Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Japanese, general discussion on the language

Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Postby furrykef » Wed 02.18.2009 8:27 am

I actually wanted the title to read "Japanese (or other languages)" rather than just "languages", but I didn't have enough room. ^^;

I study Spanish, Italian, and Japanese, and have no real practical reason at all for learning any of them. Well, Spanish is slightly pragmatic as I do live in the US, and I had three years of it in high school, but I've yet to use it in my daily life beyond watching a TV show in Spanish on occasion. I'm in the video game industry (albeit on the very, very fringe of it at the moment -- I'm not even making money yet), and Japanese could be useful there, but I don't expect any opportunities to use my Japanese to come up for several years at least... which is just as well, since there's no way my Japanese would be good enough until then anyway! And, honestly, I think learning a language for career reasons alone is a mistake. I suppose it can make sense in some situations (especially for learners of English), but generally I think doing what makes you happy is much more important than doing what makes you the most money. Unless making money's what makes you happy, I guess, but I think a lot of people who think having more money would make them happier are mistaken. (If you can't make ends meet, that's one thing, but I'm talking about if you can.) But lemme tell ya, if I needed something other than pure love for Japanese to motivate me to learn it, I'd have given up long ago. I suspect the same is true for most people: this is a really tough language, and the ones who survive are the ones who have a deep desire to learn it just for the sake of learning it -- they may have other reasons (anime, video games, business, culture, whatever), but the deep desire is the reason that makes them succeed.

With Italian, the only practical reason I have is that it's similar to Spanish -- which is admittedly a huge factor in choosing it. It cuts down on the learning time a lot -- learning Spanish is a helluva lot quicker than learning Japanese, and learning Italian a helluva lot quicker still if you have a solid foundation in Spanish! (I can do pretty damn well on freerice's Italian vocabulary quiz just from my knowledge of Spanish.) But I chose Italian 'cause I think there's a reason it's called "la bella lingua". A lot of people think French sounds beautiful... I happen to think it sounds ugly, really (no offense to any French speakers -- I'm sure many think English sounds ugly :P). Italian sounds much more beautiful to me. Even the written language has a certain aesthetic quality to it, even if it does have occasional ugly-looking words like sghignazzare -- although it describes a fairly ugly concept (it means "to laugh scornfully"), so maybe it's fitting that it's an ugly-looking word.

In addition, I want to learn Latin, Mandarin (and/or Cantonese), Korean, Portuguese, German, Finnish, Lojban (an artificial language), and probably others. I know I'm never going to learn any of them to fluency, since of course I'll never have time, although I'll probably end up experimenting with all of them. I think it's actually not that big a deal to learn, say, a thousand words of a bunch of different languages, and that can still take you pretty far, I think. After all, you hit a point where it's more profitable to learn 1000 words of a new language than 1000 more words of a language you already speak.

So who else learns Japanese, or other languages, for the hell of it? :mrgreen:

- Kef
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Postby Kurious » Wed 02.18.2009 10:13 am

At first, I was learning Japanese for no reason other than that I like it. When I first tried a tutorial on Japanese out of pure curiousity, I liked it a lot somehow. For a long time I would just want to learn a little more each time, without wanting to learn a lot. I've been learning slowly because I have no rush or priority. So after 4 years, I only know about 300 kanji and 800 words. I'm sure there are many others who know more in less time but hey, I got no hurry. After some time, I discovered JPop, which I like a lot, and I'm glad that I can sometimes clearly understand a few words here and there when listening.

If I were to learn other languages, they'd be Asian. I'm interested in the Asian culture, and Asian music. I also like it when I can see all these crazy symbols on a page, and yet I can understand a few things. But for now, I will only learn Japanese.

I never saw the Japanese language as difficult. It might be for someone who's trying to master it by lunchtime. I just think it takes longer to learn.
Kurious
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat 03.15.2008 12:33 pm

Re: Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Postby astaroth » Wed 02.18.2009 11:26 am

I tried several times to come up with a reason, or some reasons, for me studying Japanese. With no luck. It's probably because they're so many I don't have any. Hence I think I mostly study Japanese "for the hell of it", as you put it.
I do think it's a really interesting and beautiful language to study, also being not easy adds a challenge part of which I can't, for my nature, resist the call. Also I really do like kanji, and for an inexplicable reason I think Japanese writing is -- without offense -- prettier than Chinese.

furrykef wrote:With Italian, the only practical reason I have is that it's similar to Spanish

The grammar though is not that close. I was quite shocked to learn Spanish has a third of the irregular verbs Italian has, and the subjunctive is used much less frequently than in Italian. That being said, I have Spanish and Latino friends and I can converse quite easily, even though I always found Spanish to be tiring: probably the similarity with Italian makes it a language impossible for me to tune out. (Also I don't really like the sound of it ...)

furrykef wrote:Italian sounds much more beautiful to me.

