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Maciamo
Jul 24, 2003, 16:02
So you are learning Japanese ? What do you think is the difficulty of this language ? Have you learned other languages to compare ?

It's a multiple choice poll. Dont forget to discuss it with other members afterwards.

Please notify me if you'd like to add more choices to the poll.


Personnally I found everything difficult at first, except the pronunciation. The writing has been one of the funniest part for me, so it's not so much a problem. The toughest points were the structure and the particles, but it's got much better. After a few months in Japan, understanding katakatan English becomes natural and I use Japanese cultural expressions in English too.

I'm still sometimes confused by some verb forms and need more vocabulary. Compared to Latin and Germanic languages, Japanese grammar isn't particularily difficult, it's just too different from what I am used to. Ditto for the vocabulary. I even find that the kanji are a great help in understanding new words.

tasuki
Jul 24, 2003, 16:10
As I didn't learn Japanese with a translation in mind, unstranslatable expressions are still untranslatable in my head, but I still understand them... Particles are tough, but then again, Japanese nationals don't have them down pat either, so I don't worry about that overmuch. I simply cannot katakanize words... But then I can pronounce karaoke or sushi English style either... As for the other stuff... I'm sure there is, but I can't think of any at the moment...

Elizabeth
Jul 24, 2003, 21:05
I suppose because sensible explanations of it may not even exist, but untranslatable and or illogical grammar has always been the most frustrating personally -- particlarly things like creating noun phrases for reference something (no, koto, tokoro, to iu no wa), sentences that seem to have two topics ("Kore wa shuchou wa....") or an abstract topic and subject "Sore wa kono koto ga"), the use of "nan" at the end of a phrase or sentence I still have no idea about....and I'm sure other things will spring to mind after reading everyone elses headaches ;).

tasuki
Jul 25, 2003, 12:35
Sentences ending in "nan"? Can you elaborate?

Elizabeth
Jul 25, 2003, 13:42
Originally posted by tasuki
Sentences ending in "nan"? Can you elaborate?
Well, nan da or nan desu. One instance I recently came across would be "Sensei nan da" translated by a non-native English speaker as "He was [is] a teacher" and assumed the "nan" was mainly for emphasis, something to the effect "and what a teacher he was." I wasn't sure, though, if maybe if "n da" could also be a contraction for "no" -- it wouldn't make sense in this case. But after an adjective like sukina nanda? To make a long story short, it has somehow gotten entangled in my mind with "....irun'desu" as in "it is that thing" or "it is that way."

tasuki
Jul 25, 2003, 14:04
Mmm... I think I'd have to ask a pro about that one, because I use it so much I just don't think about it anymore. Venturing a guess, I'd say it's a twist on the "na no da"/"na no desu" phrasing, which is redundant, but sometimes used for emphasis. It's mainly used informally in conversational situations, though, and the "da" is often cut out, in which case it sounds better to say na no, instead of nan. "nan" would be the contracted form of "na no". In the present tense "Sensei nan da", in the past tense "Sensei nan datta". (Of course, da is just short for desu, that at least, I'm sure of).

Himura
Jul 25, 2003, 15:09
There´s a lot which is difficult in Japanese... but I think the pronounciation is easy :cool:

Elizabeth
Jul 25, 2003, 21:38
Originally posted by tasuki
Mmm... I think I'd have to ask a pro about that one, because I use it so much I just don't think about it anymore. Venturing a guess, I'd say it's a twist on the "na no da"/"na no desu" phrasing, which is redundant, but sometimes used for emphasis. It's mainly used informally in conversational situations, though, and the "da" is often cut out, in which case it sounds better to say na no, instead of nan. "nan" would be the contracted form of "na no". In the present tense "Sensei nan da", in the past tense "Sensei nan datta". (Of course, da is just short for desu, that at least, I'm sure of).
Thanks, Tasuki! I was wondering also about the "nante....na" construction, as in "Nante kirei na" or "Nante shinsetsuna (hito)nandeshou. In is redundant, isn't it??? And probably hopeless to reason out even this far....but for a semblance of order, it looks like "na" here is in its "na" adjective-role which is not to be confused with the masculine sentence-ending particle analogue to "ne"? And "nante kireinan" probably doesn't make sense either? :note:

Spirit Of Atlantis
Jul 27, 2003, 12:08
I know several languages, i'll sum them up in order of difficulty.


*) Ancient Greek (<< most difficult)
1) Latin
%) Japanese (learning)
3) Czech/Slovak
4) German
5) French
6) Dutch
7) English (least difficult)

* = Languages i used to know but forgot.
% = Languages i'm learning

I want to learn Chinese, Russian, Hebrew and Arabic too and then i think it'll be sufficient.


I had Ancient Greek for 4 years in high school, and Latin for 7 years(i had to redo 1 year)
The complexity of their grammar is just mind blowing.
The ancient Greek and Romans loved to make ultra long sentences and speak in an analogic and enigma-ish way.
I would be sitting for hours sometimes translating a few sentences of great philosophers or emperors.

Japanese though is much easier than Ancient Greek or Latin, but the thing that still makes it hard is the shear amount you have to learn.
And Japanese just love to bring very different compared to western languages.(which is cool)
In a way they're like the Romans, they also spoke very poetical.(which is cool)

Now Czech/Slovak is gramatically harder than Japanese.
It's grammar is like a simplified form of Latin.
What makes it easier than Japanese is that it feels more familiar to me than Japanese.
I know that Russian for example is like Czeck/Slovak, but it has the fancy alphabet(Azbuka) too.
So learning Russian for me would be easier than Japanese.

German...well they have their fancy own sort of grammar too, it's a bit like Dutch, but with the Die, Der, Das, Dem, Den etc etc.(had this for 5 years in high school)
That makes it harder than French, which only has Le and La.(French sounds sexy, had it for 4 years in high school)

Dutch is easier for me because i live here, though it's not a very pretty language, but hey i can talk to Dutch, Belgians and even understand South Africans with it.

And English is the easiest of them all.
It has only "the" and "a(n)" and a quite simple set of grammatical rules, which makes it one of the most "user friendly" languages in the world i think imho.


And about learning Chinese and Hebrew, well Chinese is imho a must, More people in the world speak Chinese than English, so English is not the nr1 language, but it is internationally wide spread which makes it very useful.
While Chinese isn't that internationally spread(although Chinese people live everywhere hehe) it is the most widely spoken language in the world.
Ignoring it is in my opinion arrogant.

And last but not least, why do i want to learn Hebrew, well i have several personal reasons.
But one reason is that it's a graphically cool looking language and it has a great history and culture.

I like languages that are and look different graphically aswell as phonetically.
Well there you have it.

Oh ya and i'm kind of interested in Navajo too, which is a Native American language, but it's not like any language in the world, not even like other native american or indian languages.
Which was one of the reasons it was used as a code by the Allied Forces in World War II.
It is/was considered uncrackable or undecipherable.
Though the Russians cracked it anyway.
Cool huh?!

tasuki
Jul 28, 2003, 09:31
Elizabeth
"Nante" is an expression mainly used to express negation, where it usually replaces the particles は、が or を. For example, 「この辺郵便局なんてないです。」There aren't any post offices around here. It places an emphasis on the negative of the sentence, reinforcing it.

Although the examples you give above can also be heard, they are not that common. In these cases, if you bear in mind what I just wrote, the way なんて is used in 「なんて親切な人…」implies a sense of disbelief, as if your first impression of the person of the image that you had of the person had led you to think otherwise and you just can't believe your eyes, ears, senses. So a more correct way of formulating the above would be 「なんて親切な人、信じられない」.

Elizabeth
Jul 28, 2003, 10:41
OK--thanks again, Tasuki. The only other context in which I had encountered "nante" was the weather -- Nante atsui(n)/samui(n?) deshou -- so wasn't sure what to extrapolate from that.

tasuki
Jul 28, 2003, 10:42
That it's unbelievably or uncommonly hot or cold... Oh, and no "n" before "deshou".

Elizabeth
Jul 28, 2003, 11:01
Originally posted by tasuki
That it's unbelievably or uncommonly hot or cold... Oh, and no "n" before "deshou".
Yes, I believe "How hot it is" was the precise expression in my dictionary, which sounds quite quaint....but in any case, would the "n" still come before "darou"?

tasuki
Jul 28, 2003, 11:20
The "n" that you're referring too is the "abbreviation" of "no" as you probably know. "no" is not used very often in front of adjectives. At least not in this sense. I believe "なんて暑いだろう" is more common and natural than "なんて暑いんだろう"

Keiichi
Jul 28, 2003, 12:35
I would say it's memorizing the vocabulary. There's just so many stuff to remember. Everything else I'm okay since I'm in a class and is going step-by-step.

avarame
Aug 5, 2003, 13:40
I agree with Keiichi. I'm just beginning but I'm already having headaches over vocabulary. It's not that it's difficult or different from other languages... it's just that you have to learn N thousand words over again. A new symbol to go with the concept. And you can't cheat like in other Western languages because the words are similar to English. (Assuming foreign loan words are the same as they are English is dangerous ;) ). Keiichi is lucky that he has a structured class, though. I have a few dictionaries, Japanese For Dummies, and a couple of websites. And I have to improvise from there.

