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Konichiwa/Konbanwa

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Konichiwa/Konbanwa

Postby Namsuke » Thu 10.14.2010 10:29 pm

Hello, I've been studying a bit of Japanese (independently) and of course I keep forgetting what I learned cause I don't have any friends that know Japanese. Luckily, it seems this forum is EXACTLY what I need. :D
So... Konichiwa/Konbanwa to everyone! :wave:
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Re: Konichiwa/Konbanwa

Postby Rileyk90 » Fri 10.15.2010 12:19 am

Hi! I'm Riley, I'm fairly new here but haven't posted too much and I have the exact same problem. I also just started my freshman year of college and that just sent my schedule on a downward spiral into total insanity!
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Re: Konichiwa/Konbanwa

Postby chikara » Fri 10.15.2010 3:11 am

TJP e youkoso :)

Namsuke wrote:... Konichiwa/Konbanwa .....

Konnichiwa (こんにちは) :)
Don't complain to me that people kick you when you're down. It's your own fault for lying there
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Re: Konichiwa/Konbanwa

Postby Namsuke » Fri 10.15.2010 12:02 pm

Arigatou! :P

I know a few things about Japanese, like: They don't use question marks, they just add "ka" at the end. (I found it quite interesting...)

And that Japanese is a Subject Object Verb language. While English is a Subject Verb Object language.
E.G. Mr. Tanaka ate an apple = Subject Verb Object (English config.)
Mr. Tanaka an apple ate = Subject Object Verb (Japanese config.)
It was really helpful when trying to understand sentences, though I still can't understand very well since I need a better vocabulary.

I know quite a bit of the numbers: Zero, Ichi, Ni, San, Shi, Go, Roku, Nana, Hachi, Kyuu, Juu
Juu-Ichi, Juu-Ni, Juu-san, Juu-Yon, Juu-go, Juu-Roku, Juu-Nana, Juu-Hachi, Juu-Kyuu
Ni-Juu-Ichi, Ni-Juu-ni, Ni-Juu-San...

Also, at the beginning I started learning Katakana, Hiragana and Kanji. But then I thought, "I don't even know how to speak Japanese, so why am I trying to read it?" I mean... The first thing a baby learns is to speak the language, then at school they teach him/her how to read, am I right? So I figured it should be the same with any other language. But since I don't live in Japan or any other Asian country. I believe Romaji is the next best thing. So I don't really want to focus of the Japanese Symbols yet. First I want to be able to speak the language. Also, it seems that the Spanish pronunciation of words, is the closest to Japanese. I found this very advantageous since I myself know how to speak Spanish.

Furthermore, I've been studying the verb conjugations. Interesting how Japanese only uses Past and Present tense; Present tense referring to both present and future. As I mentioned earlier, I have forgotten. xD
Cause I didn't have anyone to practice with. I remember that past negative was something like demashite... And that there are 3 groups.

Group 1: Those that end in ~u
Group 2: Those that end in ~Iru and ~Eru
Group 3: Suru and Kuru (I'm not sure about Kuru.. I forget.. xP)
I know there are some exceptions somewhere in those groups... but I didn't learn them.

Also, I know that the indefinite form or dictionary form of the verbs end in ~u.

Well... I'm afraid that's all that comes to mind at the moment... I just wanted you all to have an idea of my level and understanding relating to the Japanese Language and what I'm trying to accomplish at the moment. I hope you guys can help me. :3

Anyway, quick question...
If my memory serves right. Kanji is mostly or completely Chinese Symbols, or of origin. What are the major differences between Chinese and Japanese? I am aware that one can tell the difference in the pronunciation...
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Re: Konichiwa/Konbanwa

Postby micahcowan » Mon 10.18.2010 1:53 am

Welcome, Namsuke!

Namsuke wrote:I know a few things about Japanese, like: They don't use question marks, they just add "ka" at the end. (I found it quite interesting...)


Mostly true. However, sometimes both か and a question mark are used, and sometimes just the question mark (as in English).

Also, at the beginning I started learning Katakana, Hiragana and Kanji. But then I thought, "I don't even know how to speak Japanese, so why am I trying to read it?" I mean... The first thing a baby learns is to speak the language, then at school they teach him/her how to read, am I right? So I figured it should be the same with any other language. But since I don't live in Japan or any other Asian country. I believe Romaji is the next best thing. So I don't really want to focus of the Japanese Symbols yet. First I want to be able to speak the language.


I strongly advise against this. Practicing Japanese via romaji will just postpone the inevitable, and can lead to bad habits.

