Welcome to Lesson Four of WordBrewery’s Reading Japanese: Katakana series. We have created a frequency list of Japanese words, that list for common katakana words, and then developed a system to teach Japanese script by using these common words as examples. If you already read katakana, you can still learn from the vocabulary in this post series. But if you’re new to katakana, these posts will help you learn to read it quickly and accurately while picking up some useful vocabulary along the way. Katakana is one of the three components of the Japanese writing system, and it is most often used to represent foreign loanwords that have been imported into Japanese from other languages.
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This post presumes knowledge of the characters introduced in previous lessons of the Reading Japanese series; each post only explains characters that are appearing for the first time in the series. Each example word and sentence contains exclusively characters that you have already learned, plus one new character; this way you are simultaneously learning and reviewing.
The characters we’ve learned so far
Here are the kana characters we’ve studied so far; read them aloud, and if you need more practice with any of them, review the previous lessons.
ア イ ウ エ オ ー ン ル ス ズ ト ド ラ フ ブ プ ク グ
Six more common katakana syllables
Today we will meet the following eight new characters:
リ レ ツ/ッ タ ダ コ ゴ
リ | ri (“ree” with a flicked “r”, between an “r” and an “l”; like “ddy” in English “eddy”, spoken quickly. Note the mispronounciation of English “origami.”)
レ | re (“reh” with a flicked “r”, between an “r” and an “l”)