Let's try to remember all the Katakana characters with efficient way.

Let's try to remember all the Katakana characters with efficient way.
Katakana is the neglected big brother to Hiragana. Both Kana systems are used together to write out the same moraic sound combinations but in different semantic situations. For now, this lesson will focus on learning the many symbols that exist in Katakana. 

Katakana カタカナ

The first set of Katakana symbols that we will study are those found in the Gojūonzu (Table of 50 Sounds), which is arranged in the same way as it is for Hiragana. Pay attention to the stroke orders shown in the chart, and try to emulate them in your writing as best as possible to make your writing as legible as possible. 

■The Characters ヰ & ヱ
Due to the gradual disappearance of the consonant /w/, both the Katakana symbols for /wi/ ヰ and /we/ ヱ are rarely used and are currently only seen occasionally in personal names and place names; however, in older literature written prior to 1945, they will be seen with greater frequency. When you encounter these symbols, they are to be pronounced as [i] and [e] respectively.

■The Character ヲ

The symbol for /wo/ is usually pronounced as [o], but there are still many speakers depending on dialect and/or situation who pronounce it as [wo], the traditional pronunciation. ヲ is not as frequently used as を, but it is not considered obsolete. 

■The Character ン
The moraic consonant /N/ is represented with ン regardless of how it is pronounced, further indicating how the consonant is deemed as one unit with several iterations rather than as several consonants. One thing that must be noted is that in Standard Japanese, ン is always either in word-medial or word-final position but never in word-initial position. 

General Handwriting Rules  書き順の基本的なルール

1. Write strokes from top to bottom and left to right.
2. Horizontal strokes come before vertical strokes.  
3. Take especial note to the stroke orders of シ and ツ.  For シ, its third stroke is irregularly written from the bottom upward, which is how you can distinguish it from ツ, which is written regularly.
4. Also take note of the stroke orders of ソ and ン. For ン, its second stroke is irregularly written from the bottom upward, which is how you can distinguish it from ソ, which is written regularly.
5. When there are horizontal strokes that span the length of the symbol, those strokes aren't first from top to bottom regardless if other strokes may start higher up. Take キ as an example.

Examples of Katakana  「カタカナ」の例

The best way to learn how to read Hiragana is by practicing with actual Japanese words written in it. Below is a list of 60 common words written without romanization. Utilize the chart above to look up any symbol that you don't know how to read. 
アフリカ (Africa)
 トマト (tomato)
 アメリカ (America)
 モスクワ (Moscow)
 アクセス (access)
 レタス (lettuce)
 カクテル (cocktail)
 ホテル (hotel)
 エアコン (air conditioner)
 カラオケ (karaoke)
 ハンカチ (handkerchief)
 タオル (towel)
 オンライン (online)
 アルミ (aluminum)
 ミルク (milk)
 センチ (centimeter)
 オフライン (offline)
 イタリア (Italy)
 ナイフ (knife)
 クラス (class)
 カステラ (sponge cake)
 フランス (France)
 レモン (lemon)
 システム (system)
 ホチキス (stapler)
 メキシコ (Mexico)
 ロシア (Russia)
 トヨタ (Toyota)
 マラソン (marathon)
ノルマ (quota)
 コロナ (corona)
 レストラン (restaurant)
 コメント (comment)
 リンク (link)
 リクエスト (request)
 シナリオ (scenario)
 サイレン (siren)
 サンタ (Santa)
 コアラ (koala)
 トン (ton)
 テニス (tennis)
 イヤホン (earbud)
 ストレス (stress)
 マイナス (minus)
 クリア (clear)
 ケア (care)
 コスト (cost)
 コンテンツ (content)
 センス (sense)
 ノウハウ (know-how)
 メンタル (mental state)
 モラル (morals)
 リアル (real)
 レア (rare)
 アイロン (iron)
 アカウント (account)
アクセント  (accent)
 カラフル (colorful)
 クリスマス (Christmas)
 コンマ (comma)

The Diacritics ゛ & ゜ 濁点・半濁点 

The same diacritics are used in Katakana as in Hiragana.  When 「゛」 is attached to an unvoiced consonant Kana, the Kana becomes pronounced as the voiced equivalent (ex. か = /ka/, が= /ga/). As for 「゜」, it attaches to /h/ Kana to represent /p/. 

※When writing these characters, you follow the same stroke orders as before but you add the diacritics at the very end. 
※If you recall from Lesson 2, you will realize that ぢ and づ are, in fact, the Hiragana for /dji/ and /dzu/ respectively, but they are rendered in this chart as [ji] and [zu], reflecting the fact that they are pronounced the same way as じ and ず respectively. 

※The Japanese name for 「゛」 is だくてん. It's also colloquially known as てんてん or にごり.
※The Japanese name for 「゜」is はんだくてん.  

