Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Japanese, general discussion on the language

Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Postby Gakusha » Thu 06.02.2005 2:05 pm

How do you know when to use the pitch accent? Not even the dictionary says what syllables need to be stressed. For instance, my username is Wakai Gakusha. How do I pronounce that to sound like real Japanese?

Also, what is the difference between the on and kun kanji readings?
Last edited by Gakusha on Thu 06.02.2005 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
赤い猿の学者
User avatar
Gakusha
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu 06.02.2005 2:01 pm

RE: Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Postby Gaijinian » Thu 06.02.2005 5:55 pm

On reading ="Chinese" reading, used in compounds
Kun reading="Japanese" reading, for single kanji.


IE Wakai is a single kanji, so kun yomi

Gakusha is a compound, so on yomi
Last edited by Gaijinian on Thu 06.02.2005 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The harder they come, the harder they fall, one and all.
---
yawr.org
Gaijinian
 
Posts: 232
Joined: Sat 03.05.2005 6:22 pm

RE: Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Postby Spaztick » Thu 06.02.2005 9:16 pm

For Japanese there is no pitch, actaully. Each sylable is pronounced equally. Of course, some sounds are sort of slurred, like shi is condensed to sh when it isnt at the end of a word, su is almost always condensed to ss, etc etc.

Inflections, however, are a different thing (and I think this is what you're talking about). Inflections occur in words, and inflections ocur in whole sentences. That's all I know, so I'm not much help there.
XD At this sig.
Number of people that have: 13
SaiaiKenja
Daisuke
Kodi
dreamingxashley
redfoxer
ben
Elumi
LordDisa
Kates
AaRoN
Rezeyu
Hideiko_san
roosh
ParanoiaK3
User avatar
Spaztick
 
Posts: 482
Joined: Tue 01.25.2005 7:04 pm

RE: Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Postby Gakusha » Fri 06.03.2005 9:06 pm

Thank you for clarifying about the Kanji. As for the pitch accent, I've never heard of the inflections before. I first tried Japanese using the Rosetta Stone software, and it basically shows you four pictures and reads something in Japanese for you to match to a picture. The way the native speakers read it sounded very different from what I thought it should be by looking at the Romaji. I also did not mention before that some of the consonants sound different, especially the H. On Rosetta Stone, an H sounds like an S. I no longer use Rosetta Stone because it confused me so much for this reason, and it's really not a very good method in my opinion because it gives no grammar lessons in English.
赤い猿の学者
User avatar
Gakusha
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu 06.02.2005 2:01 pm

RE: Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Postby InsanityRanch » Sun 06.05.2005 2:31 pm

My advice -- forget about pitch. It is seldom relevant.

The tricky bit to get into your ears is rhythm.

English is a timed stressed language. We arrive at each stressed syllable at regular intervals, so that syllables between the stressed ones may be spoken slowly or quickly -- whatever gets us to the next stressed syllable "on time". For more information check out: http://esl.about.com/library/weekly/aa110997.htm

Japanese gives an equal amount of time to each "syllable", in neutral speech. Stretching a syllable (either by lengthening the vowel or by inserting a pause, indicated by "little tsu") is a common way of indicating emphasis. Note that Japanese, unlike English, does not have a "normal" stress pattern tied to the part of speech of each word.

If you are a musician, you can think of English as a metered song and Japanese as freeflowing, like Gregorian chant.

You will not readily perceive this in the sort of single-word samples you have described, btw, anymore than you can deduce the stress structure of an English sentence simply by hearing each individual word spoken separately.

HTH!

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
InsanityRanch
 
Posts: 227
Joined: Tue 04.19.2005 2:17 pm

RE: Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Postby Mukade » Wed 06.08.2005 2:27 am

I don't know that pitch is irrelevant - it can mean the difference between the meaning of a word.

hashi, for example, can be 'bridge' or 'chopsticks,' depending on the pitch.

But I would say that trying to learn pitch at the beginner level might not be the best use of your time. Pitch varies so much from region to region in Japan that you're better off learning it when you get here and find out where you'll be spending most of your time. There's no point in learning 'standard' Tokyo pitch if you're going to be in Hiroshima where it might be very different (maybe even completely opposite!).
User avatar
Mukade
 
Posts: 775
Joined: Fri 02.18.2005 3:30 am
Location: Osaka
Native language: English
Gender: Male

RE: Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Postby clay » Wed 06.08.2005 9:18 am

Yes, in Fukui-ken (where I lived) hashi and hashi are pronounced the same. I don't know of any words where the meaning is different based on pitch in Fukui-ben (Fukui dialect). As a result, if you said HAshi or haSHI, I wouldn't know the difference!

