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Very Basic reading question

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Very Basic reading question

Postby mrfusion » Fri 03.26.2010 11:33 am

I'm in the very early stages of leaning the language and I've got a question about reading.
In English, words are separated by spaces but that doesn't seem to be the case in Japanese.
Here's some text from the Tortoise and the Hare ebook:

あるところにうさぎと亀がいました。

how am I suppose to know that ある is the first word and ところ is the second if there's no spaces between them?

Why isn't it written like this?
ある ところ に うさぎ と 亀 が いました。

What's the best way to approach reading this way?

Forgive me if this is really basic, but it just looks very daunting to see a long line of Hiragana and not know
how to break down each word.
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Re: Very Basic reading question

Postby Sairana » Fri 03.26.2010 2:41 pm

Many children's books do actually use spaces. If yours does not, maybe you should consider a different book.

Japanese sentence parsing is made easier by kanji, particles, and other helper words. When a sentence is mostly kana (e.g. for children), it becomes more difficult but not impossible to read. SimilartotheabilitytoreadwithoutspacesinEnglish. You might stutter over a word or two, but overall it's intelligible.

There's no "best way" to approach reading in all kana when they don't use spaces. The more vocabulary and grammar you have, the less trouble you will have parsing sentences out into something that makes sense. I know it's ある ところ because I can't even imagine what あると ころ might mean.
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Re: Very Basic reading question

Postby mrfusion » Fri 03.26.2010 2:58 pm

Thanks, I figured that might be the answer..
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Re: Very Basic reading question

Postby writebook » Mon 03.29.2010 2:41 am

Ittakespracticetoreadwithoutspacesbutyoucandoit!
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Re: Very Basic reading question

Postby furrykef » Mon 03.29.2010 2:14 pm

Indeed. In fact, I liken learning to understand a spoken language to being able to "read" without "spaces" very quickly. That's why I still have trouble understanding spoken Spanish unless it's spoken slowly and clearly, even though I can read much of it just fine.
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Re: Very Basic reading question

Postby Pork Chop » Fri 04.02.2010 2:02 am

think it might also be interesting to note that あるところに is part of a set pattern that is common in fairytales/物語/昔話:
むかしむかしあるところに [昔々ある所に]

kinda like "once upon a time, in a land far, far away..."
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Re: Very Basic reading question

Postby farly » Wed 04.07.2010 5:09 pm

Pork Chop wrote:think it might also be interesting to note that あるところに is part of a set pattern that is common in fairytales/物語/昔話:
むかしむかしあるところに [昔々ある所に]

kinda like "once upon a time, in a land far, far away..."


Just a small yet not so small thing coming to my attention yet again, kanji making life so much easier. Um yeah. :) Unpopular maybe but to me so true. ;)

If you just have the kana first, period, I would suggest first, read the entire sentence :) Then go for the verb very first, since it gives kinda the happening on the stage of the sentence. Then the particles next. They kinda form a overarching form for certain expressions with other words (あるところ - at that place) Find them next, they are the breathtakers, the intersections in the sentence, and alot of meaning-givers to previous words. From the particle you can often work your way backwards, that is towards the start of the stentence (since they are postparticles, defining, what came before them). Very often, right before them, is a noun, and then a compagnion, as we call it in my language. As such you take compagnon + noun/adjective /whatever + particle = Form to be translated.

If you find verb (end of sentence) particles (floating, may be several) main parts to particles (often nouns) and their compaignons, you are far in reading and comparing. Verb + Particle and its noun and compagnion + maybe more particle noun compagnon groups = build a sentence. My construct is really a bit a crude sentence, but basically works that way. (be prepared for noun can be sometime adjective, and other interchangeables).

Hope this helps. Else sentence me to 17 years of Galeere of explaining japanese sentenence patterns to novices!
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