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Japanese questions

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Post by Loren Leah on 15/04/13, 07:19 pm

Whatever you want really lol! As you can see I've just been hanging out answering whatever questions come up. Feel free to get one whenever you happen to see it. If we both answer at the same time then... oh well haha.

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Post by Laramie Castiel on 15/04/13, 07:22 pm

Double the info! It can only be a good thing.

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Post by Lollita on 15/04/13, 09:36 pm

Is there a so-called fast way to learn Kanji ? I tried - 'cause now I have school and blah hate it - to learn one by one, but couldn't do it. Technical speaking I still learn Japanese -because you never know to much- I know there is no easy or hard way - i pretty much find it easy - to learn something, but some tips ?
どうもありがとうございます.

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Post by Laramie Castiel on 15/04/13, 09:44 pm

My tip is to make some flash cards. Flash cards may sound childish, but they really help. Chances are, you learn many Kanji at once. Maybe 20 or so? Assuming you have plenty of time to study, why don't you make a flash card for the first five kanji, and look through them over and over and over again until you can recognise them... in a flash! Learn them a bit by bit, then move onto the next amount you feel comfortable with.

Also, check for any distinctive features about that kanji. Is there something about it that really stands out from the others you're learning?

Another good tactic is to simply handwrite it over and over until you don't need any help to write it yourself. Writing the Kanji also helps embed it into your memory.

For memorising kanji, repetition and patience are your best friends.

Don't give up!

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Post by Topaztan on 15/04/13, 11:56 pm

My personal strategy for learning Kanji is too keep a notebook with all the kanji I don't recongnize and then practice them in groups bit by bit.

Really, the best way to learn kanji is to just practice, practice, practice. Especially because kanji is one of the more, if not most difficult part of learning Japanese.

Flash cards are also a good idea, and stroke order does matter. かんばてよ。

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Post by Clairbaby on 16/04/13, 09:51 am

How about using Ankiweb? This is what I'm using atm and so far so good... I do own physical kanji flash card which is from the white rabbit press that I use regularly as well.

I am self taught so I need all the help I can get!
I will be asking for guidance in the near future! *bows*

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Post by Laramie Castiel on 16/04/13, 09:55 am

Hello, Clairbaby!

I think Ankiweb is a pretty good idea. Making your own flash cards could prove cumbersome, so creating one electronically would be very useful. You don't have to shuffle the cards yourself, too, LOL.

I hope I will be able to help you. smile

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Post by Eryx on 18/04/13, 08:12 pm

Self-studying Japanese atm! XD I've been learning this language for about 2 years now and I plan to take proper classes when uni starts. The most difficult for me to learn is the grammar (Kanji's difficulty...is already given xD;wink. I'm having a hard time with just the difference of particles wa and ga. ~.~

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Post by Laramie Castiel on 18/04/13, 08:50 pm

Particles are taught in high school. Maybe a bookstore will have a Japanese workbook you could buy to help learn about particles?

This website illustrates the concepts in simple detail, but I'll provide a simple example.

Differences between "ga" and "wa"

"ga" emphasises what comes before "ga".

"wa" emphasises what comes after "wa".

Let's say I'm in class. The teacher asks me one of two questions:

Scenario 1: "Who is Laramie Castiel?"
Scenario 2: "Who are you?"

In scenario 1, the information the teacher wants is Laramie making herself known. So "Sensei, watashi "ga" or "wa" Laramie desu." in this situation?

The correct answer is: "Sensei, watashi ga Laramie Castiel desu."

This is because the information I want to tell the teacher is "I'm Laramie." So in that sentence above:

"Sensei, watashi ga Laramie Castiel desu."

The information I want to emphasise is the underlined section. It comes before "ga".

Now, for scenario 2. The teacher comes up to me and asks who I am. So "Sensei, watashi "ga" or "wa" Laramie desu." in this situation?

The correct answer is: "Watashi wa Laramie Castiel desu."

This is because the information I want to focus telling the teacher is "I'm Laramie Castiel", so:

"Sensei, watashi wa Laramie Castiel desu."

The information I want to emphasise is the underlined section. It comes after "wa".

To summarise, you make your choice depending on what information is desired of you. "Ga" is used to emphasise the subject of a sentence, which is whatever is before "ga". "Wa" is used to emphasise the topic of a sentence, which is whatever is after "wa".

Hope that was easy to understand... "wa" and "ga" is hard to explain!

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Post by Sku on 18/04/13, 10:16 pm

^ Omg, no. You explained that perfectly. It makes a lot of sense now o_o

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Post by Laramie Castiel on 18/04/13, 11:12 pm

I'm glad I could help! I learned my Japanese mostly non-academically, so explaining grammatical concepts is a challenge. :O

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Post by Topaztan on 19/04/13, 02:08 am

The lovely world of Japanese grammar. Particles are always difficult because they don't have direct translations. Especially "wa" and "ga", they don't even have an English equivalent. Laramie-sensei did a really good job explaining the difference and when to use them.

I don't want to confuse anyone with grammatical terms but a more technical way:
"ga" is used to specify the subject of a sentence.
"wa" is used to specify the topic of a sentence.

If you're confused by that, then it's OK to ignore it.

