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Katakana カタカナ

Katakana (片仮名, literally: "fragmentary kana") is a Japanese syllabary, one of four Japanese writing systems (the others are hiragana, kanji and romaji).

Katakana characters are characterized by squarish lines and are the simplest of the Japanese scripts.

Katakana are used for:

  • Emphasis, like italics in English.
  • Onomatopoeia, for example hii ヒー means "sigh".
  • Names of animal and plant species.
  • Transliteration of words from foreign languages (called gairaigo). For example, "television" is written terebi テレビ. Foreign phrases are usually transliterated with a middle dot separating the words.

    If you have a font including Japanese characters, you can view the following charts of katakana together with their Hepburn romanization (otherwise visit the page for hiragana).

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    The first chart sets out the standard katakana (characters in red are obsolete):
    ア a イ i ウ u エ e オ o
    カ ka キ ki ク ku ケ ke コ ko キャ kya キュ kyu キョ kyo
    サ sa シ shi ス su セ se ソ so シャ sha シュ shu ショ sho
    タ ta チ chi ツ tsu テ te ト to チャ cha チュ chu チョ cho
    ナ na ニ ni ヌ nu ネ ne ノ no ニャ nya ニュ nyu ニョ nyo
    ハ ha ヒ hi フ fu ヘ he ホ ho ヒャ hya ヒュ hyu ヒョ hyo
    マ ma ミ mi ム mu メ me モ mo ミャ mya ミュ myu ミョ myo
    ヤ ya ユ yu ヨ yo
    ラ ra リ ri ル ru レ re ロ ro リャ rya リュ ryu リョ ryo
    ワ wa ヰ wi ヱ we ヲ wo
    ン n
    ガ ga ギ gi グ gu ゲ ge ゴ go ギャ gya ギュ gyu ギョ gyo
    ザ za ジ ji ズ zu ゼ ze ゾ zo ジャ ja ジュ ju ジョ jo
    ダ da ヂ ji ヅ zu デ de ド do
    バ ba ビ bi ブ bu ベ be ボ bo ビャ bya ビュ byu ビョ byo
    パ pa ピ pi プ pu ペ pe ポ po ピャ pya ピュ pyu ピョ pyo

    The second chart sets out modern additions to the katakana. These are used mainly to represent the sounds in words in other languages.

    イェ ye
    ウィ wi ウェ we ウォ wo
    ヴァ va ヴィ vi ヴ vu ヴェ ve ヴォ vo
    シェ she
    ジェ je
    チェ che
    ティ ti トゥ tu
    テュ tyu
    ディ di ドゥ du
    デュ dyu
    ツァ tsa ツィ tsi ツェ tse ツォ tso
    ファ fa フィ fi フェ fe フォ fo
    フュ fyu

    Katakana are also sometimes used to write the Ainu language; there, consonants without a following vowel are indicated by writing the symbol for consonant+u (in the case of sh, consonant+i) small. Thus, for instance, a small プ represents p.

    This article was derived fully or in part from an article on Wikipedia.org. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.

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