Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - Important points when writing in Japanese

Important points when writing in Japanese

Japanese, general discussion on the language

Important points when writing in Japanese

Postby keatonatron » Sun 04.09.2006 3:42 am

Here are some important things to keep in mind when writing Japanese on this forum. This is a mental list I have compiled while reading people's posts and Japanese practice.

Point one: Kanji

Do not greet everyone with "今日は".
Kanji is cool. We all want to use kanji because it looks more smart. IME is great, because you don't have to know how to write the kanji to use it. The problem is, there are some words that simply don't use kanji. One of them is こんにちは. Yes, an obscure reading of 今日 is "こんにち", but 99.9% of Japanese readers will see 今日 and think きょう. I can't count the times I've stumbled upon "今日は!" and thought "Today is... Today is what? What is this person saying about today? I'm so confused..."

The best rule is, only use kanji you know how to write. If you can't follow that, the next best rule is only use kanji you know how to read. If you can't do that, then you should at least only use kanji in a way you've seen it used before (by native Japanese writers). Since こんにちは is never written as "今日は", you should never make the mistake of misusing the kanji like this.

Other words that usually don't use kanji:
すごい
どこ
すぐ
なる
する
いる
ある
-みたい (looks like)
-てほしい


Point two: Politeness

In Japanese, an exremely important thing to learn is politeness levels. Many people think if they don't go to Japan, they don't need to worry about politeness. However, it's such an important part of the language and culture that you would be doing yourself a great injustice by overlooking it. Your friends probably wouldn't notice the difference, but when communicating with a Japanese person, your politeness levels will be very evident and can affect the relationship as such. I'm not even Japanese, but whenever I see the wrong politeness levels used it definately affects my feelings (i.e. when someone I thought was a close friend uses distanced speech, or someone I don't know at all speaks very informally, I feel a bit put off).

A quick overview:
-- Friends: In e-mails and MSN conversations with friends, informal/plain form is fine. Feel free to use any slang or contractions you want.

あのさぁ、昨日けんちゃんが俺んちに来たんだよ。

-- Acquaintances: In e-mails and MSN conversations with people you don't really know (i.e. penpals, people you met on this site, etc.) you need to speak politely. Even if you feel like you have a very friendly relationship, this politeness is very important. Keigo (very polite speech) is usually only learned by advanced students, but that fact is known by just about everyone :D Just using the polite form and choosing humble words will go a long way.

こんにちは。最近元気でしたか?今日学校が休みでしたから、私は友達と遊びました。

-- Public: When posting messages on this forum, you are addressing the public (i.e. the whole world). We are all friends here, and the highest form of keigo you can throw together is very much an overkill, but speaking informally, like you would to a close friend, is inappropriate. As I sort of mentioned before, I have often come accross posts by people I haven't heard from before, directed at everyone, using informal speech. Reading these makes me think "I don't know you, why are you talking down to me? You must not have much experience speaking Japanese." Aside from making people enjoy your writings more, speaking more politely will make your Japanese abilities appear much more skillful. The writing style for this is very similar to #2.

When addressing the public, do not refer to yourself as 俺(ore).

Posting a message on the forum directed at someone you know well and are on an "informal" basis with requires a combination of the forms above. You are still communicating in a public domain, which means informal speech is inappropriate. Formal speech (like #2) is fine, but if you want to convey informality, do so with caution. It is possible to mix forms, but learning how to do so takes some experience. Adding a little bit of formality to the informal makes it good enough for the public, but soft enough for your friend.

私もそう思います!とても面白い。Tonyも説明してくれない?楽しみに待ってます。

For a good example of how to address the public, pay attention to the way Pipin and Coco address various people.

