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Thread: The Japanese Study Thread

  1. #46
    Translator 上級員 / Jyoukuuin / Sr. Member
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    Re: The Japanese Language

    Quote Originally Posted by Nihongaeri
    And even if you're only able to read a little over a thousand of the most common characters, that's more than enough to be able to derive at least some degree of meaningful understanding out of a newspaper article. In the end it's actually overall vocabulary/grammar knowledge that ends up being a bigger impediment on an individual's ability to read a newspaper or other printed material. There's TONS of words that I have absolutely no problem *reading* in Japanese, but only have a vague understanding of what they mean.
    I'm not actually sure how many characters I can say I know... I probably know about 1,300 more or less well, with another 200 or 300 I can probably make out through context. That gets me through regular articles and Japanese RPGs, though sometimes not without a few headaches in the process (and a dictionary is always handy, just in case there's a key word I can't make out).

    Most "high level" terms are compound Kanji words.

    The "cool" (infuriating?) thing about compound Kanji words (words with two or more kanji) is that often, two or more of the characters which make up the word carry the same meaning, and when this isn't the case, it's often the more common Kanji which captures the semantic essence.

    In the game I'm playing right now there is like a shit load lots of different compound words for castles, palaces and fortresses and the like, but all you need to know to get the gist are a couple of basic characters like 城、塔、堂, and you know they're talking about a "big, important building." All these characters are among the 1,500 most frequent, and two of them are among the 1,000 most frequent.

    Note that if you stick to certain subject matter things are bound to go smoother. I think I know more than one non-standard character for weapons/armor that I would not know if I did not play Japanese RPGs.

    I also doubt I would know that the character 古 can be read いにしえ (yore, more or less; antaño in Spanish) if I did not play games and read manga as much as I do.

  2. #47
    Translator 上級員 / Jyoukuuin / Sr. Member Nihongaeri's Avatar
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    Re: The Japanese Language

    Quote Originally Posted by Iwanin
    I'm not actually sure how many characters I can say I know...
    But what does it mean to "know" a kanji anyway? People seem to be so sure of the what it means to "know" a character until they really start thinking about the issue. The only conclusion that I've ever come to on the issue is that "kanji" have very little practical usage when removed from the context of a language that uses them, and to that extent one's knowledge of kanji cannot be readily represented with some arbitrary number...

    (This, of course, isn't any kind of rebuke directed at you Pete, but more so the countless people that I have seen proudly assert that they know exactly XXXX kanji, many further claiming to have learned them in the course of X months. *sigh*... people...)
    出産間近のうちの妻曰く「お産だけに、押さんといて!」
    そう。女性とは言えど見事に親父ギャグを発するのである。

  3. #48
    Translator 上級員 / Jyoukuuin / Sr. Member
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    Re: The Japanese Language

    Quote Originally Posted by Nihongaeri
    (This, of course, isn't any kind of rebuke directed at you Pete, but more so the countless people that I have seen proudly assert that they know exactly XXXX kanji, many further claiming to have learned them in the course of X months. *sigh*... people...)
    Ah, Nicholas! Whatever happened to the good old days, when we would rebuke each other for hours on end over such trivial nonsense as the most suitable qualifier for Kisame's Samehada? Could it be we've - heaven forbid - grown civilized?

    But I enjoy this bitching about the presumption of others rather than on account of one's own.

    On that note, allow me to bitch about the "how many languages do you speak" thread, where people with a passing knowledge of one Romance Language or another would claim to "know" the rest by virtue of said fact; and where so many people claimed to speak Japanese that I wondered where it was that they kept their translations so well hidden, that I'd never seen them.

    I was tempted, upon contemplating this phenomenon, to claim I spoke not only Spanish, English, a bit of French and some Japanese, but also Portuguese, Galician, Catalan, Italian and heck, why not Basque - it may not be lingüistically related to Romance Languages, but the Basque know either French or Spanish or both!

