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Learning Japanese

  1. #1
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    Learning Japanese

    Anyone else learnt/learning a new language? I was always bad at languages at school, ended up dropping French as I didn't get on with it but have decided I'm going to learn a language, so picked probably the hardest one to learn lol. Any tips on how anyone else went about learning would be super!

    So far I know two of their alphabets; Hiragana and Katakana (ひらがなとカタカナ)

    Hiragana (ひらがな) is used for everyday Japanese words and is sometimes written above Kanji (this is called furigana) to help those that can't read the kanji. Katakana (カタカナ) is sharper looking than hiragana and is used for foreign words such as orange (オレンジ) which is changed to orenji to conform to their alphabet, toilet (トイレ) which is changed to toire, or television (テレビ) which is changed to terebi.

    I can say basic things and know some Kanji. Kanji (漢字) literally translates as Chinese character, a single character can represent a whole word, or often a combination of Kanji is required to make a word. A single Kanji can have different readings, they generally have a minimum of two (the Onyomi and Kunyomi; traditional Chinese reading and Japanese reading).

    For example, the Kanji for 'sun' or 'day' 日 can be Nichi (にち) for the Onyomi or Hi (ひ) for the Kunyomi which makes kanji particularly challenging, especially since they can have several different readings for each.

    I can say much of the basic stuff, I know over a thousand words and can make basic sentences such as;



    My cat is black and white; わたしの猫は黒と白です (watashi no neko wa kuro to shiro desu)

    My dog is really small; わたしの犬は本当小さいです (watashi no inu wa hontō chisai desu)

    My snake is very cute; わたしの蛇はとてもかわいいです (watashi no hebi wa totemo kawaii desu)

    or more practical stuff such as where is the train station; 電車の駅はどこですか (densha no eki wa doko desu ka) or Let's go to the restaurant;レストランに行きましょう(resutoran ni ikimashō)

    I'm still no where near conversation level though.

  2. #2
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    I am physicaly unable to learn new languages that require speaking and listening. Even with hearing aids I struggle to understand people speaking English. I can't even say my last name properly - when I say Daily, people ask me to repeat it, and then I have to spell it out. Speech therapy could not completely fix my L sound (which I have to make with the back of my tongue). In short, the only language I am able to learn if ASL.
    Keep your cats safe during the holidays. They deserve a meowy Catmas.

  3. #3
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    Hi Cat001-

    If I'm not mistaken, "black and white" is a set phrase in Japanese, and is usually written as "white black" (shirokuro). I think most people would say 私の猫は白黒です. But I could be wrong. I lived in Japan for four and a half years, but it was a long time ago, from 1989-1994. Google is translating わたしの猫は黒と白です as "My cats are black and white." (more than one cat) which seems to make sense. But of course google translate often produces nonsense. :- )

    Catmom, I briefly started a beginner ASL course when I lived in New York, but wimped out and quit after only three meetings, because I was not prepared for the exaggerated facial expressions that the teacher said were necessary. I wish I had persevered, but I was busy with too many things at the time, so I just pushed the red button. :- (

    -DF

  4. #4
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    Yes, I have come across that as a set phrase and is probably more correct but both can be understood. I should probably use shirokuro instead of separating them but I like to be awkward I think lol. Even with English I tend to be more long winded then I need to be :P Japanese doesn't seem to have singulars or multiples so it seems to be the context that determines weather the speaker is talking about 1 or more of something, but I'm not sure specifically if shirokuro is an exception.

    Out of curiosity what part of Japan did you live in? Have visited the country recently myself, great place!



    I would love to learn sign language CatMom, I was actually looking into it when I was first looking into languages but decided trying to learn two things at once was too much for me lol.

  5. #5
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    Are you saying in Japanese it is always the same word order regardless regardless of the cat's coat pattern, as opposed to "black and white" for tuxedos and "white and black" for vans?
    Keep your cats safe during the holidays. They deserve a meowy Catmas.

  6. #6
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    Yes, CatMom- it's arbitrary but set. Some other languages also say "white and black", not "black and white". Similarly, some languages use "father and mother" as a set phrase, rather than the more English "mother and father".

    Cat001- I lived in Oyama-shi, Tochigi-ken for one year, moved to Tokyo for one year, and then returned to Oyama for another 2.5 years.

  7. #7
    I'm learning Spanish because I have to study a language in high school. Can't say much yet though.

    Amo perros y gatos. Perros y gatos son buenas mascotas. Alguien mas habla espanol?


    I love dogs and cats. Dogs and cats make good pets. Does anyone else speak Spanish?

    I do a podcast about pets with my sister called: FurBalls & DogBones - A great resource for all things pets!
    Help all the pets you can!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Furballs&dogbones View Post
    I'm learning Spanish because I have to study a language in high school. Can't say much yet though.

    Amo perros y gatos. Perros y gatos son buenas mascotas. Alguien mas habla espanol?


    I love dogs and cats. Dogs and cats make good pets. Does anyone else speak Spanish?
    My sister took Spanish through high school and tried to test out of it when she entroled at Ohio State. (I was surprised she failed it.)

    OTOH one of my mom's friends married a Mexican man, taught Spanish, and became a Spanish interpreter after retiring. If I still lived in central Ohio, she would be my go-to Spanish teacher for a future trip to Spain.
    Keep your cats safe during the holidays. They deserve a meowy Catmas.

  9. #9
    I do a podcast about pets with my sister called: FurBalls & DogBones - A great resource for all things pets!
    Help all the pets you can!

  10. #10
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    I like french. But I can not speak it yet. I am planing to learn in the next few years.

  11. #11
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    I will never be able to read French. No matter how many times people tell me hors devores is pronounced or-DERVZ I always think, "Horz deVORZ." It is one of those things you can't coach someone out of with repetition.

    Grrr, I can't even spell it right.
    Keep your cats safe during the holidays. They deserve a meowy Catmas.

  12. #12
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    I know French is hard. But It can be learned.(I hope)

  13. #13
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    Another hard one is German. If there are two dots over a vowel (punctuation called and umlaut), the sound is different. I took/ a river cruise last year that embarked in Switzerland and included two seperate port calls in Germany. It was impossible to not think U with an umlaut soiunds the same as U wihtout an umlaut, etc. Sometimes it did, other times not.
    Keep your cats safe during the holidays. They deserve a meowy Catmas.

  14. #14
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    Yes, German is hard to. But French and German are my two favorite languages.

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