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Learning question

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?

RE: Learning question

Postby maco » Thu 02.16.2006 5:38 pm

hyperconjugated wrote:
maco wrote:
I don't *think* there's anything wrong with "hon wa doko?" for being really informal though, just that they're not used to it


In japanese isn't it incorrect grammar to omit the verb or copula?
Maybe it's correct and sounds right too not to leave the "ni arimasu/aru ka"
out? Without it there isn't really anything that indicates whether
it's formal or informal. Just an incomplete sentence. Or have I just
grasped it plain wrong?

i know its improper grammar. but i think if you're just chatting with a friend it works for slang. like instead of "what did he do?" we sometimes say "he what?"....that sort of thing....or i could just sound like an idiot when i say it....i know "desu" or "da" can be left off, though
Last edited by maco on Thu 02.16.2006 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Learning question

Postby AJBryant » Thu 02.16.2006 7:26 pm

In japanese isn't it incorrect grammar to omit the verb or copula?


Not at all. Just very informal.


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RE: Learning question

Postby Mukade » Thu 02.16.2006 11:55 pm

I agree with Harisenbon in feeling that formal should come first. I'll illustrate my reason why with a story:

After a couple years of learning Japanese, including a year study-abroad, I met the woman that would become my wife. At the time, my formal Japanese was sucking, because I only really studied informal speech. When she and I went to Japan together to meet her parents for the first time, I could only say things to her mother and father in informal speech patterns - and this initially damaged our relationship. Her father took me as someone rude and inconsiderate, and looked down on me because of that.

It took several years of painstakingly practiced formal Japanese to get back on his good side (of course, giving him a grandchild didn't hurt).

Now, in that same situation, if I had erred on the formal side, there would not have been this same problem.

I've heard many similar stories from other expats who have used informal speech with in-laws, co-workers and/or bosses. If you can't speak anything else, I highly recommend you speak formal. The informal - as well as the (intricate) knowledge of when and where to use it - will eventually come to you.

At least this way you won't step on any toes while you are learning how to speak more casually.
Last edited by Mukade on Thu 02.16.2006 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Learning question

Postby Harisenbon » Fri 02.17.2006 3:46 am

Mukade,

I have a similar story with my mother in law.

I have two friends who are very good at Japanese, but in different ways. One speaks very politely but VERY slowly. The other one is half-Japanese and so speaks very quickly, but VERY informally. Almost rudely.

My mother-in-law fawns over the first friend. She invites him to dinner, buys him presents, all of our relatives know him and love him. Even though his spoke Japanese usually consists of just responding to questions. The other friend? I believe "rude little know-it-all that doesn't even know how to introduce himself" was the phrase that she used. ;)

Polite speech is the key to people's hearts.
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RE: Learning question

Postby keatonatron » Fri 02.17.2006 7:25 am

Or you could wait until your Japanese is sufficient to start talking to inlaws in Japanese.

It's either: Don't embarress yourself right off the bat but heavily hinder your learning later on,

Or: Learn everything properly but don't use it until you're confident it's correct.

I personally refuse to marry a Japanese girl until my Japanese is good enough for her to not have to change anything (話し方など) for me.


(YES this post is a bit harsh, but it's not meant to hurt anyone's feelings :D)
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RE: Learning question

Postby Mukade » Fri 02.17.2006 8:46 am

I just don't relish the thought of studying a language for 4-5 years and yet never using it during that time. I mean, "Yes, I've studied Japanese for 2 years now, but since all I've learned is plain form, I'll just sit quietly in the corner here," seems a little excessive, if not downright creepy.

And I'd have to say that even though I started learning polite forms first, I really don't think that my learning has been hindered because of it. I am at the same level or beyond other people who have been studying the language for the same length of time as me.
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