Basic Katakana-1 READ &  RECOGNIZE

Now you should be able to read the following foreign words. Read each of them out loud and see if you have correctly read them by comparing yourself to the recording which you can hear by moving the cursor over the word. Spell out these words using the Roman alphabet and hyphen keys on your PC. See if you can guess the Japanese meaning before you look at the English translation shown when you click on the word. 


(First names)
1. ノーラ 
2. シーラ
3. ケン
4. カーラ 
5. シラー
6. ケラー
(Other words)
7. カーラ
8. オン
9. カラー
10. カラオケ

Practice writing the words above on your PC and/or on the worksheet.

Your PC should support Japanese characters.

Japanese has only five vowel sounds (a, i, u, e and o), which happen to be the same number of vowels as can be written with the Roman alphabet. However, many foreign languages, including English, distinguish between more vowel sounds. (Think of the difference between the first and second [a] sounds in "banana", for instance.) So, many foreign sounds which do not fit into the five vowels of Japanese have to be covered by one of these five vowel sounds. Thus, "calla" is called kaara in Japanese, and therefore, カーラ. And "curler" is called kaaraa, hence カーラー. In fact, as demonstrated by "curler" (kaaraa), most English vowel sounds which do not clearly sound to a Japanese person as being i, u, e or o, tend to fall into the a category. 

Try not to think in terms of English spelling (which is quite irregular anyway), but in terms of the sound, although it always has to be distorted to fit within the structure of the Japanese sound system.

Remember that when using a computer with Japanese language software, the elongation mark has to be typed in separately, instead of merely repeating the vowel you want to elongate. For example, if you type in ka a ra, the computer will give you instead of カーラ, the latter of which is how the word is written.

Additionally, Japanese language software accommodates both Hepburn-style and Nihon-style romanizations. So, for example, whether you type in shi or si, the computer will give you , as mentioned earlier.  

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