    And that's not all! Since Kanji are technically Chinese and may be used to write Korean, I guess I'll add this last language plus at least Mandarin and Cantonese to my repertoire!

    Truly, I know so many languages I amaze myself!

    But yes, expressing one's ability to speak a given language is difficult. For instance, I say my English is at native speaker level, but then every native speaker I encounter says my English is better than that of 90% of the native speakers they know. Of course, I would actually put the number closer to 95% (at least), but that's not the point.

    I don't consider myself fluent in Japanese, but then again I'm not quite sure what fluent means. I think what the nikyuu goukaku explanation says is about right: I can hold a conversation on general topics and read everyday articles well enough, but not well enough that I don't encounter any problems. Also, my knowledge of grammar and kanji far outstrips my ability to express myself naturally in the language. Is that fluent? Proficient? Sufficient? Excentric? Eclectic?

    Me does not know. All me knows is me understand big plot in games and manga. That good, but want to understand more, better, quicker. And want to put moves on cute little Japanese girls using Japanese. That まだまだ.

    Plus, I've gone off topic.

    Er... what was the topic, again?

  4. #49
    Translator 上級員 / Jyoukuuin / Sr. Member Nihongaeri's Avatar
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    Re: The Japanese Language

    Quote Originally Posted by Iwanin
    Also, my knowledge of grammar and kanji far outstrips my ability to express myself naturally in the language.
    I've come to the conclusion that that is the fate of anyone who engages in any kind of academic study of a "second" language...

    Related to this...

    http://www.atok.com/nihongotest/

    I took this test and got a 71. My wife took it and got a 49. My wife is no doubt better at Japanese than I am, but apparently my knowledge of the overall prescriptive technicalities that are thrown around relating to Japanese is markedly better. Go figure.
    出産間近のうちの妻曰く「お産だけに、押さんといて!」
    そう。女性とは言えど見事に親父ギャグを発するのである。

  5. #50
    Translator 中級員 / Chuukyuuin / Member Rikki-Tikki-Tavi's Avatar
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    Re: For those wondering about the JLPT

    A German who doesn't speak Japanese would prolly piss himself laughing...

    http://dict.leo.org/ende?lp=ende&lan...schi&relink=on
    Ask Me
    Rikki-Tikki-Tavi Translations™ are trusted by major scanlators.

  6. #51
    Registered User 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member Brede's Avatar
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    Re: The Japanese Language

    Quote Originally Posted by Iwanin
    I was tempted, upon contemplating this phenomenon, to claim I spoke not only Spanish, English, a bit of French and some Japanese, but also Portuguese, Galician, Catalan, Italian and heck, why not Basque - it may not be lingüistically related to Romance Languages, but the Basque know either French or Spanish or both!

    And that's not all! Since Kanji are technically Chinese and may be used to write Korean, I guess I'll add this last language plus at least Mandarin and Cantonese to my repertoire!

    Truly, I know so many languages I amaze myself!
    btw most chinese dialects writes using the same chinese words just pronounced differently. so technically, u can also include other chinese dialects like foochow, hokkien, hakka, teochew in your repertoire as well.

  7. #52
    Translator 上級員 / Jyoukuuin / Sr. Member
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    Re: The Japanese Language

    Quote Originally Posted by Brede
    btw most chinese dialects writes using the same chinese words just pronounced differently. so technically, u can also include other chinese dialects like foochow, hokkien, hakka, teochew in your repertoire as well.  
    Yeah, I figured on something like that  - that's why I was careful to say "at least Mandarin and Cantonese."

    I remain completely ignorant on Indian languages, though, even by this forum's loose standards.

    But back to the topic...

    Quote Originally Posted by Saithan
    Anyway this is more or less what I can remember, can't guarentee it is right, but according to my teacher some of the oldest hiragana/katakana could be traced back to the shell of a turtle or something....
    I think your teacher was referring to the first Kanji, which are said to have started as symbols for chinese divination practices. They would write the characters in turtle shells. The catch phrase "spare a turtle: remain iliterate" was said to be popular in ancient China. (note: the first bit (about divination) is no joke).

