welcome to the fest
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Signing the cartoons
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Sinfest Forum Index -> Sinfest
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
bun bun
Guest





PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bur wrote:
Lemontree wrote:
But yeah, gotta love languages. I'm just happy I grew up with English and don't have to learn it as a second language.. because I'm sure its probably the hardest one out there.

Japanese on the other basically isn't hard, but just very different from the romanic/germanic languages. And of course all the kanji are hard to memorize.

No.

Sorry.

I know that "hard" is a relative term, but if you say this about Japanese, you either
a) do not speak it/have never tried
b) consider all languages easy
c) speak a somewhat related language (like Chinese) fluently
or (edit)
d) are Japanese.


"All the kanji" means at least 40,000 characters. My Japanese friend Shiori tells me she thinks that number is much higher. Most Japanese people get by on a paltry 10,000. However, old-fashioned Kanji still exist, and you have to know them, so the real number for literacy is nearing 15,000 characters. I know about 200. I am a functioning illiterate.

This is a quote from my blog, because I can't be arsed to write it all out again:

bun bun's blog wrote:
In English, the verb "to go" has one form: "to go". In Japanese, it has at least eight:

1. to go (informally, to a person of equal or lower status) = IKU
2. to go (more formally, to a person of equal status) = IKIMASU
3. to go (informally, to a person out of the in-group, or a superior, when referring to their actions, i.e. an honorific verb) = IRASSHARU
4. to go (formally, to a person out of the in-group, or a superior, when referring to their actions, i.e. an honorific verb) = IRASSHAIMASU
5. to go (informally, to a person out of the in-group, or a superior, when referring to your own actions, a humble verb) = MAIRU
6. to go (formally, to a person out of the in-group, or a superior, when referring to your own actions, a humble verb) = MAIRIMASU
7. to go (informally, to person out of the in-group, or a superior, when referring to your own actions, when those actions will affect that superior somehow) = UKAGAU
8. to go (formally, to a person out of the in-group, or a superior, when referring to your own actions, when those actions will affect that superior somehow) = UKAGAIMASU

For giving and receiving a gift or favour, it gets even more complex. Even if you only count the formal/informal (-ru and -masu) pairs, to recieve a present from someone has a different verb depending on whether they are the subject of the utterance as opposed to you, and whether they are a superior, or an equal/inferior. Giving has three different verbs, depending on whether the receiver of the gift is of superior rank, equal rank, or inferior rank to you.

All nouns and adjectives can be transformed into formal forms as well. (Way less complex.)

Also, Japanese consists of three writing systems. The oldest of which is KANJI, adopted from Chinese characters. These are pictoral, meaning that you have to know how they are pronounced; you can't guess. In Japanese, they often have up to five different pronunciations (one quite common kanji has fifty), because they are linked to meaning rather than sound, and Japanese existed as a spoken language before it existed in written form, thus words with the same meaning elements sound completely different to each other. For example, the kanji meaning "knife", or "blade" is used as a radical in the kanji for the verb "to cut". However, the word for "blade" is KATANA, and the verb "to cut" is pronounced KIRU. (In its informal, neutral form. It has many others as well, for example, the formal, humble form, OKIRISHIMASU.)

The other two writing systems are named, collectively, KANA. The first one, HIRAGANA, is phonetic, invented during the 16th century for women, to allow them to write (it was assumed their weak minds could not grasp kanji). It has since been adopted to express the inflective nature of Japanese in written form (for example, the verb OKIRISHIMASU would be written like this: hiragana for O plus kanji for KI, "to cut" plus hiragana for RISHIMASU). Hiragana, when it is used to adapt or conjugate kanji, is called FURIGANA. Hiragana is organised in two ways. Originally, it was memorised as a Buddhist poem, the "Iroha", but now students learn it organised in a phonetic-based manner, much like Western alphabets, called the "Gojuu-on Ju". You still have to know the "Iroha" to look up some reference material.

The last writing system to be developed is called KATAKANA, so called because it is sharp-edged, and does not encourage flowing writing style. Katakana is phonetic, and directly corresponds to hiragana. It is used to express most words of foreign origin (tabacco being a notable exception, as it was introduced prior to the development of katakana), and to make words stand out, like italics or bold in Western languages.

There is more. Keep reading.

If the letters are organised horizontally, they are read from left to right. If they are organised vertically, the columns are read from right to left. Books and magazines start from the right.

