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Thread: Japanese language

  1. #781

    Default Re: Japanese language

    I have always hated books that try to teach "every-day" language or "conversational" language because those are just code words for "lazy learning that cuts corners and doesn't cement the grammar fundamentals." I will recommend the same beginner textbook over and over: Elementary Japanese by Yoko Hasegawa. It's two volumes, but I linked the first one. It's written by a linguist.

    To answer your question, the word order doesn't matter. You are trying to understand the translation in a rigid way that doesn't apply to Japanese really. The only thing that really is true about Japanese word order is the verb comes last. In these sentences, the particle "o" marks a direct object (what the action was directly performed on), and the particle "ni" is marking an indirect object (the receiver of the action). The subject is implicit in this case (could be "watashi" for example), and would be marked with the particle "wa" or "ga." Though "wa" gets tricky because it's technically a topic marker, so its use is pretty flexible, grammatically speaking. But as long as your particles are marking things properly, you can swap the parts around. All of the following sentences are grammatically correct:

    "Sato gave this book to Yamada"

    Satou-san ga Yamada-san ni kono hon o agemashita
    Satou-san ga kono hon o Yamada-san ni agemashita
    Yamada-san ni Satou-san ga kono hon o agemashita
    Yamada-san ni kono hon o Satou-san ga agemashita
    kono hon o Satou-san ga Yamada-san ni agemashita
    kono hon o Yamada-san ni Satou-san ga agemashita

    Now that being said, a few of them sound kind of weird because people wouldn't normally order the sentences that way, and it'd be more in special cases of emphasis or literary effect. At the last two would be more likely to say "kono hon wa" changing the sentence to be more like "As for this book, Sato gave it to Yamada."

    But, keeping it simply about the example you have, it is perfectly normal and equivalent to say the sentence either of these ways:

    Yamada-san ni kono hon o agemashou ka?
    kono hon o Yamada-san ni agemashou ka?

  2. #782
    Stowed Away Discovery Huon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese language

    Ah, that's very helpful and enlightening! Thanks a lot for explaining. It seems that it's actually simpler than I expected, so that's nice.

    About "wa" and "ga" (and when to use the one or the other); that's actually another thing I don't completely understand. My book does explain it, but it also hints at it actually being way more complicated. And when I looked it up on the internet I found that entire books have been written about just the difference between "wa" and "ga".

    As for the book I'm using; I bought it mostly because it was the only one I could find that was relatively inexpensive and I just wanted something to get me started. It's more or less what I expected it to be, so I'm content with that for now. I was thinking of getting the Genki textbook later, but the one you suggested appears to be much cheaper, so that might be a better option, thanks!
    "We are brethren of the monastery called The World, where folk grow hungry"

  3. #783

    Default Re: Japanese language

    No problem. Keep in mind the book I linked will expect you to learn kana pretty much right away, and keep up with new vocab and kanji each chapter. And yeah honestly at first you just have to get a better grasp on wa/ga by just immersion.

  4. #784

    Default Re: Japanese language

    Quote Originally Posted by Huon View Post
    About "wa" and "ga" (and when to use the one or the other); that's actually another thing I don't completely understand. My book does explain it, but it also hints at it actually being way more complicated. And when I looked it up on the internet I found that entire books have been written about just the difference between "wa" and "ga".
    This wa vs. ga explanation was kind of informative when I found it years ago: http://nihonshock.com/2010/02/partic...een-wa-and-ga/

    But like Foolio said it really something that has to be "learned" by experience and informed by intuition (only after living there two years and translating 120+ manga volumes do I feel I'm getting the hang of it...and I'm probably still not, actually).

  5. #785
    Stowed Away Discovery Huon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese language

    That article you linked looks very useful at first glance, thanks! I'll study it a bit better when I have some more time.

    And yeah, I don't really expect to ever reach a level where I understand it as well as a native Japanese speaker would, but my first major goal for now is to be able to read Japanese and understand what I'm reading.
    "We are brethren of the monastery called The World, where folk grow hungry"

  6. #786
    Stowed Away Discovery Huon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese language

    What is the difference between [verb + koto], [verb + no] and the -ite/-ide/-shite/-nde/-tte/-te ending of verbs?

    From what I understand, [verb + koto] and [verb + no] are the equivalent of the English gerund and can be used interchangeably. I also understand how the -ite/-ide/-shite/-nde/-tte/-te forms are made and how they function, but I don't really see how these three things are different as words. For example, kaku-no, kaku-koto and kaite all mean "writing", right?
    "We are brethren of the monastery called The World, where folk grow hungry"

  7. #787

    Default Re: Japanese language

    Uhhh I think you're confused, but it would be nice to see some example sentences from whatever source you're using. I'm guessing you mean a usage such as the following:

    Boku wa hashiru koto ga suki (I like running)

    In this type of construct, "koto" and "no" are pretty much interchangeable, although there are actually specific verbs/situations in which one or the other cannot be used. I'd actually have to look it up though because I simply don't remember them.