(PipinさんとCocoさん:皆はPさんとCさんのポストに正しい丁寧さを習えると思います。恥ずかしかったら、ごめんなさい!今からも、普通に書いてください)
User avatar
keatonatron
 
Posts: 4838
Joined: Sat 02.04.2006 3:31 am
Location: Tokyo (Via Seattle)
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: Important points when writing in Japanese

Postby coco » Sun 04.09.2006 9:02 am

keatonatronさん。

日本人との意思疎通を図る上で、大変に役に立つ有益な情報だと思います。すばらしい!
特に人間関係にかかわる阜サについては重要だと考えていました。以前、「初対面の人間に対して『お前』と呼んだら、ほとんど喧嘩になるだろう」という別のスレッドの書き込みを見て、非常に親身なアドバイスだと敬服しました。このような貴重なアドバイスができる方の存在は、このサイトの財産であると思います。 (消えてしまったMukadeさんの書き込みも含蓄のあるものでしたので残念です)。
「何?」「何だと?」
「してくれ」「してくれない?」
「したいか?」「したいの?」
「どうしたんだ」「どうしたの?」
「暑いか」「暑いの?」
等々、たった一音の語尾の違いで、なぜこうも感情が変わるのか日本人としても不思議です。(これは私には当たり前のこと過ぎて、このサイトで学ばせていただくまで、疑問を感じたことはありまんせでした)。日本語学習者にとっては不可解なことだらけでしょうが、keatonatronさんのこのスレッドが、そういう質疑応答の場所になり、FAQ のひとつの解答としてまとまれば、すばらしいことだと思います。
いろいろお気遣いいただきありがとうございます。
------------------------
As a Japanese, I think this thread is very helpful/useful especially for self learning people.
I hadn't have a suspicion the reason of why..
・only one ending sound makes us angry.
・君/お前 (addressed you) are allowed among friends, teenager.while not acceptable on the public occasion,and so on..
・ あなたanata, あんたan(n)ta---it certainly makes big difference, although a pronunciation is only little differ.
・etc. etc.

It's very hard to explain ( at least for me ).
It must be "unreasonable/absurd/incongruous/etc." enough for you (even for me), but it is. Also not so many people try to tell you about these very important/ delicate topics, I think. Therefore I believe this thread is very important.

Related threads might be
Usage of 二人称の人代?
絶対におかしい
Bored Japanese Ranting ^_^
Feminine and Masculine Japanese
礼節の問題
Politeness levels
Related articles by clay-san.
The Various Degrees of Politeness
I, me, you, thou...
Last edited by coco on Sun 04.09.2006 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
coco
 
Posts: 3061
Joined: Mon 05.30.2005 12:43 am
Location: 東京都
Native language: 日本語(Japanese)

RE: Important points when writing in Japanese

Postby AJBryant » Sun 04.09.2006 9:58 am

Wonderful!

I think large chunks of that should be made into part of the FAQ, if not the whole thing. It probably should be a sticky, at least.


Tony
User avatar
AJBryant
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5313
Joined: Sun 10.09.2005 11:29 am
Location: Indiana
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: Important points when writing in Japanese

Postby tanuki » Sun 04.09.2006 3:41 pm

This is great! I have noticed a several lack of politeness in the chatroom (well, at least in the "old" one). I remember the first time someoned called me お前 I thought "what the heck???".
Even though I'm only a beginner, it gets to me when people I don't know start using informal forms and calling me お前. Weird...
僕の下手な日本語を直してください。
User avatar
tanuki
 
Posts: 2302
Joined: Sun 09.25.2005 9:00 pm
Location: South America

RE: Important points when writing in Japanese

Postby sgtkwol » Sun 04.09.2006 3:58 pm

That is some good info, considering some of us noobs will commonly make those mistakes. こんにちは written as kanji always confused me, too, as a beginner. But now I know not to use it in that manner.
If you are in a foreign land where they don't understand your native tongue, just speak louder and slower...in the language that they don't know.
sgtkwol
 
Posts: 126
Joined: Sun 11.27.2005 12:59 am

RE: Important points when writing in Japanese

Postby Christian_ » Sun 04.09.2006 5:49 pm

Thats a nice thread, thanks keatonatron san. I know im guilty of 今日は「こんにちは」 Ill stop that now that I know. Can some one explain what お前 is I know the kanji, but I don't understand what it could mean. I was told 君[きみ」 is a very informal you. Anyway thank you for this thread I think everyone should read this. ;)
Christian_
 
Posts: 399
Joined: Tue 06.21.2005 10:35 pm

RE: Important points when writing in Japanese

Postby kotori » Sun 04.09.2006 6:42 pm

Kurisuchan wrote:
Can some one explain what お前 is I know the kanji, but I don't understand what it could mean. I was told 君[きみ」 is a very informal you.


