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Why Japanese Sucks So Hard - Page 3 - UniLang

Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

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Shinn
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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby Shinn » 2008-11-20, 8:01

sjheiss wrote:I've always wondered how someone could look at a Kanji symbol they've never seen before and know how it is pronounced. Anyone mind explaining it to me?


Well in short, he or she couldn't.

I meant that the basic orthography follows the phonetics, unlike in a language like say, English or Irish where words often look nothing like they sound. You couldn't correctly guess the alphabets that make up "bough" or "bhfuil" if you hear them, but you know exactly which syllables (and therefore kana) make up "yama" or "zashiki warashi" if you hear the words. Although, of course, you wouldn't instantly know how to write them in kanji.

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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby ILuvEire » 2008-11-20, 17:53

sjheiss wrote:
Shinn wrote:Japanese sounds exactly the way it is written and the pronunciation is dead easy because the number of sounds is so less.


I've always wondered how someone could look at a Kanji symbol they've never seen before and know how it is pronounced. Anyone mind explaining it to me?


If it wasn't part of the Jouyou kanji, many times it would have furigana (little kana in the corner telling you how it's pronounced). Also, some kanji have radicals that can aid in pronunciation (well, Chinese does, and I assume this works with Japanese too).
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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby Anatoli » 2008-11-20, 23:44

I've always wondered how someone could look at a Kanji symbol they've never seen before and know how it is pronounced. Anyone mind explaining it to me?


Also, some kanji have radicals that can aid in pronunciation (well, Chinese does, and I assume this works with Japanese too).

This works in some case for ON-yomi (音読み) only (Sino-Japanese). KUN-yomi (訓読み) or native Japanese have nothing to do with the original Chinese readings, the choice is for the meaning only, e.g. 読書 - dokusho (doku + sho) (ON-yomi), 読む - yomu (KUN-yomi). The choice of a character is based on the borrowed meaning only.

Learning to read Japanese Kanji is much harder than Chinese Hanzi but their number in active use is smaller in modern Japanese.
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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby kaze » 2011-01-29, 18:08

Since you said that you don't mind this posting being published elsewhere, I decided to post it on my blog: http://nihongo-ga-wakarimasen.blogspot.com/
Since this blog is bilingual, I need to translate it into German first, so this might take a few days. I will include the original link to this posting and mention you as the author.

Thank you, I enjoyed reading it. ;)

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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby johnH » 2011-02-04, 16:16

I feel odly unintimidated. Not at all, Now with my experience trying to aquire a hint of japanese is like one man standing against a japaneze aemt guarding the holy gate. No cooperation, ever.Of course I admit this isnt an accurate impression and comes fromnonly meating the most impatient and the most, sillent.
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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby Littlemoonfishy » 2014-03-15, 14:53

"I cant comfortably read a book with that number of characters", in reference to the 2000 or so jouyou kanji. What kinda intolerable BS is this I ask you?? Do u know that many characters? If not you shouldnt make so incorrect an assumption, and if u do and truly cannot read texts then you are doing something very very wrong, like mistaking chinese texts for japanese, and yes im saying this with a thick layer of sarcasm. I get feeling frustrated i do, but spreading information so grossly overexaggerated that itis plain fallacious is dishonest misleading unacceptable.

Think of the number of people you could discourage from learning with such words, even though their content is untrue?? A shame. After 3 years of study and knowing only about 800 kanji i can honestly say i can read and understand about 75-90% of novels and newspapers,comfortably. I enjoy the script and am learning technical vocabulary and kanji for translation purposes now, things like atomic weight, electric current, reaction time, isobaric chamber, atmospheric pressure, salinity, hydraulics, electromagnetism, logarithm, etc and thanks to the intuitive nature of kanji it is quite easy. Next time, the unembellished truth please. If not for my or honesty's sake, for integrity and the right

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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby Littlemoonfishy » 2014-03-15, 14:55

"I cant comfortably read a book with that number of characters", in reference to the 2000 or so jouyou kanji. What kinda intolerable BS is this I ask you?? Do u know that many characters? If not you shouldnt make so incorrect an assumption, and if u do and truly cannot read texts then you are doing something very very wrong, like mistaking chinese texts for japanese, and yes im saying this with a thick layer of sarcasm. I get feeling frustrated i do, but spreading information so grossly overexaggerated that itis plain fallacious is dishonest misleading unacceptable.