    But that aside, it's completely different from the -te form of verbs. The point here is basically (as you somewhat implied) to turn a verb, or the entire preceding clause, into a noun that can be modified/referenced by grammatical constructs that expect a noun, like adjectives. So I can definitely see it being likened to a gerund in English, basically the -ing form of verbs. You can say "dogs are scary" because dogs are nouns. But for concepts involving a verb you conjugate them with -ing to nounify them, like "eating marmite is scary." "Eating marmite" is now a nounal phrase so you can then apply the adjective "scary" to it. That's what you're accomplishing by appending koto/no to a verb.

    But the -te form of verbs is something else entirely; it doesn't serve that purpose nor serve as a noun. In cases like this I much prefer native Japanese grammar terms rather than what they use to teach it as a foreign language. This particular conjugation is called the ren'youkei (連用形), which is pretty self-descriptive: it's the "link-and-use form." In the most fundamental way its purpose is to string phrases together without making each one a new sentence, almost like the word "and" or a comma / other linking words in English. Of course it has also become the verb form commonly used to make polite requests/orders which is probably the first usage language students learn.

    Anyway I think I'll stop here, as I don't know whether I'm being helpful or just more confusing at this point.

  8. #788

    Default Re: Japanese language

    Quote Originally Posted by Huon View Post
    What is the difference between [verb + koto], [verb + no] and the -ite/-ide/-shite/-nde/-tte/-te ending of verbs?

    From what I understand, [verb + koto] and [verb + no] are the equivalent of the English gerund and can be used interchangeably. I also understand how the -ite/-ide/-shite/-nde/-tte/-te forms are made and how they function, but I don't really see how these three things are different as words. For example, kaku-no, kaku-koto and kaite all mean "writing", right?
    I did a quick search and found this, if this helps for the no vs koto

    http://jlptbootcamp.com/2011/02/jlpt...r-nominalizer/

    I don't have access to my Genki 1 or 2 textbooks (away from home for a while) but it does cover this quite well. I'll try to compare.

    Kanji wo kaku no wa muzukashii desu

    Kanji wo kaku koto ga muzukashii desu

    Both mean It's difficult to write Kanji / Writing Kanji is difficult

    Kaku no (wa) basically changes the current sentence to "The action of writing"

    Kaku koto and no wa form
    '
    "Kaku koto by itself would be "(the action of) writing..."

    This is talking about the action of writing, usually explain something like;

    "Kono pen wo kattara kanji wo kaku no wa kantan ni narimasu"

    "Kono pen wo kattara kanji wo kaku koto ga kantan ni narimasu"

    If you buy this pen, writing Kanji will become easier.

    Kaite form:

    Kyou wa, tegami wo kaite, okurimashita

    Today I wrote a letter and sent it.

    The te form is really just to connect a bunch of sentences together. Really all it is.

    Kaiteiru:


    Kaiteiru literally means to be currently writing.

    Ima ha tegami wo kateiru / kaiteimasu (I'm writing a letter now")

    I think this is the Kaite form you are thinking of.


    As for the te forms (ite/-ide/-shite/-nde/-tte/-te ) you seem to be breaking down the different way the te form appears, it would save you a lot if you learnt them word by word.

    The best way to learn it is when trying to use the te form of a verb, use a dictionary to confirm if it's correct everytime. I use JED on smartphone, shows all the forms of the verbs and easily searchable, doesn't require to press enter button to search, requires no internet and it's free.

    I hope I helped, feel free to ask more questions.

    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Huon View Post

    Also, I would like to try to read some really, really simple children's books (preferebly in hiragana or romaji). Does anyone have some links to places where I could find those? (If something like that exists at all.)
    Hmm, it is pretty difficult to find online, I've tried searching, but maybe not thoroughly enough. Anyway, you can actually try pick up a manga to speed up hiragana and katakana reading, I did that at first with a manga that didn't use furigana which was pretty difficult at that time. You could even try One Piece purely for the purpose of speading up Kana reading and would be fun since it would be One Piece.

    Shonen manga all have furigana. If you want access to some Japanese raws of One Piece you can access it online here , thanks to Sandman for the link.

    One other great way to practice Kana reading would be News web easy https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/ , I would highly recommend you read literature that has furigana at least, plain old hiragana won't give any Kanji exposure.

    News web easy offers latest news articles in which you can also find the original article if you wish which is from NHK News. I personally don't like reading there anymore since furigana is so distracting, I ditched furigana 2-4 months in and got used to going reading and searching words myself.

