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Thread: Japanese language

  1. #41

    Default Re: Japanese language

    Exactly.

    Part of the reason why translations are so annoying is because of things like humor, slang, and idioms.

    Naruto saying "Datte bayo!" doesn't really mean anything in English; "____tte bayo" is mostly just a way of adding emphasis to a verb stem. You could attempt to portray it as "____, ya'know?" or "____, I said!", but it loses its effect. All it does is [attempt] to portray Naruto as rough around the edges through the use of a specific dialect. Many characters in manga and anime have little 'catchphrases' that they like to use, simply to... give them personality? Not sure. Characters shouldn't rely on phrases to be memorable, but many do.

    Japanese has many markers, particles, and the like that have no actual meaning. "Desu", by itself, doesn't mean a damn thing. In Gohn's mind, Japanese, while still a language with definite structure and vocabulary, has always been mostly a language of non-defined phrases and particles. Japanese is extremely high-context, as it functions on the fact that, given the scenario, you should be able to figure out what a phrase means or implies. English, in contrast, is very low-context and sentences almost always need to be elaborated in great detail.

  2. #42
    POE WUN BGR Greg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese language

    Also, from the maintainer of that blog is an AMAZING video for inspiration regarding studying Japanese in your free time. It's made for JETs but you can EASILY apply many of these lessons to your daily routine anywhere.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=5MqIVkUHt20

  3. #43

    Default Re: Japanese language

    What's the difference between words like no, wa, ga, etc?

  4. #44
    POE WUN BGR Greg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese language

    They're all particles. Particles in latin means, 'soul-sucking demons from the deepest pits of hell'.

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by GearSecond View Post
    What's the difference between words like no, wa, ga, etc?
    Those are all particles that have different purposes regarding syntax.

    The particle "no" is used to link nouns - an easy example is all of Luffy's attacks. Since "Rubber Pistol", together, isn't a word in Japanese, it's connected by "no" so that the reader/listener understands that the two nouns are meant to be connected.

    "Wa" is a topic marker and denotes the subject of sentence. "Ga" has the same purpose, but is largely used for emphasis on non-sentient objects and when there is no verb, especially in simple sentences that contain only a subject and an adjective. "Nico Robin ga segatakai desu.", which means "Nico Robin is tall.", uses 'ga' because it's placing emphasis on the fact that Nico Robin is tall.

    Moreover, "wa" tends to be used by feminine individuals, while "ga" is more masculine. Women will be more likely to use "Watashi wa...", while men will often use "Watashi ga...".

    Oh, and in case you want to know, "boku" is a semi-polite, male form of "Watashi...". If you want to be strictly non-formal, most males use "Ore ga...". Women aren't 'supposed' to use "boku" or "ore", but if they're really tomboy-ish and/or rebellious, they might. If you ever take a Japanese class, you'll likely use "Watashi wa...", despite your gender.

    On a similar note, many, many things change when contrasting formal and informal speech.

  6. #46

    Default Re: Japanese language

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg
    They're all particles. Particles in latin means, 'soul-sucking demons from the deepest pits of hell'.
    Hahaha.

    No is a posessive particle (posessive demons from hell?). Like if I say "watashi no hon" I am saying "my book" (hon). It can also denote a descriptive title...like Mugiwara no Luffy = Straw hat Luffy.

    Wa and ga are a little more difficult to explain so I'm not going to try, just read this instead http://www.timwerx.net/language/particles.htm#wa

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyringohn
    Moreover, "wa" tends to be used by feminine individuals, while "ga" is more masculine. Women will be more likely to use "Watashi wa...", while men will often use "Watashi ga...".
    Sorry, but you are wrong about this. There is nothing masculine or feminine about wa or ga, they have different functions. It also has nothing to do with non-sentient or sentient objects.

    Not like I'm a Japanese expert by any means, I only just finished beginning Japanese in college...or what I like to call "Kindergarten" XD
    Last edited by CosmicDebris; June 9th, 2007 at 07:11 PM.

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  7. #47

    Default Re: Japanese language

    Quote Originally Posted by CosmicDebris View Post
    Sorry, but you are wrong about this. There is nothing masculine or feminine about wa or ga, they have different functions. It also has nothing to do with non-sentient or sentient objects.
    Yes, there is. Males tend to only use "wa" in formal settings, or if they are raised in a very civilized environment [upper class]. It's a contextual thing, not a language rule. Basically, it's how an American male is more likely to use "Yo, Bro!", as opposed to a female. Of course, every damn bit of this is an assumed stereotype, but alas, so goes the way of sociology.

