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The Japanese Language Help Thread

chikorita157

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While I am in college, I do spend a few hours teaching myself Japanese. I have been doing it for about one year and a few months. Like any language, it takes a while to get used to the grammar rules. At the moment, I'm going through the intermediate level grammar and it's not too bad. But basically, if you know the basics, you can have some understanding what they are saying even if you have to look words up on an Japanese to Engllsh dictionary.

If you are studying vocabulary or Kanji, I recommend using a Flash card program like Anki to study. It works like any old flash card, but the time you need to study them is done automatically depending on what button you use (Show Again, Hard, Good or Easy). I play Japanese Games with only a dictionary application on a smartphone and keep track of new words I discover. After that, you can add them to an Anki deck. Also, it helps familiarize you to radicals, which you use to look up a Chinese character.
 

Goodbye Blue Monday

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If you are studying vocabulary or Kanji, I recommend using a Flash card program like Anki to study. It works like any old flash card, but the time you need to study them is done automatically depending on what button you use (Show Again, Hard, Good or Easy). I play Japanese Games with only a dictionary application on a smartphone and keep track of new words I discover. After that, you can add them to an Anki deck. Also, it helps familiarize you to radicals, which you use to look up a Chinese character.
I'm not sure if I would need to learn kanji for what I'm doing, since I'd be primarily interviewing people and less reading Japanese literature or something. (In other words, pretty much the opposite of what I'm trying to do with German.) But thanks a lot for the info! That's really helpful!

I think if I do go this route I am going to end up taking a class, though. I'm just thinking now this could be more something I would pursue in my Ph.D. program if I'm still interested, versus something to do now (since I need to start working on my master's thesis and will probably do it on a different topic, one that doesn't require me to learn a new language, or which relies up on one of the two languages I already know). I just think since Japanese is so fundamentally different from any of the languages I know, I would need to take a class and learn the fundamentals.

But hey, Japanese doesn't have the subjunctive from what I understand! Which is always a plus, at least for me.
 
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CrystaI

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But hey, Japanese doesn't have the subjunctive from what I understand! Which is always a plus, at least for me.
No, there is subjunctive in Japanese, unfortunately.

Subjunctive is a irrealis mood in grammar to express various states of unreality, such as wish, emotion, possibility, judgment, opinion, necessity, or action that has not yet occurred. In Japanese, this grammar mood is called 接続法.

Example:
English: If he was here...
Japanese: (もし)彼がいるなら...

In English, the subjunctive verb in the sentence is "was". In Japanese, the verb "いる" had became subjunctive form by adding suffix "なら". I putted 'もし'(if) in bracket because grammatically "いるなら" had already included the meaning of 'if' inside, hence there was actually no need to added "もし" in this sentence grammatically.


Most of my reference is from Wikipedia. If you wanted to look further, go to "Subjunctive mood" in ENGLISH Wiki, then change it to JAPANESE under language selection, provided that you understand Japanese. The English Wiki don't explain subjunctive in Japanese language, unfortunately.
 

Goodbye Blue Monday

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@NacCrystal; That's weird, because the place where I got the idea that Japanese doesn't have the subjunctive was the Japanese faculty at my university in their "Why study Japanese?" page.

Anyway, I'm not sure if what you're saying quite goes based on what my idea of what the subjunctive tense is based on learning it in French and German.
 

CrystaI

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Well, if you say subjunctive "tense" of a verb, then yes, Japanese don't have such thing. But however, that does not mean Japanese has no subjunctive mood in the grammar.

Previously in my example, "なら" is an AUXILLARY WORD, in some dictionary it even categorized as CONJUNCTION. It is not a tense that is intrinsically part of the verb "いる".
 

White Phoenix

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Does anyone have a recommendation for a good English←→Japanese lexicon? I need one that will be complete on both sides (unlike the one published by Random House). It can be romaji, kana, kanji or any combination.
 

CrystaI

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Lexicon is a kind of dictionary contains specific technical words and/or terminology, usually with explanation of where the words came from and what is its origin. So basically, it means dictionary of technical words.

