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17

True fluency is rare, and involves more than passing a standardized test. I will refer you to an answer I gave in EL&U.SE which I quoted from my treasured copy of Jack Seward's Japanese in Action. He is talking about Japanese, but I removed all the specific-language references because it's a good measure for fluency in any language. EDIT: I've just added ...


14

Your question body contradicts the title, so I'll answer both questions: Advantages of roomaji (I never thought I'd say this!): No need to learn new characters Can be "read" by most people, even if not understood. Although anybody who doesn't know Japanese will get even the pronunciation wrong. Disadvantages of roomaji: Complete inability to read and ...


14

The real question is "Advantages/disadvantages for whom?". For students of Japanese, Romaji is really useful when they start out, because they don't have to learn anything to be able to read it (although without learning Kana, they'll probably end up reading it incorrectly, especially if they're native English speakers :(). Another advantage is that Romaji ...


14

To the extent that studying linguistics helps you understand some of the more complex patterns, you will probably find it useful. But a great deal of linguistics is dedicated to finding common systems to describe all languages, which (by necessity) isn't terribly useful for using a particular language. Some texts are written somewhat 'in the middle' for ...


13

I have a number of gaijin friends in Tokyo who learned Japanese in Kansai. Rather than being looked down upon, Japanese friends think it's cool (関西人面白いでしょ?). Yet, business is different - again, the relationships of the people involved matter. Unless you're in a Kansai office with a bunch of Kansai-jin, sticking to "標準語 (hyoujungo)" is never a bad idea. ...


13

I have a friend (anecdotal, of course) who has lived in Japan for 11 years. He learned Japanese only 3 ways: (a) girlfriends, (b) manga & anime, and (c) male Japanese friends. His pronunciation is very natural; he's so comfortable in the dirtier parts of the language that he can bawl out a taxi driver. I've witnessed him tear apart a guy on the street ...


13

While i agree with you that there is a lot of Japanese from anime that can't be used in daily conversation, it can still be a valuable learning tool in ear training, pronunciation, culture acquisition and vocabulary acquisition. And knowing the culture goes along way towards learning how the language is used.


13

You will want: No romaji. Romaji hurts your pronunciation and is a crutch. Get something with furigana, or even better, hiragana in parentheses. Lots of example sentences. Context is invaluable in learning new words. Electronic is better. It's faster and can be used mid conversation much more easily. Plus you can write in unknown characters with a stylus. ...


12

First and foremost the JLPT does not have a speaking component. This means you may be able to recognise and understand grammar when reading or listening, but you may be unable to actually speak the language with any proficiency. This is my case exactly, I can understand far more than what I can express. Secondly, the entire test is multiple choice. Multiple ...


9

I think the Wikipedia article on the Japanese writing system explains it pretty well, but to summarize: Hiragana and katakana (collectively referred to as kana) are syllabic writing, that is, each character represents a syllable such as "ta" or "o". They're purely phonetic so they don't have direct connotations like kanji do, and both have the same set of ...


9

(The combination 難しい勉強 sounds slightly off to me, but I put this aside for the purpose of this question.) You have to distinguish noun+する and noun+をする. Noun+する: Once you attach する, what was originally a noun becomes a verb, and you cannot modify it with an adjective. Noun+をする: Attaching をする does not change a noun to a verb, and you can still modify it ...


9

I've heard sound like: Haru na kimasu. So why is that? I'm going to be very frank here. I think it's because you're not yet able to distinguish intervocalic [ŋ] from [n] and [m]. Incidentally, listening to the passage you link to, I hear [ŋ] in the first, [ɡ] in the second ocurrence of しごと. Do the Japanese not like the g sound (g as in gorilla)? It's not ...


9

This question is generally not something we consider on-topic, but I'll give you my honest advise anyway. The Short Answer: A long time. A really really long time. Your mileage may vary, but expect it to take several years. The Long Answer: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" I would say in my own opinion that you're going to want ...


8

By transcribing everything into latin alphabet (heck, even to hiragana/katakana syllables), written Japanese will lose most of the legibility than if it were to be written in full kanji+kana. It may be hard to describe, but let me give you a nonsense english sentence: Wheel you go two the par tea two knight at ate? Eye think it's awed they are having it ...


8

Learning to read and write the kana on your own is fine, if your book is decent. But here are some small caveats: For reasons unknown to me, most books I've come across (rather infuriatingly) seem to write the kana in brush or printed form, where they look slightly different to handwritten. For example, き (ki) tends to be handwritten as four strokes: two ...