    I did read a lot of religious publications on Jw.org (religious website). You can get the English translation of any publication, the Japanese version along with the furigana Japanese version. This is as top as you can get in translation and I personally used this and am currently using this. Only downsides is it is really complicated but I did speed up my reading and learnt a ton of words.

    http://imgur.com/fbTINW2 Furigana

    http://imgur.com/1JOY0kH Pure Japanese

    http://imgur.com/yd1dDfu English

    I find it's really hard to find articles in all three formats online.
    Last edited by SuburbanErrorist; May 31st, 2017 at 01:13 AM.
    I have been self studying Japanese now for almost 1.5 years now. Currently living in Japan and working on getting JLPT 2 at end of 2017
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  9. #789
    Stowed Away Discovery Huon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese language

    Wow, you guys are so knowledgeable, it's impressive! Your explanations were very helpful, thanks a lot to both of you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Foolio View Post
    Of course it has also become the verb form commonly used to make polite requests/orders which is probably the first usage language students learn.
    This seems to be the origin of my confusion. There was a paragraph about this usage of the -te form in my book, but it didn't mention that there were other uses as well. I do now see how it is completely different from the -koto/-no endings of verbs. SuburbanErrorist's examples illustrated it nicely. Thanks again to both of you for your elaborate answers; it must take you guys some time to write those posts haha, but it does really help me :)

    I have also downloaded JED just now. I haven't really checked out all it's functions yet, but it looks like it could be a handy tool!

    As for reading practice. I've tried reading manga in Japanese, but it's still a bit too difficult for me at this point. Trying One Piece sounds like a good suggestion though, as I already know the story so I don't need to perfectly understand everything I'm reading. Thanks for the idea (and for all the other links)!
    "We are brethren of the monastery called The World, where folk grow hungry"

  10. #790

    Default Re: Japanese language

    Quote Originally Posted by Huon View Post
    Wow, you guys are so knowledgeable, it's impressive! Your explanations were very helpful, thanks a lot to both of you!


    This seems to be the origin of my confusion. There was a paragraph about this usage of the -te form in my book, but it didn't mention that there were other uses as well. I do now see how it is completely different from the -koto/-no endings of verbs. SuburbanErrorist's examples illustrated it nicely. Thanks again to both of you for your elaborate answers; it must take you guys some time to write those posts haha, but it does really help me :)

    I have also downloaded JED just now. I haven't really checked out all it's functions yet, but it looks like it could be a handy tool!

    As for reading practice. I've tried reading manga in Japanese, but it's still a bit too difficult for me at this point. Trying One Piece sounds like a good suggestion though, as I already know the story so I don't need to perfectly understand everything I'm reading. Thanks for the idea (and for all the other links)!
    I just use all expressions search and the search by radical function once in a while.

    https://nihongoshark.com/learn-kanji/

    I highly recommend nihongosharks method for Kanji. I finished it a year ago in 88 days. You learn all the radicals and once finished lt makes looking at kanji fun and not impossible. I have tried and proven this method, after I hit vocabulary lists on anki and am now sitting at 9000 or so vocabulary. But its just 1 method.

    With this, the kanji radical search became easy to understand.
    I have been self studying Japanese now for almost 1.5 years now. Currently living in Japan and working on getting JLPT 2 at end of 2017
    CHECK OUT MY JAPANESE LANGUAGE LEARNING LOG

  11. #791

    Default Re: Japanese language

    Can you guys help me with something? I want to translate this sentence to Japanese:


    "Hey what do you think of these drawings that I've made years ago for my Rokushiki Robin project? :)"


    I would be very grateful!

    EDIT: Nevermind, someone ever at OroJackson translated it for me already.
    Last edited by joesephes; August 6th, 2017 at 02:05 PM.
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  12. #792
    Must've been rats Sakonosolo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese language

    I'm trying to translate a manga called Gingitsune just so I can read it because the group that was scanlating it dropped it. I know almost no Japanese but have been getting by decently enough (albeit slowly) with dictionaries and stuff. But I have no idea what this sentence is supposed to mean. Anyone care to help?

    当たり 何かヤシが今からブーの様子見に来るっつってんだけど

    The first part (before the space) is just telling the person who asked a question that they're right it seems, just for context. And ブー is the name of a cat.

  13. #793

    Default Re: Japanese language

    Something along the lines of "He said he's about to come see how Puu is doing though."

  14. #794
    Must've been rats Sakonosolo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese language

    Ah, thanks. That ヤシ part was probably what was messing me up most since it apparently means palm tree or something when I looked it up but I guess means something else in this context.

    Edit: And while we're at it this was another sentence that was giving me trouble

    ったく誰かさんが狛犬に会うとか言うから... (あーめんどくせ)

    They're passing a Buddhist temple and one of the characters says this. I did translate this but I want to see how off I am.
    Last edited by Sakonosolo; September 28th, 2017 at 05:26 PM. Reason: I promise I'll try not to post too many lines in this thread. I just wish someone competent was doing a translation of it

  15. #795

    Default Re: Japanese language

    Yatsu just means "him"

  16. #796
    Must've been rats Sakonosolo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese language

    Oh well I completely misinterpreted that second kana then too. Thought it was yashi, not yatsu. Have to be careful about that in the future.

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