お前 - omae - informal/rude 'you'
君 - informal/intimate 'you'
kotori
 
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed 04.05.2006 10:46 am

RE: Important points when writing in Japanese

Postby Sachi » Sun 04.09.2006 8:47 pm

Great idea, keatonatron-san :)

I agree with Tony-san at making it a sticky, if not more.
User avatar
Sachi
 
Posts: 640
Joined: Tue 10.18.2005 4:12 pm

RE: Important points when writing in Japanese

Postby keatonatron » Mon 04.10.2006 2:55 am

kotori wrote:
Kurisuchan wrote:
Can some one explain what お前 is I know the kanji, but I don't understand what it could mean. I was told 君[きみ」 is a very informal you.


お前 - omae - informal/rude 'you'
君 - informal/intimate 'you'


As I pointed out in another thread: In the wrong situation, "お前" is a fightin' word. Go to Japan and use it with people you don't know and you just might get yourself beat up.

One thing Coco pointed out in her post above, learning politeness is very important, because there are very small differences between saying something in a way that will get a good response and saying it in a way that will make the other person angry (note Coco's examples). お前, used in the proper situation, is a perfectly normal, common word. In the wrong situation, it can get you into a lot of trouble.
User avatar
keatonatron
 
Posts: 4838
Joined: Sat 02.04.2006 3:31 am
Location: Tokyo (Via Seattle)
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: Important points when writing in Japanese

Postby redfoxer » Fri 05.19.2006 6:56 am

great work keatonatronsan, this should be sticky'ed (or stuck). btw, you mention naru, you meant this naru? 成る? i know it isnt written in kanji in phrases such as nakereba narimasen, but what about other sentences, such as you ni narimasu/narimashita? i too rely too much on IME so it would be nice to know.
Last edited by redfoxer on Fri 05.19.2006 6:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
日本語はとても面白いと思いますよ!私は日本語が大好きです!
User avatar
redfoxer
 
Posts: 291
Joined: Wed 03.02.2005 6:09 pm

RE: Important points when writing in Japanese

Postby hungryhotei » Fri 05.19.2006 7:03 am

Your IME actually tells you when you use Kanji. You know those little speech bubbles that bring up the explanation for each one?
Anyway, the IME says to use 成る only when it has the meaning of 出来上がる. This means 98% of the time it will be in kana, like ようになる. I liked this example it gave: ローマは一日にして成らず
Last edited by hungryhotei on Fri 05.19.2006 7:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
hungryhotei
 
Posts: 1067
Joined: Wed 04.12.2006 5:06 am
Location: Germany
Native language: English

RE: Important points when writing in Japanese

Postby redfoxer » Fri 05.19.2006 7:06 am

intresting, cheers hoteisan :D second time this week you've helped me out :D
日本語はとても面白いと思いますよ!私は日本語が大好きです!
User avatar
redfoxer
 
Posts: 291
Joined: Wed 03.02.2005 6:09 pm

RE: Important points when writing in Japanese

Postby TrilinguisT » Fri 05.19.2006 11:13 am

i hope none of this was directed at me :(
User avatar
TrilinguisT
 
Posts: 565
Joined: Sun 03.05.2006 11:48 pm

RE: Important points when writing in Japanese

Postby Seijiro Hiko » Fri 05.19.2006 11:51 am

Guilty as charged but....I still like to use the kanji for
 こと : 事
いる : 居る
ある : 有る

Am I wrong? :(

as far as politeness in verb choice, is it more polite to use the -ます form.
I'm pretty sure it is, but I've become much more acquainted using the other form. -ru, tsu, ku, gu, bu, etc... (is it called formal form?). and I've found that I'm much more comfortable with it.

In any case, I'll be sure to try and be more polite.
どうもありがとうございます!:D
Seijiro Hiko
 
Posts: 147
Joined: Sat 09.17.2005 11:23 pm

RE: Important points when writing in Japanese

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 05.19.2006 1:02 pm

今日は let me bring this back to the subject or original topic.. i know some would say this is konnichi wa but isn't this also kyoo (for today)?
User avatar
two_heads_talking
 
Posts: 4137
Joined: Thu 04.06.2006 11:03 am
Native language: English

Next

Return to Japanese General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest