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JAPANESE??? Please help me

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JAPANESE??? Please help me

Postby gbarnes » Fri 10.07.2005 3:09 pm

Is there a difference in the spoken versions of Hiragana, Katakana Kanji and Romaji?
or are all 4 of them commonly used?

Right, I have a quick question. I am going to go to tokyo, or possibly somewhere else.
Probably Tokyo.

Do I have to learn Hiragana, Katakana, Romaji AND Kanji??

someone please explain this to me.
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RE: JAPANESE??? Please help me

Postby Mariya » Fri 10.07.2005 3:41 pm

Yes.
And yes.
Lol.

The whole of the written Japanese language is made up of Katakana, Hiragana AND Kanji. Romaji is just the term used for when the Japanese is written in English.

But yeah...I'm not sure if I understand what you mean by the differences in the spoken versions. It's the same language. :S
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RE: JAPANESE??? Please help me

Postby gbarnes » Fri 10.07.2005 3:47 pm

so what you are saying is that Hiragana Katakana and Kanji are the same thing, they are only written differently?

They are all spoken the same?

Any tips for a new learner, as to what to learn first, how to go about it... etc etc.
Last edited by gbarnes on Fri 10.07.2005 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: JAPANESE??? Please help me

Postby CajunCoder » Fri 10.07.2005 3:53 pm

Hiragana is their basic phonetic alphabet, Katakana is simply a more angular version of Hiragana, but it is mainly used only in forign names, signs, etc.

Kanji are not phonetic, rather they are symbols representing ideas. I believe there are over 6000 kanji... Kanji are mainly used for nouns and verbs.

An example of how Hiragana, katakana and kanji are used together:
私はルケです。
Is how I would write "My name is Luke", or "Watashi wa ruke desu."
私 is the kanji for "Watashi", は is hiragana for the particle "wa" (note that it is the letter "ha", though), ルケ is my name in katakana (since my name is forign), and です is "desu" in hiragana (which means "is"/"am" ).

As you can see, since all three forms of writing are used in combination with eachother, spaces are rarely used or needed.

Of course, you won't be reading kanji well any time soon. It would be helpful to learn a few basic kanji, though. I suggest you learn hiragana first, then katakana. Even if you don't know kanji, there is still a lot you'll be able to read with just hiragana and katakana.

This site has a lot of good resources for learning all three of them, especially hiragana =)
Last edited by CajunCoder on Fri 10.07.2005 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: JAPANESE??? Please help me

Postby gbarnes » Fri 10.07.2005 4:47 pm

Thankyou both for answering my question!

Im glad you gave me so much detail, this helps alot. I will continue to study Hiragana until I can recognise all of the symbols, and then I will study Katakana.

Do you have any idea where I can learn actual words though?I get the fact that hiragana is sounds which make up words.

ie Ta Ko is Tako, an octopus (the entirety of my japanese vocabulary, except a popular rice drink 8P )

So where can i learn real words which can help me on my visit to Japan? I have 3 years or so, seeing as I am waiting for my friend to hit 20 so we can go pick up some girls and get drunk woo!

But we are both trying to learn the language from this site, so that we can have a good grasp of it when we are going. I hope it lives up to my expectations, I hope the people are as polite and helpgful as everyone makes them out.

AND MOST OF ALL!!! - I hope me and my friends violent, alcoholic Scottish traditions do not offend the Japanese! (I am joking, though we DO enjoy a drink, we are not violent or alcoholic)
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RE: JAPANESE??? Please help me

Postby InsanityRanch » Fri 10.07.2005 9:09 pm

I think I'm correct in assuming you are a perfect beginner in Japanese, yes?

Hiragana, katakana and kanji are the symbols used in Japanese writing. (Someone else has already explained a bit about how they work.) They have nothing whatsoever to do with speech, anymore than English letters do. In fact, English and Japanese are similar in that it is often not a simple matter to go from normal written form to pronunciation or vice versa.

The question you need to think about is, how important is reading vs. speaking? Both have innate challenges because Japanese and English are quite dissimilar languages. Japanese grammar, word order, sentence structure, vocabulary, and of course writing system have very little in common with any European language.

