December 11, 2002
Japanese questions

A comment was posted in connection with learning Japanese which is unlikely to be read by anyone other than me, unless I accord it the privilege of a new posting, so here it is:

Hello Brian,


I am currently studying Japanese and have learned some of the language so far and all of the hiragana. I wanted to start learning Katakana so I began searching for what I could find on the internet and I ran across your page. I really like it, you've done well.

This reminds me of a truly wondrous recent moment on British TV when the late great Spike Milligan, then still (just about) alive, was being subjected to one of those lifetime achievement showbiz-fests. They got the tottering Spike up onto the platform, and read out an enthusiastically supportive and grateful letter from one of his long-time celebrity fans, the Prince of Wales. Growled Spike without missing a beat: "Grovelling bastard."

Not fair. Thank you for your kind words Aaron. Ah, I see that you want me to do something for you.

I was wondering if you could send me a list of as many katakana as you could, or know of where I might find them. If you don't have the time or just don't feel like it please write back and just write no in the subject.

Thank you so much for all your help


Think nothing of it my dear chap.

I'm afraid I had to email Aaron to the effect that I didn't understand the question, but that if I flagged up his comment in this new posting maybe someone else would, and might be able and willing to help. Any offers? I've told him to keep his eye on the comments to this.

Quite a lot of education seems to proceed like this nowadays, with complicated email questions (in this case a comment on a blog) to busy and important personages such as myself, on the off chance of the odd useful answer. My Libertarian Alliance colleague Chris Tame always sends back a very bad-tempered email to these sorts of requests, to the effect that he has no intention of writing other people's undergraduate essays for them, or some such. But I see no very great harm in this sort of thing. I mean, if you want to know the answer to something, what's wrong with asking? I do it myself all the time.

For instance, what is a hiragana, and in what way does it differ from a Katakana? And does the small h and the Big K signify anything except the lamentable decline in educational standards among students these days? Answers in the comments box please.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 09:52 PM
Category: Languages