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beginner questions

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beginner questions

Postby sgherdhi » Tue 04.19.2005 1:39 am

I am a beginner and am trying to find my way through a comics book. There are some recurring situations that I can't figure out:
1) Some words end with a character that is a small version of "tsu". I understand this character, when in the middle, is used to double the following consonant (pp,tt), but this was at the END.
2) There is a character shaped like a big black dot. This example I found on the net: "To do, play する・します ".What is that dot ?
3) The biggest problem is- how do I know when one word ends and the next one starts- they seem to go on continuously.
4) What is the easiest way to find out what a kanji means when you can't copy it (it's a book) ?
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RE: beginner questions

Postby dtungsten » Tue 04.19.2005 3:23 am

sgherdhi wrote:
I am a beginner and am trying to find my way through a comics book. There are some recurring situations that I can't figure out:
1) Some words end with a character that is a small version of "tsu". I understand this character, when in the middle, is used to double the following consonant (pp,tt), but this was at the END.

I'm guessing it's probably a う(u), which means to extend the preceding vowel sound. I could be totally wrong, though.
2) There is a character shaped like a big black dot. This example I found on the net: "To do, play する・します ".What is that dot ?

I'm not sure, but in your example it looks like it is to separate two different pronounciations of the same word.
3) The biggest problem is- how do I know when one word ends and the next one starts- they seem to go on continuously.

They do go on continuously. :) I guess you would use context and grammar to figure it out, look for particles.
4) What is the easiest way to find out what a kanji means when you can't copy it (it's a book) ?
Probably either a printed dictionary, or an online one something like this: http://www.thejapanesepage.com/kanji/list.php

I could be in error (I am a beginner, too), but those are my guesses. Feel free to correct me if anyone knows better.
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RE: beginner questions

Postby Xmax » Tue 04.19.2005 9:57 am

dtungsten wrote:
sgherdhi wrote:
I am a beginner and am trying to find my way through a comics book. There are some recurring situations that I can't figure out:
1) Some words end with a character that is a small version of "tsu". I understand this character, when in the middle, is used to double the following consonant (pp,tt), but this was at the END.

I'm guessing it's probably a う(u), which means to extend the preceding vowel sound. I could be totally wrong, though.


I think sgherdhi is actually referring to a small ending /tsu/ (not /u/). I also have seen it on comics - moreover, it is placed after *any* vowel (not just after /o/ and /u/ endings) so it can't be a /u/ vowel extention.
My hypotesis is that it's a sort of "exclamation mark" for onomatopeas.
For example, there's a picture of a warrior taking a hit, and he says: あっ which is literally "atsu". My guess is that it is used to express something like "Ah!". Anyway, someone more expert than me could please confirm whether this is correct or not...

2) There is a character shaped like a big black dot. This example I found on the net: "To do, play する・します ".What is that dot ?

I'm not sure, but in your example it looks like it is to separate two different pronounciations of the same word.


I agree on this: ・ is a separator (a sort of space, since space itself doesn't exist in traditional Japanese writing system).
It is mostly used when you write with Hiragana only, to better separate different words.
Of course, when writing "real" japanese, with both Kanji and Kana, you usually don't need separators, as Kanji themselves help to separate different words.

3) The biggest problem is- how do I know when one word ends and the next one starts- they seem to go on continuously.

They do go on continuously. :) I guess you would use context and grammar to figure it out, look for particles.


I Agree. Kanji are mainly used to identify words (even thoug there *are* words written in Kana only), and Hiragana characters are usually either suffixes or particles, i.e. used to express grammar related content.

4) What is the easiest way to find out what a kanji means when you can't copy it (it's a book) ?
Probably either a printed dictionary, or an online one something like this: http://www.thejapanesepage.com/kanji/list.php


Try Jim Breen's WWWJDIC (http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/wwwjdic.html), it has a useful multiradical search that helps you to find a Kanji without having to rely on the harder-to-learn-and-sometime-frustrating traditional radicals/stroke count system.
If you are planning to buy a dictionary, I would recommend one that has the SKIP search system (e.g. one of of the Kodansha Kanji Dictionaries).
Kind Regards,
Xmax
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RE: beginner questions

Postby Qbe » Tue 04.19.2005 10:14 am

sgherdhi wrote:
1) Some words end with a character that is a small version of "tsu". I understand this character, when in the middle, is used to double the following consonant (pp,tt), but this was at the END.


In Japanese in Mangaland Marc Bernabe says, "The small tsu character at the end of the exclamation means the sound stops abruptly, that is, it ends sharply."
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RE: beginner questions

Postby slpkntkrn18 » Tue 04.19.2005 10:53 am

how can i learn quick and easy and still understand everything
bryse c butcher
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RE: beginner questions

Postby Qbe » Tue 04.19.2005 11:39 am

slpkntkrn18 wrote:
how can i learn quick and easy and still understand everything


There is no "quick and easy". It takes work and it takes time. The more of both you put in, the more quickly and easily it'll go.

For an inspirational quick read, track down "How to Learn Any Language" by Barry M. Farber. It'll get you going and give you some tips to make learning easier.

Get the Pimsleur Japanese course from your library and start listening. Thirty minutes a day will get you speaking fairly quickly. This course is unbeatable.

Learn the kana (James Heisig's "Remembering the Kana" is a good, fast way to learn them). Find a good textbook which works for you. Some like the Genki books, some like the "Japanese for Busy People" series, I like "Japanese for Everyone" for grammar and "Remembering the Kanji" for learning the kanji.

You might also consider taking a class or private lessons.

And don't forget to practice. Find someone to speak Japanese with. Practicing Japanese conversation will really help you cement the things you've learned and will also move you along more quickly.
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RE: beginner questions

Postby Xmax » Wed 04.20.2005 11:44 am

Qbe wrote:
sgherdhi wrote:
1) Some words end with a character that is a small version of "tsu". I understand this character, when in the middle, is used to double the following consonant (pp,tt), but this was at the END.


In Japanese in Mangaland Marc Bernabe says, "The small tsu character at the end of the exclamation means the sound stops abruptly, that is, it ends sharply."


I have just seen this.
Thank you for the clarification!
Kind Regards,
Xmax
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