Although Japanese is an inflective language, plurality is expressed by number, not inflectively. Thus, the sentence, "Oh, look, a cat" would be the same thing as "Oh, look, cats" if translated literally. You would have to say, "Oh, look, two cats" or "three cats" or however many you think you see. Numbers are really one of the most complex aspects of Japanese, because, not totally unlike English, Japanese has counters that glue onto the end of basic numbers, different depending on the object. For example, two sheets (of paper) would be NIHON (KAMI). NI-HON: two sheets. You don't say "two paper" in English. However, the Japanese do this to every object. The counter for people is different to the one for flat objects, which is in turn different from the one for age, which in turn is different from the one for the nights stayed at another person's house or at a hotel. I am not making this up.

(EDIT for the forum; this was not originally in the blog: I recently asked my Japanese teacher, who is Japanese, how many counters there are, and she looked at me with this terribly frightened and blank expression and said, "I don't know. Fifty, maybe?" She then looked at my other teacher, who is also Japanese. My other teacher said, "No, more like two hundred." They finally arrived at a happy medium of maybe a hundred suffixes to count objects/events. FYI, this entire conversation was in Japanese, making it deliciously ironic.)

And there are two pure number systems, as well. One, from the Chinese, is ICHI, NI, SAN, SHI, GO, ROKU, SHICHI, HACHI, KYU, JYU, etc. Because SHI means "death" in Japanese, even though they're different kanji, SHI is very often replaced by YON, and for a reason I can't remember (EDIT for the forum, and my Japanese friend Shiori doesn't know), SHICHI is often replaced by NANA. KYU and JYU are often replaced by KU and JU, for pronunciation reasons. However, you have to know these replacements. They are really quite arbitrary. (EDIT: for example, Shiori counted for me, using both shi for four and shichi for seven, but when she counted backwards, shi was replaced by yon, and shichi by nana. For no apparent reason.)

The second is the native Japanese counting system, which only goes up to ten. Personal preference dictates whether this or the Chinese system is used for numbers up to ten. It is also transformed by the counters, often in unpredictable ways. It goes: HITOTSU, FUTATSU, MITTSU, YOTTSU, ITSUTSU, MUTTSU, NANATSU, YATTSU, KOKONOTSU, TOU.

Because I'm a slave to tradition and complexity, I am not only taking Japanese, but I am also learning how to properly perfom Omotosenke tea ceremony. An example of the rules: before drinking the tea, the guest must say thanks to whatever gods are present by raising the bowl and saying "itadakimasu" (literally, "I have recieved a gift from a superior" when the speaker is the subject of the utterance). Then, the tea drinker must turn the front of the tea bowl or SHOUMEN, which is usually always facing the person holding the bowl, with his right hand, in usually a clockwise direction, but possibly counterclockwise depending on the layout or size of the room and where the main guest is seated. It must be turned twice, each time so that the SHOUMEN turns by a 45 degree angle, so that the SHOUMEN ends up at a 90 degree angle to the tea drinker, before drinking the tea, so as not to sully the purity of the SHOUMEN. When the host cleans the bowl, the water must be poured out so that it pours over the same spot, where the drinker's lips have touched the tea bowl.

I could go on, but your eyes are watering. I hope this discourages foreign otaku considering Japanese. If you want to learn this language, or want to even partly experience this culture, you have to be prepared to memorize enough behavioural rules to fill several bookshelves.
Back to top
What happena my handle?



Joined: 22 Jul 2006
Posts: 225

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bur wrote:
Lemontree wrote:
But yeah, gotta love languages. I'm just happy I grew up with English and don't have to learn it as a second language.. because I'm sure its probably the hardest one out there.

Really? Most people say english is one of the easier languages. For example there is just one article, not too many cases and less irreglar verbs than in other languages. From my experience french and spanish are much harder. Can't tell about german because that's my native language, but from what I heard it's quite a bitch with three different articles and four cases.
I studied German. Grew to hate it with a passion. All the nouns have strong pluralizations!

English, on the other hand, is so freaking creolized (being a mix of Norse/Saxon/Norman French) that it's quite stripped down & regularized for a Germanic language. It's a bit like German syntax, but it has a standard pluralization (& a few strong nouns). It has a standard & relatively simple (if demented--I blame German for this) verb conjugation, despite a few strong past tenses. And no non-pronoun case declensions (Yay!). So it's relatively easy to learn to speak English badly, & it's at least possible to learn good English as a non-native (unlike German, which is just... ugh).

Now, Spanish, Spanish is nice. The nouns only inflect for pluralization, & they're all regular. The verb conjugations are so massive that even the truly irregular verbs have to be a little bit regularized, & there are only a handful of truly irregular verbs. Learn those, the conjugation pattern, & the Castilian vowel changes, & you can handle the structure. The regularity makes learning vocabulary less involved. (Plus, for an English speaker, Spanish isn't too different in word order.)