Depending on the fields of what you need, you can find millions of dictionaries you wanted.

As I see White Phoenix wants a English<-->Japanese dictionary that translate to both sides. If you are not in a specific field of technical words, then a normal English-Japanese bilingual dictionary is already more than enough for you.

For me personally, I prefer very much on Lingoes, and I use it everyday. It is a off-line dictionary program where the user can install as much dictionaries as you need, and one search of word will search through all the installed dictionary at once, so it is very convenient, and moreover, it is completely FREE! Check its official website Lingoes -- free dictionary and full text translation software. All you need to do is to install the basic interface, and add the respective dictionaries to its storages for future word searching. Thousands of free dictionaries are downloadable in its official website.
Just one shortage about this program is that 1) Many dictionaries had stopped to update since 2009, so dictionaries might not contain the newest entries. 2) Most dictionaries were made by language enthusiast, not professionals that are working in dictionary companies, so qualities of dictionaries might not be very professional. Though, there are still many currently existing well-known dictionaries like Oxford (for English) and Eijiro (for Japanese) that were directly imported by fans, so qualitative dictionaries does exist, all you need to do is just give a little time for yourself to find out which dictionary suits your need.

I hoped that helps.
 

みさあき

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Lexicon is a kind of dictionary contains specific technical words and/or terminology, usually with explanation of where the words came from and what is its origin. So basically, it means dictionary of technical words.

Depending on the fields of what you need, you can find millions of dictionaries you wanted.
aa sou desu; arigato, Kurisutaru-chan.
 

CrystaI

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Lexicon is a kind of dictionary contains specific technical words and/or terminology, usually with explanation of where the words came from and what is its origin. So basically, it means dictionary of technical words.

Depending on the fields of what you need, you can find millions of dictionaries you wanted.
aa sou desu; arigato, Kurisutaru-chan.
”ちゃん”はやめてくれ。キモい。

By the way, if you were trying to write in Japanese, then write in Japanese kana and kaji, not the romanji in Roman alphabet. If you are using Windows Vista or any other later version, then you can choose to have Japanese keyboard input under the Region and Language in the Control Panel, even your Windows is English in default. Yes. Asian language inputs are already included in all Windows OS posterior Vista.
Simply because, Japanese people do not write their language in Roman alphabets.

And just another question from me. Do you know what is the meaning of the suffix "ちゃん" (-chan) that is placed at the end of people's name?
 

みさあき

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”ちゃん”はやめてくれ。キモい。

By the way, if you were trying to write in Japanese, then write in Japanese kana and kaji, not the romanji in Roman alphabet. If you are using Windows Vista or any other later version, then you can choose to have Japanese keyboard input under the Region and Language in the Control Panel, even your Windows is English in default. Yes. Asian language inputs are already included in all Windows OS posterior Vista.
Simply because, Japanese people do not write their language in Roman alphabets.

And just another question from me. Do you know what is the meaning of the suffix "ちゃん" (-chan) that is placed at the end of people's name?
Kurisutaru-chan,

Sometimes, this site does have a problem with Japanese characters. When I tried to reply to you, my post disappeared and I saw that you were a native speaker so I put it in romanji so that the post doesn't disappear. I do have a Japanese keyboard and do know how to use the kana.

And as for "-chan", i learned that its used for females and little kids. And you were a girl so... lol

(yeah most of the native speakers I talk to all call me -chan, because I am a girl, so I picked up on that)
 
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White Phoenix

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Actually, a lexicon is not for technical words. A lexicon is like a dictionary except that instead of giving the meanings of words it gives the translation of a word in another language. A good lexicon will have two sections. The first will be to translate language A into language B. The second will be to translate language B into language A.

Some lexicons even have a grammar guide for language in its section. Some lexicons only translate one language (language A→Language B), but the good ones go both ways so you can read the first language and then write in the second.

I think NacCrystal was thinking of a “glossary” which is usually just a section in a technical book to describe technical terms pertaining to the subject.
 
