Recognizing Words In Katakana
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” - Ursala K. Le Guin
This particular katakana lesson is going to be a lesson where you won’t learn anything new. The entire goal is only for you to get better at recognizing how katakana is put together to form foreign, non-Japanese words. Here’s the idea:
I created a worksheet that is full of katakana. Basically, I’m just taking entire English sentences, and turning them into their “katakana counterparts.” Of course, you won’t ever see anything like this in Japanese. In fact, most of the words in this worksheet will never be seen in the Japanese language. The purpose, however, is to get you to start understanding how words are put together (and not to learn vocabulary or anything like that).
So, for example, in this worksheet I’ll maybe write something like “Hello, how are you?” in katakana. Your job is to first translate the sounds (and thus practice your katakana reading and recognition) and then to be able to figure out what the word actually is. “Hello, how are you” might be written as follows:
ハロー、 ハウ アー ユー？
HARO-, HAU A- YU-?
Even with a simple sentence like that, you can probably see how different from the original it actually is. The “are” for the word “are” is just a long “ahhh” sound, not even using a ル or something like that. There are weird things like this everywhere in katakana, and it just takes a while to get used to them so you can start recognizing the patterns. One thing that actually makes it worse is that there’s often times multiple ways to spell things, especially if they aren’t “official” words (names, in particular). This means you can see the same words spelled multiple ways. Katakana has that kind of flexibility sometimes.
Anyways, it’s time for you to go through this worksheet. By the end of it, you aren’t supposed to know everything on there. You aren’t even supposed to understand everything on there. You should, however, have learned some new things. There will be much more practice like this as you go through future chapters, so don’t try and force yourself to be perfect all at once, it just doesn’t work that way.
“Translating” Katakana Practice
After you’ve gone through the worksheet, and have a moderate (or better) idea on how some of this works, move on to the next page. We’re going to look at some “useful” katakana words that you can actually use (and then we’re going to use them a bit).