I don't like the sound of Italian at all! But probably I don't like the sound of any romance language.
I think German is pretty nice to hear (especially the Berlin accent). By the way, speaking of German, I went to visit a friend in Berlin, he's Italian and we were chatting in Italian. When hearing us, his boyfriend told us that to him Italians sound always fighting ... :) I found it pretty amusing
Also Japanese is very pretty.

furrykef wrote:Even the written language has a certain aesthetic quality to it

Really?! I never consider written Italian has any real aesthetic quality ... too many long words!
And as for "sghignazzare" ... it's not exactly the word one would use on a composition :)
A word I've always liked is "sussurro", by the way.

furrykef wrote:In addition, I want to learn Latin

Now really what's up with Americans wanting to learn Latin. Surely it's kind of a nice language, but seriously ... mmm I guess it's because you don't have to study in school for six years straight ... like we do :roll: (one year in Junior High, and all the five years of High School).
ー 流光 ー

   花地世
小  見獄の
林  かの中
一  な上は
茶   の 
User avatar
astaroth
 
Posts: 823
Joined: Mon 12.22.2008 5:08 am
Location: Amherst, MA
Native language: Italiano「伊語」

Re: Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Postby furrykef » Wed 02.18.2009 11:36 am

Yeah, not being required to learn the language really helps. :lol: I never got anywhere with Spanish until a few years after I was forced to learn it in high school. Now I'm almost fluent, although that "almost" is proving to be quite the obstacle.

As for Latin, I think it just has some kind of elegant quality about it. The conjugation and declension are a bit of a pain, though, especially with having to memorize up to four principal parts of every verb. (Agō, agere, ēgī, āctum!) And if you learn the short/long vowel distinction, for some reason it seems to be much more of a pain to memorize in Latin than in Japanese. Maybe it's because Latin has stress and Japanese only has pitch, and the way vowel length and stress interact is often horribly counterintuitive to English speakers. There seems to be no correlation at all between vowel length and stress (except that a long vowel in the penultimate syllable will cause that syllable to be stressed). Long vowels are also more orthographically distinct in Japanese, where you add a whole extra letter, whereas in Latin you add only a macron.

- Kef
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Postby spin13 » Wed 02.18.2009 12:21 pm

While I have quite a few good reasons to study Japanese, the most obvious and important one being I live in Japan, I do study Spanish for no particular reason other than fun. Though it's my native language, I still occasionally study English for fun as well. Though I'm quite happy with 3 languages, and don't particularly have the desire or need for more, I do find the subject interesting. If you look around, there are quite a few sites and resources for aspiring polyglots.

How to Learn Any Language Several of the people below post/moderate at this forum
Dr. Arguelles' Foreign Language Expertise
Steve Kaufman's The Linguist
Stuart Jay Raj's Behind the Curtain
English Learning With various articles by Erik Gunnemark, Amorey Gethin, and Kato Lomb among others.

I believe all the people listed above speak 10+ languages (although some of them, *cough*Arguelles*cough*, are a bit strange). I saw some YouTube videos of a black guy in Ohio that spoke a whole bunch of languages, but it seems they didn't make my bookmarks.
You're probably not as smart as you think.
Unskilled and Unaware
spin13
 
Posts: 481
Joined: Wed 04.06.2005 9:38 pm
Location: Tokyo
Native language: English
Gender: Male

Re: Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Postby ILuvEire » Wed 02.18.2009 3:35 pm

I learned all my languages just for the fun of it. You can see a list here. I learn German at school, but I'm self study in the rest. One star - I can hold a short convo. Two stars - I can hold a long conversation and read articles with moderate dictionary work. Three stars - I can talk extensively about a number of subjects and read articles and novels with minimal dictionary work. Four stars - I can hold in depth conversations about any subject I am knowledgeable in, read articles and novels with no dictionary work.
ILuvEire
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat 02.14.2009 11:39 pm
Location: オーステイン、テキサス州; Austin, Texas
Native language: English; 英語
Gender: Male

Re: Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 02.18.2009 3:39 pm

ILuvEire wrote:I learned all my languages just for the fun of it. You can see a list here. I learn German at school, but I'm self study in the rest. One star - I can hold a short convo. Two stars - I can hold a long conversation and read articles with moderate dictionary work. Three stars - I can talk extensively about a number of subjects and read articles and novels with minimal dictionary work. Four stars - I can hold in depth conversations about any subject I am knowledgeable in, read articles and novels with no dictionary work.


