Learn Katakana-SA SHI SU SE SO

In the last lesson, we went over カキクケコ and here we’ll add the S consonant characters to your repertoire.

As was true in hiragana, this series in katakana also has an odd character to think about:  (shi).


Notice シ sounds like “she” not “see.” You will sometimes see it written in romaji as “si.”

  • → sa (like “sah”)
  • → shi (like “she”)
  • → su (like “Sue”)
  • → se (like “say”)
  • → so (like “so”)

And Now the Challenge Begins

It sucks… you’re only on lesson 3 of katakana and you’ve already run into what I consider the craziest part of katakana.

(shi) and (so) are two of five characters that all look extremely similar to each other — especially difficult on signs/menus. Exceptionally difficult sometimes.

I know… every time I see this I freak out too. What the heck were they thinking when they did this?

Look Out For シ-ソ

There are three more characters that look very similar to these two, but I’m going to wait until later in this course before I drop them on you.

(shi) and (so) are very similar as you can tell. But it’s rather easy to tell them apart (especially when you don’t know what’s in store later).

(shi) looks like a weird sort of sideways smiley — like it’s in a hurry to run to the right.

(so) is maybe a winking smiley? Don’t rely on the single “apostrophe looking thing” to remember this. A future lesson has another one.

Maybe that doesn’t work for you. Do whatever it takes for you to remember the differences between these two.