Think of the number of people you could discourage from learning with such words, even though their content is untrue?? A shame. After 3 years of study and knowing only about 800 kanji i can honestly say i can read and understand about 75-90% of novels and newspapers,comfortably. I enjoy the script and am learning technical vocabulary and kanji for translation purposes now, things like atomic weight, electric current, reaction time, isobaric chamber, atmospheric pressure, salinity, hydraulics, electromagnetism, logarithm, etc and thanks to the intuitive nature of kanji it is quite easy. Next time, the unembellished truth please. If not for my or honesty's sake, for integrity and the right of learners of japanese to know what theyre in for for real and to motivate them thusly.

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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby Pangu » 2014-03-15, 15:56

Wow, thank you for taking the time to write this. All these points are very interesting.

While most of your points are very factual, I disagree that these facts make Japanese "suck so hard". It makes it that much more interesting to me :)

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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby Yasna » 2014-03-15, 16:13

Littlemoonfishy wrote:After 3 years of study and knowing only about 800 kanji i can honestly say i can read and understand about 75-90% of novels and newspapers,comfortably.

That doesn't add up. For a learner, often it is the uncommon, unknown word in a sentence that gives the sentence most of its meaning. Let's take the mainstream novel at my side for example. One paragraph begins "しかし破綻は突然やってきた。" If you only know 800 kanji, then you probably don't know 綻, and you probably don't know what 破綻 means, which is the key word in the sentence. So if you understand all the other words in that sentence (about 80% of the sentence), but don't know what 破綻 means, then you basically have no idea what that sentence is about.

So I don't know what you could be comfortably reading at that level. "Getting the gist" isn't comfortable reading.
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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby hashi » 2014-03-16, 22:22

Yasna wrote:That doesn't add up. For a learner, often it is the uncommon, unknown word in a sentence that gives the sentence most of its meaning. Let's take the mainstream novel at my side for example. One paragraph begins "しかし破綻は突然やってきた。" If you only know 800 kanji, then you probably don't know 綻, and you probably don't know what 破綻 means, which is the key word in the sentence. So if you understand all the other words in that sentence (about 80% of the sentence), but don't know what 破綻 means, then you basically have no idea what that sentence is about.

So I don't know what you could be comfortably reading at that level. "Getting the gist" isn't comfortable reading.
You're absolutely right. It is a lot easier to 'get the gist' in other languages, but Japanese kanji unfortunately is less forgiving.

I studied Japanese pretty intensely for about 5 years (University and High School) and never got to the point where I could 'comfortably' read a newspaper. I could stumble through the occasional article, but my understanding was definitely hindered and there was a lot of guess work - a lot of which was probably wrong.

I haven't touched Japanese for about 2-3 years now, and still would not say I feel anywhere near comfortable being able to read newspapers. I can still read a fair bit however, but definitely not on more complex or specific, jargon-filled subjects. Ps: I have no idea how many kanji I can read.

However, if you believe you're able to - good for you ;)

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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby Karavinka » 2014-03-17, 23:27

I guess that I should clarify one thing as the original poster of this thread after all these years. This was written near the end of my formal "study" period, and I can now read Japanese as comfortably as any other language that I am literate.

As for littlemoonfishy's comment that this is grossly exaggerated - yes, this is written in a hyperbolic style with a fake seriousness covering sarcastic/humorous undertone. At least that was the intention and it's my fault if it failed to deliver. I can fully understand that you can understand 75% or so with ~800 Kanji, you probably can - by the time I wrote it I knew +2000 Kanji, but not necessarily all their combined or uncommon readings - I don't find it "comfortable" unless I can completely do away with dictionaries, perhaps I should have been clearer on that front.
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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby yasmin-kasumi » 2014-03-27, 14:01

Well yeah, it's a language, languages are weird. I assume that since most of these posts contain English, most of the people on this forum are westerns. Were you Korean or Chinese, learning Japanese would be relatively easier. It' like how Japanese people have such a difficult time with English and complain about all the weird things that Japanese doesn't have. The perception of nonsensicalness in a language all depends on what your first language is :P
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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby Pangu » 2014-03-27, 16:43

yasmin-kasumi wrote:Well yeah, it's a language, languages are weird. I assume that since most of these posts contain English, most of the people on this forum are westerns. Were you Korean or Chinese, learning Japanese would be relatively easier. It' like how Japanese people have such a difficult time with English and complain about all the weird things that Japanese doesn't have. The perception of nonsensicalness in a language all depends on what your first language is :P

Well said.

