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日本語/The Japanese language.


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I am not a frequent BBS user in any respect, but over the past week, just on a whim, I started reading through the boards and posting in random topics. It was during this slew of random posts when I realized that, even with all these fans of Japanese culture, there is still no learning Japanese section! Partaking in over indulgences of anime and j-pop is an everyday activity for me. Unfortunately I am always watching fansubs and slowly translating lyrics to obscure songs english translations are not available for. If you are in any sort of similar situation, then hopefully you know how I feel and you wish to learn more Japanese too.

I am currently a first year Nihongo major and I will admit learning is not easy, but it does not have to be extremely difficult either. That being said if you are interested in learning Japanese and do not know where to start, or you have Japanese questions in general, then post your questions here! I am sure someone in the BBS will see your plea for help and humbly bestow you with some higher-level Japanese knowledge. I will start by posting a few sites that I think are useful and asking a few questions.

Sites:

http://japanese.about.com/ (Not bad if you can navigate around the ads)

http://www.realkana.com/ (Great site for practicing kana)

http://www.gwu.edu/~eall/vjg/vjghomepage/vjghome.htm (Yay for grammar lessons with pictures!)

Kana Chart: http://www.saiga-jp.com/img/character/japa...takana_list.gif (In class we learned hiragana first.)

Ok now for my question. Anyone want to bring light to wa vs ga for me? :D

Ganbatte yo.

Edited by Nalfeshnee
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My grammar is so bad, but I'm going to give this a shot anyways.

Itsu ohayou o kakimashita boku no jikan wa jyuu ichi-ji desu.

いつおはようをかきましたぼくの時間は十一時ですした。

Maybe? ^_^

Edited by Nalfeshnee
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My grammar is so bad, but I'm going to give this a shot anyways.

Itsu ohayou o kakimashita boku no jikan wa jyuu ichi-ji desu.

いつおはようをかきましたぼくの時間は十一時ですした。

Maybe? ^_^

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LOL... I would have posted more here had my internet been awake yesterday. I've taken two years of it and four classes, and where I am lacking may well be in vocabulary (I have too look far too many words up), but we are each given a measure, right? :D

I can recommend the Genki book series for anyone who prefers a classroom style of learning. They are produced by The Japan Times.

Pertaining to the sentence above;

Itsu ohayou o kakimashita boku no jikan wa jyuu ichi-ji desu.

The primary sentence structure of Nihongo is either TTPOV, or TFTGV (as the order within a sentance);

TTPOV= Topic Time Place Object Verb

TFTGV= Topic Frequency Time Goal Verb

Notice that the verb is at the end of everything. That's what used to trip me up. I'll provide examples from the Genki I Classbook (to those that may find it useful). Also, I have no Japanese or kana font installed (laziness), so bear with me if you like to be authentic.

TTPOV= Topic Time Place Object Verb

Watashi WA kyou toshyokon DE nihongo WO benkyoushimasu.

Watashi (I) wa (am/is) kyou (today) toshyokon (library) de (by/with/at/in) nihongo (Japanese) wo (points out the object) benkyou (to study) shimasu (is currently happening)

Literally: I am today library at Japanese studying. (hilarious! I love Nihongo<3!)

Here's the other, then;

TFTGV= Topic Frequency Time Goal Verb

Watashi WA yoku shichijikoro uchihe kaerimasu.

Watashi (I) WA (am/is) yoku (often) shichiji (seven) koro (around) uchi (my home) he (around [a location]) kae (to come back) rimasu (is currently happening).

Literally: I am often seven around my home nearby coming back.

If you just remember it as a TTPOV or TFTGV, you'll be able to piece the sentences together and it'll eventually come out well.

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I'm n ot gonna try to correct the JP on here as it'll take too much time. Explaining why everything is wrong and why it should be a certain way.

I want to make a comment though.

Much like everything, no advice is better than bad advice. A lot of what was said in this thread is actually incorrect. No offense, but unless you really know the language, you really shouldn't be trying to correct other people, all you're doing them is getting them to learn something incorrect, as correct.

The majority of you in here, look no better than first semester JP students in college, or at best 2nd semester. Some advice, unless you're 100% sure about something, don't tell them that it is. This leads to misinterpretations and the spreading of incorrect knowledge.

You get stuff being mistranslated and things like the "american" definition of "manga" "anime" "otaku" etc. appear.