A lot of people would say speaking is what they want and to hell with reading, and that makes sense, in a way. You can get a speaking text like Pimsleur and learn set phrases that will get you through many common situations that a tourist will face.

However, if you want to actually learn Japanese, Pimsleur and its ilk will not help much. If, three years from now, you want to be able to converse about actual subjects of interest to you, or handle situations not covered in a phrase book, you will need to do some hard work and spend an hour or more a day learning the language.

I know, if you've studied French or something, you're thinking, "Hey, I'm good at languages. I can do it a lot quicker than that!" However, if you actually spend some time learning Japanese, you are going to realize that French and other European languages are a LOT like English. They share lots of cognates, have rather similar grammar, and look quite similar on the page. Japanese makes you question your entire understanding of how language works. You realize that many things we take for granted (articles like "a" and "the"; plural forms of nouns; pronouns; subjects of sentences) are almost entirely optional. You discover that it is possible to conjugate adjectives, to glop verbs together into thickets of action, to define relationships in minute detail based on which pronouns are chosen (from the tens of choices available) and otherwise to perform weird and wonderful feats unknown in English.

If you plan to actually learn the language I suggest you spend the time to learn to read. The reason is that you can find written Japanese all over the web and spend as much time as you want reading. However, speaking and listening practice is a lot harder to come by every day unless you move to Japan to learn the language, which isn't what you're contemplating.

So that's my tuppence worth. (Or maybe not even that valuable.) Good luck!

Shira
"Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections. You can keep your sterile truth for yourself." -- Vilfredo Pareto
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RE: JAPANESE??? Please help me

Postby skrhgh3b » Fri 10.07.2005 10:27 pm

you know, when i have a question, this forum ranks very low on a long list of resources to answer that question. can't there be a preventively answered questions thread pinned on this forum for this kind of laziness?
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RE: JAPANESE??? Please help me

Postby gbarnes » Sat 10.08.2005 8:43 am

You mean a FAQ? Oh yea and i might spend anywhere from a week up until a few years in tokyo.
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RE: JAPANESE??? Please help me

Postby nprz » Sun 10.09.2005 7:14 pm

So where can i learn real words which can help me on my visit to Japan? I have 3 years or so, seeing as I am waiting for my friend to hit 20 so we can go pick up some girls and get drunk woo!


Why bother waiting? If you look like a foreigner, they won't ask you for ID at a bar/izakaya/restaurant. (As long as you aren't wearing a school uniform they don't ask Japanese for ID either). The only place that is supposedly cracking down in the convenience stores. But I don't think they would ask a foreigner for ID.
Last edited by nprz on Sun 10.09.2005 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: JAPANESE??? Please help me

Postby kanadajin » Sun 10.09.2005 7:31 pm

I know the answer has been posted but i want more posts :P katakana and hiragana are comonly used hiragana is whats most used katakana is only for foreign words like chritmas kanji is used for pictures objects like a tree or the sun hirgana is used for like story writing
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RE: JAPANESE??? Please help me

Postby Infidel » Sun 10.09.2005 9:37 pm

don't forget that the reason that katakana was developed in the first place was for monks to take notes. So it is really useful for taking notes in class or elsewhere because it is faster to write.
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RE: JAPANESE??? Please help me

Postby skrhgh3b » Mon 10.10.2005 12:02 am

ishnar wrote:
don't forget that the reason that katakana was developed in the first place was for monks to take notes. So it is really useful for taking notes in class or elsewhere because it is faster to write.


it really miffs me when a kanji has more than 6 strokes :D
Last edited by skrhgh3b on Mon 10.10.2005 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
♪夢も見たくない 幸せなんか要らない
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: JAPANESE??? Please help me

Postby Harisenbon » Mon 10.10.2005 6:22 am

skrhgh3b wrote:
it really miffs me when a kanji has more than 6 strokes :D


*laugh* you must get miffed alot.
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RE: JAPANESE??? Please help me

Postby WacKostRacKo » Mon 10.10.2005 8:10 am

learning the kanji for place names at least might be useful, like hospital or doctors or something, you dont want to get ill then try to find your way around a completely alien city without being able to find your way. Trust me its very frustrating.;)
tanuki wrote:
How about:

外人: これはすしです。すしが好きです。
日本人: おお!日本語が上手ですね。
外人: Erm....what?


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