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Hasa
2008-07-31, 17:30
I'm not a native English speaker so I'm wondering what kind of English sentences or lines I shuold make when I translate VNs. Recently I read a book refering to the English very often produced by Japanese people because of strongly influnced by certain structual characteristics of thier own launguage. In the book, the authour says the English words derived from Anglo-Saxson sound more warm-hearted and less formal than the ones derived from Latin. To take an instance,

a) I submitted the report.
b) I turned in the report.

According to the author, a) is often used when needed formal speech, and b) is often used when not needed it. I think this means if I find "kei-go" sentences or lines, I should use the English verbs like one used in a).
Is this interpretation okay? Could you give me your advice?

Thank you

Asceai
2008-07-31, 17:39
Honestly, just use whatever feels write. Pretend YOU were the one writing the story in English.

Personally, I'd probably end up using a, but really, you don't translate these things line-by-line anyway so just go with whatever.

Agilis
2008-07-31, 20:25
I'm not a native English speaker so I'm wondering what kind of English sentences or lines I shuold make when I translate VNs. Recently I read a book refering to the English very often produced by Japanese people because of strongly influnced by certain structual characteristics of thier own launguage. In the book, the authour says the English words derived from Anglo-Saxson sound more warm-hearted and less formal than the ones derived from Latin. To take an instance,

a) I submitted the report.
b) I turned in the report.

According to the author, a) is often used when needed formal speech, and b) is often used when not needed it. I think this means if I find "kei-go" sentences or lines, I should use the English verbs like one used in a).
Is this interpretation okay? Could you give me your advice?

Thank you

I'm sure that you'll find linguists that will have evidence to debunk the rule about words that derive from Anglo-Saxon sounding 'more warm'. It's the sort of silliness that would pop up in a not very thought out book about writing. If the rules were that simple, learning a language would be much easier.

English DOES have different ways of speaking that can represent class and formality. However, there aren't easy rules about them. Often it's imitating which group has more power and social status. If you want to sound formal, go imitate what high-status people do in public, like in government, or courts, or even academic papers to a degree.

"I submitted the report" is more formal than "I turned in the report" is more formal than "I gave in the report". Submit, coming from the romance languages, has a higher historic status in England after the French took over in 1066 and started imposing French words into the language, but the modern difference in the US is very slight (the UK I've heard retains more of status based dialect distinctions). I don't think anyone would really even notice the difference between 'submit' and 'turned in' except in the most extreme circumstances, like in addressing a court or government.

In general, if you're a non-native speaker. The sort of language that you find in textbooks are more 'formal and proper' than typical everyday speech by natives. This is true for most language textbooks about any language in the world.

One (fairly bad) rule of thumb would be that "if it takes more effort to say, it is PROBABLY more formal than the simple version, and if nothing else, will sound more stiff to a native speaker."

Hasa
2008-08-01, 08:26
Thank you for your comments, Asceai and Agilis.

Seems I was too simple-minded. I guess it wouldn't be too late for me to start tranlating even after I've made more effort to learn English and Japanese.

Thank you, anyway. You two have helped me a lot.

Chronoscout
2008-08-02, 10:15
as a native english speaker i think i'd explain it as formal language we use tends to be more accurate. there can be no confusion with a word like submit. Where as gave, turned or handed are technically correct but could be used in other stituations. english has so many words that speaking in general terms (handed, turned, gave) are viewed as sort of lazy. With formal english it's about finding the exact right word.

I submited the report (formal because of it's clarity)
I turned in the report (less formal because it's lack of clarity; notice the verb turned needs a preposition to have it make sense)
I handed in the report (same as turned)
I gave in the report (you can't really say while it's understandable it's very poor english)

If i was to try and explain formal english it generally follows 2 rules

1: more with less (using a one or a few exact and precise words to say something that would take a few sentences another way)

2: less with more ( sometimes when trying to talk about something you are "not saying" you might use complex phrases or multiple sentences to avoid the very clear way of saying something)

Well thats just my perspective on the subject so take it with a grain of salt.

I hope it helps

Hasa
2008-08-02, 22:13
Thank you for your positing, Chronoscout.

I've got interested in your perspective very much because the 2 rules you gave apply in my own language like the one Agilis mentioned at the end of his post (of course not always, though). New discovery like this really fascinates me.

You've helped me as well, thank you!

kouryuu
2008-08-08, 08:15
One (fairly bad) rule of thumb would be that "if it takes more effort to say, it is PROBABLY more formal than the simple version, and if nothing else, will sound more stiff to a native speaker."

This is especially pronounced when encountering military jargon and situations. In the American military system there are far more abbreviations for easily enough said terms, but the abbreviation is used because if every an emergency arises it's quicker to call out the abbreviated or acronym form over your available means of communication. However it's still very formal language.