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I am a personal believer that learning by trial and error is, while not efficient, eventually successful. We all have professionals we can seek advice from, but with lack of immersion it is difficult to matriculate yourself in 100% correctness. That being said, as long as you take things step by step and cross reference with a known credible source later on, then you can probably still achieve good results. Thank you for your input, PyronIkari. Boku no nihongo wa warui desu ne? Demo... wakarimasu. The only way to get better is by using it. As you see happening now, you will be corrected. Speaking of which -- does anyone know how to use phrase 'sore de wa'?

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I am a personal believer that learning by trial and error is, while not efficient, eventually successful. We all have professionals we can seek advice from, but with lack of immersion it is difficult to matriculate yourself in 100% correctness. That being said, as long as you take things step by step and cross reference with a known credible source later on, then you can probably still achieve good results. Thank you for your input, PyronIkari. Boku no nihongo wa warui desu ne? Demo... wakarimasu. The only way to get better is by using it. As you see happening now, you will be corrected. Speaking of which -- does anyone know how to use phrase 'sore de wa'?
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Anyways, my point is, don't spread false information. All it does is hurt the community and bastardize the language as a whole. It teaches people a mentality that something incorrect is correct, and it's harder to correct people that have been told something incorrect is correct.
Edited by Nalfeshnee
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I'm excited to see this thread on here, don't know why it didn't happen sooner.

My employer (Homeland Security) recently made Rosetta Stone available to us through our Online Learning Center, which I'm really excited about. Although I really want to improve my Spanish, I'm tempted to take on Japanese as well, if they'll let me. Of course, RS can also be accessed throogh Army Knowledge Online, for those of you fortunate enough to have access though the military or a sponsor. My 10 year old daughter has also expressed an interest in Japanese (I've gotten her hooked on Minmei), but the Middle school she's going to attend doesn't offer it. So she's going to take Mandarin instead!

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If you are reading this topic please be informed that grammar, syntax, and word usage may be incorrect. This thread is purely for people seeking to learn Japanese. If you wish to offer corrections always cross reference with a reliable source and document your claims, please. This way we can be sure that information being spread is indeed correct.

Thanks!

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Rosetta Stone is good for all languages other than Asian ones. A friend of mine, who is AMAZING with lanugages (he's fluent in 5 languages and at business level for 2 other languages all self-taught) went through a number of different things both just to see how they are, and to attempt to use them to learn. He said that Rosetta stone caters towards romanized characters and pronounciations, when dealing with Asian languages, it feels more as if someone Western that picked up the language is trying to teach it, over someone that is a native speaker.

Don't take that as word though, and that is only what I've heard from him and a few other people that have tried to learn JP/Canto from Rosetta Stone.

As for picking up good books. The two commonly used books by teachers are Genkii and Youkosou. Both are pretty good.

Same here.

I did not believe anyone would get so worked up about this.

If somebody is incorrect, simply correct them.

If they don't believe you, then let them be wrong.

I always thought this was supposed to be fun...

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Pyon, I think I know where you're coming from (think because I skimmed your first post as it was so long), but about your saying you hate how 'bastardized' some of the Japanese words are in America- I agree with you- to a point.

Considering American dictionaries are constantly overwritten with slang when they used to carry more 'proper' English, I think it may be part of our culture to change the words that enter in an effort to 'make them our own'. I am not involved in deep study of language history, but that is my experience and overall feeling.

I truly enjoy knowing the real meaning behind pop culture and am a complete purist when it comes to learning something for myself- I want to know the truth.

That being said, I feel there is a place for people who are enamored with other parts of the Japanese phenomenon than just the language or orientation of the words, and I can't fault them when they don't understand the parts that I love. The girl who was so sure of the definition of yuri and yaoi was at least excited about the language... and it's not reasonable to expect her to suddenly believe a stranger who approaches to tell her that she is wrong. Chances are, it was the way she felt treated within the conversation you had with her that caused her to go on the defensive and say something she thought would irritate you and make you go away. (the 'Americans use the word THIS way thing') That's between the two of you, and as such, does not make a good basis for your judgment of the people within this thread (as in 'the majority of you in here'). You cannot wonder why people are alienated when a blanket statement like that is made about them.

I love conventions, but some of the things people squabble about are silly in the long run. :)

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I gotta be honest, the way that girl defined yuri vs yoai has been my own loose understanding of the terms. I had done research on the subject a few years back and was not able to find adequate definitions for either the Japanese intonations nor the etymology of the words themselves. I had to take from what was around me and conclude what I could; yuri was girl's love, yoai was boy's. In a situation like that, how am I supposed to know that what I've concluded is wrong, you know?

