Katakana problems!

Hey! me again! I have just reached the end of the free trial, and towards the end of the final level i found words being written in Katakana! the reading would then ask us to simply read the katakana and then remember the added kanji from the neumonic.
my issue? I know no katakana!!

i am starting to learn it now, but i simply don’t feel i can do any new lessons until I 100% know it all, as i just can’t read what is on the screen!

is this a bad thing? probably :frowning: have i been foolish? surely! will I learn it and move on eventually? i hope so!!

one last thing, does anyone else find that they can remember vocab which doesn’t have hiragana far easier than some which do? i think this is because i remember the kanji and use them in my head, but don’t have the same grasp on remembering hiragana words which wanikani doesn’t make us memories a story for! any tips on how to beat this???

thanks guys!!!

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Better start learning Katakana now then. You will be seriously frustrated when your Japanese skill is high enough to read Japanese articles but you’re still struggling with Katakana. They use a lot of Katakana, some of them are not even gairaigo!!

It’s time to learn grammar. They are what they are oftenly due to grammar rules.

May be my explanation is a bit misleading but if you start learning grammar you will notice that they fall into the same categories with similar pattern of hiragana attached to kanji.


You could learn it in a week or so while doing lessons so it’s not too bad.

I didn’t learn katakana until a year after learning hiragana and I still regret it.


Katakana is not used that often compared to hiragana and kanji so many learners struggle with it. When I noticed that my katakana reading skills are significantly weaker I’ve downloaded a katakana Anki deck.
The main goal wasn’t to learn those words (although that was a side-effect) - many of them were very rare and included some since/sport/technical jargon which I often just ignored. But I was exposed to katakana on a regular, daily basis and it helped me a lot over time (there’s a difference between recognizing characters and being able to comfortably read words).


I would recommend the Katakana guide Tofugu provides to learn the Katakana. Here on Wanikani, some radicals you see in later levels, actually are close to some Katakana. And there will be some use of Katakana in words as well. Also: if you enable caps lock (or press shift before putting stuff in), the input here on WaniKani will change from Hiragana to Katakana. Only be sure you don’t actually press enter, because it won’t accept the Katakana for most words!

If you know some Katakana, I would recommend taking the Katakana quiz Tofugu provides every day for a week or more (until you are comfortable). This helped me really well with it. Be sure to only select the All Main Kana at the beginning: this helps you recognise the characters. The dakuten/combination are quite easy afterwards if you know the (main) basics. :slight_smile:


It’s used often enough in native materials though. Whatever I read it comes up regularly. Definitely more often than most of the kanji from lvl 50+ :sweat_smile:

I’d recommend learning katakana soon. It’s similar to some kanji and kanji radicals, so it’s better you know it. Sometimes you might confuse a kanji and a katakana character or sometimes it’s easier to remember a kanji because you already know a part of it as a katakana character.

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Yeah… Probably just a minor wording difference. They appear enough that you’ll see them regularly. But they do make up a smaller percentage of all characters used on average.

This NHK article, which I selected since it was the most recently published article at the time I checked, had only 3 katakana words, キロ, ショック, and シーズン.

The percentage will go up a lot depending on the type of writing though. And if you’re reading technical manuals you might get a majority of katakana.


True… I still have PTSD after reading AWS docs in Japanese :cold_sweat:


You can do it!

I made traditional physical flashcards to learn katakana and drilled them. There’s a few curveball letters like ノソシツン but don’t worry you will get it soon.

Practice writing your name in katakana too for fun
I’m ナムイタヌキ
Good luck!

Also yes. Hiragana and kanji is easier to read for me.



Hahahhaha whoops

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I have PTSD from reading AWS docs in English. That’s a dumpster fire of documentation.


https://realkana.com/ is a site that is easy to use for drilling on what you know or don’t know.

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A nice way to learn katakana, if you already know hiragana, is to put them side by side. Since the two syllabaries were developed independently, they copied stuff from each other like there’s no tomorrow. As such, there are major similarities between the signs for many sounds.

うウ えエ かカ きキ けケ こコ すス せセ とト にニ ぬヌ のノ ふフ ヘへ むム もモ やヤ ゆユ らラ りリ れレ わワ

Also, if you’re struggling with distinguishing between ツ and シ, just put them side by side with hiragana and you’ll notice that つツ is the one that continues to the top, hence more vertical lines, while しシ continues to the side, hence more horizontal lines.

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So I’m not the only one then. It’s nice when your browser suddenly decides to switch languages and it so happens all of AWS pages pick that up. Adds an extra oops to my devops work. :joy:

To the OP, yes, one needs to know both kanas and better get over the initial katakana induced brainfreezes as soon as possible :slight_smile:

Also, grammar. Definitely not a good idea to do WaniKani alone in the long-run.

After reading through a couple of chapters of imabi, I’m now also of the opinion that that’s the place to start. At least read the chapters about what kanji are, how they work and why did they became like that before you proceed with WK.

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You should learn hiragana and katakana before anything, really. You don’t have to memorize them because you will always have practice, but it is necessary to take a moment and figure out how to write and read the sounds they represent. Katakana is slightly longer than hiragana but as I said, you needn’t memorize them.

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