Ok, so I have been browsing various websites and I notice that it seems most sites that make reference to カタカナ write (spell?) that word in カタカナ. If カタカナ is a Japanese word, why is it not written in ひらがな? Does this question make sense? Let me see if I can ask this another way.... Why does a website, that has a label for a katakana table, write カタカナ for the label and not かたかな?
Yes, I see both, but I feel I hardly see 'かたかな'. When I thought of 'かたかな', I actually felt I had to go back to somewhere in my old memory at school.
カタカナ' is even used for the titles of educational books and other materials by well-known educational pubilishers. However, I don't know what an official standard or something like that says about that.
Interesting, ok, so if I understand, you are saying that actually you see that word (katakana) written (printed) in both ひらがな and かたかな, and that it tends just to be a matter of personal preference.
I think 'かたかな' is formal because my dictionary and textbook at elementary school say just かたかな, not カタカナ, which I think must follow some official standard scholars have decided. However, as an ordinary native speaker, I feel 'かたかな' is really formal because in everyday life I see 'カタカナ' for the most part.
I think this issue might be about kind of custom like slang. Although people study what to use katakana for at school, but they actually use it for various kinds or words. For example, strawberries are written as 'イチゴ' as often as 'いちご'. People like to write some words in katakana, but not other words. They just seem to follow others' ways. Plus, they don't seem to think this way is incorrect in particular, but I feel that sentences sometimes go crappy if you use it too much.
Anyway, one thing I can say for sure is that people studied katakana at first until the mid 20th century, and that katakana was used a little widely than the present time.
Jim, you gave me a freah air. As a native Japanese, I never think of that philosophical question.
My guessing is that we use Katakana for expressing foreign things so consider itself exotic.:)