Also, I'm still curious... Yuri is an orchid thing? So it just means (pardon me) labia, then?

And yoai.. I wasn't familiar with the term 'no climax, no point, no meaning'. Could you tell me more about this?

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I gotta be honest, the way that girl defined yuri vs yoai has been my own loose understanding of the terms. I had done research on the subject a few years back and was not able to find adequate definitions for either the Japanese intonations nor the etymology of the words themselves. I had to take from what was around me and conclude what I could; yuri was girl's love, yoai was boy's. In a situation like that, how am I supposed to know that what I've concluded is wrong, you know?

Also, I'm still curious... Yuri is an orchid thing? So it just means (pardon me) labia, then?

And yoai.. I wasn't familiar with the term 'no climax, no point, no meaning'. Could you tell me more about this?

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Eh, I wasn't going to post about it, but someone said I should just so that no one pursues it.

There is no equivalent of "Bless you".

You don't say anything when someone sneezes... as it's someone sneezing. Saying bless you is a western idea, because people believed that sneezing was an ill omen and saying bless you was a way to prevent that. As you may notice "Bless" is a religious term.

As for that girl, she did know me, that's the thing. It wasn't a complete stranger, whose conversation I just jumped into, it was a staff member that knew who I was.

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Eh, I wasn't going to post about it, but someone said I should just so that no one pursues it.

There is no equivalent of "Bless you".

You don't say anything when someone sneezes... as it's someone sneezing. Saying bless you is a western idea, because people believed that sneezing was an ill omen and saying bless you was a way to prevent that. As you may notice "Bless" is a religious term.

Plus, it seems to be an English-speaking custom since the Germans say "Gesundheit" and the Spanish say "Salud", both of which simply mean "Health".

P.S. thanks for the heads up about Rosetta Stone with regards to Asian languages.

Edited by vegeta70
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I'm in my second year of Japanese class at Towson. Probably hanging on for a third year. Heck, why not?

And you don't need that much Japanese to find your way around Japan, it turns out.

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I'm in my second year of Japanese class at Towson. Probably hanging on for a third year. Heck, why not?

And you don't need that much Japanese to find your way around Japan, it turns out.

Luckily that was the case for me. At least within Tokyo, there was no problem getting around or finding what I needed. Shopkeepers would often find a neighbor who spoke English, and in many cases they tried out their half-remembered school English on me.

Which was only fair, as my Japanese abilities extend to politeness words and Berlitz tourist words. I can get by, and I understand more Japanese than I speak (which isn't much in either case).

Of course these days I usually have some interpreter help for more important things like meetings, but it's still a very strange feeling to be surrounded by people who speak a different language. :)

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Much of what I *learned* either evaporated the moment I landed due to nervousness or just wasn't very useful in real-world situations. But by the end of a week in Tokyo (not enough), I really gained a feel for what people and signs were saying.

The one day I had a professor's friend as my guide, my Japanese was far better than his English, so we met halfway.

Edited by Aresef
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Arigatou gozaimasu!

しつもんがあります。

We were discussing adjectives in Japanese class yesterday. From what I gather there are two different types, い (true) and not い (untrue/na adjectives). You can make true adjectives negative by dropping the and adding ku arimasen (polite).

EX:

atsui (hot) becomes atsuku arimasen (not hot).

I was also told that dropping the i and adding just the ku was equivalent to 'ly' in english. Therefore atsuku would be hotly? Is this correct? If it is, well, I can't think of any scenario in which I would use 'hotly'. Either way, it doesn't make much sense to me so if anyone knows anything about it I would appreciate it if they could explain it in less-than-gifted-people-terms.

ありがとうございます!

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First, I think you are having difficulty with the difference between Adjectives and Adverbs.

All the words in English that end in "ly" are adverbs.

Adjectives modify nouns,

Adverbs modify verbs.

Watch this and it might help:

http://www.gwu.edu/~eall/vjg/18adverbsandm...dmodifiers.html

and for more practice with adjectives:

http://thejapanesepage.com/grammar/chapter...easy_adjectives

http://thejapanesepage.com/grammar/i_adjectives

http://thejapanesepage.com/grammar/na_adjectives

I hope i've helped!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nice topic! I'm currently taking my third semester of Japanese (I already took Elementary Japanese I and II, but I'm taking II again so I can pass III in the fall).

Japanese IS hard but it's a fun language.

わたしはアマンダさんです. よろしくおねがいします. はたしはかわいくてげんきです. (I think I said that right. I'm still new to the adjectives and such...grammar is so much fun).

