The Japanese Language

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Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue May 22, 2007 6:05 am

Is anyone aware of some online thing for "Japanese reading knowledge for mangas"? My knowledge of Japanese is really unsystematic (almost all of it came from Dynasty Warriors and very technical analytical papers on Japanese linguistics), so textbooks don't work for me. Also, I'm not really interested in learning conversation stuff, but just enough to read stuff (eventually I'd like to be able to read those technical papers in Japanese, though!). Ideas?
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Unread postby FuguNabe » Tue May 22, 2007 7:51 am

^Try Primsleur audio course which is quite good. A friend of mine interested (mainly to flirt with Japanese girls though now he's practically married to one) tried it and it (obviously) worked well. Don't forget flash cards and use textbooks to help on the side. Most effective is to put it into practise after learning.

Like I said before learning and recognising the kanas are rather simple with a little effort. It's the kanji where you have to learn to recognise the symbols. Books that teaches to to recognise the kanji symbols as a representative diagram are best help there.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue May 22, 2007 9:14 am

Well... you see, I have a very different problem than most Japanese learners.

I know all the kanas. I read Chinese, and so I don't have a problem recognizing and writing kanji. But I don't know the kun reading of the kanji, and sometimes when a phrase contains both kanji and kana I get confused.

I know the word order, and if you throw me a bunch of words along with properly-conjugated verbs and particles, I know how to put them together properly into a sentence (including relative clauses, subordinate clauses, etc).

I know *some* verb endings (but not enough!), and what I really need help with is recognizing parts a verb. The Japanese writing system is partly to blame for this. For example, consider the following forms of "to read":

読む "yomu"
読みます "yomimasu"
読んだ "yonda"
読まない "yomanai"
読もう "yomou"
読め "yome"

If you look at the romaji, it's clear that the root meaning "read" is "yom-" (the "m" turns into an "n" in "yonda" due to phonological reasons). So it's easy to separate out the root from the suffixes. We can say that "-imasu" is the formal present form, "-ta/da" is the past tense suffix like "-ed", "-e" is the imperative, etc. But looking at the kanji/kana combinations, it's much harder to draw the line. 読 itself isn't the root; it can't even be pronounced on its own. And also, while with the romaji we can say that "if it ends with just -u it's the dictionary form", we can't do that in the kana cases. For example:

話す (hanasu)
書く (kaku)
待つ (matsu)

Although they all end with "u" and are conjugated the same way, the kana at the end of the dictionary forms is different for each word. Instead of just recognizing a "u", you have to remember that く, す, つ, ぬ, ふ, む, and る should be treated the same way. Of course, if you're saying the words out loud, it's fairly obvious that they all rhyme. But it's not so obvious when you're not reading out loud. And reading out loud is hard when I don't know how the kanji is pronounced.

So yeah, manga is great because in many cases the hirigana is given next to the kanji. But it's also got drawbacks in my case, because manga tends to contain less kanji than a regular novel or newspaper, since it's geared towards a younger audience. And I rely on the kanji to figure out where a word starts, because when you see a kanji you can be almost certain that it's the beginning of a word. Consider:

八時に起きて学校に行った。

I can read this and break it down as:

八時に---起きて---学校に---行った。

Each of these parts start with a kanji, and seeing this, I can understand the parts: "at 8:00---waking up---to school---went". But if the sentence was written completely in hirigana (which no one would do, since these are simple kanji, but you know what I mean...):

はちじにおきてがっこうにいった

Now I have no clues to work with, and can't cut up the sentence. :( You don't write spaces between words like you do in English; it'd be so much more helpful if they'd write it as:

はちじに おきて がっこうに いった

So yeah, I'm pretty much backwards from everyone else learning Japanese, and so regular textbooks and things don't help me very much.
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Unread postby FuguNabe » Tue May 22, 2007 11:58 am

^ I see what you mean. I guess in my case reading Japanese materials often and talking it with associates helped out my Japanese though it'sa language I picked up. Admittinlgy the honest truth in terms of what you're trying to understand will simply take perseverence to read, practice and practise writing. I must say I would probably have had as difficulty as you had it not been for friend's assistance and advices here and there while I was learning.

The various forms of those verbs would indeed vary according to past and presence and even situational. Just remember the four main form is the key though as most time it's these four main form you have to remember by for use. They are...

'-masu'

'-u'

'-e'

Last is their special form which varies though often ends with 'a', 'i' or 'ie' though there are other variations.

The first three becomes easy after awhile while learning the special form is little harder IMO. Reason being you have to learn how they are and what context to use them.

Admittingly I know many people finding this pretty tough aside from having to learn the many basic kanji, how to use particles, and getting used to the sentence structure.
Cynicism in my lyricism? Life has been series of questions and sessions of lessons to enhance my essence...

Knowledge is god as despite my iaido skills my pen is is mightier than my sword...

With a tongue to match my wit your mental death swift...
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue May 22, 2007 3:41 pm

Yeah, I do need practice with listening and reading. I don't have a problem with the *theory*. I know the endings, but I need time to get used to identifying them in writing. I think listening a bunch would help, if only to get used to the most common forms. But it's hard to find material at my level, that introduces lots of vocab (I have very little) and skips the grammar part (which I know enough of to get by). I don't need kanji drills either---as long as they tell me how it's pronounced in that particular situation, I'm happy.
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Unread postby Shu Ryorin » Fri May 25, 2007 3:09 am

http://www.physics.ucla.edu/~grosenth/c ... tml#SIMPLE

You can download the program JWPce from the above page, a program I highly recommend. It's a word processor, but it also has a dictionary and kanji index that should help with pronunciation and words you don't know. I don't think it'll help much with conjugation(I took four years of Japanese and need more help with conjugation...), but in case you come across a manga without those helpful little kana guides(they do exist) or a kanji used differently than in Chinese, it should help some. Plus, it's good for whenever you have an urge to type stuff in Japanese! :P
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Fri May 25, 2007 6:02 am

Awesome!! Arigato gozaimashita!
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Unread postby Shu Ryorin » Sun May 27, 2007 3:32 am

どいたしました。 :P <=demonstration of its amazing word processing powers
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Wed Feb 06, 2008 10:35 pm

Here's a spoof video on how to eat at a sushi bar. (Japanese with English subtitles) :lol:
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Re: The Japanese Language

Unread postby Pierre Beauregard » Sun Jun 13, 2010 5:21 pm

yes the accent gets alot easy when u keep using it. and i love the japanese language but never took any classes and only know some words. plus i find the japanese language to be smoother then the chinese and i love how japanese girl lokk their skin and eyes.
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