Learning the kanji is definitely the second hardest part for me. Writing them is simple enough once you learn the stroke rules. Learning their meanings is a prodigious feat of memorization - pounding it into your head with repetition so that by the time you know it you've forgotten yesterday's batch. I'd say my personal biggest problem is the fact that right now they all look EXACTLY THE SAME. Well that's not quite true. It just looks like there are only about ten kanji, and they're drawn sloppily. My eyes just glaze over; my brain treats it as pictorial information, not language information. Well technically it *is* pictorial information but it should be processed as word-symbols. My brain just looks at all the pretty pictures. :(

HennaSaru
Aug 6, 2003, 19:12
the hardest part for me is listening. because nihonjin talk so fast. but that is natural ofcourse. i really need to live in japan to fully understand japanese more. i´m lucky that i have so many japanese friends how can teach me when i´m lost : )

uruha
Apr 10, 2004, 11:58
Actually there is a pretty good explanation of "nante" at http://www.nafai.org/japanese/grammar/nafjpphrases/ section 12.3 "The many meanings of 'nante'" (even though it's listed in the TOC as 12.2). In particular, when used at the beginning of an expression, "nante" means "how/what", as in "how lovely!". so "nante kirei na" means "how pretty!" (actually, the -na here is not the one used with na-type adjectives but rather the exclamation -naa, like -yo or -ne). "nante majime na gakusei deshou" means "what a diligent student!" and so on. "nante" is used quite often in both spoken and written japanese language, so it's important to be able to interpret it naturally without disrupting the flow of the sentence.

Hope this helps.

rquethe
Apr 10, 2004, 12:17
For me, vocabulary and writing are definitely the easiest. I pick up on kanji like nothing. From context and from my knowledge of some kanji and vocabulary, I am often able to guess the prounciation of some of the more common kanji words.

Definitely for me, particles, verb forms, and grammar structure is the hardest for me. I can't construct sentences for beans despite how much instruction I've had. It's really an embarrassing point for me.

Elgin
Apr 10, 2004, 12:36
I find the writing system hard, I have trouble learning them and its really boring. I have also learned English and its very easy. The verbs are a walk in the park compared to French.

Ewok85
Apr 11, 2004, 22:40
Japanese words that have no translation in english, but more of a story or longer meaning. I swear the only way to master japanese is to think like a Japanese person

Eve
Apr 15, 2004, 14:29
Well, its hard for me to combine vocabs into sentences because when that happened, it has a completely different meaning

Glenn
Apr 15, 2004, 14:49
Lexicon, vocabulary, 語彙! And not because they are so foreign (although that has something to do with it), I just hate learning vocabulary (I was the same with Spanish). I like learning grammar, conjugations, inflections, etc., etc., more generally I like learning how things work.

What's easy is the lack of irregular verbs and straightforwardness of the grammar, once you get used to the SOV structure. One thing about learning Japanese: it makes learning languages like Spanish, Italian, etc. a hell of a lot easier (save the irregularities in conjugations), and it really makes learning Chinese grammar easy!

Edit:
I almost forgot about probably the most difficult thing for any Westerner to grasp in learning Japanese: the topic/negation marker "wa/ha" and how it is used. The idea of marking anything in English is already foreign enough, but marking topics as opposed to focuses or marking negated words/phrases is even more out there. I've read a lot about the topic (subject? lol), and I still can't always use it correctly.

beluga
Apr 15, 2004, 15:55
To me, it's knowing how to pronounce the kanji. All kanji has at least 1 on and 1 kun pronounciation. Mind boggling....

ultimabaka
Apr 16, 2004, 14:25
Coming from a Romance language background in general and a Spanish background specifically, I've taken great joy in the Japanese pronounciation and verb/grammar structure systems. Maybe it's just me, but it simply sounds beautiful rolling off the tongue. Not like English, where everything kinda sounds blocky and disorganized in comparison.
I've never been good with vocabulary in any language, so that's just a personal thing. And the kanji system just kinda goes without saying. My Japanese professor tells me to sit down with a pen and paper and tells me to write each kanji 100 times or something, and instead I go home and try and figure out a personal system for forming more complicated kanji based off the ones I know. I've learned from doing a lot of the latter that you're basically stuck with that pen and paper.

As for things like particles, the only problem I have with them is when native Japanese speakers just sorta neglect them completely. To say the least, it requires some getting used to.

-- Gerardo

playaa
Apr 16, 2004, 17:14
Compared to, English, French, Spanish.. I find that it's vocabulary is a little harder.. Aswell as the writing! Calligraphy courses almost to write in japanese... :)

rquethe
Apr 16, 2004, 17:21
Here are my feelings about kanji. Sooner or later you have to learn them. That's a given. Most Japanese classes after teaching the kana and learning a few simple phrases usually move on to different simple forms of grammar and vocabulary from there. Meanwhile you get used to the feel of using the kana. Eventually. The more you write and read, the more like your native language it becomes in ease. At this point, my feeling is that kanji should be started immediately, and should never stop until all of them have been learnt. Introduce vocabulary that use the kanji and never neglect to show kanji for vocabulary even if your expectation isn't to teach your class the higher level ones. Constant exposure to seeing it, and being forced to use the kanji you learn as you progress MAKES it easier! I would absolutely hate to be fluent in the spoken language and then be told after getting there that I have to simply just work thru 2000 kanji and not do anything else. How lame is that? It'd be liking teaching an old dog new tricks. People are going to think, but I'm fluent, and the kana are just fine for me to write in. But if they had to use the kanji to begin with, then there isn't a problem!

Well, this is how I feel about it and I personally think kanji are the simplest part of the language except some exceptions for special pronounciations. And if I ever teach a Japanese class, the basic approach above will be what I follow(most likely).

MtoM
Apr 19, 2004, 00:52
Well I think that the passive voice is difficult, I can't determine which use of the passive is used when I hear it. is it normal passive,(suffer) passive or the honorfic passive!

Buddha Smoker
May 25, 2004, 09:00
One of the hardest parts I think, is just finding the right place to use a word. I've been in Japan a long time and I'm not perfect but when you try to increase your vocabulary or perfect your speaking sometimes it is hard just to find the perfect time to use it or bring it up in conversation. Does that even make sense (sounds confusing..lol).

For example, the word hemorrhoids.... I don't have them (glad about that..lol) but you just try to increase vocabulary (just like in English) and it's hard to find a way to use it unless you go to the doctor. (Which reminds me of one time that I did and I kept using that word and he kept asking "Why do you have them?" and I said "No, I'm just curious and praticing". He was a cool doctor too but he moved from my area).

Anyway, that is what I find the most difficult (besides Kanji but that is a different story).

Bonus Question for two points: Who knows the answer? What is the word for hemorrhoids in Japanese? I'm curious who knows. If you don't know then guess and if you do know PM me the answer. Then I will post who got it in a couple days.

KickAss_Danieru
Jun 4, 2004, 05:17
my hardest part os remembering everything.. sure for me its nowhere neer hard to pronounce words when my friends tell me some... but remembering them and how to use them is the only hard thing for me. same with writing.. i can read, but i have trouble remembering each symbol when it comes to writing it.. sux :/.. but other than that its all good :P

Buddha Smoker
Jun 4, 2004, 05:19
my hardest part os remembering everything..

I think alot of us are with you.. :D

Also, I received only one response on the quiz and it was right. I hate to spoil the fun until I get some good answers.

mdchachi
Jun 10, 2004, 12:11
I knew the word for hemorrhoid at one time but it's one I forgot due to disuse. But I already looked it up again.

There's a lot of Japanese words that they really don't use in speech and if you try to use them it sounds odd. But it's the same in English.

Buddha Smoker
Jun 10, 2004, 14:39
I knew the word for hemorrhoid at one time but it's one I forgot due to disuse. But I already looked it up again.

There's a lot of Japanese words that they really don't use in speech and if you try to use them it sounds odd. But it's the same in English.

Yes, that is very true....I guess I could put the answer up now.

Lina Inverse
Jun 13, 2004, 07:17
These highly complex kanji are a major pain in the a$$ :auch:
To make matters worse, there are even thousands of them! :mad:
Besides that, there's nothing overly complicated I'd say.

Kintaro
Jun 26, 2004, 03:14
Despite the thread being 2 weeks old, I voted Other doing the whole poll bonanza , so I will specify:

Conversational skill. An actual living use of Japanese and the lack of penpals willing to help you in exchange for practice in a language of their choice, or should I say, the abundance of these people and the lack of their seriousness.

EDIT: Willing to swap Japanese for English , or better yet, if your english is good, Japanese for French, thus we'd have a common bridge to make the special meanings understood. PM for more info.

Inuyasha-the-kid
Jul 18, 2004, 11:36
:p :D :okashii: :sorry: :blush:

I have a problem in Japanese what are these guys saying and what is okashii
HaiHai Pou & Sou ka

dadako
Aug 16, 2004, 22:01
pronounciation is easy, japanese people always mistake me for japanese on the phone

I have problems remebering to say moraimasu instead of arimasu at the moment for "have" not "there is".

Elizabeth
Aug 17, 2004, 10:53
pronounciation is easy, japanese people always mistake me for japanese on the phone

I have problems remebering to say moraimasu instead of arimasu at the moment for "have" not "there is".
Morau is either a main or modal verb used for received, take, accept and getting someone to do something. Aru, never morau, refers to 'have' as well as 'be,' or 'is' depending on the context.

lunar_reim
Aug 24, 2004, 15:37
i'm learning japanese because i'm highly intrested in the culture and hopefully live there one day. i'm currently self-teaching until i can get into college because my high school doesn't offer japanese as a second language. where im having problems with learning is definetely memorizing the different particles. i had the same problem with learning korean and it's still something i struggle with everyday. another is the verb endings or the -tte endings or something like that. i don't understand those at all. im slowly memorizing kanji but it is a really slow process and i get confused with other kanji that look incredibly similar to one another.
but i'm not letting it stop me from learning because i really do want to visit and hopefully, im really hoping, to live in japan one day so i want to learn the lanugage. the only language i have to compare it to, is my korean. but yes, i struggle with particles the most, the verb endings and the kanji.

The_Temonius
Sep 5, 2004, 10:30
Hey... im from mexico... im doing my best.. cause i want to learn japanese..

kdynamic
Sep 6, 2004, 14:44
I think the hardest thing is counters!!!! My friend atsuko and i saw a plane in the sky the other day, and I said, "Do you use dai to count planes, like you do to count cars and machines?" At first she said yes. Then a second later she said, "Wait, actually you use 'ki' as in hikouKI." Argh! It never ends! I related this story to another friend Naomi-chan, and she said "I'm Japanese, but I don't get counters! I just use 'ko' for everything! Movies? Ko. Airplanes? Ko. It's just easier that way."

Not to mention that you have several ways to pronouce each number (ikkai, hitotsu, ichi-en are all from 1) and there's no logic to which one you're supposed to use.

Of course, Kanji is hard. But after I got past a certain point learning kanji (after I could read 600 or 700) i realized that they make the language EASIER not harder, because if you understand new vocab via kanji you already know from other words, theya re easier to remember, and also, if you understand the structure and logic of kanji, a lot of things about japanese that seem arbitrary start to make sense.

that's my ni-en. :)

God
Sep 11, 2004, 06:43
I personally like using the japanese ime that comes with being on a computer and using that to type, it helped refresh my memory on katakana,hiragana, and a bit of kanji. it helps designate what should be kanji and if you don't know that kanji you can look it up, i find the japanese ime system helps increase my productivity.

but most of all i would like to say not know which material is the real material you should be looking at to study japanese. i had a japanese book in japanese year one in highschool and i still wonder if doomo arigatoo is correct. i've seen people say doumo, domo, or even domou it's very hard to find what is the real deal out there, hopefully as more people become self aware in the japanese language, these problems will fade away and be a thing of the past. It is a very well thought out, fun, and beautiful language of any other language I have seen next to american slang. ya know wa i'mm tawkin bout g.

Camui
Oct 11, 2004, 05:44
I don't think I'd be able to remember all the symbols..like kanji...they seem pretty difficult to remember...but I wouldn't know...

Shin Asura
Oct 11, 2004, 11:49
Most difficult thing for me in learning Japanese are Kanji, everything else is simple. I've already learned all the Katakana and Hiragana.

If all signs in Japan had Furigana then I would be one happy person, but that's not the case.

SajberJohan
Nov 8, 2004, 06:16
Iエm really bad with the "ni" particle :relief: and all the verb and adjective conjugations, other than that Iエm fine :)

TwistedMac
Nov 14, 2004, 01:39
everything except the kana >_<
but yes, admitedly I suck.
not just at japanese, I'm just generally bad at stuff :p

ベ-ネ
Nov 17, 2004, 05:06
I've been learning japanese f&uuml;r 3 months. i think the forms for politeness are the most difficult.

nhk9
Dec 8, 2004, 05:12
I used to get stuck on -morau - kureru - sashiageru those kind of stuff, but then later on I found out that they don't use much of the other ones except for -morau and -kureru, so I was able to use those without much troubles later on.

I think the thing that bothers me the most is the large number of homophones in the language. Maybe it's because my mother tongue is Chinese, and there is not too many homophones in that language, I found the huge number of similar sounding words in Japanese to be quite frustrating...

Ma Cherie
Dec 8, 2004, 09:56
the particles, to me they're the most difficult. I wonder if most people have a hard time distingushing the 'wa' from the 'ga'. Particles are my main problem. I don't like studying them, but I know I have to. :bawling:

miu
Dec 10, 2004, 04:06
I voted for the particles, too. Also the way of thinking in the language is a bit different form what I've used to... Right now I don't even want to think about the problem of being polite enough ^^; I read from a book about the Japanese wrapping culture that one Japanese professory found it mind-wrenching to listen to some foreigner's Japanese because he didn't know what the "true meaning" of their utterances were *_*

masayoshi
Dec 10, 2004, 08:24
At this stage, I'm often confused with the use of particles :mad: Besides, my vocabulary is way too limited to hold a sensible conversation. I'll be stammering and struggling like a dumb guy. Don't know enough verbs and all. Verb tenses are basically OK except for the occasional exceptions which leaves me like :shock: Well, at least verbs are much easier than French ones!!

Of course, kanji is another big mountain yet to climb. Some of them, I can guess their meaning but when it comes to pronounciation, that's another mind bogging task! They have like at least 2 ways of being spelled. WTH!! Recently I've been told by my Japanese friend that they have subtle different tones for distinguishing between homophones (and of course, that's usually not being taught! :okashii: ).

Scrivener
Dec 22, 2004, 05:35
Don't worry too much about the tones - it's not like Chinese. If you got a tone wrong it would be very unusual to be misunderstood. That's something you worry about if you are trying to win a speech competition or something.


You pick up kanji "on" and "kun" readings naturally as you become familiar with the kanji. You will find your brain has room for the information. :)

Scozwi
Dec 22, 2004, 11:22
I just having problems remembering the Kanji also Im not too keen on the katakana too (I know the katakana but I just dont like using it).
Does any guides, tips on how to remembering the kanji and the readings?
any techinques u use?
That u could share with us?

Flowerbird
Dec 23, 2004, 07:31
According to a book I read, Japanese does not really have tenses in the way Indo-European and other languages do. It is rather whether an action has been completed or not what determines the ending of a verb. This is confusing!


swanoos
Jan 16, 2005, 01:53
Kanji is the most difficult part of Japanese for me.
The grammar is very easy comparing to Polish. For now, it's the easiest language I've been learning. Exept of kanji ofcourse. I cant' imagine learning about 2 000 kanji. But for now I'm not thinking about it. First of all I have to learn to talk, than I'll be worried about writing and reading.

Damicci
Jan 28, 2005, 19:52
i'd have to say, verb conjugation now that i think about it, i was going to say vocabulary also but when i think about verbs there many different ways to conjugate a verb to make it make more sense in a sentence. one site showe dlike almost 10 different ways to conjugate a single verb. it's ridiculous... but it's what you have to do if you want to get better.
2nd i think would be reading and memorizing kanji since each kanji can have 3 or more different readings.

Pox
Feb 7, 2005, 14:10
I voted on "the pronuciation".
When I was 7 or 8, I was taught by my grand father how to pronounce じ and ぢ(ず and づ) differently. But I couldn't pronounce, and still can't. :p
the じ and ぢ matter is the most difficult part of Japanese for me!

-Rudel-
Feb 11, 2005, 12:21
Although I'm just getting into learning Kanji, the most part that I think will be hard for me is learning how to pronounce the kanji when another Kanji is added to one. For example:

日 = にち
日本 = にほん :?

I guess it is all in memorizing. :)

Sensuikan San
Feb 11, 2005, 12:43
Apart from a long-standing interest in Japanese culture, one of my reasons for wanting to learn the language was a simple desire to accept the challenge of a non European tongue.

Over the years, I have studied Latin, Attic Greek (both of them extremely useful in furthering one's knowledge of English - but otherwise a waste of energy !) French (Which I used to be quite at ease in - but have now forgotten most of it !) German (Which I picked up the hard, but possibly the best way - like a child has to ...) and some Italian (I lived in Toronto for 20 years, and worked in the construction industry - need I say more ?)

I can now "get by" in French, survive in German, and get myself into trouble quite quickly in Italian.

In comparison, I find (spoken) Japanese relatively easy ! Although I have only been studying it, on my own, for an extremely short period, I am already starting to "hear" it quite well on the radio, TV, movies etc. (although my vocabulary is severely limited, of course). It's also great fun, because most folks I know seem quite in awe ! If only they knew it wasn't so bad ! (Incidentally, I had also looked at Cantonese and Mandarin .... but my choice became obvious ... ! )

BUT ...... writing/reading is a different matter ! I have the greatest sympathy for every Japanese child about to start school ! Poor little mites !

I'm finding that learning Hiragana is not too bad; just a little more demanding than learning a Greek or Cyrillic alphabet. So far I'm about half way with it.

Then I'll have to learn Katakana too !

As for Kanji - I've pretty well abandoned any hope, at my age, of getting anywhere with it ! But - we'll see.... !

And I think that that is one of the main difficulties about learning what is a relatively straightforward language - the mere fact that I can't rush off, read and try to translate as I go ! It slows the whole learning process down.

I've yet to see a Japanese publication printed in Romaji !

BUT I SHALL PERSEVERE!

Finally - if anyone wants a real challenge .... try learning Irish/Gaelic !

It would make your eyes water !

kevinsano
Feb 15, 2005, 09:39
I've listened to Irish/Gaelic and all I can say is that it sounds like an extremely beautiful language, but I think I'll stay with Japanese.

Well, the hardest thing about Japanese would be the Kanji(the writing part ONLY)
I can remember them, but then I can only read them without being able to recreate it.

I'm really surprised at how fast I learned Katakana and Hiragana. Must have been all those japanese videogames I played...

for anyone trying to learn hiragana/katakana, try finding an import of Pokemon(yes, pokemon). It's a very addicting RPG plus it has no Kanji! (Okay, fire red had ONE kanji in the title screen:赤)

Malaika
Feb 16, 2005, 09:44
What's the most difficult thing in understanding japanese? well I marked all the above

*laughs*, because I have so much things on my mind. That it is hard to multitask *sighs*

no matter how hard I want to learn japanese, I end up being so fried. though I have been practicing my hiragana, so I know all 41, but the thing is that I read the symbols slow if some one posted something and its all in hiragana, but for katakana - that I don't know

o_o

Suki-Yaki
Feb 16, 2005, 20:46
The Japanese language gives much emphasis for numbers , counting ,etc..

I HATE numbers :( !

For example there is much difference in the counting methods. like when you wanna say "Ippon - hitotsu - ichi mai - ichi dai - ippiki ..etc etc .. "

In the English , it is always one pen , one book , one orange etc etc ..

also , the confusion around days and date , it just makes me dizzy .. :dizzy:

Mcspi
Feb 26, 2005, 03:42
for me the grammatical structure and verb forms are what is difficult.

Sensuikan San
Feb 26, 2005, 10:54
I agree with Suki-Yaki ....

COUNTING !

This is where I feel the Japanese really dropped the ball !

It seems quite incredible to me that you'd even want to differentiate between counting thin objects, flat objects, fat objects, people, votes ..... you even have to think, sometimes, about which category covers the subject you have in mind !

.... I don't think I'll ever master it ... !

Do the Japanese actually bother with this in everyday life ?

Are there parallells in any other languages ?