    As for sentience, you're incorrect about that too. Non-sentient objects can't do anything, really, so most sentences regarding them are going to use descriptive adjective and involve "ga".

  8. #48

    Default Re: Japanese language

    > Since "Rubber Pistol", together, isn't a word in Japanese
    How is that not a word? We don't really have rubber pistol, so let me use some other example. Water pistol. We call it "mizu-deppou." We never call it "mizu no teppou."

    I don't think "wa" and "ga" has anything to do with male/female speech.
    "watashi ga shimashou" (let me do it)
    "watashi wa shimashou" would make it grammatically wrong.

    Or did you mean something else by this?


    Quote Originally Posted by Cyringohn View Post
    "Moshi" doesn't mean "Hello", though. That's the closest thing you could sub it as, but "Moshi" technically has no translation.
    "moshi" is a derived word from "moushiagemasu." So the literal translation would be "I'm speaking" or something like that, but of course no one use that in English nor would it be natural to day that, so we just replace it with "hello."

    > For answering the phone, should you say "Mochi mochi?"?
    Moshi moshi. Though, it depends on people. I usually say "hai, <lastname> desu" which means "yes, this is <lastname>."

    > There's a difference between a literal translation and paraphrased translation which is meant to take cultural differences into account.
    Hey, I wrote that as my graduation thesis in high school xD;
    Last edited by oceanizer; June 10th, 2007 at 01:03 AM.

  9. #49
    POE WUN BGR Greg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese language

    Regarding 'wa' 'ga'.

    I think you both know what you're talking about, just aiming at the wrong parts.

    As a particle that's been discussed thus far in use as a topic marker there is indeed no indication of masculinity or otherwise.

    HOWEVER, what I think Crying meant was in regards to its use at the end of a sentence.

    あら、素敵だわ!

    Where here the 'wa' is indeed feminine in nature (although not limited to such a classification depending on what is said).

    However, this is problematic in romaji because you're looking at both as 'wa' when one is は as a particle and the other one that carries the nuance is わ.

    At least I think that's what Crying was trying to get at.


    Because otherwise when strictly talking about the particle, there is absolutely no such nuance.

  10. #50

    Default Re: Japanese language

    Was referring to the は version of 'wa', as it is used as a topic marker. But if that was incorrect, then it's fine. Just remember reading it in one of the textbooks in our school; may have misunderstood it or something.

    Still can't figure out activate Japanese text for typing.

    Quote Originally Posted by oceanizer View Post
    > Since "Rubber Pistol", together, isn't a word in Japanese
    How is that not a word? We don't really have rubber pistol, so let me use some other example. Water pistol. We call it "mizu-deppou." We never call it "mizu no teppou."
    A "water pistol" is an actual device, though. When Luffy uses his Gomu Gomu no Pistol, he's implying that he's not using an actual rubber pistol. He's not actually wielding a pistol made of rubber, but, instead, is using his "Gomu" arm as a "Pistol".
    Last edited by Tsuchirinhon; June 10th, 2007 at 02:31 PM.

  11. #51

    Default Re: Japanese language

    wow very interesting. all this Wa and No and Ga.

    so all I have to do is add Ka, to genki desu. well that's easy. I've kind of figured out on my own that U's are usually silent at the ends of words. sort of like E's in english.

    so if I actually knew how to say other stuff in japanese, I could just add Ka at the end of the phase to ask about it. "are you" "is it"

    this might be totally wrong, but would this make sence?
    Anata wa Luffy desu ka? *thinks that would be "are you luffy?*

  12. #52

    Default Re: Japanese language

    Haven't taken Japanese since Fall quarter and particles weren't my strong point, but since we were expected to use them properly on tests (despite not covering them in class or the book, thank you), I did a lot of work on them. A friend of mine, a linguistsics grad student, actually pointed out that another difference between 'wa' and 'ga' is the use of new information in a sentence. He said that if you were bringing up a subject or idea that hadn't been discussed before you'd use 'ga', whereas if it had been talked about before, you'd use 'wa'. On top of the whole 'emphasis' thing.

    And Captain Usopp, I think it'd be more correct to say "Luffy desu ka", the "anata wa" just sounds more awkward and less like actual speech. Subjects aren't always necessary in Japanese sentences.
    If you spoiler me, I will eat you with tater tots.

