This little application offers a drill/test environment for the desperate student of Katakana – it can probably be adapted fairly easily for Hiragana and act as a model for other non-Romanic languages. Written for the PC/Windows environment, ports to Linux and/or handheld Windows devices should be relatively simple – although this has not been tried. Obviously a port to a handheld would be useful in that it could be transformed into a portable translater.
Written for personal purposes, there is no guarantee of correctness or completeness (but it did survive the acid test of providing sufficient literacy for a short period of survival in Japan)
Given a working Dyalog APL (Version 10 or higher) copy the following files into a folder for the Katakana Tester application
The Katakana Tester workspace
Bitmap file used in the application
Icon file used for the main form
Into a subfolder called Help, copy
This help file (Help uses your default Web browser for display)
Install the Katakana font (there are several free ones available – hopefully they have the same character mappings, unfortunately I forget precisely where I found the one I used – sorry about that, but it was free and I can send you a copy if you need it).
Create a desktop shortcut to start the application, with the properties:
dyalog.exe katakana homefolder=name of the folder containing the files described above
Startin: name of the folder containing the files described above
Use the katakana.ico file if you like.
The first time the application is run you will be prompted for a password.
When the Katakana Tester starts you'll see the form displayed...
Operation is relatively straightforward...
One or more katakana characters are displayed (as you do more tests and score better the number increases, to a maximum of five)
You type what you think the corresponding sounds are into the answer box and press the Check/Next button
The tester decides whether you're right or wrong, shows you a running score and presents the next character set.
You carry on until you're fed up
On exiting, your score for this session is prepended onto a file called stats.txt and this is displayed, so that you can see whether you're getting better or worse.
If your correct score is below about 80% the Show button is activated and you can use this to display a complete-ish 50-sounds table...
This application was produced for personal purposes and does not purport to be complete or accurate
Double vowels should be represented in answers by hyphens
No attempt is made to offer or handle double consonant sounds (represented by a small “tsu” - I couldn't find it in the font I used).
All of the above files can be obtained on request from Dogon Research Ltd. at no charge.
It's assumed that you have a Dyalog APL/W Version 10 environment – an executable-only file (for people who do not use Dyalog APL) can be produced on request.
No formal support is offered, although you can email Dogon Research Ltd. and some response should be forthcoming (if I'm not busy on other stuff I'll try to solve your problem(s)).
Since you'll have the source code, feel free to modify and improve; Dogon Research Ltd. is happy to receive improved versions and will give full credit to any person or organisation who improves the application.
There are lots of books and Web resources for anyone who wants to know more about Katakana – for example try Basics of Japanese
Copyright © Dogon Research Ltd., 2003-4