I see the Japanese symbols, but never asked myself how hard is to write using these symbols. It seems very inviable. How do you guys do when writing at Japanese? Is it really harder than, for example, English or Portuguese. I mean, the amount of writing required to express the same sentence.

  • 1
    I think most answers to this will be opinion-based, unless there is a study out there about saying sentences to Japanese speakers and English speakers and timing how long it takes them to transcribe them by hand. – Darius Jahandarie Mar 20 '14 at 20:34
  • As for handwriting, there are many booklets and correspondence courses for native Japanese, so it may need some training to write clearly. The same advice of Kaji - first try to write Hiragana - is effective, because Hiragana's rate in the sentence is high. – user4688 Mar 20 '14 at 21:03
  • 1
    This question about "how much information is contained per character" may be of interest, though it focuses on characters rather than strokes or actual time to write. – Telastyn Mar 20 '14 at 21:16
  • I think you guys have a problema with understanding the opinion-based concept. I do not think this is bad, instead I think is much more valid than scientism, since scientism is opnion-based on a unique person opinion, lol. Cant you guys see that ? – Guardian Mar 21 '14 at 14:00

As I've explained when teaching, each language's quirks add value to it or else they wouldn't be retained. If you embrace the differences by learning Kana quickly and then not being afraid of Kanji thereafter, it will come fairly easily with practice. If you view kanji as a monolithic set of thousands of symbols with nothing in common with each other, you're going to have a hard time.

The trick with Kanji in particular is to remember that it forms a visual system of roots, prefixes, and suffixes that, among other things, enable you to guess the meanings of words you've never seen before or "coin" new words on the fly when needed. Further, if you become acquainted with the breakdown of kanji as you learn them you'll discover patterns (visual, semantic, and phonetic) that create a useful web of knowledge for holding everything together.

In short, it's as hard as you choose to make it.

  • I see, learning a language is much more deep than I was thinking. I think you are right, if we never give it a shot, we will never know how it is like. – Guardian Mar 21 '14 at 14:01

Like others have said this is highly opinion based. I like to think of the structures as art works and have their own flow. If you look up videos of japanese students and natives writing kanji and certain hiragana words, you can notice those little nuances that can make your writing legible to natives.

Think about why english (romanized language) was easy. You learned young - were awful at the start - then a few years of schooling later you developed your own style. It just takes practice!

What you can do to practice is make haikus on paper in all japanese. It builds an understanding of the language and lets you write it out and practice.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.