Japanese/Kana/Lessons/Katakana/Lesson 1

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Hiragana: [ a ] [ ka ] [ sa ] [ ta ] [ na ] [ ha ] [ ma ] [ ya ] [ ra ] [ wa, wo, n ] [ ゐ and ゑ (ancient hiragana in disuse) ]
Katakana: [ a ] [ ka ] [ sa ] [ ta ] [ na ] [ ha ] [ ma ] [ ya ] [ ra ] [ wa, wo, n ] [ ヰ and ヱ (ancient katakana in disuse) ]

Welcome to the first installment of the katakana lessons. In this lesson you are going to learn how to read and write the Japanese vowels, "ア", "イ", "ウ", "エ" and "オ".

Brush Stroke: ア-bw.png
Sound:

a - Sounds like the long "a" in "alright."

Mnemonic:
  • It's an A flipped on its side.
  • An Arm in a sleeve.
Example:
  • アメリカ (amerika) America
  • アイディア (aidia) idea
  • アイス (aisu) ice
Brush Stroke: イ-bw.png
Sound:

i

Mnemonic:
  • It reminds me of an eagle.
  • It reminds me of a satellite dish, so... 'I' get so many channels on my new satellite dish. Just remember that 'i' is pronounced 'ee'.
  • 'Eek! My letter T has tilted!'
  • It looks like a capital 'I' without a bottom line gone and the top line slightly tilted to the side.
Example:
  • イタリア (itaria) Italy
  • インターネット (intaanetto) internet
  • インク (inku) ink
Brush Stroke: ウ-bw.png
Sound:

u

Mnemonic:
  • A bowl of Udon with the noodles being pulled from the bowl.
  • Somebody stuck an arrow in the side of a 'u' and knocked it onto its side.
  • A scoop (the 'oo' is pronounced like 'u') that someone is using to get some candy.
Example:
  • ウィーン (uiin) Vienna
  • ウェブ (uebu) web
  • ウィスキー (uisukii) whisky
Brush Stroke: エ-bw.png
Sound:

e

Mnemonic:
  • Someone cut an 'E' in half, right through the middle of the second line, and pivoted the top half to rest on the ground.
  • I is the symbol for electric current.
Example:
  • エジプト (ejiputo) Egypt
  • エスエフ (esuefu) SF/Science Fiction
  • エレキギター (erkigitaa) electric guitar
Brush Stroke: オ-bw.png
Sound:

o

Mnemonic:
  • 'O' as in Origin. The middle dot (intersecting point) is the origin for all other lines of this kana.
  • It's an old man; the horizontal line is his arms and the diagonal line is his long beard.
Example:
  • オレンジ (orenji) Orange