well, if one didn't have to register just to see your list, it would certainly help. I'll not register just for that... :|
User avatar
two_heads_talking
 
Posts: 4137
Joined: Thu 04.06.2006 11:03 am
Native language: English

Re: Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Postby yukamina » Wed 02.18.2009 5:01 pm

I study languages for fun too. I don't have any plans to travel, and I don't know anyone who speaks my target languages...but I'm not very social, so that's okay. I mostly want to enjoy media like novels, TV, manga, etc.
Aside from Japanese, I want to learn Korean, written Chinese, and Spanish. Maybe French in the distant future.
yukamina
 
Posts: 288
Joined: Tue 06.05.2007 1:41 am

Re: Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Postby astaroth » Wed 02.18.2009 9:56 pm

furrykef wrote:As for Latin, I think it just has some kind of elegant quality about it.

Don't get me wrong, I love Latin. But if I hadn't had to study it compulsorily, I would have enjoyed it more, I think.
Also Latin is great to understand few weird things in Italian, like "fare" which looks suspiciously of the first declination but it's instead of the second, hence highly irregular. Speaking of Latin verbs, my all-time favorite is fero, fers, tuli, latum, ferre.
furrykef wrote:especially with having to memorize up to four principal parts of every verb. (Agō, agere, ēgī, āctum!)

Well you have to memorize only the irregular ones, for the rest it follows pretty much a rule. But it might sound not really obvious for native English speakers ...
Also I find it weird the order you put it, I always saw it (both on textbooks and on dictionaries) as indicative present first and second person, indicative perfect, past participle, infinitive.

The way Latin sounds is never stressed in high school classes, unless one has a phycho as Latin professor, who demands Latin poems to be read as classical reading wants it ... which wasn't my case.

And by the way I certainly love Catullus' carmina and all Virgilius's opus. Poetically they're both great, and reading them in Latin is obviously way better than reading them translated ...
ー 流光 ー

   花地世
小  見獄の
林  かの中
一  な上は
茶   の 
User avatar
astaroth
 
Posts: 823
Joined: Mon 12.22.2008 5:08 am
Location: Amherst, MA
Native language: Italiano「伊語」

Re: Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Postby Sairana » Wed 02.18.2009 10:02 pm

I have my reasons, but none of them are practical ones. My family hosted an exchange student from Japan for a year when I was 6 (my siblings were in high school). I grew very attached to her and she left behind a lot of little cultural things that fascinated me well into adulthood. I had wholly believed that a culture that could produce such a perfect "big sister" had to be marvelous and fantastic, so I sort of had the typical idealistic westerner's view of Japan (remember, I was 6, and my brother and sisters were typical... aka MEAN. :P )

I study it now because I've simply always wanted to, and I like to learn things. I used to dislike Chinese for some reason, I didn't think it sounded very good. But then I watched a C-drama to compare it to a Japanese one, and it sort of grew on me. I think I'll tackle Mandarin..... someday. ^_^
Sairana
 
Posts: 709
Joined: Wed 02.27.2008 11:54 pm
Native language: (US) English
Gender: Female

Re: Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Postby furrykef » Thu 02.19.2009 3:32 am

astaroth wrote:Well you have to memorize only the irregular ones, for the rest it follows pretty much a rule. But it might sound not really obvious for native English speakers ...


The problem is knowing which ones are irregular! ;) I suspect it's like Spanish, though, where there are a lot of irregular verbs, but the same kinds of irregularities keep popping up again and again. (For example, the main irregularity in Spanish to worry about is vowel shifting, like poder -> puedo, pedir -> pido, etc. -- get that down and you can conjugate a lot of irregular verbs.) I figure Italian's probably the same way, too...

astaroth wrote:Also I find it weird the order you put it, I always saw it (both on textbooks and on dictionaries) as indicative present first and second person, indicative perfect, past participle, infinitive.


The order I used seems to be the standard order in English texts on Latin. It's used in Wheelock's Latin (a very popular textbook) as well as other resources I've found online. One point of variation I've found is that sometimes the last element is given in the masculine instead of neuter form (which seems more consistent with the usual practice of using the masculine as the default form of every word), but that's a minor detail.

astaroth wrote:The way Latin sounds is never stressed in high school classes, unless one has a phycho as Latin professor, who demands Latin poems to be read as classical reading wants it ... which wasn't my case.


