22

The difference is in the pitch accent. 桃 (peach):「もも{LH}」 (Low-High) 腿 (thigh):「もも{HL}」 (High-Low) That is a huge difference to us native speakers because it changes the meanings of the words completely. If there is a musical instrument around you, try doing the following. Hit 'do-mi' as you say 「桃」 and hit 'mi-do' as you try to say 「腿」. Other ...


17

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 ...


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

行書 & 草書 (semi-cursive and cursive writings) 行書【ぎょうしょ】 (semi-cursive script) is similar to English 'handwriting' style, and this is the most orthodox way of writing Japanese sentences fast. This is what Japanese students learn at middle school, although that does not necessarily mean all students master beautiful 行書. You can compare 楷書【かいしょ】 (regular ...


12

~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 "...


12

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 ...


11

I think if you watch this video for 24 hours straight, you will have learned basic hiragana and katakana without much effort. My apologies for any ill effects on your mental health. Complete Japanese Alphabet Song - Katakana - Hiragana - 日本語


11

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 ...


9

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 ...


9

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) ...


9

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) (source: hukumusume.com) who wraps his head with a cloth and ties it under his nose, supposedly to conceal ...


8

The curriculum guidelines for grade one (see 言語事項 section イ) only state that children should be able to read and write hiragana and katakana, and use words that are written in katakana in sentences (e.g. know to write ペン not ぺん), and to read and to start to use the level-appropriate kanji. As I understand it, instead of memorising individual readings, the ...


8

It almost doesn't matter, because you're going to be learning them both quickly enough that it won't make much of a difference which one you start with. And you'll be using them both extensively every day, just as you use both lower case and upper case every day in English. But still, it's a sensible question. Which one should you choose? You can make ...


8

I'm not 100% sure what you're asking here, but ゛ when used by itself actually has a number of different usages. Generally, ゛ (Dakuten) are not written separately. For example, "か" "ka" becomes "が" "ga". If you didn't know this, you should probably consult a reference on hiragana (and maybe also katakana) as snailboat says. However, there are a number ...


7

@JesseGood's answer is correct, but just to add to it: Not only will other people refer to kids by their name, they will often also refer to themselves by title when speaking to them. I.e. their mother/father will likely refer to themselves as "お母さん/お父さん" or "ママ/パパ" and their teacher to him/herself as "先生" when speaking to them. They might not hear personal ...


7

That is actually a valid question. I did some reading and here's what I found (from Wikipedia): Moraic Nasal Neutralisation, Archiphoneme and Underspecification: Some analyses of Japanese treat the moraic nasal as an archiphoneme /N/. However, other, less abstract approaches take its uvular citation pronunciation as basic, or treat it as a regular ...


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

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 ...


7

We say: 「また?」 「またあ?」 「またなの?」 「またですか?」 「えっ、また?」 「うそっ、またあ?」 「また + Verb + の?」 as in 「また[来]{き}たの?」 「また + Verb + んですか?」 as in 「また[食]{た}べるんですか?」 etc. EDIT: Adding a slangy version. 「またっすか?」


6

I know a children's song, かえるのうた (The Frog's Song, The Frog Song) I'm not sure if you'd classify it as a lullaby, but it has a simple melody and can even be sung in a round (I think of it as the Japanese "Row, Row, Row your Boat") Here's a link: Frog Song Note: There seems to be a regional difference where the line "Gero gero gero gero" is replaced with "...


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 ...


6

Very insightful point! I think you are right that pitch matters. As a case in point, say if my daughter is reading a textbook aloud in homework and gets a pitch wrong, I would correct her, because it's noticable. On the other hand, Japanese dictionaries written for Japanese do not have the pitch information either, and people from different regions often ...


6

Not all ambiguous pairs can be distinguished by pitch, and we could just as easily provide you with loads of other ambiguous statements where NOTHING other than context could lead you to the right meaning. This kind of thing happens in all languages: in English, if I tell a female friend "You have a nice pair/pear", she'll rely on context (I hope) to tell ...


6

Due to the way kanji are typed (i.e. using an IME which presents you with candidates from a dictionary), and the fact that Japanese kana usage is by-and-large phonemic (i.e. you write it how you say it), there aren't really many mistakes that are entirely analogous to your/you're or there/their/they're, etc. Probably the closest thing is typing something ...


6

If you like to be nicer, these sentences can be what you are looking for, I think. もしおかしな[日本語]{にほんご}に[聞]{き}こえたら、[自然]{しぜん}な[言]{い}い[方]{かた}を[教]{おし}えてもらえると[嬉]{うれ}しいです。   もし[不自然]{ふしぜん}な日本語に聞こえたら、自然な言い方を教えてもらえると[助]{たす}かります。   もしおかしな日本語に[思]{おも}えたところがあれば、[簡単]{かんたん}でいいので、[正]{ただ}しい[表現]{ひょうげん}を教えてもらえませんか?   もし[僕]{ぼく}の日本語が[変]{へん}に思えたら、教えてもらえませんか? 自然な表現を[知]...


5

Generally (barring situations like this) all furigana are written as hiragana, regardless of whether it's the onyomi or kunyomi of the character. You could think about it this way: there's nothing grammatically wrong with writing a word like にち in hiragana rather than kanji. ニチ, on the other hand, would be ungrammatical (or at least non-standard). When ...


5

According, to the wikipedia article for illeism: Young children in Japan commonly refer to themselves by their own name (a habit probably picked from their elders who would normally refer to them by name, this is due to the normal Japanese way of speaking where referring to another in the third person is considered more polite rather than using ...


5

I think learners should try to spend 99% of their time using the Japanese writing system and not romanization: Reading is a highly overlearned skill, and it takes absolutely huge amounts of practice to become literate in the Japanese writing system. Since learners have limited amounts of time, it's to their advantage to start using kana and kanji as early ...


5

こんにちは is "Hello!" or "Good day!", a greeting for meeting someone in any sort of circumstance. もしもし is how you answer a phone. Usually both parties say もしもし in turn, before the caller identifies himself ("Hi, it's John"). Outside phone conversations, it is also used to get someone's attention, but I feel it is quite direct, more like "Hey!". (To get someone'...


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