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Newbie the alphabet

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Newbie the alphabet

Postby scarmar » Mon 11.30.2009 11:20 am

Hi I'm newbie here and I started to learn Japanes few days ago, I'd like ask a question, what alphabet I have to learn? Kanji Hiragana oe katakana? could you explain me when I have to use one or another? Thanks
I wanna learn Japanese, please help me up!
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Re: Newbie the alphabet

Postby astaroth » Mon 11.30.2009 11:51 am

Ciao scarmar,
short answer: all of them. There's no way around you need the two syllabaries (hiragana and katakana) and the kanji to read Japanese, but as a starter I'd suggest you study hiragana first, then katakana and once you master those two start tackling kanji.

Comunque ... benvenuto nel forum ed in bocca al lupo nei tuoi studi!
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Re: Newbie the alphabet

Postby scarmar » Mon 11.30.2009 3:06 pm

thanks a lt, maybe you are italian also, but what's the main difference? I guess Kanji is one simble one word? one simble to say home?
I wanna learn Japanese, please help me up!
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Re: Newbie the alphabet

Postby astaroth » Mon 11.30.2009 3:42 pm

Yup Italian too.
I guess you meant the difference between the two syllabaries (hiragana and katakana) and the kanji. The short answer is that hiragana and katakana represent syllabic sounds, that is か is ka, け ke and so on, while kanji are ideogram so "they represent concepts" though this is quite reductive as few words are represented by just one kanji. For instance river is 川 while brook is 小川 (sort of literally little 小さい river 川).
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Re: Newbie the alphabet

Postby Hyperworm » Mon 11.30.2009 4:13 pm

Another important difference is that while a hiragana or katakana character always represents the same sound, the pronunciation (reading) of a kanji can differ depending on the word it's in. For instance, 頭 is read "atama", but in the word 頭脳/zunou it's read "zu". In the word 冒頭/boutou it's read "tou".

You might think that this makes things pretty difficult, but you can think of reading kanji like trying to pronounce unfamiliar words in English, which can be just as tricky. Who could come across words like enough, cough, through, bough for the first time and immediately know how to pronounce them? The pronunciation of the symbols "ough" differs wildly and there's no readily discernible pattern.

To get over this problem, first you learn how to say those words, then you learn they're spelt with "ough" - or, you learn the spelling and the pronunciation of the words at the same time.

You can handle kanji like that too; either you learn the words "atama" and "zunou" and "boutou" and later memorize that they all contain the kanji 頭 - or you learn 冒頭 and its reading at the same time.
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Re: Newbie the alphabet

Postby scarmar » Tue 12.01.2009 7:04 am

thanks averybody, another question how can I type the Japanese simbols on my keyboard?
I wanna learn Japanese, please help me up!
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Re: Newbie the alphabet

Postby phreadom » Tue 12.01.2009 7:14 am

scarmar wrote:thanks averybody, another question how can I type the Japanese simbols on my keyboard?


http://thejapanesepage.com/w/index.php? ... y_computer
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Re: Newbie the alphabet

Postby scarmar » Tue 12.01.2009 7:18 am

thanks, how much time I have to spend to work on japanese for beeing fine? It's just couple days that I started it's tough at starting! I'm using an assimil's book
I wanna learn Japanese, please help me up!
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Re: Newbie the alphabet

Postby astaroth » Tue 12.01.2009 12:16 pm

"Rome wasn't built in a day" (...「ちりも積もれば山となる」でしょうか)
It takes years to master any language, a bit more for something as alien as Japanese. Though the grammar is pretty straightforward and no declinations, almost no irregular verbs. Take one step at a time ...
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Re: Newbie the alphabet

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 12.01.2009 11:15 pm

astaroth wrote:"Rome wasn't built in a day" (...「ちりも積もれば山となる」でしょうか)


ローマは一日にして成らず

:)
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Re: Newbie the alphabet

Postby astaroth » Wed 12.02.2009 3:42 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:ローマは一日にして成らず

:shock:
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一  な上は
茶   の 
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Re: Newbie the alphabet

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 12.02.2009 11:05 pm

Of course that's taken from Western languages but it should be in most Japanese dictionaries.
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Re: Newbie the alphabet

Postby Ben Bullock » Thu 12.17.2009 4:30 am

scarmar wrote:Hi I'm newbie here and I started to learn Japanes few days ago, I'd like ask a question, what alphabet I have to learn? Kanji Hiragana oe katakana? could you explain me when I have to use one or another? Thanks

Most people learn hiragana first. You might be interested to find out about how Japanese children learn their language to get a hint.
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Re: Newbie the alphabet

Postby nukemarine » Fri 12.18.2009 2:50 am

Just to be contrary, I think one could learn Kanji first (writing and recognition in one's native language), but one can also learn both the kana sets at the same. Recommended path is the "Kanji Lite" variant of Remembering the Kanji (essentially the JLPT 2 kanji and supporting kanji), plus Remembering the Kana. It's about 100 hours of effort, but it does pay off quickly as the kanji in Kanji Lite list account for 89.7% of Kanji used in the Japanese Wikipedia, (based off scans from a few months ago) and likely 100% of whatever early learning material you'll use.
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Re: Newbie the alphabet

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 12.20.2009 6:31 pm

And you can find more information about RTK Lite, SRS, and other helpful stuff over at forum.koohii.com if you choose to pursue that route.
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