日本語

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nocturneequuis

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私の日本語がちょっと悪いですけど、話すのが好きです。はじめまして。シャロンです。どおぞよりしくお願いします。m(-_-)m
 

not_HarryS

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If you're looking to improve, then here's your first step:

When talking about abilities in Japanese, you need to conjugate the verb differently (use its potential form), and potentially use a different particle, depending on the context.

日本語が話せますか - although formal, would be more correct.

I do think, from locals, you're more likely to hear, 日本語がしゃべれますか, but I haven't been to Japan for a long time, and that language is more loose than my bowels after a night of binge drinking.

:) Hope that helps. And I'm very glad somebody started this thread.
 
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I've never taken a class in Japanese, though I hope to next year, so this is mostly what I've picked up here and there. It's kind of hard to put things in context when you've never actually spoken or written in a language. So thaks for the assistance.


Are you sure about the が particle, though? It seems like that would translate more as "Is it Japanese that you can speak?" Which for all I know is exactly how you would ask such a question in Japanese.


Glad that the thread's useful. :)
 
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not_HarryS

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I've never taken a class in Japanese, though I hope to next year, so this is mostly what I've picked up here and there. It's kind of hard to put things in context when you've never actually spoken or written in a language. So thaks for the assistance.


Are you sure about the が particle, though? It seems like that would translate more as "Is it Japanese that you can speak?" Which for all I know is exactly how you would ask such a question in Japanese.


Glad that the thread's useful. :)

Very sure. You pretty much want to use が for all sentences using the potential form. You can use は as well, but it puts a lot of unnecessary emphasis that might not be contextually accurate. (Using は in the above sentence would be like saying, "As for Japanese, can you speak it?")

There are rare occasions in which you can use を with the potential form of verbs, but I wouldn't muddy your mind with that until you get the basics down pat.
 
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Okay. Makes sense. Thanks.

I'm a Linguistics major, so I have interests in many languages, but it's rather hard to fit them into my class schedule. Before this, I spent a lot of time on a shougi site, where I got to practice Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and of course Japanese. Wasn't th e best spot for in-depth discussions of the language, though. ;)

I'm sure my poor Japanese professor next semester will be horrified by my patchwork knowledge and application of his language.
 

not_HarryS

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I wouldn't worry about it, man. Japanese is a grammatically complex-assed language, and it takes quite a while to understand some of the subtleties that aren't really present in most Western languages.

What's important is that you enjoy it and are always looking for opportunities to improve :)
 
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I wouldn't worry about it, man. Japanese is a grammatically complex-assed language, and it takes quite a while to understand some of the subtleties that aren't really present in most Western languages.

What's important is that you enjoy it and are always looking for opportunities to improve :)


I guess I've got my mind in the right place, then. Although, it might be more accurate to say that Japanese is morphologically complex compared to English, whereas the syntax is simpler.


To be honest, I'm more worried about the politeness than the grammar, anyway. I can't even manage to be polite in my own language. :cry:
 
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not_HarryS

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I guess I've got my mind in the right place then. Although, it might be more accurate to say that Japanese is morphologically complex compared to English, whereas the syntax is simpler.

You're right: Japanese is significantly more morphologically complex than English, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's syntactically more simple. Once you delve deeper into the language and start exploring their literature, sentence structures can become so complex that you can't tell your linguistic ass from your elbow. Haha.

That was my experience, at least.

ETA: Don't worry about politeness at first. As long as you're foreign, Japanese people will forgive you your inability to speak keigo, 'cause it's frankly a difficult system for them to get straight too.
 
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You're right: Japanese is significantly more morphologically complex than English, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's syntactically more simple. Once you delve deeper into the language and start exploring their literature, sentence structures can become so complex that you can't tell your linguistic ass from your elbow. Haha.

That was my experience, at least.


Yeah... it's been my experience that most languages tend to be of about the same difficulty, they just apportion it differently between morphology and syntax. And of course, most languages tend to be more complicated in literature than in everyday speech. I'd hate to be an Inuit trying to decipher James Joyce. :flag: If it weren't for those darn poets...
 

