
Mikeru Jackson (マイケル ジャクソン) – Michael Jackson
Indo (インド) – India
piramiddo (ピラミッド)- Pyramid
grand canion (グランド キャニオン) – Grand Canyon
rasubegasu (ラスベガス) – Las Vegas
So there are the major rules you need to know when using Katakana’s. Hope you got to learn more about Katakana today.