勉強しなくちゃ
User avatar
clay
Site Admin
 
Posts: 2809
Joined: Fri 01.21.2005 9:39 am
Location: Florida

RE: Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Postby Gakusha » Wed 06.08.2005 12:57 pm

Thank you for clearing that up. My grammar book says there's a pitch accent but of course it's not worth a tinkers in the way of explaining it. I don't plan on going to Japan any time soon so I'll probably shift my focus to kanji.
赤い猿の学者
User avatar
Gakusha
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu 06.02.2005 2:01 pm

RE: Pitch/Inflections

Postby maikeru » Fri 06.17.2005 3:03 am

I looked in my dictionary and it indicated 'inflections'. It is the Collins/Shubun English to Japanese dictionary.:)
User avatar
maikeru
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun 04.24.2005 2:23 am

RE: Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Postby Harisenbon » Fri 06.17.2005 5:08 am

In Gifu, 雲 and 蜘蛛 are the opposite of Tokyo Japanese.

Pitch is almost entirely dependent on region, and there are only a small number of words that use it (compared to how many words there are in Japanese)
Want to learn Japanese the right way? How about for free?
Ippatsu // Japanesetesting.com
User avatar
Harisenbon
 
Posts: 2964
Joined: Tue 06.14.2005 3:24 am
Location: Gifu, Japan
Native language: (poor) English

RE: Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Postby InsanityRanch » Fri 06.17.2005 2:29 pm

Gakusha he...

I think your decision to change your emphasis to kanji is a sound one. If you aren't going to Japan soon, your best route to fluency, imho, is reading, and for that you need kanji. Reading Japanese without kanji is torturous, in my experience, because words are not separated with spaces. However, in "normal" written Japanese (with kanji), it is possible to tell not only where the words start and end, mostly, but also what part of speech each word is. In short, kanji make Japanese a LOT easier to parse!

I've been at this for just over three years (three years and two months actually), and because I worked on kanji from the beginning -- I learned over 1000 in the first year -- I can now read pretty well. That is to say I still have to look up unfamiliar words a couple of times per page (more for certain passages), but I can get a fair number of words from context. And, most importantly, if a word isn't in the J-E dictionary, I can use the Kokugo (J-J) dictionary pretty effectively.

Because I worked in this way, I felt like I would never learn to speak and listen well. But reading really made me learn a fair amount of vocabulary quickly, and in the past few months I find that not only can I easily meet my goal of 5 pages of Japanese daily in about one hour a day. And I have found in the past few months that my listening and speaking has taken a quantum leap. (But I do get a couple of hours of conversation with a native speaker every week.)

As for learning Japanese inflection etc., I found that just listening to anime gave me enough of a sense of the "music" of the language to get me started. At some point you will HAVE to work with a native speaker if you want to have good listening / speaking skills, but it doesn't have to happen right away.

Of course, ymmv, and there are undoubtedly many ways to approach learning a language. Some people don't really like to read (my Japanese teacher, for instance!) and for them, another course of action would probably be better. But my advice is still: learn kanji, work at reading REAL Japanese (stuff produced by and for native speakers) and you will find your skills improving pretty quickly.


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
InsanityRanch
 
Posts: 227
Joined: Tue 04.19.2005 2:17 pm

RE: Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Postby Gakusha » Sun 06.26.2005 11:39 pm

Now I know that this fluent Japanese thing won't happen any time soon. I was at kanjistep.com and they have placement tests for the JLPT, and I decided to check one out, since I now know about 35 kanji (I realized that's nothing once I saw this page). I looked at the first question and gave up, cause I also realized my vocabulary is very very limited. I think it would be a good idea to learn words even if you can't memorize their kanji right away. After all, Japanese kids don't know all 2000 kanji until high school, so how else can they write their thoughts on paper? I'm sure there are some words that they don't know the kanji for and substitute hiragana instead.
赤い猿の学者
User avatar
Gakusha
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu 06.02.2005 2:01 pm

RE: Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Postby InsanityRanch » Mon 06.27.2005 12:16 pm

It's true that Japanese children learn the sound of the language first and how to write it later -- like all children. However, I'm not sure that's the easiest way for foreign adults to learn it.