Regards,

ジョン

WHEATTHlNS
Mar 1, 2005, 01:30
Hadnt thought about the counting but I can see where that may well become an annoyance. . .

But all that is secondary to the writing. . .my handwriting is atrocious in English and I've gone from what should be A quizzes to C quizzes because my te looked to much like fu. . .

Being left handed EVERYTHING i write leans to the right side. . .

But yea those counters. . .

Rgchrono
Mar 18, 2005, 18:00
everything is easy, chances are that with practice I will get better, that and going to japan for a year, "that's like learning japanese with steroids!!" as one of the members pointed out.

For now, writing is the hard part for me.

Jadrien24
Mar 24, 2005, 09:49
For me it is definitely grammar and verb endings. I think the verb endings are very useful, but there are so many and even though I've found multiple websites with lists of them, I still can't find some forms on them. Regular grammar like having the verb at the end of the sentence doesn't bother me so much, but when it doesn't follow that order, it bugs the crap out of me! Example: Watashi wa rokuji ni deru kyuukoo ni norimasu (I will take an express train that leaves at 6 o' clock), after getting so nicely used to the verb always at the end, this just screws with my brain! :mad:

Inuyasha-the-kid
Mar 27, 2005, 13:22
I dont like the kanji

EnzoHonda
Apr 6, 2005, 15:37
I'm still very early in my study of Japanese. For me the hardest part is studying for a week, feeling really good about what I've learned, then renting a Japanese movie... and not being able to understand a freaking thing!

Upasaka
Apr 7, 2005, 05:35
It seems quite incredible to me that you'd even want to differentiate between counting thin objects, flat objects, fat objects, people, votes ..... you even have to think, sometimes, about which category covers the subject you have in mind !

. . . .

Are there parallells in any other languages ?



Yep, it's quite common in Asian languages. Chinese, Korean and Thai, all have different measure words for different types of things. Actually, we have some in English too, although to a much lesser degree (five head of cattle,
three pairs of shoes).

Kirisame
Apr 19, 2005, 10:49
I was really tempted to choose all the options in the poll. The thing is, if you hardly use the language in daily life, you kinda find yourself struggling to review those you've learned in the beginning.

For me, keigo is tough. My experience so far is that you can easily find books on grammar, kanji etc, but how about keigo? At least that's how it is with the japanese bookstore in my country. Keigo related books are available but published in limited scope and quantity.

So if there's anyone learning japanese who feels that he's good at keigo, well what to say..感心する。 :cool:

Tsuyoiko
Apr 21, 2005, 20:46
"I'm still very early in my study of Japanese. For me the hardest part is studying for a week, feeling really good about what I've learned, then renting a Japanese movie... and not being able to understand a freaking thing!"

I can relate to that EnzoHonda, although I get a kick out of the bits I do understand!

mizer
Apr 22, 2005, 22:51
Hi,
I'm still a beginner at learning Japanese, but, my opinion for what it's worth...
I haven't started learning the kanji (yet - may do one day), because, as someone said in an earlier post, I think it's more useful to be able to speak/understand quite well before getting too hung up about writing. I find the pronunciation fairly easy (I've got a Japanese friend who tells me that my pronunciation is fine - I've begged him to be honest with me, hehe!). I am one of those (probably irrititating!) people who learns vocab really quickly. I just absorb it like a sponge, so even though I can appreciate there's quite a lot of vocab (especially verbs) compared with English and French (my other 2 languages), I'm not having trouble learning it. Obviously, as I get to a more advanced level, there will be more and more, but that sort of thing is honestly not a big problem for me.

I'm also pleasantly surprised by the grammer, which although 'backwards' to French and English obeys it's own rules - at least at basic/intermediate level! I think it's much easier than many European languages, although of course there are quirks and unexpected differences (the kind of thing that makes life interesting, y'know!). And there aren't any sounds that you need surgery on your vocal cords to produce (unlike Arabic!).

Having said all that, I totally agree about the 'counters'! OMG they bug me sooo much!!!

As regards kanji - I'd like to learn sometime. I'm a visual artist by trade, so I think I could cope with writing them, but the sheer number and complexity is incredibly offputting for a beginner. I think I'll save the kanji for some other time... :-)

If I had to choose one most difficult thing about learning Japanese, I'd say: it's no more difficult that any other language *except for the kanji*!!!! Need I say more!!!!

treeves
Apr 26, 2005, 08:37
Can't compare to English since it's my native tongue. German is similar enough to English that it was easy to learn - at least I thought so. That was way back in high school. 20 years later trying to learn a language with almost nothing in common with English is tough.
The S-O-V structure is no problem, having dealt with German.
When I listen to a Japanese co-worker speak Japanese, I'm lost, except for a word here or there. Of course they're not saying things like "Hajime mashite. Watashi wa Fujimura desu." :-)
But I'm just starting.

sakura_thenchi
Apr 28, 2005, 03:31
http://www.wa-pedia.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=3238&stc=1 :flower: hi! i am from a caribean island with 2 languages spanish and french and french was so hard but no so much somebody said that to spanish people jappanesse was easy to learn but i dont agree for spanish people mostly everybody the easiest language is italian. :bow: dont' you think so :rose:I do :cheer:Fullmetal alchemist fan :cheer:

crunch
May 1, 2005, 14:38
Verb conjugation and counters.

Lunabenz
Jul 1, 2005, 12:20
I started learning Japanese a few months ago in my spare time. So far the most difficult part has been the sentence structure. Every time I think I've got it down, I find myself getting too confident and making the same mistakes I did in the beginning. Of course, I haven't gotten up to kanji yet...

studyonline
Jul 2, 2005, 19:46
I thought the particules or the politeness levels would be the hardest for non-Japanese speaking people. My guess was not totally wrong but...

Kanjis are not so hard to learn really. Kanji's may intimidate you at the moment you see them, but it is not too hard to memorize them once you find certain patterns. (I guess the way we were taught at school is different from the way you are learning them) Well, sooner or later, you will know that this is true.

Even to me, (native Japanese) it is very difficult to explain Keigo. I can even say that Keigo is another language that you need to learn. But don't worry. Almost all Japanese do not expect foreigners to know Keigo. (because they don't even know or speak properly!)

Those who do well in Keigo are very trained ones through experiences in the real life, usually through business meetings or a private school to become a telephone operator or something. I don't believe 80% of today's high school students know Keigo well. One of the major reasons for this is that young generations in Japan now do not respect others much. It is sad, but I assume this phenomenon is happening in all other languages, too. No one can stop it either.

SharkLover
Jul 6, 2005, 00:16
the pronuciation

the ponuciation is kinda hard...

Keoland
Aug 25, 2005, 01:45
I know several languages, i'll sum them up in order of difficulty.


*) Ancient Greek (<< most difficult)
1) Latin
%) Japanese (learning)
3) Czech/Slovak
4) German
5) French
6) Dutch
7) English (least difficult)

Spirit Of Atlantis, your post was most interesting. My experience is almost the opposite to yours.

Being from a country whose language is very closely tied with Latin (indeed, with a bit of attention we can read many latin sentences even without any lessons), I found the japanese grammar extremely comfortable and quite understandeable - it's a very obvious one to us, as UltimaBaka seems to agree. :-)

Not to mention there are some similarities, like the 'ja ne' (we have the 'ja ne'*, which is used in exactly the same way).

*: plus some characters this board cannot display.

German and Dutch, on the other hand, are *a pain* to learn. VERY confusing languages, especially because they use such simplistic grammer. I sometimes wonder what do you do to figure out you're talking about different things.

I guess germanics have things more complicated here... :souka:

The one thing I find complicated in Nihongo is the kanji (Kakatana and Hiragana are quite easy). There are too many of them and the 'onyomi' and 'kunyomi' readings make them hard to learn in their fullness :p

Of course, learning how each one evolved and their physical meaning (like seeing a woman performing the tea ceremony in the 女 onna/me/jo/nyo kanji, or seeing a rice field and a man working it in the 男 otoko/dan/nan) greatly helps to understand them and increase the reading skills, but learning *all* of them takes quite some time and effort. I daresay having a Nihonjin as a teacher is a requirement here.

Regards,
Keoland

Mamoru-kun
Aug 26, 2005, 16:14
The kanjis are quite difficult, I think that nobody (even japanese natives) would deny. But something I've noticed during my night lessons is that, us, gaijins, tend to learn every single kanjis we find in our study texts. It happened more than once that my wife could not write kanjis I've learned. As she says herself, what's important in japanese is, first, speaking, second, reading, and finally, writting. Of course, being able to write beautifull and hard kanjis can impress ones own friends, but it seems to be less valuable for all-the-day life in Japan. Studying common kanjis doesn't need so much efforts, especially because we read them often. Hard kanjis (rare kanjis) need of course more efforts if you want to learn them, but in another hand, it seems not to be so much usefull to learn them.

For exemple, I was very proud when I finally recorded the "komoru" kanji in "hikikomoru" verb. It's one that my wife could not write anymore at first, but she said that unless you want to save space in a newspaper for exemple, nobody will use it naturally. Another exemple is the basic "onegaishimasu". Most of the japanese I know doesn't write it with its kanji version, but us gaijin (well I mean, at least me) tend to use kanjis whenever it's possible, even there. It doesn't seem to be bad at all, but just unusefull.

Personnaly, I have much more difficulties learning vocabulary. For exemple, how much words for "situation". Last year, if I well remember, I counted more than 6 way of saying "situation" (jijou, joutai, tsugou, jousei,...). At a certain stage of learning, knowing what word to use where become a real...how do you say in english? Pain in the ***?...Well, I suppose you got my meaning ;-)

studyonline
Sep 17, 2005, 04:58
We have tons of similar words; thus tons of ways to express.

This leads to the differences in:

The way women say, the way guys say, the way old people say, the way kids say, the way people in a boonie say... and on and on.