If you're referring to my comment about short/long vowels, probably the biggest arguments for studying them is that it helps you understand phonetic shifts in the Romance languages, and it's also needed for a proper understanding of Classical Latin poetry.

- Kef
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Postby richvh » Thu 02.19.2009 8:19 am

No, he's talking about how the various consonants and vowels are pronounced - whether Classical (as reconstructed from extent letters explaining how to pronounce Latin in terms of Greek and vice versa) or in the Italian tradition (Church Latin is a good example of this.) For instance, in Classical Latin, all c's and g's were hard; in the Italian tradition, they are pronounced as in modern Italian, soft before e's and i's.
Richard VanHouten
ゆきの物語
richvh
 
Posts: 6451
Joined: Thu 09.29.2005 10:35 pm

Re: Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Postby astaroth » Thu 02.19.2009 10:45 am

richvh wrote:No, he's talking about how the various consonants and vowels are pronounced - whether Classical (as reconstructed from extent letters explaining how to pronounce Latin in terms of Greek and vice versa) or in the Italian tradition (Church Latin is a good example of this.)

(Sorry for the bad wording.)
Honestly I was replying to stress and long/short vowel difference in Latin pronunciation, since that's is what is never stressed much in High School. But talking about Classical versus Italian tradition, though for me it's almost obvious that c and g should be pronounced soft before i and e, it always sounded to me weird and pronounced the other way around. Italian tradition is more common in Italy, though there is an unhappy minority who prefers Classical tradition ... (also it makes much more sense when reading Cicero or Virgilius).

furrykef wrote:The problem is knowing which ones are irregular! ;) I suspect it's like Spanish, though, where there are a lot of irregular verbs, but the same kinds of irregularities keep popping up again and again. (For example, the main irregularity in Spanish to worry about is vowel shifting, like poder -> puedo, pedir -> pido, etc. -- get that down and you can conjugate a lot of irregular verbs.) I figure Italian's probably the same way, too...

It's almost like English when strong verbs basically follow some kind of rule.
In Latin strictly irregular verbs, like ferre, are not that many, but many would consider third declination completely irregular since each verb follows its own rule (more or less). Than obviously it's never that irregular verbs follow a purely chaotic declination.
Then the main problem is how to define irregular, for instance in Italy the English strong verbs are usually referred as irregular, because similar to Italian irregular verbs. As far as I know Spanish has less irregularities than Italian, that has less irregularities than Latin. (At least that's what Spanish friends of mine were telling me when they're learning Italian.)

furrykef wrote:One point of variation I've found is that sometimes the last element is given in the masculine instead of neuter form (which seems more consistent with the usual practice of using the masculine as the default form of every word), but that's a minor detail.

Actually now that I think about it, in Italy the past participle is singular masculine nominative ... even though they are practically adjectives.

About Latin grammar. I always found that preposition+declination makes all the uses of Japanese particles look easy ... at least that's my feeling now (then in a couple of month I'll realize that was only the tip of the iceberg ...)
ー 流光 ー

   花地世
小  見獄の
林  かの中
一  な上は
茶   の 
User avatar
astaroth
 
Posts: 823
Joined: Mon 12.22.2008 5:08 am
Location: Amherst, MA
Native language: Italiano「伊語」

Re: Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Postby ILuvEire » Thu 02.19.2009 5:00 pm

two_heads_talking wrote:
ILuvEire wrote:I learned all my languages just for the fun of it. You can see a list here. I learn German at school, but I'm self study in the rest. One star - I can hold a short convo. Two stars - I can hold a long conversation and read articles with moderate dictionary work. Three stars - I can talk extensively about a number of subjects and read articles and novels with minimal dictionary work. Four stars - I can hold in depth conversations about any subject I am knowledgeable in, read articles and novels with no dictionary work.


well, if one didn't have to register just to see your list, it would certainly help. I'll not register just for that... :|


Oh, that's stupid! I didn't know you had to register. >.< In that case:

Image
ILuvEire
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat 02.14.2009 11:39 pm
Location: オーステイン、テキサス州; Austin, Texas
Native language: English; 英語
Gender: Male

Re: Who here studies languages just for the hell of it?

Postby furrykef » Thu 02.19.2009 8:55 pm

Quite a list there. I notice both Esperanto and Volapük... have you looked into Lojban? I think it's an awesome artificial language, though its orthography is admittedly peculiar and rather ugly. I hardly speak a word of it, but it's very fundamentally different from every language spoken today, while still being perfectly human-usable.

- Kef
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Next

Return to Japanese General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests