There are three types of Japanese script-katakana, hiragana, and kanji. It is possible to read Japanese knowing only a limited number of kanji, but it is not possible with only a limited number of katakana or hiragana-one must know all of them. Let's Learn Katakana, and its companion volume Let's Learn Hiragana, is a textbook that introduces the learner to the basics of one of these fundamental Japanese scripts. Being a workbook, it contains all the exercises that allow the student to master katakana by the time the book has been finished. Let's Learn Katakana is a classic in the field, and the huge number of students that have used it successfully is a sign of its preeminence as a self-study guide.
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JOYCE KOSAKA MITAMURA was an experienced and respected educator who taught Japanese in California for many years.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
[Following is the Preface to the book, slightly abridged.]
Up until now, the significance of Katakana in written Japanese has been neglected in teaching Japanese as a foreign language. Even students who become familiar with the symbols often do not have a clear understanding of the entire Katakana syllabary and its many applications.
For the most part, the conventional method of introducing Katakana in Japanese language instruction has been limited to words of foreign origin. A shortcoming of this method is that it emphasized reading Katakana and did not provide sufficient practice in writing. In fact, only basic everyday words such as those for chocolate, handkerchief, ice cream, milk, necktie and the like were used as examples.
Actually, Katakana is not confined to foreign words; the ways it is used are extremely varied, and it is often the appropriate way to write many Japanese words, such as the names of plants and animals, onomatopoeic expressions, domestic telegrams and so on. The most conspicuous use of Katakana is seen in the recent trend to give words a special nuance, usually by stressing certain words to make them stand out. This new use is found in all the latest magazines and advertisements and seems to be on the increase.
Due to the varied and expanding use of Katakana, teaching needs to be updated. Students should be able to read and write Katakana, as well as know when to use it. Continual practice and exposure to Katakana, as provided by diligent use of this workbook, will lead to eventual mastery of this form of writing.
This workbook has been designed, like its companion volume Let's Learn Hiragana, with sufficient explanation and examples to allow students of Japanese to learn Katakana on their own, without the aid of an instructor. Special note should be made of the fact that the words in the examples and exercises are not words ordinarily written in Hiragana and here transcribed into Katakana for the sake of instruction. They are words carefully selected because they are always or in certain circumstances written in Katakana.
There are five chapters in this book. Chapter 1 introduces the forty-six basic Katakana and twenty-three modified symbols. The contracted syllables, and the twenty-five additional syllables found only in Katakana, are given in chapter 2, which first explains the general guidelines for writing words in Katakana. Chapter 3 shows various words of Japanese origin that are written in Katakana. Chapter 4 gives guidelines and exercises for transcribing foreign words into Katakana. In chapter 5 there are review exercises. Answers to the exercises are given in Appendix A, and the derivation of Katakana is outlined in Appendix B.
For convenience, the format of this workbook has been kept the same as the companion Hiragana book. As in the previous volume, the Modified Hepburn System is used throughout for Romanization of Japanese words....
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