The Hassles of Katakana

Recently, I finally, finally finished this workbook on Japanese Katakana writing. I had started maybe a year ago, back when I was working in Phoenix, Arizona for training. Previously, I finished the book on Hiragana to improve my handwriting. Since I am spending most of my time learning Kanji, I didn’t do the workbook very often, unless I had some extra time. The reason I decided to learn Katakana was that when I did the Japanese book on Korean Hangeul, I found that I struggled to write the Korean words (in Katakana) correctly.

Katakana is a hassle in some ways. It’s very helpful because you can identify foreign words easily, and it’s also used to emphasize sounds and such. However, it’s not used that often, so you can easily forget it. Plus you have to learn two writing systems to express the same sounds (feels redundant). My daughter is learning Japanese at the same time as English, and she can read/write hiragana and some kanji. However, she has trouble with katakana: she can read it, but she forgets how to write it. So, she doesn’t like it very much.

Some katakana words are easy to remember because they look very similar to the hiragana versions: へ and ヘ, つ and ツ, せ and セ, し and シ. But are completely different: ねand ネ, れ and レ, え and エ, お and オ.

In any case, if you’re learning Japanese, it’s still worth the time to learn Katakana and to write it correctly. The book above was quite helpful and had lots and lots of writing practice, so after using it, I felt much more confident about writing Katakana. This was helpful recently when I visited my daughter’s Thursday afternoon Japanese class. The teacher is great, and knows I can speak some Japanese, so she asked me to write some words in katakana on the board, and it was a good feeling to write them correctly.

Handwriting in a foreign language is a good investment of time, because you can use it all your life. 🙂

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Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

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