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Katakana origin

ax

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Does anyone know the origin of katakana, I found katakana especially easy to forget. It's there away I can have them ingrained deep in memory, a kind of mnemonic, or by looking at its etymology?

ax
 

tasuki

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Kana were derived from kanji. They are simplified versions of some of the radicals found in kanji (radicals are identifiable recurring parts in kanji such as 力 in the kanji for cooperation 協 or 女 in the kanji for like/love 好.) Any good book on kanji will have a foreword or a whole chapter on kana origins, recognition, and writing. I personally don't know of any way to make kana easier to remember except writing them over and over and over and over again just as they do in Japanese schools until you can write them right and remember them. Same goes for kanji. There are a few mnemonic tricks to remember some of the more physical kanji, but once you reach the abstract, I feel the mnemonic trick to be a hinderance. The book Kanji & Kana: A Handbook of the Japanese Writing System (Tuttle Language Library) is a good bet if you can't remember kana yet. They have an extensive foreword on the subject.
 

ax

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can anybody link me to any website that map the old kanji to the new kana?

ax
 

ax

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thank you very much liz, I'm printing them out now and will mull over it tonight....

ax
 

thomas

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Thanks for sharing these resources, Elizabeth. I added them to our directory.
 

halx

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Originally posted by tasuki
I personally don't know of any way to make kana easier to remember except writing them over and over and over and over again just as they do in Japanese schools until you can write them right and remember them.
I found a program for MacOS on japan-guide.com which tries to visualize hiragana, e.g. 'se' is explained as 'se~nor' (dunno if spelling is correct) with hat and mustache. Actually I didn't find it very useful and just try to memorize the shapes.
 

Elizabeth

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Originally posted by thomas
Thanks for sharing these resources, Elizabeth. I added them to our directory.
No problem. It's interesting that there is still some derivation controversy on the hiragana side (I actually did once come across a different kanji for "ne" in some older sources). And a few appear to have been simplified almost beyond recognition over time, although in these cases it is also helpful to look at the katakana and hiragana together (as most happen to share the same source kanji).

 

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