Just make sure not to learn Japanese by 時代劇 (じだいげき)

bluubear
Nov 2, 2005, 16:17
Last year, if I well remember, I counted more than 6 way of saying "situation" (jijou, joutai, tsugou, jousei,...). At a certain stage of learning, knowing what word to use where become a real...how do you say in english? Pain in the ***?...Well, I suppose you got my meaning ;-)

The other day I was counting how many ways "you" can be said directly, ended up with:

anata - normal
anta - casual
omae - said by guys
onushi - said by old people
kisama - not too sure... makes you sound rough?

(apologies about the romaji, my Jap system stuffed up a bit)

are there any more?

Mamoru-kun
Nov 2, 2005, 18:14
Kanata also exists if I well remember (heard in "Mononoke Hime").

kagebunshin
Nov 10, 2005, 13:47
Personnally,i found the kanji scripts very difficult especially when you pass the first 80 one :-) ,i wonder if kana can't replace them,bcuz they're 100% japanese & reduced,bof ..guess it's the "patrimoine",n perhaps japanese learning won't be funny without kanji.
what i did enjoy the most in japanese grammar is the modifier-modifee rule,i found a certain logic in it not like in ours .

MeAndroo
Nov 17, 2005, 07:05
I voted for keigo, just because it's the kind of thing that would NEVER stick in my head. As my friend related to me, there's nothing worse than having someone say "gozonji desu ka?" and replying with "hai gozonji desu."

On a side note, I fond those "untranslatable sayings" to be pretty simple...things like "ojamashimasu" is derived from "jama suru" (to impose), "okamainaku" is from the verb "kamau" (to worry/be troubled). Itadakimasu, ittekimasu, irrasshaimase...they're all conjugations of verbs.

Neon Heart
Nov 23, 2005, 19:41
Too bad "Everything" isn't an option in this poll... I don't know why, but I just can't seem to grasp the concept of learning this language. It can't stick in my head, probably because I'm not used to learning a language of symbols and not letters like we have.

I just need very, very, very basic help. O_o

Kintaro
Nov 24, 2005, 11:44
To add to the #1 factor of not having an active partner (aand not your buddy at the anime club)

#2 = Kansai-ben. Learning a dialect almost seems a natural thing to do when you realize that there are many flavo(u)rs of English, or French, or any other language.

"Gomen, nihongo wo wakarahen."

henpai
Dec 26, 2005, 04:59
What's difficult about Japanese -- I've found that this keeps on changing for me as the studies advance. I study Japanese purely for translating purposes and do provisional (poor quality) translations as a hobby.

Currently the hardest things for me are definitely the untranslatable, culture-dependant expressions, plus Japanese idioms that never seem to appear on any dictionary, and finally how to translate keigo. Sometimes these things are just way over impossible to convey in any reasonable way into English or any other target language. Even if there's a roughly "equivalent phrase" available, it's still not the same thing. It feels like the more I learn, the more inaccurate my translating becomes.

Up until recently, kanji was what gave me easily the most troubles. I noticed that the usual way of hammering meanings and writings into my head from the most common to the least common just doesn't agree with me in the least, and was deemed an unavoidable migraine-incentive - until I found the free downloadable first part of this neat little book: Remembering the Kanji I (http://www.nanzan-u.ac.jp/SHUBUNKEN/publications/miscPublications/Remembering_the_Kanji_1.htm)

I think the link was from somewhere on these forums. I read it for one evening and the next day counted bit under 100 previously unknown kanji I could still reproduce and remember the meaning for. Truly a personal revolution in kanji studies. :p

トラちゃん
Jan 10, 2006, 13:32
I have learnt most of my Japanese from living with Japanese people in Japan...
So I guess I have learnt how to speak, but I sometimes don't understand how the sentances work. Kanji is a killer for me.

J C
Jan 12, 2006, 05:43
The particles are the really difficult thing for me to get right. Even Japanese kids get them wrong or more commonly just leave them out when speaking.

In fact a Japanese friend said that in conversation, if you're unsure, just don't bother - your listeners will get your jist and it's painful waiting around for someone to pick out the right particle when 90% of the time you can work out what someone is saying without them.

With writing though, the particles have to be right and it's definitely more noticeable if you get them wrong....

Tsukimiya
Jan 17, 2006, 04:33
the writing (especially the kanji)
the pronuciation
That's so difficult.. yoy.. -_-

GoldCoinLover
Jan 29, 2006, 22:45
So you are learning Japanese ? What do you think is the difficulty of this language ? Have you learned other languages to compare ?
It's a multiple choice poll. Dont forget to discuss it with other members afterwards.
Please notify me if you'd like to add more choices to the poll.
Personnally I found everything difficult at first, except the pronunciation. The writing has been one of the funniest part for me, so it's not so much a problem. The toughest points were the structure and the particles, but it's got much better. After a few months in Japan, understanding katakatan English becomes natural and I use Japanese cultural expressions in English too.
I'm still sometimes confused by some verb forms and need more vocabulary. Compared to Latin and Germanic languages, Japanese grammar isn't particularily difficult, it's just too different from what I am used to. Ditto for the vocabulary. I even find that the kanji are a great help in understanding new words.

Sorry, I have changed my mind from "Kanji" to "particles". I can learn the kanji; Its doubtful I can learn the particles, at least not by myself.

I'm going to have to major in japanese languages (Which I want to do, DESPITE people telling me on here I can't...whats that about, anyway?) and get tutor lessons, but my car was just sold by my parents, and plus its gonna be expensive to go to the mesa community college in phoenix. SO i'm getting a job.


Oh my god. "Wa" and "ga" Kills me. Apparently, you can use "ga" for non action verbs (called static verbs), like "wakarimasu".

also, "ga" tells an action who is doing something, "Who is playing the PSP?" "I am playing the PSP." answers "who", and "wa" explains "What are you playing?" "I'm playing this game." what you are doing.:relief: :relief:

GoldCoinLover
Jan 29, 2006, 22:49
To add to the #1 factor of not having an active partner (aand not your buddy at the anime club)
#2 = Kansai-ben. Learning a dialect almost seems a natural thing to do when you realize that there are many flavo(u)rs of English, or French, or any other language.
"Gomen, nihongo wo wakarahen."

"Gomen, nihongo wo wakarahen."

Gah, that is terrible. Kansai I guess.. I'm guessing it means, "Sorry, I don't know japanese.."

Nicky
Jan 30, 2006, 00:58
"wakarahen" makes logical sense to me. Say it outloud, it kinda sounds like "wakarimasen".

The most difficult thing for me is grammar, and occasionally particles. Grammar because it's hard not to write something like 「ケーキが好き」 as 「好きケーキ」, since in english it's "(I) like cake" and not "cake like". Oh and I have no idea where exactly I can put comma's.

KrazyKat
Feb 23, 2006, 03:34
I've thought about this for some time and finally come to my decision, which doesn't come up on that list.
The most difficult part of Japanese is the names of people and places. First of all its hard to remember names in your own language, if the names are unfamiliar in the first place, even more so.

But more importantly than this is that Japanese insist in writing their names in Kanji. And not just normal Kanji, they are often obscure or only used for names and have unpredictable readings.

Then there is that any given name like yosiko or keiko could be written in any number of ways, and there is no way to tell without asking or seeing the Kanji.

And so I have come to consider names to be the most difficult part of Japanese, followed by keigo and writing Kanji.

epigene
Feb 23, 2006, 10:05
I've thought about this for some time and finally come to my decision, which doesn't come up on that list.
The most difficult part of Japanese is the names of people and places. First of all its hard to remember names in your own language, if the names are unfamiliar in the first place, even more so.
But more importantly than this is that Japanese insist in writing their names in Kanji. And not just normal Kanji, they are often obscure or only used for names and have unpredictable readings.
Then there is that any given name like yosiko or keiko could be written in any number of ways, and there is no way to tell without asking or seeing the Kanji.
And so I have come to consider names to be the most difficult part of Japanese, followed by keigo and writing Kanji.
Sure, it's difficult, but it's difficult for native speakers, too. I think it happens in English, too, like the late US President Ronald Reagan. The Japanese always thought his name is pronounced "ree-g'n" (especially when he was an actor) and found his name is pronounced "ray-g'n" only after he became president and was told so by US government representatives. :bluush:

Anyway, even native speakers don't expect to be able to read names correctly. That's why we are required to add "furigana" to names when we fill out forms, even for the simplest ones. People with difficult name readings must always explain how their names are read as a matter of courtesy to others. People who don't are considered either inconsiderate or rude.

If you are not given how a name is read with "furigana," you are entitled to give an educated guess and don't have to be embarrassed by such mistakes. As a student of the Japanese language, you have the right to demand to know how a name is read and not feel ashamed about it.

In short, take it easy!! :cool:

Takaryo
Feb 23, 2006, 10:25
Hm...grammar is a pain, but I can learn it easily. @[email protected]

My problem is kanji. Writing it? That I can't

KrazyKat
Feb 24, 2006, 20:58
So I was wondering, are place names often given in furigana, on say maps or signposts?

While I was complaining about how hard names are in Japanese I know they must be just as hard in English. We have crazy place names like edinburgh, names with different spellings Thomas, Tomas etc. Different names with same abbreviation like Sam and abbreviations with alomst nothing to do with the original names william-bill richard-dick and of course crazy English pronounciations. :)

Of course, that doesn't make Japanese names any less hard :)

epigene
Feb 25, 2006, 11:17
So I was wondering, are place names often given in furigana, on say maps or signposts?
You just have to LEARN them. :relief:

You get help very often with romaji readings of place names in signs posted at railway stations, shopping districts, etc. Otherwise, you have to ask the locals. (Even TV news announcers misread names of people and places now and then.)

Having lived in the Kanto (Tokyo and surroundings) region all my life, there are place names in far-off Kyushu and Tohoku regions I cannot read correctly to this day...:bluush:

Places in Hokkaido are tricky to read because they originate from Ainu language (kanji used are "ate-ji" applied for convenience, based on phonetic similarity rather than from kanji character meanings). Okinawan place & family names are also difficult because they derive from Ryukyu names.

godppgo
Mar 2, 2006, 17:37
I find pronouncing Kanji difficult. I just don't understand why Japanese have different pronounciation for the same Kanji? Sometime there are up to 3 or 4 different pronouciation for the same kanji....

