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Q. What is the long dash that sometimes appears in Japanese writing?

A. The normal short vowel is written with only one symbol in both hiragana and katakana. However, when writing in katakana, the long vowel is expressed with a long dash. In a text written vertically, a vertical line is used instead of a straight line.   

apaato
アパート
apartment
biiru 
ビール
beer
puuru
プール
pool
keeki
ケーキ
cake
koohii 
コーヒー
coffee

Click here to learn more about katakana.

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