Japanese Language

Franco   Tue Aug 07, 2007 9:29 am GMT
mac, buena idea. Si no quieres que tu vida se desperdicie, aprende a HABLAR japonés.
mac   Tue Aug 07, 2007 1:10 pm GMT
Si. Me interesan japones y chino pero porque las escrituras son tan dificiles y complicadas no me importa si puedo leer bien. Supongo que estoy perezoso ;)
furrykef   Tue Aug 07, 2007 5:58 pm GMT
Pues, supongo que yo estoy más perezoso que tú, pero lo estoy haciendo de todas formas... :P

Yo no creo que aprender los kanji sea desperdiciar la vida. Pero si no te interesa, no lo hagas, que es aún más difícil aprenderlos. Al final, lo importante es hacer lo que tú quieras.

(Discúlpame si no escribo bien. Sólo quiero practicar, pero me gustaría si me corriges. :))

- Kef
Adolfo   Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:57 pm GMT
You speak Spanish quite well, Kef. I wish I was able to speak English as well as you speak Spanish. And English is supposed to be easier than Spanish.
furrykef   Tue Aug 07, 2007 8:36 pm GMT
Thanks. :) But I still make plenty of basic mistakes in Spanish, though often I catch them before I submit my post/send my e-mail/whatever. I also often have trouble figuring out the best way to say what I want to say, and I still rely somewhat on a dictionary. I wouldn't be surprised if your English is actually as good as my Spanish. :)

- Kef
Native Korean   Wed Aug 08, 2007 1:31 am GMT
Even though, Japanese and Korean are phonologically different, Koreans generally immitate Japanese accent or Japanese pronunciation best!
(Especially better than most western people!)

When you go to Japanese language teaching institutions in Tokyo, you'll see Koreans learn Japanese faster than most other foreigners.

Maybe that's because of the grammatical similarties of the two languages, although they are distantly related.
Xie Z.A.   Sat Aug 11, 2007 4:38 am GMT
<<Although I did say "most complicated", it isn't necessarily the hardest to learn. Chinese writing might be harder, although my semi-educated guess is that it's around the same level of difficulty. >>

Chinese has, of course, more Chinese characters than Japanese, but most characters don't have different readings as Japanese ones do, nor does Chinese have any other scripts.... The problem characters offset the easiness of Chinese grammar, so.... their overall difficulty is similar.

<<That's basically what the Heisig system of learning kanji does: it gives a meaning to each part of every kanji in a way that's fairly easy to remember. (K. T. doesn't like the Heisig system, though...)>>

I've once glanced through the Heisig books. Well, certainly, most of their parts are irrelevant to me, but they are good for refreshing the memory of Chinese learners about the stroke order of Kanji, which is slightly different from the Chinese.

I don't know if there are better books that can serve as "reference books" for Kanji stroke order, but this series serves this purpose quite well, at least for me who isn't learning the language atm. However, I wonder if the method would be too boring for readers who are supposedly (and necessarily) beginners... since readers seem to be supposed to learn characters first without using them in context. This is like reciting words in isolation...
furrykef   Sat Aug 11, 2007 10:44 am GMT
I look at learning characters sort of as learning an alphabet... just a reeeeaaaally big alphabet. No, words shouldn't be learned in isolation, but one does learn the alphabet at least partly in isolation.
vox   Sun Aug 12, 2007 4:46 am GMT
Kef, Xie Z.A., et al.,

I had always assumed that learning Japanese writing would be more difficult than Chinese, because of the kun and on readings for most Japanese kanji (and sometimes MULTIPLE kun and on readings). Chinese characters usually have just one pronunciation. But now I wonder whether Japanese might actually be easier, for three reasons:

1. The Jōyō kanji (常用漢字). Having a "limit" of 1,945 official characters, which many publishers try to stick to. And if they use kanji outside the list, they're supposed to give furigana for pronunciation. Chinese has no such official list, rarely indicates pronunciation, has simplified and traditional versions, and has different standards (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong.)

