how con you tell where a word ends?

Japanese, general discussion on the language
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Casey09
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how con you tell where a word ends?

Post by Casey09 » Tue 07.10.2007 3:37 pm

I have a Japanese pen pal and she writes me letters but I'm having alot of trouble telling where the words end and begin. Can you please help me?
*-Casey-*

ruisu81
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RE: how con you tell where a word ends?

Post by ruisu81 » Tue 07.10.2007 3:42 pm

When I see a bunch of hiragana strung together, I have the same problem sometimes. I think this will go away as we learn more words and sentence patterns...

Why don't you post what's confusing you?

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Mike Cash
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RE: how con you tell where a word ends?

Post by Mike Cash » Tue 07.10.2007 3:51 pm

Ask your friend to put spaces in the letter. It isn't normal practice, but it would be the kind and helpful thing for her to do and I feel sure she would cooperate.
Never underestimate my capacity for pettiness.

Casey09
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RE: how con you tell where a word ends?

Post by Casey09 » Tue 07.10.2007 3:51 pm

ok she's younger so writes mostly in hiragana this is what some of it looks like.
わたしのじこしょうかいをします。 and it has more and i can read it. it takes me a while to figure out where it ends and begins.
*-Casey-*

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Hatori
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RE: how con you tell where a word ends?

Post by Hatori » Tue 07.10.2007 3:53 pm

Casey09 wrote:
I have a Japanese pen pal and she writes me letters but I'm having alot of trouble telling where the words end and begin. Can you please help me?
I've never had the guts to ask such a simple, but somewhat irritating question. :o
~ハトリ~

Casey09
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RE: how con you tell where a word ends?

Post by Casey09 » Tue 07.10.2007 3:54 pm

thank you I will suggest that she do that
*-Casey-*

ruisu81
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RE: how con you tell where a word ends?

Post by ruisu81 » Tue 07.10.2007 4:03 pm

Hmm...I guess if she is purposely avoiding kanji you could type what she writes and let the IME convert it to kanji. Here's how the IME interprets it:
私の自己紹介をします

JDICT is a beginner friendly dictionary I like. You can enter unknown kanji in there to see what it may mean.

Often の、(and always I guess) を、and many other particles indicate the end of a word.
Last edited by ruisu81 on Tue 07.10.2007 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Casey09
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RE: how con you tell where a word ends?

Post by Casey09 » Tue 07.10.2007 4:10 pm

I never thought of using the IME thanks
*-Casey-*

CajunCoder
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RE: how con you tell where a word ends?

Post by CajunCoder » Tue 07.10.2007 6:48 pm

It might be better to ask her to use kanji instead. At you're level, you probably need to look up words a lot anyway. Kanji will help you tell where words start/end, and you'll get good reading practice.

As you become more familiar with grammar and your vocabulary grows you won't have much of a problem with recognizing where words begin/end.

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Yudan Taiteki
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RE: how con you tell where a word ends?

Post by Yudan Taiteki » Tue 07.10.2007 7:56 pm

I agree with CC - if your Japanese is at the level where you have to look up the majority of the words in a dictionary to read the e-mail, just have her use kanji. It will be easier for you to make the words out and look them up.
-Chris Kern

richvh
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RE: how con you tell where a word ends?

Post by richvh » Tue 07.10.2007 8:54 pm

Particularly if the messages are email. Just cut and paste into WWWJDIC (or using thunderbird, install and activate rikaichan.)

It might be different if the letters come by snail mail. But even then, looking up kanji (by radicals, skip or whatever) is still usually quicker and cheaper in an online (WWWJDIC) or offline (JWPce, Wakan, IME pad) dictionary than in a kanji dictionary.
Richard VanHouten
ゆきの物語

ruisu81
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RE: how con you tell where a word ends?

Post by ruisu81 » Tue 07.10.2007 10:03 pm

I think the reason it's in hiragana is because the penpal is a child and doesn't know enough kanji yet.

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Yudan Taiteki
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RE: how con you tell where a word ends?

Post by Yudan Taiteki » Tue 07.10.2007 10:48 pm

It's probably the reverse -- I seriously doubt the OP's penpal is a 6 year old child.
-Chris Kern

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tanuki
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RE: how con you tell where a word ends?

Post by tanuki » Tue 07.10.2007 11:01 pm

It might be different if the letters come by snail mail. But even then, looking up kanji (by radicals, skip or whatever) is still usually quicker and cheaper in an online (WWWJDIC) or offline (JWPce, Wakan, IME pad) dictionary than in a kanji dictionary.
Or you could ask her to write in kanji with furigana. Looking them up would be easy as pie.
僕の下手な日本語を直してください。

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Infidel
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RE: how con you tell where a word ends?

Post by Infidel » Tue 07.10.2007 11:10 pm

Yea, Japanese assume that since kana makes it easier for children to read that it makes it easier for foreigners to read as well. Just ask the person to write normally so you can look up the words easier and tell where the words end.
なるほど。
さっぱりわからん。

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