Edited by CCAmanda
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はじめまして。僕はジョッシュです。どうぞよろしく。

あのう。。僕はぶんぽがだいきらいです。

じゃまた。

I was going for something Like.. I'm Josh, nice to meet you. I hate grammar. See ya.

thoughts or comments?

Edited by Nalfeshnee
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  • 1 month later...

Ah... the Japanese language!

Lots of fun! :)

As for the は vs が question,

Its not really something you can "learn" its more something that just comes naturally when your ability with the language gets better and better. What I mean here is there are just many many things to think about when dealing with these particles, and to try and think about all of the rules while speaking will just hinder your ability to speak fluidly. みんなの日本語 has good information on these particles. Learn the rules, and then just continue listening/learning the language. It will eventually click, kinda like when to use "the" or "a".

I was taught that if someone uses が then it is polite, when talking about the same item, to also use が.

Also, no one in this forum has used "non-polite" Japanese. Formal, informal, and "slang" maybe. But informal is FAR from "non-polite."

It is also very good to be aware of the dialects spread across Japan. What is accepted in one dialect, is not necessarily the same in another. If you restrict yourself to learning "one way" with a language, you may find yourself at a loss.

For example, there are many ways to say "I don't understand." Most beginners are taught わかりません as the formal form. When you get into informal forms, which are much much much more widely used then formal, you have multiple versions.

Examples:

わからない

わからん

わからへん

Those are three informal versions, which are not impolite to use unless speaking to a superior while actually working. Even then I sometimes hear them being used with superiors.

Another example is あほ and ばか.

In Kansai, あほ means silly, and is used as a playful term between friends, but in Tokyo, it means idiot, and is usually used in a derogative way. Where as ばか in Kansai means idiot, and in Tokyo means silly.

The best advice for learning Japanese is not limiting yourself to learning JUST what your sensei says. They may be right, but there are many sides to a language.

Edited by MrBlinker
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Thank you very much for all the advice! Also, I found the channel #nihongo on freenode is a very good resource to use. There are a few 日本人 who are very helpful. You can also find a lot of other non-native speakers that have traveled or are currently staying in Japan there too.

Again, どうもありがとうございますBlinkerさん!

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No problem!

Everyone sounds like a child when they first start speaking a new language and if they don't then they often sound very regulated and robotic. At least, thats what my Japanese friends tell me.

Luckily for me, I live in Japan so I'm surrounded by the language every day. :)

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The immersion factor must help a ton. I plan on doing a study abroad at some point. The economy certainly is not helping much.

「コンピューターを使えます」ですか?「コンピューターが使えます」ですか?

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The immersion factor must help a ton. I plan on doing a study abroad at some point. The economy certainly is not helping much.

「コンピューターを使えます」ですか?「コンピューターが使えます」ですか?

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Yay~ 日本語~

My grammar is so bad, but I'm going to give this a shot anyways.

Itsu ohayou o kakimashita boku no jikan wa jyuu ichi-ji desu.

いつおはようをかきましたぼくの時間は十一時ですした。

Well, i'm not fluent nor perfect in grammar either,

but here is how I would have wrote it:

いつ「おはよう」を書(か)きました、午前(ごぜん)11時(じ)でした。

I would write:

「おはよう」と書いたのは、朝の11時です。

"It was 11am when I wrote 'ohayou'."

The fun part here is how の can be used to nominalize.

So 「おはよう」と書いたの would translate to "when I wrote 'ohayou'"

And even though in English, the coupler is past tense ('was'), in Japanese it stays present tense (「です」).

The best example I have for this is the Japanese comedy show, Gaki no tsukai arahen de, the Absolutely Tasty series.

( I think this link will work -- http://www.youtube.com/Fengson )

When they proclaim what they did or didn't eat they say:

私が食べたのは 〇〇 でございます / ではございません。

"It was/was't the <food item> that I ate."

一緒に勉強しましょうね~

Edited by chrono
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When they proclaim what they did or didn't eat they say:

私が食べたのは 〇〇 でございます / ではございません。

"It was/was't the <food item> that I ate."

I can't edit my post anymore, but thinking back on it, I think they use 僕 instead of 私

I'll have to check the video.

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The best example I have for this is the Japanese comedy show, Gaki no tsukai arahen de, the Absolutely Tasty series.

( I think this link will work -- http://www.youtube.com/Fengson )

Sorry, it's actually the Kiki series.

And all those videos are dead -- I'll post a link when I get the chance.

Edited by chrono
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