What is "ー"?And what's it for?

I feel like I’m being bad here but what’s “ー” and why does it do? I think the katakana guide on Tofugu told me it was for long vowels but it’s been years since I’ve even thought about those, much less actually had to remember which long vowels are what. Could I get help on that?
Sorry if this is a dumb question…

1 Like

Yes, it lengthens a vowel sound in katakana.


So is it kinda like typing (for example) “Ruuuuun!” in English?

1 Like

No, it’s more like “cheese” … チーズ。


I havent seen it used in that sense, its mostly just used for longer vowel sounds like the example @AnimeCanuck used.

1 Like

Actually, it’s sometimes used in casual speech and manga and such for drawing out sounds, but yeah, the primary use is for long vowels in katakana.


Many words in Japanese are differentiated by the length of their vowels.

It’s like the difference between しゅ and しゅう or そ and そう, but the ー character is typically used in katakana.


Best example I can think of in katakana is ビル (building) and ビール (beer).


This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.