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Word usage question

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Word usage question

Postby habs_360 » Sat 12.16.2006 4:59 am

So I've noticed that I am coming across English words that do not seem to have a direct translation into Japanese. Is it better to just put the English word into the sentence, or try to restructure the sentence to use a word that works in Japanese, though this ofter changes the context. I think I just confused myself. Help, anyone.


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RE: Word usage question

Postby paul_b » Sat 12.16.2006 5:19 am

Generally it depends on the words and the context.
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RE: Word usage question

Postby AussieB » Sat 12.16.2006 5:52 am

habs_360 wrote:
Is it better to just put the English word into the sentence, or try to restructure the sentence to use a word that works in Japanese, though this ofter changes the context.
Habs_360 (Maikeru)


It depends what you are trying to achieve.
But if you are trying to speak Japanese naturally, not translate it, then you are best to find a natural Japanese way of expressing the same kind of feeling or concept rather than force a Japanese version of the English sentence you are trying to say.

Japan has a different culture as well as a different language and you cant understand one without learning the other. So rather than asking "How do I say THIS in Japanese" ask "what would be an appropraite things to say in this situation"
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RE: Word usage question

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 12.16.2006 9:27 am

Exactly -- natural Japanese rarely can be produced by translating word-for-word from English. If a word-for-word translation of an English sentence produces something that is even *comprehensible* to a Japanese person you should feel lucky.

Japan has a different culture as well as a different language and you cant understand one without learning the other.


A very true statement! I think people tend to consider "culture" to be things like temples and public bathing, but another type of culture (what some people call "behavioral culture") is very important in learning the language even if you're just interested in reading.
Last edited by Yudan Taiteki on Sat 12.16.2006 9:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Word usage question

Postby habs_360 » Sat 12.16.2006 5:21 pm

Thank you to you all. I think the main problem is I continue to "think" in English while trying to communicate in Japanese. I do allot of the "How do I say THIS in Japanese" like AussieB mentioned.

Thank you again for all your suggestions.

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RE: Word usage question

Postby flammable hippo » Sat 12.16.2006 8:27 pm

Some of the time there might not be a Japanese word that corresponds to the English word you're trying to use. In that case, try using a katakana based version of the word and see how far that gets you. I've been in a few cases where I didn't know the Japanese word for something so I used the katakana English version of it and it turned out that that word has been already adopted by the Japanese as correct. However, I only do this with products and other modern or foreign objects because those are the most likely to not have their own word.
Two muffins were baking in an oven. One turns to the other and says "sure is hot in here." The other replies "AH TALKING MUFFIN!"

二つのマフィンがオーブンで焼かれていた。片方のマフィンがもう一方のマフィンに向かって、"暑いね”と言った。すると、話しかけられたほうのマフィンは"アッ!喋るマフィンだ!”と驚いた。 :)
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