Originally posted by djl_ottawa
Cool thanks Oliver Twist...do you know if any websites that have Hiragana and then the translation?
In my opinion, learning katakana is not very important. it will be useful to read and write foreign names and some words came from english or other languages.
Originally posted by mdchachi
If you ever go to Japan you will find that reading katakana will be your most important reading skill. It will help you navigate menus for one thing. Also product packaging & advertising. Plus it's sometimes used to write words that are normally written in hiragana or kanji for emphasis or clarity. It's an integral part of the language.
Take a look at the front page of yahoo.co.jp. All the words are either kanji or katakana. Since katakana's easy to learn, I'd suggest getting it memorized sooner rather than later.
And as I understand it, the katakana syllabary was actually first derived in mid-Heian (9th C) times from Japanese Buddhist monks experimenting with developing their own abbreviated pronouncation-key workmarks above or alongside Chinese texts to denote the phonetically 'correct' ON reading as well as to translate workable Japanese sentences (using katakana as diacritical marks of a sort indicating changes in word order, adding particles, inflections, etc). At least a handful of these base kanji are still used primarily phonetically even today (people and place names, etc.) Almost like a kanji alphabet.Originally posted by Oliver Twist
PS: after having learnt katakana, when you learn kanji, try to write kun readings in hiragana and ON readings in katakana... That's perfect to memorize the whole written japanese.