Rid yourselves of any ideas about trying to learn the Japanese language the same way the Japanese do. You can't do it; to learn their way you have to be constantly immersed in a Japanese environment (though you should strive to achieve that as much as possible anyway); more importantly, a child is allowed to make a child's mistakes, using downright rude and discourteous language styles, which even an adult foreign learner would not be excused - this is one of the hazards of learning Japanese by simply imitating what you hear - until you're familiar with politeness and formality levels, imitating the Japanese you hear can be very offensive if you don't know what you're doing. Case in point: the word "ore" which you may hear casually spoken all the time spoken by males to mean "I", and which is probably one of the most frequently-occurring words in the language, at least in certain contexts, is generally never taught to foreign students until they reach fairly advanced stages, because it is considered the height of rudeness (to the point of starting a fight, I'm told) when used in inappropriate contexts. A child would be given much more leeway to use this word than an adult, even if they're obviously new to the language.

A Japanese student, at least officially, doesn't achieve even basic literacy until they've finished highschool - after nearly a decade of schooling! You needn't take that long to learn the fundamental kanji, nor should you feel obliged to study the kanji in the same way they do - they start out with an already-excellent understanding of the spoken language, and are constantly exposed to both the spoken and written language literally everywhere they go. They can learn each given kanji character in its entirety, one by one - pronunciation (sometimes more than 10 ways to pronounce a given kanji, depending on its context!), its meaning, and how to write it, all at once. They can do this because they already know all the words in which the kanji is used, and will almost instantly comprehend the compounds in which this character can be used - the only remotely difficult thing for them to learn is the way to write it. A foreign language learner attempting to do the same will have an enormously more difficult task. I used to try it - I just can't do it (Heisig's Remembering the Kanji helped me a great deal to separate the learning of the written characters from learning when and where to use them, and how to pronounce them - note however that that method is very controversial, and I don't want to get into a flamewar about it here; do your own research about it).

Most importantly, unless you're living in Japan (or a Japanese community), it is much easier to readily obtain written Japanese material for practicing reading, than it is to obtain constant exposure to spoken Japanese. It may not be wise to jump into real-world Japanese until you've gained a certain degree of proficiency in the language (at the very least, halfway through a good grammar textbook - you'll certainly need to have a solid grasp on both semi-formal ("-masu/-mashita") and casual Japanese (plain forms)), but you'll never be able to avail yourself of any of the vast stores of written Japanese available to you on the web until you've mastered the kana (both hiragana and katakana - I actually recommend you start with hiragana rather than katakana: katakana lets you read and understand English-origin words, which "feels" more useful to a beginner, but most of Japanese is written using hiragana, so you'll gain the greatest advantage by learning it first). Once learned, they're also pretty sufficient for diving into Japanese: if you can install a helper plugin such as "rikaichan" (for Firefox) which shows you the dictionary entry for whatever word you hover over, then you can decipher the unknown kanji you encounter, and focus on vocabulary.

Also, it seems that the Spanish pronunciation of words, is the closest to Japanese. I found this very advantageous since I myself know how to speak Spanish.


Yes, their pronunciation can be similar in some ways - but don't let that lull you into a false sense of complacency. They also differ significantly in various respects. Listen closely for the differences, especially for subtle differences between the vowels, and in the Japanese pronunciation of the syllable "n". And while in many contexts they sound the same, the Japanese "r" is hardly ever rolled as in the Spanish initial or doubled "r".

Furthermore, I've been studying the verb conjugations. Interesting how Japanese only uses Past and Present tense


While it's true that Japanese lacks a separate conjugation to express a "future tense", it's not really correct to say there's only "past and present tenses". There are several other conjugations, including at least a couple that are used to express ideas that don't really have their own conjugation in English.

And that there are 3 groups.

Group 1: Those that end in ~u
Group 2: Those that end in ~Iru and ~Eru
Group 3: Suru and Kuru (I'm not sure about Kuru.. I forget.. xP)
I know there are some exceptions somewhere in those groups... but I didn't learn them.


Be careful: just because a verb ends in ~iru or ~eru, doesn't automatically make it a "group 2" verb; it just can't be in group 2 unless it does end that way. For instance, "shiru" and "hashiru" end in ~iru, but are "group 1" verbs (masu forms are "shirimasu" and "hashirimasu", not "shimasu" and "hashimasu"); and there are "eru" verbs in both groups ("emasu" -> "obtains/acquires", "erimasu" -> "sculpts/chisels"). I assume "Group 3" is a catch-all for irregular verbs; in that case, it would have to include other verbs as well, such as "gozaru" and "kudasaru". And possibly "da/desu" (the copula "to be"), depending on whether one considers that to be a proper verb.