In Japanese, I've found military jargon to be quite quick and easy to shout out at the drop of a hat, but while the written is understood easily enough, understanding it when spoken can be quite hard if you're not familiar with it because it uses the kanji-compound, essentially the formal, versions of words. So it remains formal while easier to say simply because it can remain harder to understand.

As for the Japanese making the same errors over and again in English, it's very easy to see how they make them when you know the Japanese. I've experienced this often with some of the folks in my dorm when I studied abroad who wanted help with their English. The biggest errors I've noticed are 1) particles: in, on, at, the, etc. This is because the use of japanese particles: ni, de, he, etc, have a tendency to overlap with the english ones. For example, in can be ni or de, but so can at, but not for the same reason, nor are they necessarily used the same as their counterparts. 2) Sentence structure. Things like appositives and such, which is because the grammar is just so different. English speakers also make the same mistakes going to Japanese here often enough. Their biggest problem though is often simply pronouncing the words surprisingly enough. One I talked to was having difficulties with the l and r distinctions--He knew when to use which, he just couldn't get the difference in sound to come out at all.

As for formality, yes, we do have it in English, and often it is simply the willful choice to use more sophisticated lexicon accompanied with the airs and mannerisms befitting such formal occasions. Though in American English, I'm tempted to say we have the exact opposite of Japan and their levels of formal language. I think it would be far more accurate to describe American English as having one formal, or polite manner of speaking, the colloquial vernacular, and then varying degrees of vulgar speech going down and down with stuff like ebonics and the horrible things on MTV people are attempting to call English. Wadda 'ell dey tinkin' wen dey thought dat shit up? That said, I personally prefer the language hierarchy in Japanese to that of American English. Despite being American.

But to answer your question with the above in mind, the declining order would probably be described somewhat like this:

1) I submitted the report. --Formal/Colloquial level
2) I turned in the report. -- Colloquial level, but often still acceptable in formal situations.
3) I handed in the report -- Colloquial level. Formal if used to explicitly identify that the report was transfered via direct person-person contact rather than such implements as mail, fax, etc.
4) I gave in the report -- Colloquial/Vulgar. Anyone educated should know the other variants, so this form implies such a lack of interest or care in the matter, which can be rude depending on when and how used.

There are of course worse was to say this sentence, but the act of submitting a report is generally a slightly formal matter to begin with so they just simply wouldn't be used at all, unless the person making the statement was going out of his way to be an ass.

Agilis
2008-08-08, 11:44
Everything in this thread really needs a bigass CITATION NEEDED sticker all over it. Especially Chronoscout's blanket statements. But nevermind.

If you want formal, go look at what people do in situations where saying the wrong thing or being misunderstood has dire consequences: diplomatic relations, ceremonies, courts, certain kinds of speeches, the social setting pretty much guarantees you'll find examples. The notion of 'formal' only has meaning in the social structure that the language exists in. No god came down and declared that "X is formal language" because languages change. Latin used to be the formal language of academics and government for centuries, but now it's dead and the 'formal' forms of the 'vulgar' languages are used now, and life goes on without a beat.

As an aside...

I remember a journal article a few years ago I glanced over in I think it was the Association of Teachers of Japanese's Japanese Language and Literature journal, that mentioned that when interviewed.

Japanese speaking students always said English speakers would have the most trouble with Kanji, while English speakers would frequently cite 'proper use of particles'.

Meanwhile, English speaking students always would bring up irregular verbs (I think) as what would trip up Japanese speakers the most, while the Japanese speakers frequently cite 'the articles: the, a, an'.

BTW, the ATJ's JLL is a rather interesting journal. While browsing through the stacks, it's a mixture of teaching studies, book reviews (textbooks mainly), a few linguistics papers occasionally, and other interesting tidbits. I distinctly remember an interesting piece by Unger on onbin, looking at cases like 'sabishii vs. samishii' in a special volume dedicated to the linguist Samuel Martin.... good stuff.

For $45 a year to get access to the JSTOR repository and a year of pubs, it's not that bad for individuals... The lifetime membership is a bit steep though... $1k... even the ACM will full electronic access for individuals under 30 is only $4000.

Chronoscout
2008-08-08, 11:59
I will reiterate "these are only the views of one english speaker."

As far as the personal views of what one person believes people learning japanese and people learning english may or may not think are irrelavant imo. i'm not sure how sharing those subjective views helps. The advertising either... maybe find a free site.

<original post>
I can't speak to american english but in both British and Canadian English the phrase

"i gave in the report"

Could only be used my someone who speaks English as a second language, possibly a child or to put it bluntly extemely stupid. though if the point was to butcher the language i.e. the purpose was for a character to sound uneducated or stupid. i would think the phrase

"i gived in da report" would work perfectly

also to "give in" is often used to mean surrender or acquiesce to anothers demands.

i don't envy anyone trying to learn english but i will offer this bit of advice.