Silverbackman
Mar 23, 2006, 02:46
Kanji definitely. It is so annoying as well as difficult to learn a bunch of Chinese characters that I can just write using hiragana, one of the best writing systems! Katakana seems useless to me as well, although it isn't as hard to learn.

nhk9
Apr 8, 2006, 10:04
It has got to be the listening due to the vast number of homonyms... you really have to catch the meaning of the words from context. And since ppl tend to speak very fast (esp among elder men), once you can't the meaning of the keyword, the entire sentence becomes a loss.

Summer_M
Apr 20, 2006, 06:17
Like Maciamo I'm finding Japanese in general difficult - except pronunciation (in romaji). I'm taking baby steps at the moment and focusing more on speaking the language than writing & reading it, only thing is there are so many small words (and particles) in sentances it's hard to hear them seperate from an actual word (ie, in some song it goes something like "koi ni ichii awa" I can't remember it exactly, but it was about three/four small words, that in the song sounded exactly like "konnichiwa". :kanashii:

Summer_M
Apr 20, 2006, 06:28
I find pronouncing Kanji difficult. I just don't understand why Japanese have different pronounciation for the same Kanji? Sometime there are up to 3 or 4 different pronouciation for the same kanji....
Aren't there two for most kanji, as in the On-reading and the Kun-reading?
I'm not sure what you mean by three or four, don't you mean that there can be multiple kanji for the same romanized word? I dunno. :relief:

Sailor Shadow
Apr 25, 2006, 08:10
I learned reading, but Kanji is still difficult without furigana. I can do it, but it requires the 'hunt and find' method in my IME on the computer... followed by copy and paste lookup on an online dictionary. ^^;

However, I think my study in reading has made it harder for me to understand spoken Japanese. :\ I can understand some of it, but not enough that's its "fluent". When I watch anime, it's better if it's subtitled, but I still pick up pieces of what's said without subtitles.

Anyway, for, aside from spoken language, I find trying to remember the grammatical structure of sentences kind of hard. It shouldn't be, I guess, but it is.

Secondary is trying to learn the kanji so that I can read those without furigana beside/above it. ^^;

Sadakogfx
May 11, 2006, 09:14
Kanji, Katakana, and grammer. I'm a n00b at speaking/writing.

Kyoko_desu
May 11, 2006, 10:13
Did you guys know there are some aho native Japanese who still can't spell katakana "n" and "so" or "tsu" and ""shi" correctly?

「ン」(n)
「ソ」(so)
「ツ」(tsu)
「シ」(shi)

You don't mess them up when you type on keyboard, but what about when handwriting?
P.S. For the people who don't know what aho means:
aho=baka=stupid:blush:

kusunoki
May 17, 2006, 19:10
Kanji definitely. It is so annoying as well as difficult to learn a bunch of Chinese characters that I can just write using hiragana, one of the best writing systems! Katakana seems useless to me as well, although it isn't as hard to learn.

Hello,everyone.It's really good to communicate with all of you from different countries.:cool:

Just as Silverbackman said, it is difficult to learn the usage of Chinese and Japanese characters for the foreigners who do not use them in their daily life.
But it is difficult to forget also if you have remembered.:-)

warakawa
May 20, 2006, 19:06
im a native chinese, so kanji isnt a problem for me, but as those of you said that kanji in japanese has multi pronunciations is difficult, i agree with you totoally on it. in chinese kanji has one pronunciation, sometimes 2 but it is rare. but japanese writing definately needs kanji to convey meaning. a essay with all hiragana is very difficult to read.

jplaquynhdu
May 24, 2006, 05:50
「は」と「が」の使い方は本当に難しいと思います。教 えてくれる方がいれば、 りがたいです。

Kinsao
Jun 14, 2006, 05:47
Hi, I haven't posted here for ages. :hey: My Japanese learning stopped after I finished my class :( but I was happy to learn I passed my Level 1! :happy: So, now I have started to teach myself some kanji (until our class starts again in September). In class we only learned the numbers 1 to 10 for our low level, and we didn't even learn all the readings for them, only as numbers. ><

I think that learning kanji will be the hardest part of learning Japanese. ><

The grammar is only difficult as any language is difficult... I mean, they all have the rules that have to be learnt, I don't think Japanese will be more difficult than German or Latvian or French... necessarily. I know there are a lot of difficulties to come but I don't see them to be insurmountable! :relief:

I feel ridiculously pleased with myself for having memorised 10 simple kanji! :smug: :D I have remembered stroke order, and the on and kun readings/pronunciations. The simple ones were really quick to learn - I learned them under the table in an hour, at a boring meeting. :blush:

The idea of learning 2000 boggles my brain :mad: but I have to not think about that and just try to take small steps one after the other. :auch:

persil
Jul 3, 2006, 10:01
I voted: the writing and the vocabulary.

Why?

Writing: the sheer amount of cryptic characters to learn to draw and remember is unbelievable for someone of my origin: >1000 Kanjis, ~100 kanas. Here, we have 26 characters and that's it :) Okay... maybe 30~40 if I include accents (I speak French too.

Vocabulary: I'm having much difficulty remembering the new words I encounter, probably because they are far off my own language. And also, I've tried (today) JEDict, a dictionary software, and searched a couple of words, and OMG there are so many japanese words for some simple words, and vice versa, so many words can only lead to one in some other cases.

That's about it. Currently I'm only trying to learn spoken Japanese, because otherwise, my head would explode!

Kinsao
Jul 19, 2006, 22:11
I'm learning kanji quite quickly :) (well it seems so... I have around 80 now... which is only a drop in the ocean, but still... ^^) and I don't have too much trouble with vocab, but now that I'm learning kanji by myself and I don't have a class (no classes over summer ><) I am not learning anything new in the way of grammar. :( I haven't forgotten the really really basic stuff I learned at class, and I know some verb endings (past, conditionals) but I really wish I could be learning more of grammar as well as the kanji. :(

Nysha
Jul 20, 2006, 02:54
For me it’s just the method of learning.

I can speak and write fluently Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and English. And I learned on my own a lot of these languages,

But my method doesn’t work with Japanese. In Japanese you need both to SEE the words and HEAR them, in order to learn them. So I guess kanji/vocabulary is the most difficult thing for me. Not because the vocabulary is difficult or the kanji too complicated (it is...) , but because you need to learn them twice (visual and sound), and I’m not used to it.

There are words you know how to say, but not write; and words you understand when you see them written, but are unable to pronounce.

Particles are easy to understand, and to get right on exercises, but in real sentences they are hell!

And making katakana words of some english-spanish-german words is driving me crazy. How do you katanise (sp?) KUFSTEIN (where i'm living at the moment) ? (read: KOOF-STAIN). Ku-fu-se-ta-i-n ?????

KrazyKat
Jul 20, 2006, 03:24
There are words you know how to say, but not write; and words you understand when you see them written, but are unable to pronounce.


But doesn't English have exactly the same problem? You are probably just finiding it harder/more problematic at the moment because you are less familiar with the language.

A quick google-search gave クーフシュタイン. Sometimes you can take a good guess, but you really have to look them up to be sure.

Welcome to the forum! :balloon: Don't be afraid to ask any questions, everybody here is really nice.

Kinsao
Jul 21, 2006, 00:37
I have to say, I find it easier to learn some speaking/listening and grammar first, and then 'catch up' with the kanji - and it all falls into place. For example, I learned the kanji for kuruma/sha, and I remember thinking 'Aha! The sha is from the word jitensha, too!' and that makes it quite easy to remember the readings. :relief:

That's why I'm sad that I don't have a class at the moment. I feel like I'm just learning a lot of kanji by rote, without furthering my 'actual' (useful) knowledge of the language. :( Still, I console myself with the thought that 'Surely knowing all these kanji will come in useful eventually!' :D

Nysha
Jul 21, 2006, 02:14
But doesn't English have exactly the same problem? You are probably just finiding it harder/more problematic at the moment because you are less familiar with the language.
A quick google-search gave クーフシュタイン. Sometimes you can take a good guess, but you really have to look them up to be sure.
Welcome to the forum! :balloon: Don't be afraid to ask any questions, everybody here is really nice.
Yes, I guess you are right and English also has this problem, but it痴 not so extreme. I definitely think it will be easier as I get more familiar with the language. There are already a few words I have been able to intuitively guess how to pronounce. (though, I still think of 妬chi-nichi-naka・every time I see the kanji for 妬chi-nichi-chuu・ . Being able to see some progress, no matter how small, motivates me. And the fact that japanese is completely different to the other languages I know, is one of the reasons I find it so interesting / fascinating !

Thanks for your help, I will surely post questions in this forum. I致e only been studying japanese for two months with a couple of books ( I plan to take courses, but they are not available at the moment) and I know there will be plenty of questions not covered by them that I can ask here.

Spyder93090
Jul 25, 2006, 11:04
Definitely Kanji but I have slight problems with sentence structure sometimes.

kohlrak
Jul 29, 2006, 14:06
I find all the verb forms the hardest... Actually it's the way they explain all the verb forms that's difficult... They use big words like "tentative" or "attributive"... It's like trying to remember all the klingon verb suffix types in order... Just dosn't happen. lol

ShimizuChiaki
Oct 6, 2006, 11:27
The writing is not hard to me especially that I am learning Chinese.

hkBattousai
Oct 19, 2006, 07:33
The writing is not hard to me especially that I am learning Chinese.
Does Chinese have more kanji than Japanese? Do they have same kanjis?
Me too wanna learn Chinese in the future, will I have to learn more kanji for it?