    Quote Originally Posted by Saithan
    I figured that much out but I'm having trouble figuring out where one word stops and another one begins.
    I sometimes have that problem myself. It's related to your knowledge of usage more than to vocabulary per se. In other words, if you know what words to expect, it's a lot easier not to get confused on this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanabi
    As a side note, to clear what someone mentioned.  A small history lesson.

    (Note:  This is what I've heard, some things could be wrong.)
    Hiragana was originally created as a way to allow women to write.  Men were required to write in only kanji.  At some point a man actually masqueraded as a woman to write a novel with hiragana in it which became famous.  (One of the first Japanese novels in fact, if I'm right he wrote the Genji Story.)

    Things like that happened and eventually Japan adopted the kanji and hiragana/katakana style they have today.

    This is what I've heard, not sure if it is 100% historically accurate by the way.  Japanese TV gives out so much info it gets jumbled in my head.
    Well, as far as I know the author of the Tale of Genji was in fact a woman, and there was a reason why she was so well educated. Although I read somewhere else that she did not like Chinese influence on the Japanese language (my kind of girl):

    http://www.gale.com/free_resources/w...murasaki_s.htm

    'just felt I needed to point that out. I dunno, but the suggestion that she was a man *might* be no more than the misbegotten brainchild of some misogynistic scholar or another.

    Murasaki-chan RuleZ.

  8. #53
    Scanlator 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member
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    Re: The Japanese Language

    あのうう、ぼくはニオシュウェチです。三年間ぐらい日本語を勉強します。面白いことをかんがいていないから、これはちょっとむずかしい。。。でも、去年の夏休みは日本へいきました。たのしいでした。この夏休み、日本へまた行きたいですが、行けません。。。

  9. #54
    Registered User 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member
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    Re: The Japanese Language

    Can someone confirm the meaning of abaremawaru ? thanks!
    Guard your honor. Let your reputation fall where it will. And outlive the bastards.<br /><br />

  10. #55
    Registered User 中級員 / Chuukyuuin / Member
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    Re: The Japanese Language

    Abaremawaru : to rampage; to run riot, so said the Japanese <-> English Dictionary and and a friend that happens to be from Japan.
    Walk softly and carry deaths&#039; scythe.

  11. #56
    Registered User 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member
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    Re: The Japanese Language

    hehe thanks KTFS
    Guard your honor. Let your reputation fall where it will. And outlive the bastards.<br /><br />

  12. #57
    Last Boss ♪~( ̄。 ̄) 有名人 / Yuumeijin / Celebrity njt's Avatar
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    Re: The Japanese Language

    Quote Originally Posted by Abaremawaru
    Can someone confirm the meaning of abaremawaru ? thanks!
    someone enjoying changing their names often eh?
    Serizawa: But it's really heartwarming to see such good guys - perhaps not as good as we wanted, translation-wise, but their hearts are already grade A
    If you see a mistake in my translations, let me know! Thanks Click a frog to see my Resume!!

  13. #58
    Registered User 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member
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    Re: The Japanese Language

    Quote Originally Posted by njt
    someone enjoying changing their names often eh?
    Is it something exlusively reserved for Khal ?
    Guard your honor. Let your reputation fall where it will. And outlive the bastards.<br /><br />

  14. #59
    Registered User 中級員 / Chuukyuuin / Member
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    Re: The Japanese Language

    Quote Originally Posted by Abaremawaru
    hehe thanks KTFS
    No problem



    Walk softly and carry deaths&#039; scythe.

  15. #60
    Puella Magi 伝説メンバー / Densetsu / Legendary Member Galth's Avatar
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    Re: The Japanese Language

    Quote Originally Posted by Abaremawaru
    Is it something exlusively reserved for Khal ?
    Hey! That's offtopic! Stick to the language here! ...
    *feels like everybody is staring at him*
    Errr, guess i'll just leave then
    *does so*

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