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CrystaI

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Kurisutaru-chan,

Sometimes, this site does have a problem with Japanese characters. When I tried to reply to you, my post disappeared and I saw that you were a native speaker so I put it in romanji so that the post doesn't disappear. I do have a Japanese keyboard and do know how to use the kana.

And as for "-chan", i learned that its used for females and little kids. And you were a girl so... lol

(yeah most of the native speakers I talk to all call me -chan, because I am a girl, so I picked up on that)
That is strange that your character disappear when you post, while mine are completely fine. But, if you still having problems, you can rather put the Japanese in Code tag, in that case it will protect the words without making the post invisible. Just like below: (and read what I wrote please)

Code:
そしてもう一回繰り返す、だ・か・ら、"ちゃん"はやめてくれ。気持ち悪い!
You shouldn't address other people with the suffix "ちゃん" just because the other is female or children.

Japanese people has a habit of addressing people with a honorific title, more correctly speaking the honorific suffix, much like the "Mr.", "Mrs.", "Miss", "Dr.", "Prof.", "Lord", etc in English. In the language of Japanese, there are hundreds of honorific title, that is not only limited to people of the superior, but also to people of the inferior. Hence, each specific honorific suffix should address to a specific class of people, and according to your choice of honorific suffix, your addressing tone may be respectful or sarcastic in the ear of the other. Therefore, when you speak to a Japanese, you must be very careful of what honorific suffix you should use, or else you will give the other person a misinterpretation of insulting.

Let's have a look on some of the common honorific suffix in Japanese:

さん (-san) - This is the most common honorific suffix in Japanese, equivalent to "Mr.", "Mrs.", "Miss" in English. It is not gender specific and regardless of one's marital status, and has a neutral tone, so you can address almost to anyone with this honorific suffix.

くん/君 (-kun) - This is a general honorific suffix used to address the males, usually to the males with ages lower than yourself or social position lower than you, like manager address to his/her male employees. It is also used to address males friends. It is never used to address females, with only one exception of teacher addressing the female student. This honorific suffix has a tone of respectful yet intimacy, so don't use this suffix on strangers.

ちゃん (-chan) - Another common one, which has a diminutive tone used to express the interlocutor is endearing to the speaker, usually to people (or non-human objects) which is cute and/or charming in the eyes of the speaker, like to babies, pets, pre-teen children, girlfriends or female friends, female idols ones loved, or even to one's own grandparent. This honorific suffix is used only among people that is very closed to the speaker, and almost none to males after teens. Because it has a tone of fondness, so if you used it to address to stranger or your superior, you are like belittle the other and being rude.

さま/様 (-sama) - It has a highly respectful tone, used to address people with higher social rank of the speaker, like one's superior in one's workplace. It is also used to address customers and clients in one's business.
BTW, in writings, this honorific suffix will show more respectfulness in Kanji than in Kana, so most often it is written in Kanji.

どの/殿 (-dono) - An old suffix that is now used very seldomly, still seeable in some official documents in writing, but almost none in verbal. It is an old alternative respectful honorific suffix in the same line as さま/様, used to address people of higher rank than the speaker, equivalent to "Lord" in English, but not limited to people of the nobility. It appears quite often in Shonen manga, so I put in here for explanation.

じょう/嬢 (-jou) - A honorific suffix used specifically for unmarried females, equivalent to "Miss" in English. It has a tone of acquaintance, so don't used it against strangers.

These are merely the basic ones. There also exist many honorific suffixes for people in specific professions, but I'll omit those for now.

If you want more information, go have a quick look in the link below:
Japanese honorifics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


After my explanation, do you know the reason why I ask you don't address me with "-chan"?


Actually, a lexicon is not for technical words. A lexicon is like a dictionary except that instead of giving the meanings of words it gives the translation of a word in another language. A good lexicon will have two sections. The first will be to translate language A into language B. The second will be to translate language B into language A.

Some lexicons even have a grammar guide for language in its section. Some lexicons only translate one language (language A→Language B), but the good ones go both ways so you can read the first language and then write in the second.