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Post by Eryx on 19/04/13, 02:38 am

^ That's how they usually put it. But I always confuse both since my mind automatically thinks that a subject is the topic of the sentence. Japanese grammar is waaay different from English. ^^;;;

*Laramie Castiel - OMG you put it in a simple way. Thank you. That's easier to understand. I'll just have to remember that ga is before and wa is for what comes after it. :D

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Post by Laramie Castiel on 19/04/13, 11:21 pm

Topaztan wrote:The lovely world of Japanese grammar. Particles are always difficult
because they don't have direct translations.
Especially "wa" and "ga",
they don't even have an English equivalent. Laramie-sensei did a really
good job explaining the difference and when to use them.
This, very much so! I feel for Japanese teachers all around... "Ga" and "wa" are especially challenging to explain well, but I'm glad people understood what I meant. Plus the article I provided delves into it on a more technical level, so once you understand the simple explanation, learning the technicalities could help you further. Thanks! :oops:

Eryx wrote:*Laramie Castiel - OMG you put it in a simple way. Thank you. That's
easier to understand. I'll just have to remember that ga is before and wa is for what comes after it. :D
No worries! If you have trouble with anything else, please don't hesitate to ask. smile

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Post by Kopin on 20/04/13, 01:31 am

So, I has a question. Why is it when you go to read 一人 or 二人 you read it like 'hitori' and 'futari' but the reading for 七人 is shichinin? Why do they not stick to the pattern? DX

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Post by Topaztan on 20/04/13, 01:50 am

Kopin wrote:So, I has a question. Why is it when you go to read 一人 or 二人 you read it like 'hitori' and 'futari' but the reading for 七人 is shichinin? Why do they not stick to the pattern? DX

Schichinin actually follows the pattern for counting people, the two exceptions are hitori and futari. 三人 pronounced "sannin" 四人 pronounced "yonnin" 五人 pronounced "gonin" and so on. I'm not sure why the first two are irregular, and not "ichinin" and "ninin", but it's probably because they don't sound right, and are hard to pronounce.

Irregularities appear often in Japanese counting words, and as far as I know it's because it sounds strange when you follow the regular pattern.

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Post by Kopin on 20/04/13, 02:09 am

Thanks, Topaz. Textfugu isn't good at explaining that. D:<

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Post by Laramie Castiel on 20/04/13, 02:22 am

Topaztan explained it very simply and well!

I don't mean to undermine her answer, but I wanted to add a few details myself.

This is a bit like asking why there is a need for plurals that end with a consonant and a "y" to be changed to an "ies" (providing they're not proper nouns), or why we don't pronounce the "k" in "knight".

There are simply some irregularities that don't seem to have an "official" reason. I agree that "sanri" as opposed to "sannin" sounds odd, but that's because it's the way I have been raised. Should I have been taught different; should it have been different from the language's beginnings, it wouldn't be strange.

For the sake of my explanation, I'll list the counters up to ten people:

  1. 一人 - Hitori; ichinin
  2. 二人 - Futari
  3. 三人 - Sannin
  4. 四人 - Yonin; Yonnin
  5. 五人 - Gonin
  6. 六人 - Rokunin
  7. 七人 - Nananin; shichinin
  8. 八人 - Hachinin
  9. 九人 - Kunin; kyuunin
  10. 十人 - Juunin
I'll go over the details with the counters with more than one way of reading them:


一人 - Hitori; ichinin
"Ichinin" is not incorrect, but yes, "hitori" is way more common. For counting people, I've never heard anybody say "ichinin", so I'd still stick to "hitori". However, the correctness of the reading of "ichinin" is evident in a saying called "一人前 (ichinin mae/hitori mae, though the former is pretty much always used)", which literally means "one person before", but the phrase itself means "coming of age" or "one portion". It seems that for sayings, "ichinin" is almost exclusively the choice amongst native speakers, whereas for counters, "hitori" is the widespread use.


四人 - Yonin; yonnin; yotari; yottari
Most Japanese people use "yonin" in conversation. I'm guessing both "yotari" and "yottari" are archaic or for exclusive situations. I've learned them, but never, ever used them myself. I just included them for the information's sake, so that if you ever do encounter it, you'd understand what it means.

As for "yonnin", it is not the standard counter in conversation. However, because of a word called "余人", meaning "others/other people", which can also be read as "yonin (or yojin)", in order for the speaker to help its audience distinguish between "四人" and "余人", sometimes you may hear "yonnin" when the speaker is meaning to indicate four people.


七人 - Nananin; shichinin and 九人 - Kunin; kyuunin
The two here are are as correct as each other. It can depend on what region the speaker is from as well. For my region, "nananin" and "kyuunin" is far more common. Beware of special names; they don't have interchangeable readings and must be read a certain way.

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Post by Topaztan on 20/04/13, 02:33 am

Kopin wrote:Thanks, Topaz. Textfugu isn't good at explaining that. D:<

No problem, not all Japanese resources explain everything and I know that usually "hitori" and "futari" are the only two "people counters" taught to people learning the language and that could be a source of confusion.
Laramie Castiel wrote:Topaztan explained it very simply and well!

I don't mean to undermine her answer, but I wanted to add a few details myself.
Don't worry about undermining my answer, yours was super informative and cleared things up a lot better, it might have been a bit overkill, but it's helpful and that's what the point of this thread is~, haha. THE MORE YOU KNOW~ ★彡

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Post by Kopin on 20/04/13, 02:41 am

Oh gods. I mean, I appreciate your explaining it, Cas, and I understand, it's just a lot to remember. XD But it's okay! I'll get this, I think, maybe!

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Post by Laramie Castiel on 20/04/13, 02:43 am

Sorry, I did try to simplify the differences as much as possible. Sorry if I end up screwing you up more than helping! xS

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Post by Topaztan on 20/04/13, 02:53 am

I recommend saving everything Laramie-sensei says and then using it for future reference. (=w = *)b

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Post by Laramie Castiel on 20/04/13, 02:55 am

Oh, Topaz~ <3

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Post by Eryx on 20/04/13, 04:01 am

T-that's so helpful! *O*
Thank you.

I didn't know that shichinin and nananin are both correct. xD;;

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Post by Laramie Castiel on 20/04/13, 07:13 am

No worries! Glad I could be of help. =)

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