I think that learning kanji is a good strategy for several reasons.

First, learning kanji is a step toward learning some of the important words of the language, particularly adjectives and verbs, as well as their conjugations. The nice thing about seeing these words written in the normal, adult way (with kanji and okurigana) is that you can see the meaning (contained in the kanji) and the conjugation (expressed by the okurigana) laid out very clearly. It is also a great mnemonic device for remembering those verbs and adjectives, or at least I found it so.

This leads to the related thought that reading in kana-only is rather torturous, because there are no spaces between words. For that matter, deciding where words begin and end in romaji is sort of a matter of taste, since Japanese doesn't really have conventions for this. Even books meant for toddlers will tend to put just a few spaces in between what would seem to us to be phrases, not between words. This has the effect of making children's Japanese a stream of undifferentiated syllables -- just like the spoken language. One of the major tasks of the ear is to separate this stream into units of meaning, and reading in hiragana isn't going to help with this.

However, reading with kanji and kana mixed is MUCH simpler (at the same level of text difficulty) than reading in kana only, especially once you have twigged to okurigana, the kana that are added for conjugation of verbs and adjectives. The grammatical form of the sentence is laid out there for you to see. When I knew only 240 kanji (the first and second grade ones), I figured this out, and it has been a reliable guide as I've moved into more complexly organized sentences.

Kanji also help you distinguish between the all-too-common homonyms and near-homonyms in Japanese. (OK, granted, the kanji are partially responsible for the existence of all those homonyms but ... <g>) The homonyms WILL eventually drive you crazy. However, you can turn this to your advantage by remembering homonyms together. For instance, I remember 征服 (seifuku, conquest) by thinking of a mighty conquering army, all dressed in schoolgirl sailor 制服 (seifuku, uniforms).

Finally, if you are planning to use reading as a method of attacking Japanese (and I recommend it), you will find very few texts in hiragana, and they will not be satisfying for very long. You will NEED to learn some kanji just to get some decent texts to read. However, you can choose texts with furigana ("cheat" kana that tell the pronunciation of some or all kanji). These are a wonderful starting point -- better in my opinion that kana-only books meant for very young children. The furigana give you a "step up" that make it MUCH easier to look things up in a dictionary, while the kanji help you get used to how the text REALLY looks and also keep you from going astray with homonyms. Most manga meant for Jr. High and younger kids will have furigana, and books for that age group will as well.

Well, this is long and I realize your milage may vary and all that. HTH!

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
InsanityRanch
 
Posts: 227
Joined: Tue 04.19.2005 2:17 pm

RE: Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Postby Spaztick » Mon 06.27.2005 1:10 pm

This is true, however i find that reading in both hiragana and kanji improves your reading and comprehention 10 fold (slightly exagerated). I can't fully explain why, but reading in hiragana helps me learn vocabulary better, and it becomes easier to read the words in kanji (and romaji, but I try to avoid using that). I had a hard time reading Japanese until I got into the chat room where a lot of words are used in hiragana, then I started picking up on the sounds of the words and not just the kanji.

According to the currency exchange market, that's my 2.8 yen.
XD At this sig.
Number of people that have: 13
SaiaiKenja
Daisuke
Kodi
dreamingxashley
redfoxer
ben
Elumi
LordDisa
Kates
AaRoN
Rezeyu
Hideiko_san
roosh
ParanoiaK3
User avatar
Spaztick
 
Posts: 482
Joined: Tue 01.25.2005 7:04 pm

RE: Pitch Accent and Kanji Help

Postby Gakusha » Thu 06.30.2005 8:19 pm

I would also agree that kanji are a good idea for a language because they're easy to translate, once you've learned a kanji it is easy to remember at least its English equivalent, so you can look at the kanji and instantly tell what word it is without much of a hassle.

Does anyone have a really good method of memorizing on and kun readings? These are very difficult for me to remember even though stroke order comes naturally for some reason. Maybe I'll just have to repeat, repeat, and repeat some more.
赤い猿の学者
User avatar
Gakusha
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Thu 06.02.2005 2:01 pm

Next

Return to Japanese General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

cron