But it's nowhere near as fun to complain and whine when you bring logic and rationality into it! :D

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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby yasmin-kasumi » 2014-03-28, 13:23

Also, regarding Japanese's wonky script, I could say something similar for English. Nothing is spelt how it's pronounced! Once you think you understand English spelling rules, you find an exception! Even native English speakers need aid in pronouncing not very uncommon words. But just like Japanese, the reason for Englishes weird spelling is all historic. Japanese has three scripts because at first Japanese was written with Chinese characters in a very ad hoc manner. Hiragana developed to better represent sounds and Man'yougana faded out of use. Katakana developed in a similar manner to display foreign words so that they stuck out. English has crazy spelling because out of other Germanic languages, English changed the most, yet throughout English's history it has gained a reputation of being very conservative spelling wise (Unlike other languages like German which changed over time to accommodate pronunciation)
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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby mōdgethanc » 2014-03-28, 16:26

yasmin-kasumi wrote:Nothing is spelt how it's pronounced!
"spelt" /spɛlt/
"get" /ɡɛt/
"will" /wɪl/
"men" /mɛn/
"put" /pʊt/

I'm not a big fan of English orthography, but you can't say nothing is spelled how it's pronounced.

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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby yasmin-kasumi » 2014-03-28, 17:53

mōdgethanc wrote:
yasmin-kasumi wrote:Nothing is spelt how it's pronounced!
"spelt" /spɛlt/
"get" /ɡɛt/
"will" /wɪl/
"men" /mɛn/
"put" /pʊt/

I'm not a big fan of English orthography, but you can't say nothing is spelled how it's pronounced.

I was being hyperbolic :P
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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby locksleyu » 2014-04-14, 15:22

I agree with several of the other answers in this thread that reading this post actually make me want to study Japanese more.

I've been studying Japanese over 10 years and while I'm quite satisfied with my reading ability (given the fact I've never taken a single class or lived in Japan), I still struggle depending on the genre and complexity of the work.

But ironically I think this is why I have studied Japanese so long. If I could read nearly any book like a breeze without even looking up a single word, I might have dropped Japanese many years back.
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linguoboy
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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby linguoboy » 2014-04-14, 15:51

yasmin-kasumi wrote:Also, regarding Japanese's wonky script, I could say something similar for English. Nothing is spelt how it's pronounced! Once you think you understand English spelling rules, you find an exception! Even native English speakers need aid in pronouncing not very uncommon words.

I know you're being hyperbolic, but I think it conceals some very differences of degree and even kind between Japanese orthography and the orthography of almost every other language in the world. There's a very good reason why no other language has an equivalent of ワープロ馬鹿 (although Chinese 提筆忘字 comes close).

Say what you will about exceptions like gaol or chamois, and the end of the day you only need to learn 54[*] characters to read or write every English world ever. That's roughly equivalent to one of the two sets of kana. Plus there are firm limits on how creative English spelling can get, even when it comes to personal names. You might see "Sean" spelled "Shawn" or "Shon". You will not see it spelled "Chris". Yet that sort of thing happens in Japanese all the time.


[*] Upper- and lower-case plus the hyphen and apostrophe.
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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby Yasna » 2014-04-14, 16:25

linguoboy wrote:You might see "Sean" spelled "Shawn" or "Shon". You will not see it spelled "Chris". Yet that sort of thing happens in Japanese all the time.

Haha. When you compare it to English like that it really drives the point home.
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Re: Why Japanese Sucks So Hard

Postby linguoboy » 2014-04-14, 16:37

Yasna wrote:
linguoboy wrote:You might see "Sean" spelled "Shawn" or "Shon". You will not see it spelled "Chris". Yet that sort of thing happens in Japanese all the time.

Haha. When you compare it to English like that it really drives the point home.

Remember that question about the name "Ayaka"? I expected to find maybe a dozen different spellings when I looked it up. I didn't expect to find over a hundred.

At least these are mostly ateji (or a mix of ateji and hiragana). Is there any character in Japanese which can't be used to represent "Yoshi"?
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons


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