Examples of Words with Diacritics 濁点・半濁点を使った単語の例

アドバイス (advice)
 ラジオ (radio)
 イギリス (England)
 インド (India)
 ポケモン (Pokemon)
 イベント (event)
 エプロン (apron)
 オランダ (Holland)
 エゴ (ego)
 エジプト (Egypt)
 カジノ (casino)
 ガス (gas)
 ギフト (gift)
 クラゲ (jellyfish)
 モンゴル (Mongolia)
 ゴルフ (golf)
ピンク (pink) 
 サイズ (size)
 サンダル (sandal)
 ドル (dollar)
ゼロ (zero)
 ゾンビ (zombie)
 ダイヤモンド (diamond)
 タイペイ (Taipei)
 ベルリン (Berlin)
 ロンドン (London)
 フライパン (frying pan)
 パンダ (panda)
 テレビ (TV)
 ズボン (pants)
マクドナルド (McDonald's) 
 バスケ (basketball)
 ビル (building)
 ピザ (pizza)
 メダル (medal)
 ブラウザ (browser)
   ゴミ (trash) 
 ピアノ (piano)
 ビタミン (vitamin)
 バス (bus)
 パン (bread)
 バナナ (banana)
  デジカメ (digital camera)
 パチンコ (pachinko)
 ドア (door)
 ビデオ (video)
パソコン (personal computer)
 セレブ (celeb)
 カナダ (Canada)
 プレゼント (present)
 コンビニ (convenience store)
 ダンス (dance)
 ジム (gym)
 シビア (sever)
 タバコ (tobacco)
 タピオカ (tapioca)
 ダム (dam)
 チヂミ (buchimgae)
 デバイス (device)
ドラマ (drama)

Palatal Sounds in Katakana 拗音の片仮名

Palatal sounds are represented in Katakana by following a /i/-sound symbol with a small-sized /y/-sound symbol. These small-sized /y/-sound Katakana are ャ, ュ, and ョ, and they make the following combinations.

※Just as before, there are two ways to write [ja], [ju], and [jo], but remember that those written with ヂ correspond to the consonant /dj/ and those written with ジ correspond to the consonant /j/. 

Example Words with Palatal Sounds  拗音を使った単語の例

カジュアル (casual)
 カリキュラム (curriculum)
 キャベツ (cabbage)
 キャンセル (cancel)
 ギャンブル (gamble)
 シャツ (shirt)
 シャンデリア (chandelier)
 ジャンプ (jump)
 ジョギング (jogging)
 チャイム (chime)
 チャンネル (channel)
 パジャマ (pajamas)
 マンション (condominium)
 ピュア (pure)
 ジャズ (jazz)
 ピョンヤン Pyeongyang
 チャンピオン (champion)
 ギクシャク (awkwardness)
 ミュンヘン Munich
 ジュニア (junior)
 ジャンル (genre)
 チュニジア (Tunisia)
 チャンピオン (champion)
 ギャング (gang)

Additional Sound Katakana 特殊音の片仮名

The Japanese mora inventory has gradually expanded to accommodate the influx of loanwords from other languages. As a result, ways to write out these sounds in Kana needed to be created. Katakana is most known for its use in transcribing such loanwords, but it is not limited to this, nor is it a set rule to have to write loanwords in Katakana. So for the glyphs introduced below, you can mirror them in Hiragana at well, but it will be very unlikely that you'll ever see them not written in Katakana. 


※Loanwords exhibit sounds that would otherwise not be treated as (separate) consonants, but some glyphs may not be pronounced as intended. For instance, although there are glyphs for /si/ and /zi/, they would still be pronounced as [shi] and [ji] respectively by most speakers.

※To create these glyphs, additional small kana (sutegana) have been invented involving vowels and /w/-sound Kana.

※Additional w-sounds and y-sounds are usually pronounced broken up as if they were written with full-sized characters. For instance, kiwi can either be pronounced as kiui キウイ or kiwi キウィ.

※/v/ is not a native sound in Japanese. Although younger speakers may try to pronounce loanwords with /v/ as [v], most speakers pronounce it as [b]. In fact, this is the standard pronunciation for any word written with a /v/ glyph. In older texts, /v/ was represented by adding the ゛diacritic to a /w/-sound Kana. Nowadays, the sounds are represented by following ヴ with the appropriate small-sized vowel Kana. 

Example Words with Additional Sounds   特殊音の入った単語の例

ウォン (the Korean won)
 シェフ (chef)
 チェス (chess)
 ウェブサイト (wesbite)
ネガティブ (negative)
 ディスク (disc)
ネイティヴ *
ネイティブ (negative)
 プレッツェル (pretzel)
チェコ (Czech) 
 ディスコ (disco) 
 ファン (fan)
 カフェ (cafe)
 ファイル (file)
 フェイク (fake)
 フォンデュ (fondue)
 フィリピン (Phillipines)
イェルサレム (Jerusalem)
 フォント (font)
 ハイウェイ (highway)
フィルム (film)
 フィギュア (figure)
  マニフェスト (manifest)
 シェイクスピア (Shakespeare)
 ファミレス (family restaurant)
クォリティ (quality)
ツェツェバエ (Tsetes fly)
 ファイト (fighting spirit)
 デュエット (duet)
   おとっつぁん* (father)

※Any word with a /v/-sound Kana can be rewritten with a /b/-sound Kana. The choice is yours. 

※おとっつぁん is an example of additional sounds being written in Hiragana, and it is also an example of these sounds being used outside of loanwords. In fact, various dialects and colloquial expressions of native origin utilize sounds outside the traditional set of Kana symbols. 

Long Consonants with Small "tsu" 長子音を示す促音「ッ」

Long consonants are represented by the small "tsu" (sokuon 促音), which in Katakana is ッ. It is very important not to confuse it with a full-sized ツ as they are not pronounced the same.
マット (mat)
 アップ (up)
 ガッツ (gutz)
 クリック (click)
ロボット (robot)
 エチケット (etiquette)
 キャップ (cap)
 コップ (glass)
 アグレッシブ (aggressive)
 カップル (cupple)
 ギャップ (gap)
 カップ (cup)
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