Niedy
Nov 12, 2006, 05:22
Does Chinese have more kanji than Japanese? Do they have same kanjis?
Me too wanna learn Chinese in the future, will I have to learn more kanji for it?
uh... let's say you want to read a newspaper... for japanese around 1500-2000 are enough... for chinese i think you need 4000+ characters... as the language doesn't have anything except the hanzi... and there's the problem (at least my biggest problem) with the pronounciation... :relief:

@vote:
I voted "others" as I don't have a problem with any of these (anymore) but that wasn't possible to answer :relief: translating sometimes gives me a hard time... I don't like sentences that go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and ... :p

Glenn
Nov 12, 2006, 13:20
你說中文也?

--------------------------------------------

Niedy
Nov 16, 2006, 22:40
你說中文也?
--------------------------------------------
I'm not sure, but I think you're asking if I speak chinese? I just started less than 2 months ago because I need extra classes to finish my bachelor in Japanese... that's why I'll be taking a year of chinese classes... I think korean would have been easier... :relief: but its fun anyway... though I still prefer japanese :cool:
我学习日文和中文。
我是奥地利人。
我喝咖啡。
他是我的哥哥。
that's about it... :blush:

i don't even know if I'm studying simplified or normal hanzi ^^;

Supervin
Nov 16, 2006, 23:15
我学习日文和中文。
我是奥地利人。
我喝咖啡。
他是我的哥哥。
that's about it... :blush:
i don't even know if I'm studying simplified or normal hanzi ^^;
From what you wrote, you're learning simplified hanzi. 加油!

Niedy
Nov 17, 2006, 02:56
From what you wrote, you're learning simplified hanzi. 加油!

thanks... so... 马 might have once been a 馬? I was just wondering... It was one of my first words I learned... and I kinda always want to put dots instead of the line at the bottom... :p

Supervin
Nov 17, 2006, 15:53
so... 马 might have once been a 馬? ... and I kinda always want to put dots instead of the line at the bottom... :p
馬 is still used in Hong Kong and Taiwan, while 马 is used in China, Malaysia and Singapore. Japanese kanji uses a mix of both traditional and simplified, though mostly the former. But yes, 马 is the simplified version of 馬.

Glenn
Nov 17, 2006, 18:51
Also, Japanese forms tend to be less simplified: e.g. 観 vs. 观 (from 觀) and 帰 vs. 归 (from 歸).

Supervin
Nov 18, 2006, 06:16
In addition to some differing simplifications such as 战 (C) and 戦 (J) from 戰 (C), there are also writing nuances for identical kanji, such as 樣 (C) and 様 (J), or 鬼 (C) and 鬼 (J), with stroke detachments in characters, causing very minor changes in writing.

Glenn
Nov 18, 2006, 16:02
I consider 様 a simplification of 樣, just as I consider 漢 a simplification of 漢, but I couldn't see any difference in the last two. Is it just a difference in stroke order? I've heard that there are those cases between the two languages where one character, although having the exact same form, is written with a different stroke order (I think 猿 is an example).

Supervin
Nov 18, 2006, 16:47
In effect, the smallest differences between identical kanji can be called simplifications because it changes stroke count by one or two.

For 鬼, in Chinese, the 丿 part is written in one long stroke extending from the 白 part; in Japanese, the character is split into top and bottom half, with a 白/田 component and the bottom part beginning with a small 丿.

Similarly, for 花, the 艹 radical at the top in Chinese is split into two 十's, whereas in Japanese, it is written as one whole with a long 一 followed by two downstrokes.

Glenn
Nov 18, 2006, 16:51
In effect, the smallest differences between identical kanji can be called simplifications because it changes stroke count by one or two.

Yes, and as a result I also consider 花 to have a simplified radical.


For 鬼, in Chinese the 丿 part is written in one long stroke extending from the 白 part; in Japanese, the character is split into top and bottom half, with a 白/田 component and the bottom part beginning with a small 丿.

Ah, I see. Is it also the same with 免?

Supervin
Nov 19, 2006, 05:40
Ah, I see. Is it also the same with 免?
Yes, and also other similar characters to that, like 兔.

eric
Jan 6, 2007, 17:29
well I've only been learning for a year, but the hardest thing for me is definitely listening

quamp
Jan 15, 2007, 23:38
Admittedly I'm somewhat new to the language (only about a year or so's worth of experience,) but the hardest thing for me is telling where one word ends and another begins, especially if it's written completely in hirigana or completely in katakana.

quamp
Feb 11, 2007, 01:18
Something else that I've been having trouble with is this:
there seems to be a lot of homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently and mean different things; an example in English would be blue and blew) in Japanese.

Example:
加, 蚊, 課, 科, 可, 佳, 戈, 乎, 架, 日, 化, 顆 and 仮 can all be pronounced the same way - ka. To someone new to the languge (like me) that can be a bit confusing at first. (Viz. - when someone says ka in a sentence, which of those kanji is it? It's only something experience will tell a person.)

gruntyking117
Feb 21, 2007, 04:56
I have a question myself. Do you think it would be easier for me to learn grammar and ひらがな and カタカナ vocabularly before I tackle some kanji, or what?

Homerduff
Feb 21, 2007, 05:59
I think its a must you start off with learning hiragana and katakana first, and some basic grammar before starting to learn any kanji. Will it be easyer
? Well you dont really need to have any pre-knowledge before starting with kanji, but you wont be able to read any phrases because of your lack of knowledge in kana and grammar..

gruntyking117
Feb 21, 2007, 07:51
I think its a must you start off with learning hiragana and katakana first, and some basic grammar before starting to learn any kanji. Will it be easyer
? Well you dont really need to have any pre-knowledge before starting with kanji, but you wont be able to read any phrases because of your lack of knowledge in kana and grammar..I'm not sure if I put that in the right words. I know my kana(hiragana and katakana), but not many words or much grammar.

EDIT: Curse this laptop keyboard.

Homerduff
Feb 21, 2007, 18:23
Sorry my fault..

I think you could mix learning vocabulary words with Kanji. In my oppinion this is also the best way to learn Kanji (you dont really study Kanji on itself). For example, you start of with learning basic words like 大きい (ookii - big). You can see theres one Kanji being used 大 meaning big. ON readings are DAI, TAI and kun readings are oo-, oo.kii and -oo.ini.

So in this way you learned a Kanji + the most common word using this Kanji. Now you could also try to look for some other examples using this Kanji like..

大学 - daigaku (university - big school)
大切 - taisetsu (important)

I think this is a nice way to learn all basic Kanji. I can recommend this online dictionnary to look for example words..

http://www.j-talk.com/nihongo/search/index.php

Ghostless-Shell
Mar 12, 2007, 08:37
For myself..I voted for them all.
I am still a beginner, and was able to graduate highschool without studying a language.(In my highschool you need to pass atleast one language course to graduate..because of my learning disabilities I was allowed to graduate without taking one)
If we had japanese I would have taken it no matter, but we didn't..
But at the moment it's more of a self learning..which is hard..so I hope to take classes as soon as I am settled over there.

tada
Jul 26, 2008, 03:36
For me, it's mainly particles and keigo. I suck at particles, and even native Japanese speakers find keigo difficult, so what hope do I have?

Grammar can be difficult too. The different ordering of sentences doesn't throw me, but knowing the nuances between similar grammars is what's truly confusing.

Stefan000
Jul 26, 2008, 17:42
I'm a beginner as well, so I voted for almost all of them.
The recent addition to difficult was the verb form, there are so many, especially when you do both polite and casual.
It's going to be hard to learn new words, grammer etc, because I'm very bad at learning languages.
I still want to find a good strategy. So I'm taking pimsleurs hearing lessons now, put all the words and phrases into the Anki software, try to master kana regocnition and production (hiragana is ok, but katakana isn't:P). Learn counting smoothly.
Learn how to read, I can read very slowly now, with bad pronunctiation because all the words are stuck together.
But I really want to learn how to use verbs and know a lot of words and sentences :) and then ofcourse kanji

HarajukuxBoy
Jul 29, 2008, 20:57
Yeah for me kanji is the hardest part.

Kenjirou
Jul 31, 2008, 00:11
Japanese is a pretty easy language to learn (IMHO) after learning a little Thai I've decided that any language I decide to learn has got to be easier. And so it seems, but the difficult thing about Japanese is the Kanji. The only thing that screws me up on the Japanese proficiency tests is the Kanji >< it kills me.

kaitagsd
Aug 7, 2008, 02:51
While learning grammar structure, vocabulary, and kanji are okay for me (I'm Chinese, so I probably know more Kanji than a Japanese person... MEANING-wise that is), I find that listening to native speakers speak the language is very hard. The words just speed by so fast... and I can't pick up anything at all.

Anatoli
Oct 8, 2009, 09:29
Japanese vs Chinese kanji.

Why Chinese normally hardly use any romanisation or other phonetic guides for native speakers but Japanese cities have kanji and hiragana reading next to them for train stations?

In Chinese characters have one reading in 95-99&#37; of times, the exceptions are easily understood.

Multiple pronunciations of kanji, especially nanori is really confusing for Japanese themselves.

I like Japanese but I should say Japanese writing deserves the title "the most ridiculous writing system", it's not Chinese, trust me, Chinese writing is more logical. Kanji poorly fit Japanese grammar, in my opinion, there should not be any kun-yomi at all, those words could be written in hiragana. Perhaps spaces between some words could be added for more clarity.

Koreans used to write Chinese characters (hanja) only for words borrowed from Chinese, even if they coined their own new words from components like Japanese.

In short, Japanese writing is difficult not because of kanji per se (it's only 2 thousand that you have to remember well compared to 4-5 thousand in Chinese) but because of the way they are used.

Chidoriashi
Oct 8, 2009, 11:15
[QUOTE=Anatoli;645509]Japanese vs Chinese kanji.


Why Chinese normally hardly use any romanisation or other phonetic guides for native speakers but Japanese cities have kanji and hiragana reading next to them for train stations?

Umm, probably for children, or foreigners with limited Japanese, or just for clarity, since the names of many places can have awkward readings.