Of course, the hardest part of any language is just adding vocabulary. I finally gave up on any dream of fluency in a second language, between being hard of hearing & really not wanting to have to learn an entire parallel lexicon.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Halen



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 1883
Location: England

PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're misrepresenting, bun bun. To be understood in japanese is pretty easy. Pimsleur'll do it for you. You're talking about fluency, keigo, and understanding japanese social nicety, which is impossible unless you're native or insane.

I can speak the basics of 5 languages (english, french, spanish, japanese, chinese), I would rate them from easiest to hardest to learn the basics as follows:

japanese
spanish
french
english
chinese

Japanese is PISS easy to get the basics of. The lack of tenses in the basic is a gift.

To learn fluency (and bear in mind, I'm only fluent in english, I'm guessing at (for ease):

spanish
french
english
japanese
chinese.

And for reference, here's my current rate of fluency in the languages from best to worst:

english
french
japanese
french
chinese

hoorah!

I'm not sure of the point of this post. But i'm a bit tiddly, so hey.

お休みなさい!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
WheelsOfConfusion



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 12308
Location: Unknown Kaddath

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Halen wrote:
You're talking about fluency, keigo, and understanding japanese social nicety, which is impossible unless you're native or insane.

YES LET US JUDGE AN ENTIRE NATION AND PEOPLE BASED ON A FEW PRECONCIEVED NOTIONS AND MEDIA THAT MAKES IT OVERSEAS! >:(
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Halen



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 1883
Location: England

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Confused
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
The Victim Here



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 2813
Location: Almost Not Trinity.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
Halen wrote:
You're talking about fluency, keigo, and understanding japanese social nicety, which is impossible unless you're native or insane.

YES LET US JUDGE AN ENTIRE NATION AND PEOPLE BASED ON A FEW PRECONCIEVED NOTIONS AND MEDIA THAT MAKES IT OVERSEAS! >Sad
*cough*
_________________
Colours? What colours?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Halen



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 1883
Location: England

PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm toying with whether Wheels is serious or just teasing me, because that's what I told someone off for. In any case, this is a different situation. That was "japanese is full of perverts because they made hentai!". This is "japanese social niceties and levels of politeness in language are very hard to understand and harder to get right".
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Uncle Taylorbell



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 3191
Location: Northern England

PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
Halen wrote:
You're talking about fluency, keigo, and understanding japanese social nicety, which is impossible unless you're native or insane.


YES LET US JUDGE AN ENTIRE NATION AND PEOPLE BASED ON A FEW PRECONCIEVED NOTIONS AND MEDIA THAT MAKES IT OVERSEAS! >Sad


ARGH ARGH ARGH! HALEN: FLAMBÉ! YOU'RE ON FIRE NOW YOU HORSEFUCKING MOTHERFUCKER. BURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRN. IN YOUR CUNTY FUCKING FACE, YOU TWAT! ARGH ARGH ARGH!





No, he was just teasing.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
cixelsyD
Guest





PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uncle Taylorbell wrote:


ARGH ARGH ARGH! HALEN: FLAMBÉ! YOU'RE ON FIRE NOW YOU HORSEFUCKING MOTHERFUCKER. BURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRN. IN YOUR CUNTY FUCKING FACE, YOU TWAT! ARGH ARGH ARGH!



Sounds like a punk song.
Back to top
Halen



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 1883
Location: England

PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uncle Taylorbell wrote:
No, he was just teasing.


Bah. Bunbun forgot about this thread anyway =)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MsFrisby



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 3966
Location: a quiet little corner of crazy

PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://mtp.dejavudu.net/index.php?currentPage=80

Very Happy
_________________
A person's character is their destiny.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Lemontree



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3298

PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MsFrisby wrote:
http://mtp.dejavudu.net/index.php?currentPage=80

Very Happy


<< See Icon. Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
San Padrone



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 112
Location: Floriduh

PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dunno about those of you who are studying/have studied Japanese right now, but I'm just starting this fall and from the basic stuff I've seen it's worried me more than any other language I've learned. Granted, it's the first oriental language I'll be attempting to learn, but it still seems daunting. I mean, is the language even phonetically configured?
_________________
Furiae omnibus nos unis concordat
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
PeteMoss
Guest





PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

San Padrone wrote:
I dunno about those of you who are studying/have studied Japanese right now, but I'm just starting this fall and from the basic stuff I've seen it's worried me more than any other language I've learned. Granted, it's the first oriental language I'll be attempting to learn, but it still seems daunting. I mean, is the language even phonetically configured?


What do you mean by Phonetically configured?

They use Katagana and Hiragana for sound references, somewhat like an alphabet.


You can write whole sentences using nothing but Katagana and Hiragana, but you lose some of the visual references of the Kanji symbols due to what we in English refer to as "Homophones", same sound different meaning.
Back to top
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Sinfest Forum Index -> Sinfest All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3
Page 3 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group