Q: How on planet Earth do the Japanese keep track of which katakana means what syllable? Some of them are so similar to each other!
Some of the groups I’m talking about (fortunately for me, I can keep the first two groups straight):
シ and ツ
ソ, リ, and ン
ク and ケ
フ and ラ
In theory, ヌ and ヲ, but if I remember correctly, ヲ is rarely used anymore – Stranger Coug
A: Ah yes I guess they can get a little crazy. But it’s not that much difference to the difficulties people have learning which sound is “b” ”p” ”d” and “q” in English! (Believe me they cause lots of headaches!)
シ and ツ are quite easy because if you look at the dots, シ has the two dots arranged (nearly) vertically, like the hiragana し = shi.
Whereas ツ has the two dots aligned nearly horizontally, which is like the hiragana つ = tsu
That helped me a lot!
With ソ, リ, and ン you get the crazy word ガソリン = ga so ri n = gasoline which used to drive me mad!
The リ is usually quite different from the others as the first stroke isn’t a dash but it’s more of a line.
Then for ソ and ン the order you draw them in tells you which is which.
I always remember “so down” (sounds like “slow down”) to remember that so = ソ is written going down from the top to the bottom.
Then I remember “nup” to mean that ン is written with the second stroke going from up from bottom to top.
On most fonts that should help you out!
And the other ones are quite easy, just a few hours on the katakana games should see you right!