8

It is simply the 〜た form of 済ませる, which basically means the same as 済ます. Quoted from 大辞泉: すま・せる【済ませる】 「済ます」に同じ。 And 大辞林: すま・せる 【済ませる】 「すます(済)」に同じ。


8

I think it would be like a musician studying acoustics, or avid dog owner/trainer studying canine anatomy. It probably all depends on what your future goals are with Japanese. If you're planning to move to Japan, or just keeping that option open, and working and perhaps marrying a Japanese, then you should just remain as a JSL (Japanese as a Second Language) ...


8

The equivalent of "alphabetical order" for kana that hangs on the wall of classrooms is as follows: あかさたなはまやらわん いきしちにひみ り うくすつぬふむゆる えけせてねへめ れ おこそとのほもよろを I believe children are introduced to them based on this, probably vertically (i.e. あいうえお、かきくけこ and so on). [Thanks to Jamie Taylor in the comments.] I can't really give specific advice on ...


7

Just for the record before this gets closed, the US State Department classifies (classified?) Japanese as an "exceptionally difficult" language for native English speakers, and at least in their programs recommends 88 weeks of study at 2200 class hours, half of which are spent in Japan. Not sure how out of date this document is but it might be as close to an ...


7

A ほおかむり (頬被り) (also ほっかむり or ほおかぶり) from 頬っぺを被る "to cover the cheeks" is a cloth that is tied around the head to cover the head (or the face) and usually tied under the chin. The infamous ほおかむり wearer is the Japanese thief (泥棒さん) (another picture) who wraps his head with a cloth and ties it under his nose, supposedly to conceal his identity. In ...


7

When the Jesuits first came to Japan, they needed a word for God. They described the qualities of God to local priests, and the priests came back with 大日様. When the Jesuits went around preaching 大日様, though, they were concerned to find that the Shingon monks seemed unusually happy about this, and eventually learned that they had chosen a sectarian term. They ...


6

遅刻するよ! is the phrase you're looking for. 遅くなる does literally mean "become late", but this "late" is more along the lines of an event becoming delayed or postponed beyond the expected time. The context you're looking for is a person being late for a scheduled event, which is what 遅刻 conveys. Either 遅刻するよ! or 遅刻しちゃうよ! can be used. The latter adds an undertone ...


6

Since the kanji part of both verbs and adjective is the part conveying the root meaning of this particular adjective form, the okurigana (i.e. everything that follows the part written in kanji) is rarely composed of anything else except for derivation and conjugation suffixes. Conjugation suffixes are easy enough, and I doubt they pose any problem for you. ...


6

Other than brute-force memorization (棒暗記), the only thing I can suggest is material regarding the Kanji-Kentei (漢検), because I know some of the (lower?) levels focus on 送り仮名. Some materials I have are books of tests from previous years (問題集), and a Nintendo DS 漢検 game. However, I got all of this in Japan, so I don't know how accessible this kind of stuff ...


6

The order of learning words and kanji for Japanese schools and JLPT are completely uncorrelated. Which is to say that the JLPT doesn't attempt to emulate learning as Japanese people do. So while there is some overlap in the sense that both groups generally follow a principle of going more simple to more complex, what a non-native learning Japanese will find ...


6

First of all, note that attend is not equivalent to enroll. A quick Google search on "define: attend" reveals the following meanings (emphasis mine). Be present at (an event, meeting, or function). Go regularly to: "all children are required to attend school". "Attend" emphasizes the act of going somewhere regularly, as does 通{かよ}う. In other words, I ...


6

~てください comes from the appending the verb くださる in imperative form. But because くださる is considered a polite verb (meaning "give to me"), its imperative is not felt as a direct command but a request. It is used when the speaker feels socially lower than the listener. (Asking for someone to do something for you especially if it's not expected of him places you ...


6

I have some opposing opinions from what Flaw said, so I'll just give it here as a separate answer and let the voters decide if it's justified. There's hopefully some truth in both answers. First, it is my understanding that ~ろ is simply not used unless you essentially want to bark at someone. ~なさい would be used not when you're "socially higher", but when ...


6

From how I understand it, studying linguistics will give you knowledge about languages and how they work, but does not necessarily let you speak that language. My Japanese teacher studied linguistics, and while he could tell you anything about the German language, he couldn't speak it for the life of him (by his own admission). Of course, he was also fluent ...



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