2. Memorizing Chinese pronunciations is difficult. There may be scores of characters with the same pronunciation, often even with the same tone. And all monosyllabic. Japanese words tend to be more distinct, and pronounced in a way that is easier for most learners.

3. And something that I hadn't thought of before: If you see a sentence in Chinese, and don't know the language well, you may have trouble picking out which words are actually combinations of characters, or are separate characters, or which are particular parts of speech. With Japanese, the kana used as post-positions (wa, ga, no, ni, etc.) and as verb endings (desu, masu, etc.) should help illustrate the words one is dealing with.

Any thoughts?
Guest   Sun Aug 12, 2007 11:01 am GMT
Japanese is simple, I learnt it in 6 months
furrykef   Sun Aug 12, 2007 2:09 pm GMT
I have very little experience in trying to actually read Japanese, and no experience in trying to read Chinese, so I can't really speak from experience...

My best guess, though, is that the difficulties that both languages present tend to even out, so they're roughly the same. Some people think Chinese is harder, some people think Japanese is harder... it's all subjective, really.

- Kef
Adam   Sun Aug 12, 2007 6:49 pm GMT
"2. Korean. The two are similar grammatically, and I believe they have some shared vocabulary (although I have no idea how much). Phonologically they are very different, though."

Nobody knows what the most closely-related language to Japanese is. Some people say it is Korean but in fact both Korean and Japanese (like Basque) have no definitely-known language family. Linguists have put both Japanese and Korean into the Altaic family of languages, but it is still debatable as to whether they should be in that family or not. No-one is really sure what family Japanese and Korean belong to. It is also debatable whether Korean and Japanese are related at all and what their origins are.

Some historical linguists who specialize in Japanese also say that Japanese is one of the two members of a Japonic language family, the other member being a language known as Ryukyuan . The Japonic languages, or Japanese-Ryukyuan languages, constitute a language family that is alleged to have descended from a common ancestral language known as Proto-Japonic or Proto-Japanese-Ryukyuan. If this is the case then Ryukyuan is the closest language to Japanese. But other linguists argue that Ryukyuan is just a dialect of Japanese, in the same way that people argue that Scots is just a dialect of English.
Luke   Sun Aug 12, 2007 6:59 pm GMT
Once you've learnt Japanese and around 3000 odd kanji you'll feel a huge sense of achievement! It's worth it!
Adam   Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:00 pm GMT
It's a bit off-topic, but here's some Japanese grammar:

Japanese has no grammatical gender.

Like Finnish, Turkish, Estonian, Basque and Hungarian, it is an agglutinative language.

Unlike the more complex verb conjugation of other languages, Japanese verbs do NOT have a different form to indicate the person (first-, second, and third-person), the number (singular and plural), or gender.

Japanese verbs are roughly divided into three groups according to their dictionary form (basic form)...............

Group 1
U ending Verbs

The basic form of Group 1 verbs end with "~ u". This group is also called Consonant-stem verbs or Godan-doushi (Godan verbs).

Hanasu - To speak
Kaku - To write
Kiku - To listen
Nomu - To drink

Group 2:
Iru and Eru ending Verbs

The basic form of Group 2 verbs end with either "~iru" or "~ eru". This group is also called Vowel-stem-verbs or Ichidan-doushi (Ichidan verbs).

Kiru - To wear
Miru - To see
Okiru - To get up
Akeru - To open
Ageru - To give
Toberu - To eat

Group 3:
Irregular Verbs

There are only two irregular verbs, kuru (to come) and suru (to do).

The verb "suru" is probably the most often used verb in Japanese. It is used as "to do," "to make," or "to cost". It is also combined with many nouns (of Chinese or Western origin) to make them into verbs. Here are some examples.

Benkyousuru - To study
Yushutsusuru - To export
Ryokousuru - To travel
Guest   Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:43 pm GMT
Koko ni nani ga arimasu ka?
Hai, hon ga arimasu!

Correct me if I'm wrong.