  13. #53

    Default Re: Japanese language

    Quote Originally Posted by captain usopp View Post
    so if I actually knew how to say other stuff in japanese, I could just add Ka at the end of the phase to ask about it. "are you" "is it"

    this might be totally wrong, but would this make sence?
    Anata wa Luffy desu ka? *thinks that would be "are you luffy?*
    For the most part, yeah. Nothing in linguistics is ever that simple in every scenario, but that's the basic idea. "Ka" is simply a particle added to the end of a statement that informs the reader/listener that the statement is to be taken as a question.

    bevin already stated this, but adding "Anata wa..." is awkward and unnecessary. "Luffy desu ka?" would be appropriate.

    However, all of the above notes only apply in formal speech. If you wish to be informal, "ka" is not necessary, nor is "desu". Instead, you simply give a rise to your voice as you finish the statement, much as you would in English. Simply ask "Luffy?" and make it apparent, with your voice, that it's a question. For example, if you're friends with Luffy and want to know if he's on the other side of a door, you would simply ask "Luffy?" exactly like you would in English. Informal speech is so much less of a headache, largely due a lack of conjugation, particles, etc.

  14. #54
    POE WUN BGR Greg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese language

    so all I have to do is add Ka, to genki desu. well that's easy. I've kind of figured out on my own that U's are usually silent at the ends of words. sort of like E's in english.
    Fancy Tip #8473

    For natural speaking in casual situations, leave off the 'ka' and simply finish the phrase/sentence on a aurally raised level. It's far more natural.

    The common parallel drawn is how Japanese students say the following:

    "How are you?"
    "I'm fine thank you, and you?"
    "I'm fine thank you."

    No one fuckin' speaks like that unless they have a stick shoved so far up their ass they spit toothpicks.

    It's much cooler to just give a, "Genki?" The thing to be careful about with such speech is, you want to make sure you have a decent accent. Using such casual syntax can actually sound more like broken language if you're not saying it correctly.

    My two cents.

  15. #55

    Default Re: Japanese language

    ah, ok that makes sence. I'm just trying to wrap my way around how the sentances are formed, and how to use these new particles. This is actually helping a lot.

  16. #56

    Default Re: Japanese language

    The biggest problem people have when learning a new language is that they forget that they're speaking with other human beings. The fact that the language is 'foreign' puts them in a mindset that the foreigner is some kind of alien from another planet.

    People are people. Japanese language student are always so shocked at how informal speech is similar to how informal speech works in English, even though it's, you know, not surprising at all.

    Here's the kind of casual Japanese that Cyringohn hears all the time:

    "Oi."
    "Oi."
    "Genki?"
    "Un. Nanji?"
    "Rokuji."
    "Hambaaga o taberu?"
    "Hai, hai."

  17. #57

    Default Re: Japanese language

    I guess it's kind of like art. you can't draw a good abstract, until you learn proper structure, and design first.

  18. #58

    Default Re: Japanese language

    Very true.

    It was frustrating to learn a lot of the rules, though, then get to more advanced stages that were like: "Remember that conjugation rule? It means nothing here. And here. And here. Oh, and forget that particle, because you won't be using it."

  19. #59

    Default Re: Japanese language

    One thing I always noticed is that the people that don't use the language properly are actually the people that are excellent at it.

    Usually you can tell someone who learned English as a second language, because even though they might not have an accent or anything they'll speak PERFECT english most of the time.

    People who really know their language are laid back about it, because it's natural to them.

    I wish I could find a place to learn Japanese around here. Most of the people think Anime is weird and that Japanese is a stupid language. Then again many people around here disrespect all cultures but their own and yet will get angry if you disrespect theirs and they hear it. So it's not really a surprise that there is NO place to learn Japanese. I checked.

  20. #60

    Default Re: Japanese language

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    HOWEVER, what I think Crying meant was in regards to its use at the end of a sentence.

    あら、素敵だわ!
    Whoever's using "ga" in that context would be heavily accented then xD
    おぉ、すげぇが!
    /me would use that D:
    Though, still I don't think it's male/female thing.

    "How are you?"
    "I'm fine thank you, and you?"
    "I'm fine thank you."
    Yup, I lived w/ that for several years. *typical J student*



    One thing I'm still confused about - へ and に
    gakkou ni ikimasu
    gakkou e ikimasu

    For majority of Japanese, I believe, it's not so differentiated. Or at least I still get confused about it. I think it's supposedly ... before ni, it's verb or action. Before e, it's location name.
    ie. Toshokan e benkyo ni ikimasu.


    >People who really know their language are laid back about it, because it's natural to them.
    I agree. Once I was asked to be a Japanese TA in college, but I declined because no way I know "Japanese grammar" the way foreigner would want to learn it. We never talk about the grammatical rule of no/wa/ga/ni/e and stuff. We just know it D:

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