I think NacCrystal was thinking of a “glossary” which is usually just a section in a technical book to describe technical terms pertaining to the subject.
Sorry I didn't explain it very well, because I just simply look up what does "lexicon" means in the dictionary. After my thorough search, so lexicon is a technical dictionary that explains grammars and language usage of a specific language, is it?

Well, I don't know how far a lexicon is distinct from dictionary, because normal dictionary already have explanations of usage of certain words, including example sentences, that is already more than enough to understand a language.

If you truly wanted to understand a language, why don't you rather go search for language textbooks? That might be better than a lexicon. And in any case, I don't know about anything that called "lexicon", all I used are merely "dictionaries". I have 10 analog dictionaries in three different languages, and 20 electronic ones on my computer, but not one single "lexicon". Sorry I'm not on help.
 
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みさあき

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@NacCrystal

Because you thought I was being mean when in reality I was trying to be friendly? :[

Is Kurisutaru-san okay?

Also I have to say I'm sorry but I didn't understand what you said in the coded block.
 

CrystaI

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@NacCrystal

Because you thought I was being mean when in reality I was trying to be friendly? :[

Is Kurisutaru-san okay?

Also I have to say I'm sorry but I didn't understand what you said in the coded block.
(-_-);......

I just wanted to asked you don't called my with the suffix "-chan", that's all...

By the way, if you wanted to show friendliness to a Japanese person, you can also dropped all the honorific suffix, just called them by their name is fine. No Mr., Mrs., Miss, -san, -chan, -sama, or whatsoever.

My username is NacCrystal, but you can simply called me Crystal, or クリスタル in Japanese, whatever way that seems fine to you.

Well, I see you are not that well with Japanese. In that case, I'm happy to help you on anything about Japanese language.
気軽に話しかけでくださいね。(Kigaru ni hanasi kakede kudasaine)
 

White Phoenix

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The lexicon does not show definitions unless there is no true equivalent in the other language. It is a matter of expediency when you don’t know the language. Later on, while you are learning the language, a dictionary of that language is useful. Dictionaries are written completely in one language, and not very helpful if you don’t understand the language. Kind of like the problem of not knowing how to spell a word and being told to look it up in the dictionary. 8-S

I have decided to learn Japanese eventually, but right now for my projects I need translations of words and looking them up in a book is faster than asking or looking up the translation (and often more accurate) online. It is also less expensive than professional translations, especially if you are only doing words that are not even in sentences (titles of artistic works for example).
 

みさあき

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お前らさん、質問をしたい。

What is the best way to learn all the Kanji? Not just what they are in English.
 

CrystaI

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お前らさん、質問をしたい。

What is the best way to learn all the Kanji? Not just what they are in English.
漢字、ねえ。

Unfortunately I don't know any good way about that.

That is because my home language is one of the Asian language, hence learning Kanji in Japanese is no hell to me.

The only thing about Kanji I knew is that they were actually Chinese characters. So if you wanted to learn the Kanji in Japanese, then it might be better for you to use Chinese as the starting point rather. Go find yourself a Chinese language textbook about how Chinese characters were originated, know about its wording development and evolution history, then you might get a grip of understanding the Kanji in Japanese, and also how to write Kanji. Though, I do have to say, even they use the same character in both Chinese and Japanese, the meaning of many Kanji were not the same in two languages, the same character can actually mean different things in the two respective language.

I'm sorry I'm not that good in explaining Chinese language. Well, even native Japanese students of nowadays found Kanji difficult to learn, so it is not surprising one does not understand a Japanese sentence with Kanji but fully understand it in pure Kana.
 

みさあき

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@NacCrystal
Code:
ああ、あなたは中国人です。そうですか。
たぶん私は、私は文字を降りることができるように広東語を学習することを考えていた。
I was thinking of learning Cantonese for one so that I can learn the characters (side from it being intresting) if I could learn that, maybe Japanese kanji would be easier for me. I know a site that you can get quizzed on it but they only give you the meanings in English. But then to also find out that then kanjis have two readings; onami and kunami.

onami comes from chinese and kunami comes from japanese. (and i don't think i slept them right)
 
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