My views on katakana.

ひらがな (hiragana)

カタカナ (katakana)

コヒ (kohi in katakana)

こ ひ (kohi in hiragana)

か ka in hiragana resembles カka in katakana. こin hiragana resembles コ ko in katakana. Okay? But ひhi in hiragana does not resemble ヒhi in katakana.

A few years ago I learned Hiragana. (Nearly five years after I moved out of Japan) One afternoon I just sat and wanted to see if I could learn the 46 letters. Within 3-4 hours I confidently learned it. But not mastered. That took some good practice. I continued to test how much I remembered and gradually to this date I can read it all. Occasionally I could run into some confusion but let’s say I can get 90% or more if a test is conducted in reading a hiragana page.

I had a very good book from which I learned.

Back then katakana the other 46 scared me. I could never learn it. It carries the non-native phonetics and if I remember only one particular gender was supposed to use it in ancient times.

I also think the ancient people thought “this gender can’t master the complicated strokes of hiragana .. Let’s give them something simple”.

That’s perhaps so because they were supposed to be written. Its easy to write katakana strokes. But for anyone like me who remembers and learns by reading and visual impressions so that interrelationships between elements can be grasped fast and writing can be done later its the opposite, katakana ナ becomes difficult even at times than kanji. 思

We are very good at remembering complex things than simplectic ones. Its easier to remember someone’s face than a pass code or a ATM pin. For that reason one of my ATM pin is based on a nuclear reaction fact. Its far more easier we all learned in high school. Relating to real life situations or well developed intuitions we learn more efficiently.

They wanted to make it simpler by making all strokes straight. Some of hiragana retained its shape and if you are already well versed in hiragana you can read the katakana easily.

But that’s so for about only 5 hiragana characters which almost resemble the katakana characters. A few are easy to see if you are fluent on hiragana. Some more are basically kanji. The katakana ” ne” is eg kanji: shimesuhen. Beat that there are a few more. Ma is what you find on kanji for kodomo and mu is a topographic variant of ma and so on. Once you get hold of all of them you will fly to Kyoto to take part in some cultural events, at least you will feel like hmm?

But then the mapping b/w hiragana and katakana isn’t pretty awesome. Some katakana became so simplistic they lost their resemblance with the hiragana shape. Life become difficult.

This evening I began learning katakana for myself. The hiragana lessons I had given for learning them easily Yeats ago when I was learning them are not complete. I could never get back in time, the internet unavailability in high tech India is partially to be blamed.

Also kanji research I have left midway.

This whole article I typed from my mobile. I hope I can get some good internet so I can barge into learning some Japanese its an awesome experience by any means.

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