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sentance structure

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sentance structure

Postby richpodraza » Thu 12.01.2005 2:37 pm

Hello all,

I am still very much a beginner, I only know the hiragana, some katakana, a short list of words, and some grammar basics, so I hope I am not getting head of myself. I have tried to practice what I have learned so far by reading a few bits of Japanese text online, and also by playing old Japanese NES roms (DQ, FF). I have noticed that unlike English, often in Japanese sentences, words are not separated by spaces. This makes it very hard for me to try to translate, even if it is by looking each individual word up in a dictionary, because I can't tell where one word ends and another begins! Does anyone have any advice for beginners trying to learn Japanese to overcome this problem? I realize this may just be the way it is, and I will have to get better at recognizing words before I can start reading Japanese, but I hope someone can offer some advice.

Thanks!
Rich
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RE: sentance structure

Postby Ongakuka » Thu 12.01.2005 4:12 pm

As I'm sure you know, it is the Japanese Kanji which individualize words and makes sentence easier to read. Therefore, the best approach is to learn to recognize basic Kanji. Even Japanese people find it difficult to read huge chunks of Hiragana, but if you want to practice try writing kana instead of reading it, using the vocab that you know.

Here's a tip, look out for common word endings to seperate adjectives and verbs from the rest of the sentence. This makes it easier to understand long lines of Kana.
なぜなら、おまえは・・・・・・人形だ
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RE: sentance structure

Postby mandolin » Thu 12.01.2005 4:25 pm

I can help, sort of. I'm afraid you probably won't like my answer though. :)

OK, the easiest way to parse sentences in japanese is with the use of kanji. You don't need spaces, because the kanji are words, the conjugations and particles are in hiragana, and katakana words just plain stick out in a sentence like italics do in english.

Early video games (not sure about modern video games) like NES games were marketed to children, so they use fewer kanji than 'normal' japanese text.

When kanji is used, you won't see spaces. When all kana is used, they will space between words. If all the kana were strung together, it would be too cumbersome to read.

So, in your video games, a few things to try and watch for.

Recognize your particles. They will attach the particle to the word it belongs to, instead of spacing it out. IE, instead of "watashi wa" it will be "watashiwa".

remember that 'wa' as a particle uses the 'ha' kana. わたしは = watashiwa

を is always a particle.

に and へ are particles that might be harder to spot, and separate from regular usage of those kana. If you're using a dictionary, and they don't seem to fit, they are probably being used as a particle.

There's a lot more particles, too. Well, things that are used as particles as far as being attached to the end of words is concerned. "niwa" "dake" etc You'll just have to try to weed them out as you go. It does get easier the more vocab you learn, though.

Verbs and adjectives will be conjugated out of their dictionary form, usually. So it will be hard to look them up. Video games on the NES use a lot of the polite forms, however, so if you see "~mashita" you will know you have to try and figure out the base verb before you can go find the meaning in a dictionary.

um.... trying to think of what else... heh... I've been playing Shining Force II in Japanese, and this is all the stuff I've noticed. That, and the fact that I have to look up almost every kanji I come across. :)

I hope this helps you out some!
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RE: sentance structure

Postby skrhgh3b » Fri 12.02.2005 6:44 pm

attempting translation of "real" japanese without a couple years of study under your belt is going to be one serious head ache - believe me, i know. but i'm not discouraging you, even at your very early stage because you'll also learn a lot, and places like this will help you wade through all your questions (^_^)
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恋もしたくない お金なんか要らない
ぼくに必要な眠りを眠らせておくれ♪
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RE: sentance structure

Postby richpodraza » Sun 12.11.2005 9:54 pm

Thanks for the help guys, I appreciate just knowing that I have more grammar and vocab studying to do before tackling reading and translating. Thats sorta what I thought anyway.
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RE: sentance structure

Postby Phurdonk » Tue 12.13.2005 11:17 pm

I agree with everything said here. Kanji makes it so much easier to pick out each but the problem is, though, if you don't know the kanji, you'll still be unable to understand it. That's why we must all study our kanji (I personally hate kanji! :@). Another tip is: know your particles and conjugations. This helps a lot too! Also, if you do come across sentences/paragraphs using only hiragana and katakana, read what it says. By reading it, you can usually pick out the words.

Anyway, the main thing is to keep studying and it'll all become second nature in time. ;)
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