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No spaces?

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RE: No spaces?

Postby Wakannai » Sun 12.09.2007 7:18 pm

BuddhaGeo wrote:
And would it be considered immature to write with spaces? Or is it ok for a beginner?


to clarify on Chris's "yes"

Children's books are written with spaces. That's why it looks immature. Children's books are written in kana so the word boundaries are less obvious, especially for someone just becoming literate. Once children start learning kanji, the spaces quickly disappear.
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RE: No spaces?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 12.09.2007 8:49 pm

kayuu wrote:
That's why they failed to Romanise Japanese, it was too hard to distinguish between words without Kanji.


I guess that's also why Japanese people fail to speak their language out loud, because there are no kanji when you talk.

"In the Meiji era, some Japanese scholars advocated abolishing the Japanese writing system entirely and using rōmaji in its stead. ... Several Japanese texts were published entirely in rōmaji during this period, but it failed to catch on, perhaps because of the large number of homophones in Japanese, which are pronounced similarly but written in different characters"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanization_of_Japanese


Arrgh, thanks for notifying me of that -- that won't be in the article for long.
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RE: No spaces?

Postby SerpentPanda » Sun 12.09.2007 9:37 pm

Usingkanjiitismucheasiertoreadwithnospaces. itmayevenbefasterthanreadingenglishwithnospacesifyougetfluentenough
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RE: No spaces?

Postby TrashTreasurer » Sun 12.09.2007 10:27 pm

I guess that's also why Japanese people fail to speak their language out loud, because there are no kanji when you talk.


Wait, is this sarcastic? Do they really fail at speaking outloud, or are you referring to the vague-ness of the speech and how heavily it relies on context? This just caught me off guard lol.
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RE: No spaces?

Postby chikara » Sun 12.09.2007 10:39 pm

TrashTreasurer wrote:
I guess that's also why Japanese people fail to speak their language out loud, because there are no kanji when you talk.


Wait, is this sarcastic? Do they really fail at speaking outloud .....

Of course it is not sarcastic.

Japanese people don't actually speak out loud but transmit their language via thought waves which appear as images in the receiver's head so that they can read the kanji.
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RE: No spaces?

Postby TrashTreasurer » Sun 12.09.2007 10:48 pm

Awesome! I knew all that work mastering televisions and video games gave them a futuristic ability of communication that they kept secret from the rest of the world. / my sarcasm
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RE: No spaces?

Postby chikara » Sun 12.09.2007 10:58 pm

Don't get me started on the subliminal messages that Japanese game makers put in their games.

Maawaahahahhaha
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RE: No spaces?

Postby Tspoonami » Sun 12.09.2007 11:12 pm

chikara wrote:
Maawaahahahhaha

Is this some sort of Australian evil laugh? Do children hear that kind of noise on television?

p.s. I also beamed this message to you in Japanese.
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RE: No spaces?

Postby chikara » Sun 12.09.2007 11:22 pm

Tspoonami wrote:
Is this some sort of Australian evil laugh?...

Yes.

You may spell it "muwaa haa haa" :)

Tspoonami wrote:
p.s. I also beamed this message to you in Japanese.

I received that but I couldn't make out the kanji in the image until I realised they were all upside down. Standing on my head rectified the problem.
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RE: No spaces?

Postby kayuu » Mon 12.10.2007 3:21 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
kayuu wrote:
That's why they failed to Romanise Japanese, it was too hard to distinguish between words without Kanji.


I guess that's also why Japanese people fail to speak their language out loud, because there are no kanji when you talk.

"In the Meiji era, some Japanese scholars advocated abolishing the Japanese writing system entirely and using rōmaji in its stead. ... Several Japanese texts were published entirely in rōmaji during this period, but it failed to catch on, perhaps because of the large number of homophones in Japanese, which are pronounced similarly but written in different characters"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanization_of_Japanese


Arrgh, thanks for notifying me of that -- that won't be in the article for long.


It's proabably easier to notice the context when you are speaking to someone because of the setting, emotion and intonation of words that can't be represented through a Roman writing system. Even then, a lot of scholars of Japanese language find listening comprehension quite hard, and the Japanese language has its fair few homophones - so I don't think the speculation was entirely false or unjustified.

The bottom line is, if you took a poll you'd probably find that it's easier to read Japanese when there's Kanji in the mix. Why would the Japanese make their writing system more difficult by taking aboard Romaji, when it works easier with Kanji?
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RE: No spaces?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 12.10.2007 10:42 am

All right, believe what you want. It's not that relevant anyway.

EDIT: I'll just sum up the usual points:
- Japanese does not have more homonyms than English; English doesn't require kanji
- If kanji are required for completely separate words that are pronounced the same, why aren't different kanji required for the different shades of meaning that a single word has?
- People read better what they're used to; it doesn't matter what's better or worse
- Context is enough to disambiguate virtually every homonym in the language
Last edited by Yudan Taiteki on Mon 12.10.2007 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: No spaces?

Postby Dehitay » Mon 12.10.2007 12:20 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
- Japanese does not have more homonyms than English;


Is that a typo? If not, I have a seriously hard time believing it
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RE: No spaces?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 12.10.2007 12:52 pm

Well, I guess I shouldn't have stated it that strongly. It depends somewhat on where you draw the line between homophones and multiple definitions of the same word. But the idea that Japanese has an abnormally large number of homophones really has no support from any actual research (which should be very easy to do considering it's just counting up things).

In order for homophones to *require* the use of kanji, the number of homophones compared to English would have to be much, much larger. It defies all logic and reason that there could be that many homophones in a language that cannot be disambiguated by context.

People are fond of looking in dictionaries and coming up with lists like this:
高工 【こうこう】 (abbr) higher technical school
孝行 【こうこう】 (adj-na,n) filial piety, (P)
後攻 【こうこう】 (n) (baseball) taking the field first, thus batting second
黄口 【こうこう】 (n) baby chicken, young and inexperienced person
後項 【こうこう】 (n) following or later or last clause or article, etc.
港口 【こうこう】 (n) harbor entrance
膏肓 【こうこう】 (n) incurable disease
口腔 【こうこう】 (n) mouth cavity
香香 【こうこう】 (n) pickled vegetables
坑口 【こうこう】 (n) pithead, minehead
公侯 【こうこう】 (n) princes and marquises, great feudal lords
高校 【こうこう】 (n) senior high school, (P)
交 【こうこう】 (n) sexual union
鉱坑 【こうこう】 (n) shaft, mine, pit
皇考 【こうこう】 (n) the (deceased) father of the current emperor
航行 【こうこう】 (n,vs) cruise
洸洸 【こうこう】 valiant, brave, surge (of water)

They look at a list like this and conclude that you must need kanji to tell these apart. The problem with this approach is twofold:
1) a dictionary lists many words, most of which are not in common use.
2) Even with a long list of homophones such as these, it would be very hard for a literate native speaker to be confused about these in an actual contextual passage, just because the definitions are so different.

I've said this before, but learners are often drawn to the homophone explanation because kanji are a great help to someone trying to translate/interpret something that is beyond their level of language -- when you lack the ability to figure out the words from contextual information, having the kanji is a big help (assuming you have some easy way to look up the kanji words, like WWWJDIC).

Unfortunately this myth is fueled by native speakers as well -- they know that they find romaji or all kana harder to read than normal text, but they're not really sure why, so they just guess and come up with the homophone thing because that's what everyone else says.

Look up "sit" in an English dictionary; mine lists over 100 definitions. Do we need 100 different kanji for that word?
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