Learning Japanese (8)

1 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2006-08-20 08:26 ID:p7Iyafvs

I’m currently having a problem with deciding whether to learn Japanese or not (I’m in college at the moment). Aside from English (first language) I know Urdu, Arabic, and at most, an intermediate amount of Spanish and French.

As far as speaking the language goes, I have heard enough Japanese to determine how easy it would be phonetically for me. Because of the Arabic and Pakistani influence, I am able to imitate Japanese sounds very accurately. I’ve seen enough anime and J-movies, to be able to get a good feel of the language, picked up phrases, cultural references and many words, so I would definitely feel comfortable learning this language, it won’t be completely alien to me. Also, I am well aware that the Japanese spoken in Anime is quite different to a real life setting, but the language is still the same, so it’s not like it doesn’t help.

Reading and writing will be a completely new experience for me. Arabic/Urdu have the same alphabet minus a few letters here and there, and English/French/Spanish also essentially share the same alphabet. Japanese will be a whole new thing for me, since I’ve had absolutely no experience with the alphabet. Not to mention there are 4 writing styles that I’d need to learn. Kanji will be especially problematic, since the symbols represent ideas. In any case, I’m willing to put the extra effort into learning.

2 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2006-08-20 08:26 ID:p7Iyafvs

Grammar and sentence structure might also be a problem. It may not be as easy to find any patterns as with Latin based languages like French and Spanish. I’m not too worried though, because Urdu and Arabic also have very little in the way of patterns. I may be wrong of course, I don’t know if Japanese is going to be next to impossible to figure out, or not.

Now the most important part is this:
I believe that there are basically two ways to effectively learn a new language.

  1. When you have no choice, and NEED to use it (for example living in a foreign country where your mother tongue is used rarely, if at all). My family moved to the Middle East when I was 4, and I spent 14 years there, before coming back to the US for college. That’s how I picked up Arabic. I’m ethnically Pakistani, and so Urdu is my second language.
  2. You actually want to learn the language, and you're not just doing it because you're forced to do it, like in school for example. By wanting to learn the language, you need to be motivated, and make the effort to learn and use the language as often as possible (outside of the classroom too). The problem here is that you really need to have an outlet to use the language. In the cases of French and Spanish, I couldn't really find a use for them, at least enough to be fluent at them. I figured learning Spanish in the US would be useful, since it was the second language. I've never had to use it once though.

3 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2006-08-20 08:26 ID:p7Iyafvs

The second point is important, because I don’t currently have the need to speak Japanese. I’m in the USA right now, and while I plan to leave once I’m done with graduate school, I won’t really be speaking it outside the classroom (unless I’m talking to myself, which I’ll probably end up doing -_-) and I’m not going to learn Japanese so that I can watch anime without subtitles, anime is simply a means to an end! I’m actually thinking about this as a long term investment, since I eventually want to do business in Tokyo, more specifically in the technology market. Clearly, learning Japanese would be useful. Not to mention that in many business courses in college, even here in the USA, there are very specific courses about Japanese business practices and the like. Also, while there aren’t exactly that many Japanese people where I am, I would still be able to utilize what I learnt on the Internet (since there are many times I’ve been browsing around and thought to myself “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if I could understand this Japanese!”) also, in the meantime, I can at least try and understand some of the anime I watch.

And as a side note, to the Japanese people here, although I’m an American, (in south California born and raised, in Los Angeles is where I spent mosta my days!) what’s the deal with the view of terrorism over there? Would the climate hostile to a bronze skinned sand nigger such as myself :P? Then again, I’m thinking within 5-10 years from now, so maybe it won’t be relevant then.

4 名前: Albright!LC/IWhc3yc : 2006-08-20 09:21 ID:2beiKrFH

>Not to mention there are 4 writing styles that I’d need to learn.

Hiragana, katakana, kanji, and… ?

Really, though, it doesn't feel like three different systems, as kanji and hiragana are used so much together that it feels like one, and katakana is used so relatively little and only in certain cases that it feels more like… I donno, a half or something. Anyway, the kana collectively are pretty easy, actually. Once you get them down, you'll wonder what you ever worried about.

As for the rest of your comment, I'm afraid I'm not seeing the question you're asking of us other Japanese learners, if you had one. And as for your question for Japanese people, it's probably a bit too tl;dr and difficultly-phrased. I highly doubt anybody but the highest-level students would be able to make any sense out of "Would the climate [be] hostile to a bronze skinned sand nigger." And let's not even get started on the Fresh Prince reference…

5 名前: Albright!LC/IWhc3yc : 2006-08-20 09:39 ID:Heaven

>anybody but the highest-level students

Highest-level English students, just to clarify.

And to add a bit more, related to your question… The most popular "colored" person in Japan is Bob Sapp, a hulking black kickboxer who makes countless appearances in variety shows and commercials. Besides fitting the "genki NHK gaijin" stereotype, he also speaks (Japanese) in a really deep voice and often does this wide-eyed toothy grin. Make of that what you will.

Also, I recall while I was there (or perhaps soon after I left) a story made the rounds in the foreigner community about a black man who sued a storeowner who asked him to leave his store, ostensibly just because he was black. The store owner said he just did it because he and his friend were acting obnoxious. Whatever the situation was, the man lost his case, but the sympathy I may have had for the guy kinda disappeared when I found out he had been over there for eight years or so and had even married a Japanese girl, but still spoke only basic Japanese. If you don't try to act similarly to everyone around you, it's kind of silly to get angry when someone treats you differently. (Perhaps someone out there knows of the story I'm mentioning and can provide a link.)

6 名前: 電気男 : 2006-08-20 18:25 ID:P5HeWPgb

First off, if you know Arabic and had little trouble learning it, you have my deepest respect because from what I've tried of that language, it is freaking impossible. I started my language trek with Spanish, easy enough and it got me to get used to the phonetic pronounciations in Japanese, since they are identical.

I'm going to be entering Japanese III at my college tomorrow, and I actually started independantly studying Japanese on my own in high school. The kana I taught myself, and although it may seem intimidating at first, its like Albright said, it is actually not so bad but it takes a lot of practice.

The kanji really killed me for a while, but after you see enough of them, you develop patterns on recognition and start to see the radicals that make them up. I have the most difficulty writing them, but reading the ones I know isn't too hard if you see them enough. Like all languages, it takes practice practice practice!

The grammar and sentence structure of Japanese is kinda goofy at times, especially with the thousands upon thousands of copula and particles, but overtime the pain is numbed by the thousands of kanji you have to recognize and write. But I encourage you to pursue the language, its pretty fun and even after only two semesters worth I can read quite a bit on this page.

Best of luck to you (がんばって)!

7 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2006-08-20 19:39 ID:9Yj+A8ZM

>If you don't try to act similarly to everyone around you, it's kind of silly to get angry when someone treats you differently

Very good point. You have to adapt to your new environment, and make the effort to fit in. That isn't to say you should completely transform yourself into something that you aren't, but at the same time you shouldn't stand out.

8 名前: 名無しさん@日本語勉強中 : 2010-04-24 18:05 ID:PZlHFMsx

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