Yasaibatake

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My Japanese used to be pretty good, but I haven't used it in a little more than 4 years and it's gotten pretty darn rusty :( One of my bigger regrets...it was so much fun too! *starts looking for her old Japanese textbook*
 

not_HarryS

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I can, but you'd have to pay me back with your naughty bits.
 

Eddyz Aquila

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One year of Japanese for me, I loved it! I don't remember much, I was 13 back then, but now I'm searching for my old Japanese books...
 

Anya S

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I'm still in the process of learning. Trying to memorize Hiragana and Katakana (Hiragana is easier) Kanji is killing me, but I'll hopefully figure it out someday. My goal is to be fluent before I leave here. I'm trying to find a Japanese teacher to come teach my children and I several times a week. I'm pretty good at the basic stuff, have a friend who I attempt to speak it conversationally with. still takes me a while to read the characters though.
 
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soapdish

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I can read and write Hiragana and Katakana (and yes, Katakana was harder for me too) but I know only a tiny bit of Kanji. Not enough to even mention. I can, for example, read the first two characters in your thread title, but not the rest :D

And my Romaji SUCKS (which is probably good, I think it's a backward step in learning the language).

I can read and sound fluent, though because my vocab is limited, I often don't know what it is I read aloud. LOL

I am used to speaking Japanese at a child's level, so I am not in the practice of using the polite forms. More informal, I guess.

I love it. I wish I had more time to devote to it now.
 
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There are a lot of good programs out there to teach you the kana. Human Japanese is cheap and effective. There's also a youtube series that does kana and the 80 kanji they teach to first graders.


Soap- 語 is ご, and it means "language", basically. I'm not sure how you can have trouble with romaji if you know kana, though...

My kanji are very limited as well. I can read maybe 150... Writing is easier of course, since the comp transliterates automatically from romaji. :)
 
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soapdish

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There are a lot of good programs out there to teach you the kana. Human Japanese is cheap and effective. There's also a youtube series that does kana and the 80 kanji they teach to first graders.


Soap- 語 is ご, and it means "language", basically. I'm not sure how you can have trouble with romaji if you know kana, though...

My kanji are very limited as well. I can read maybe 150... Writing is easier of course, since the comp transliterates automatically from romaji. :)
Youtube, huh? I would never have thought of that. Good tip.

Ah, ok, "go". That makes sense now.

Romaji trips me up, I think, because I want to write things like "she" instead of "shi" and use "g"s instead of "j"s and then there are the chisai tsu, ya, yo, yu, etc. I can read them and pronounce the words correctly, I just have a hard time writing them in English. If that makes sense.
 
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Youtube, huh? I would never have thought of that. Good tip.

Ah, ok, "go". That makes sense now.

Romaji trips me up, I think, because I want to write things like "she" instead of "shi" and use "g"s instead of "j"s and then there are the chisai tsu, ya, yo, yu, etc. I can read them and pronounce the words correctly, I just have a hard time writing them in English. If that makes sense.


Okay, I gotcha. I guess since I'm also learning Italian and other non-english languages which never underwent our great vowel shift, things like "i" for "ee" are more natural.


On the youtube japanese thing:

http://www.youtube.com/user/HIDETCHI#g/c/2199D5FD36782640
 
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Yasaibatake

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If it's just a matter of memorizing, http://smart.fm is a pretty good (free) site. I really like the way they teach! But it's really only set up for flashcards, so no grammar or anything like that.

(They have a lot of other languages/subjects there too, but they're particularly strong for Japanese, possibly because it's run by a Japanese company.)
 

not_HarryS

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For learning Kanji, I would really, really suggest first learning all the radicals by heart. But I would suggest learning them in Chinese, at least for recognition purposes, because the implications that right-hand and bottom radicals have on the pronunciation of phono-semantic compound characters is a lot more straightforward in Mandarin.

That, and you need yourself some creative mnemonic devices :)
 

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