In Chinese characters have one reading in 95-99% of times, the exceptions are easily understood.

Multiple pronunciations of kanji, especially nanori is really confusing for Japanese themselves.

I would say that because less kanji characters are actually used, that multiple readings provide for there being less homonyms (which there are already a ton of, and any more would be ridiculously hard).


I like Japanese but I should say Japanese writing deserves the title "the most ridiculous writing system", it's not Chinese, trust me, Chinese writing is more logical. Kanji poorly fit Japanese grammar, in my opinion, there should not be any kun-yomi at all, those words could be written in hiragana. Perhaps spaces between some words could be added for more clarity.

The fact is Japanese does not use as many Kanji characters or have as many sounds as Chinese, so I would say multiple readings become necessary. Chinese may be more logical but having to know at least twice the characters and mastering what sounds like a very complex sound system seems a lot more daunting than having to put up with multiple readings for less characters.

Anatoli
Oct 8, 2009, 12:07
[QUOTE]
Umm, probably for children, or foreigners with limited Japanese, or just for clarity, since the names of many places can have awkward readings.

Proper names (place or personal) ARE confusing and difficult, even for Japanese, the names can have really unexpected readings or you may get them wrong. That's why a phonetic aid is sometimes essential.


[QUOTE]
I would say that because less kanji characters are actually used, that multiple readings provide for there being less homonyms (which there are already a ton of, and any more would be ridiculously hard).

Well, that's pure arithmetic, isn't it, less kanji, less problems? Instead of deciding between 言う/云う/いう just use いう.


[QUOTE]
Chinese may be more logical but having to know at least twice the characters and mastering what sounds like a very complex sound system seems a lot more daunting than having to put up with multiple readings for less characters.
Yes and no, the problem with Chinese in this case is that rarely used words are harder to memorise if they use rare characters, whereas Japanese simply fall onto kana (hiragana/katakana) instead of using rare or too difficult kanji or use a loanword in katakana (a blessing for foreign learners).

Admittedly, the thing with loanwords makes the Japanese writing system (+ speaking and understanding) somewhat easier (this particular aspect) compared to Chinese, as loanword creation is not intuitive in Chinese, they don't stand out in a text like katakana and may be confused for what the actual hanzi stand for, like ateji in Japanese.

Chidoriashi
Oct 8, 2009, 13:40
[QUOTE=Anatoli;645514]
Proper names (place or personal) ARE confusing and difficult, even for Japanese, the names can have really unexpected readings or you may get them wrong. That's why a phonetic aid is sometimes essential.


Umm, that is exactly what I was saying. I was simply adding that it could also be used to help children, or foreigners. And not all proper names are confusing. Many are quite obvious to any educated Japanese person. And if you already knew the answer why were you asking a question?



Well, that's pure arithmetic, isn't it, less kanji, less problems? Instead of deciding between 言う/云う/いう just use いう.

In your example you are saying it would be better to write something like 話す、離す、放す all as はなす? How is that beneficial? Having that kanji there makes for faster reading, and less confusion.

Reducing the number of readings for any given kanji would not be helpful. I'm certain that more homonyms (words that sound exactly the same) would arise or would have arisen. And that would make for confusing reading (without kanji), and problems for foreign learners trying to figure out what is being talked about.

Kanji has multiple readings because if it did not, either 1. more kanji would be necessary. or 2. the Japanese language would have to use even less sounds or have a smaller amount of words.

I still say that Chinese with its sounds system and the sheer number of Hanzi you have to learn make it lot harder than memorizing multiple readings for roughly 2000 characters. Now I have never tried to learn Chinese so I cannot know that for sure, but that is my impression right now.




Yes and no, the problem with Chinese in this case is that rarely used words are harder to memorise if they use rare characters, whereas Japanese simply fall onto kana (hiragana/katakana) instead of using rare or too difficult kanji or use a loanword in katakana (a blessing for foreign learners).

I beg to differ. Katakana and the billions of unnecessary loan words and wasei eigo etc. that come with it are anything but a blessing to foreigner learners.


Admittedly, the thing with loanwords makes the Japanese writing system (+ speaking and understanding) somewhat easier (this particular aspect) compared to Chinese, as loanword creation is not intuitive in Chinese, they don't stand out in a text like katakana and may be confused for what the actual hanzi stand for, like ateji in Japanese.

As long as the loan word is necessary then I would say I agree. But the loan words are getting out of hand. and when they are used in Japanese they many times take on different meanings, and the pronunciation many times does not even closely resemble that of the original word, which makes listening and even reading comprehension more difficult, since you have to stop and sound out the word, trying to figure out the original word it was created from.

Anatoli
Oct 8, 2009, 14:53
Perhaps, it would be better for me to use some particular obvious examples, which I currently don't have at hand but thought about the situation when it happens.

Interesting that Chinese children are weaned from pinyin or zhuyin (phonetic guide in Taiwan) earlier and you won't find comics with any phonetic aid in China. I see that the usage of furigana is very common in Japan for adolescents. It doesn't mean that they are smarter.

After learning both languages for a while I see that for reading better in Chinese I lack some vocabulary, when I pick more words, pick more characters and I don't to look their pronunciation any more. In other words - learn a new character once and you see how many times it's reused, always written in the same way (no hiragana, pinyin, etc.). It stays in memory.

With Japanese I do find new with the characters I already know that I need to check the readings to be sure. The fact that words with the same meaning, same characters can be read in different ways is especially confusing. Why 泡 can be awa and abuku? 故郷 kokyō, kyūri and furusato? Sorry, only quick examples, may not be perfect.

When you have a cluster of characters belonging to different words, you have to start wondering if they are components of words or separate words, so a good style dictates to use kanji sparingly (I am quoting a Japanese person here), so kanji does not always help to get the meaning quickly but vice versa.

The fact that many words, especially less significant, are now written in kana only makes sense, so that kanji serve almost like capital letters or word boundaries (spaces).

I see you point about hanasu but I actually find that many native Japanese verbs, which don't have homophones could be written in hiragana only.

I agree that too many foreign words are not so good for the Japanese language, nevertheless, by "blessing" I mean that foreigners often get away without knowing native Japanese words by using English words transformed into katakana (the reverse is not always easy, that's right).

My Japanese and Chinese are now at about similar levels and I enjoy reading parallel stories.

No, I am not asking questions, just wanted to share.

Chidoriashi
Oct 8, 2009, 16:00
With Japanese I do find new with the characters I already know that I need to check the readings to be sure. The fact that words with the same meaning, same characters can be read in different ways is especially confusing. Why 泡 can be awa and abuku? 故郷 kokyō, kyūri and furusato? Sorry, only quick examples, may not be perfect.

When you have a cluster of characters belonging to different words, you have to start wondering if they are components of words or separate words, so a good style dictates to use kanji sparingly (I am quoting a Japanese person here), so kanji does not always help to get the meaning quickly but vice versa.


I personally have never seen readings like こきょう、and ふるさと being both possibly read from 故郷 as a problem. I mean I get the basic meaning in either case so it really does not matter what the intended reading is I suppose.

Overall in general I would say I have developed a sense for what Kanji readings are suppose to be. Like I just know from the sound of words like 率直 that it is read そっちょく not そつちょく, and from experience that it is not りつちょく or りっちょく. I can see how you may feel it is confusing, but with the help of an electronic dictionary, learning the distinctive word pronunciations quickly has never been a problem (at least for me). For me, I have always found (some) Japanese grammar and learning to use the proper word for the proper circumstance, or situation to be the hardest part of the language, but that could be said for any language i suppose.

About the sentences that seem like endless streams of Kanji, I find those only to be present in formal documents where the sentences are long and complicated anyway, such as government stuff, policies, titles for sections, departments etc. etc.... i.e. crap that nobody really wants to read or pay attention to anyway if they don't have to. :)

Anatoli
Oct 9, 2009, 11:31
What you are saying conveys some attitudes of both Japanese and Chinese people who are saying - if I don't know how to say a word or how another person may read it, I don't care about it, some Chinese people would say it referring to some rare personal names or plant names. I see this as some problem. A language and its script could be more helpful. Some Japanese historical museums have writings full of furigana. A Japanese told me without it, she wouldn't have a clue how to say many of the words (and she is well-educated).

A word with the same meaning but multiple readings - no problem, like above? A word with the same basic meaning and pronunciation but multiple spellings - I mean, even if the words: 見る, 観る, 看る, みる have some difference in usage but they all have the basic meaning - to see and to look at/after, etc? The original Chinese characters these are based on all have different readings: 見/见 - ji&#224;n, 觀/观 - guān, 看 - k&#224;n.
This includes cases where Shinjitai and Kyūjitai are both used in the same text 籠 and 篭 (kago), 國/国, etc. In Chinese, there's a fight between simplified and traditional (Jiantizi/Fantizi) but the two scripts are usually not mixed, unless it's a joint exercise, like some chinese pages in Wikipedia.

What's difficult in Japanese? What is lacking is a more strict standardisation or following the rules of standardisation. A standardised language is easier to learn and use. Admittedly, the Japanese government has standardised a lot but there's still something that could be done.

Sirius2B
Oct 11, 2009, 03:34
So you are learning Japanese ? What do you think is the difficulty of this language ? Have you learned other languages to compare ?

I have learned (almost exclusively by selft study) English and German... and could understand more or less the contents of a text in French (not great deal, since my mother tongue is Spanish).

Regarding Japanese... I think there is nothing extremely difficult in it, save that it will take more time to learn than indo-european languages, given the great distance in almost every aspect (curiously there could be exceptions, like being japanese phonetics a perfect subset of latin american spanish).

I think the real problem, ist that there is not a widespread effective method of teaching Japanese to an adult foreigner (I don't doubt that one or many such methods exist, I just say they are not widespread).

Usually an undaverted student that jumped from say, English to French, French to Russian, English to German... may try to learn Japanese with the same strategies that worked before, and will find itself, after some years, pretty discouraged by the slow progress... and obviously will quit.

Regards.