Did a textbook teach you these "groups one through three"? You will not see them referenced in that way elsewhere. The usual way I see them differentiated is as "godan" (group 1) and "ichidan" (group 2) verbs (meaning "five columns" and "one column", respectively), since the final part of what you call a group 1 verb will change to other vowel "columns" within the same "row" of syllables, depending on conjugation, while a group 2 verb always keeps the same stem no matter what you put after it. Some older texts I've seen sometimes refer to verbs that "end in a consonant" versus those that "end in a vowel", with the same basic reasoning; but it's a very alphabet-centric way of viewing it, which doesn't correspond neatly with the Japanese way of thinking about it (they're not going to think of the base form of the verb "hashiru" as being "hashir-", with different possible vowels after it).

Anyway, quick question...
If my memory serves right. Kanji is mostly or completely Chinese Symbols, or of origin. What are the major differences between Chinese and Japanese? I am aware that one can tell the difference in the pronunciation...


Japanese got an infusion of Chinese characters at multiple different times, all many hundreds of years in the past. The meanings of some of those characters have changed over the years, often quite a bit, so that modern Chinese uses them in quite different ways than they are used in Japanese. And of course even in Japanese they've changed meanings sometimes, too. The Japanese language has an extensive supply of compound words that they obtained directly from Chinese (in addition to a large number of Japanese-origin words that are built up of Chinese-origin sounds). Sometimes you'll see the same combination of characters in both Japanese and Chinese; often these have the same meaning in both languages, but sometimes they'll have a completely different meaning.

The biggest difference, to me, is that in Chinese, with very few exceptions (at least in the most common subsets of the Chinese language), a given character will always be pronounced the same way every time you see it. Chinese vocabulary are all built from these characters, and whenever you see a new word, even if you're not certain of the meaning (though the characters themselves usually give big hints), you know how to pronounce it.

In contrast, Japanese may often have many different pronunciations for the same character. Most characters only have one or maybe two Chinese-origin ("on") readings, and a small number of Japanese-origin ("kun") readings; but in quite a few cases, there are several possible pronunciations for a given character, all depending on the context in which it appears. Many characters also have multiple (usually related) meanings. For instance, the character 生 can be pronounced "sei" or "shou" ("on" readings), or "i(kiru)", "u(mareru)", "ha(eru)", "nama", "na(ru)", or "mu(su)" ("kun" readings)... and then there's a whole other set pronunciations it might have when it occurs as part of the name of a place or person. Its meaning can be any of "life", "breathe", "being born", "grow", or "fresh". (Don't panic - 生 is a fairly extreme case, and context (particularly, the kana characters that may follow it, known as "okurigana") usually makes both the reading and the meaning abundantly clear.)

Sometimes, a kanji character may even be used in a compound to express only its meaning, and none of its usual pronunciations. For instance, 今 is usually pronounced "kon" or "ima"; but when it appears in the word 今日 ("kyou" - "today"), it doesn't use either of those pronunciations, and you can't even separate what part of "kyou" is for the 今 and which is for the 日: it's a single, essentially indivisible word, whose meaning of "today" is formed by the meanings of the two characters ("now" + "day" = "today"), and receives the usual Japanese pronunciation for the word expressed by that idea, rather than any word derived from the sounds of those characters.

Another important difference is that, especially with verbs, many Japanese words can't be expressed with just the kanji alone - it must be accompanied with hiragana in order to complete the word (and, as mentioned previously, the hiragana then helps to identify which word that character is a part of). In Chinese, of course, all words are made up entirely of Chinese characters.

There are many instances of Japanese words where the same word might be written using different Japanese characters, depending on the usage. One example would be the verb "tomaru/tomarimasu", which has the basic meaning "to stop"; however, if you mean "stop at a red light", you would use the kanji 止, whereas if you meant "stop at a friend's house for the night", you'd use 泊. This is obviously something else that distinguishes the use of Chinese characters in Japanese from Chinese.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Konichiwa/Konbanwa

Postby Namsuke » Tue 10.26.2010 4:17 pm

Thank you very much, your post was VERY informative and clear. :P
I guess should start learning Hiragana... xD
Also, sorry I haven't been very active, but I can't seem to find time.. xP
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Re: Konichiwa/Konbanwa

Postby chikara » Tue 10.26.2010 8:55 pm

Learning hiragana is a good place to start.

ganbatte :)
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Re: Konichiwa/Konbanwa

Postby Namsuke » Tue 10.26.2010 10:48 pm

Does ganbatte mean goodluck? xP Well thank you guys for your support. :P I'm positive that I have chosen the right Japanese forum. xD

Edit: How do I write in Japanese my keyboard?
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Re: Konichiwa/Konbanwa

Postby chikara » Tue 10.26.2010 11:18 pm

Namsuke wrote:Does ganbatte mean goodluck? xP Well thank you guys for your support. :P I'm positive that I have chosen the right Japanese forum. xD ...

ganbatte (がんばって) is an expression of encouragement.

From WWWJDIC;
頑張って 【がんばって】 (exp) hold on; go for it; keep at it;

Namsuke wrote:... How do I write in Japanese my keyboard?

See Questions about using Japanese on my computer.
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Re: Konichiwa/Konbanwa

Postby Namsuke » Tue 10.26.2010 11:54 pm

Thanks! xP But I seem to be able to use only Katakana... T_T
タテイスカンナニラゼ゚チトシハキクマノリレケツサソヒコミモネルメヌフアウエオヤユヨワ
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Re: Konichiwa/Konbanwa

Postby chikara » Wed 10.27.2010 12:06 am

Namsuke wrote:Thanks! xP But I seem to be able to use only Katakana... T_T
タテイスカンナニラゼ゚チトシハキクマノリレケツサソヒコミモネルメヌフアウエオヤユヨワ

Are you running WIndoze and if so which version?

Language bar keyboard shortcuts

With the Windows XP Japanese IME there seem to be only four keyboard shortcuts.

Control + Shift or left ALT + Shift: This switches between IME languages (ie. between English & Japanese, and back again).

Alt + CapLocks: This shortcut switches to katakana input mode.

Control + CapLocks: This shortcut switches to hiragana input mode.

Alt + ~ : This switches between the current input mode and the English (Latin script -- direct input) mode within the Japanese IME.
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Re: Konichiwa/Konbanwa

Postby Setaceau » Wed 10.27.2010 12:15 pm

Hello,
I also think starting from Hiragane is the best way. Because if you want to input Kanji
with your IME. You will type Hiragana and push space-bar several times to find the
target Kanji. And when you type Hiragane, you will use Romaji (Roman letter) system.
If you continue this boring tasks, you will study relations of Hiragana and Romaji.
Unbelievably, about 95% Japanese use the Romaji input method. I mean Japanese use
customized keyboard for Japanese, but they don't use Hikagana Keys to input Hiragana
(e.m. in case of inputting こんにちは, they type konnichiha using alphabets).
Therefore you don't need to buy Japanese keyboard.
Anyway, Katakana also useful. Because if you find Katakana in Japanese sentences,
it will be foreign country word for Japanese. Japanese has translated foreign unknown
words to Katakana. And many Katakana words are based in English. I mean if you can
read Katakana, you can guess the mean easily.
In addition, Japanese pronunciation is very flat. No stress except getting angry or
emotional special case. And especially, when Japanese read book well aloud, they
read it like no emotional way. Unfortunately, I have no recommendable audiobook
to study Japanese.
But still you can find some free or commercial Audio data. But to be careful, free
version might be old style Japanese. Out of the life of copyrighted books could be
little bit old.
But if you remenber old Japanese, it will not bother you. You can try get audio data
casually. Sorry I don't know where the data is, because I'm a native Japanese and
I always search English audiobooks but not Japanese.
Last edited by Setaceau on Fri 10.29.2010 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Konichiwa/Konbanwa

Postby Namsuke » Wed 10.27.2010 4:11 pm

Thank you guys for the replies xP I was thinking of using my normal English keyboard but have Kanji, Katana, and Hiragana as options to write. I just know it'll help me learn faster...

BTW, I'm using Windows 7...
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Re: Konichiwa/Konbanwa

Postby ss » Thu 10.28.2010 10:13 pm

Setaceauさん、TJPへようこそ。はじめまして、どうぞよろしくお願いします。
すみませんが、タイポを直してもいいですか。
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Re: Konichiwa/Konbanwa

Postby Setaceau » Fri 10.29.2010 10:01 am

こちらこそ よろしくお願いいたします。
タイポ=typographerですね。もちろん直していただいて構いません。

I'm not good at English. I always make some mistakes. I'm sorry.
I study English with coworkers. Our teachers are native English speakers.
Therefore if I have some questions, I can ask them casually.
But, I still want to do actual practice in English. Because, I need to explain
my costumers of something I know.
TJP is a chereful place for me. Thank you.
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