Some people talk about English breaking it's own rules. It never truely does this...however

English has 4 sets of rules from it's 4 root languages. It can be difficult for a non-native speaker to know which rules apply to which words. In fact many native speakers don't even understand it's 4 sets of rules. The deeper truths about English's rules are not taught until university. (unless your lucky and find a very good teacher)

So my advice is learn the word origins and keep in mind that there are 4 sets of rules to English.

Thats not including all the loan words individual language rules.
English tends to keep the rules of a words original language i.e. moose, anime and manga have no plurals as their original languages have no plural.

Agilis
2008-08-09, 10:24
I will reiterate "these are only the views of one english speaker."

As far as the personal views of what one person believes people learning japanese and people learning english may or may not think are irrelavant imo. i'm not sure how sharing those subjective views helps. The advertising either... maybe find a free site.



"these are only the views of one english speaker" does not absolve you of the responsibility to back up your claims. Especially when you make blanket statements and references that appear objective to someone who is not in a position to easily judge for themselves whether you're stating fact, theory, or just making it up off the top of your head.

If you make a make substantive non-obvious claim, like you have repeatedly done here in this thread, I expect it to be backed up with a reference if a reference is demanded. I would prefer if the references were given without the need for someone to ask, but a single "This is just my opinion" does not get you off the hook. Saying that something "might be true in some instances in my experience" is walking on thin epistemological ice, but acceptable because it's clearly qualified in the same paragraph. I have no tolerance for people being blindly misled simply because someone wants to feel important.

Furthermore, my aside, which was clearly labeled an aside, has direct relation to kouryuu's statement about the difficulties in dealing with particles, and articles. The difficulties are real, and interviews with students on both sides of the language divide show correlation to the hypothesis. Since I didn't run a study on the issues of English and Japanese language learners but I'm still passing it on as fact, I have to, and did, cite a reference.



English has 4 sets of rules from it's 4 root languages. It can be difficult for a non-native speaker to know which rules apply to which words. In fact many native speakers don't even understand it's 4 sets of rules. The deeper truths about English's rules are not taught until university. (unless your lucky and find a very good teacher)


Here I demand citation, this is a non-obvious blanket statement that does not appear as 'an opinion' or 'view'. It is a statement of material fact.

What 4 root languages? Certainly not 'the Indo-European language family'. So perhaps Greek and Latin? Does French, which obviously has a strong historical influence, also fall under Latin, or is it separate? Which of the Germanic tribes and languages are you referring to? Anglo? Saxon?

Furthermore, I demand the 4 sets of rules. Do they map straight onto the 4 languages? Why is it that French (say) can be considered to be 1 set of rules, whereas English somehow is blessed with 4. Why can't French, which has its own linguistic history, including its own exposure to the Germanic tribes, have 2 rules (or more) that we've inherited?


Thats not including all the loan words individual language rules.
English tends to keep the rules of a words original language i.e. moose, anime and manga have no plurals as their original languages have no plural.

I call citation again. This is also non-obvious, and is a topic worthy of a thesis or five in linguistics. What's to say that a word that's newly borrowed, and thus clearly 'foreign sounding' to natives, acts under different rules on a per-speaker basis until everyone gets used to it and starts doing the same thing. At what point is a word "native" enough that it follows typical rules of common English, "the -s suffix makes a noun plural (provided it doesn't end in certain letters)".

I've certainly seen the word "animes" being thrown around. Google sees 16,300,000 instances of "animes", and 301,000,000 instances of "anime". Neither of those are trivial numbers. "Manga" has 172M while "mangas" has 28M. For comparison, the word 'cheese' came up 130M times, and 'cheeses' came up 8.28M.

nachtrabe
2008-08-09, 10:56
Thats not including all the loan words individual language rules.
English tends to keep the rules of a words original language i.e. moose, anime and manga have no plurals as their original languages have no plural.


Which is why when Kageyama's Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go was published in English they used the word "josekies."

Oh wait, that's a "pluralized" form of "joseki" and a counterpoint to your statement.

I would say that English, on the whole, tends to have no hard-and-fast rules for these sorts of things.

Chronoscout
2008-08-09, 13:02
Josekies LOL thats a hoot

I'd just say their editor sucked.

I really doubt it'd ever get into the dictionary... But "irregardless" made it into the dictionary. I guess if enough people make the same mistake anything is possible. maybe animes will be next

it reminds me of when a friend of mine in highschool said epitome as "eh pee tome"

If an error is in a book it doesn't make it right. I was reading Small Gods by Terry Pratchett a few weeks ago when i noticed a spelling error made it to printing.

oh and no citations ...sorry but its still just one persons opinion and it does absolve me. stop asking.

kouryuu
2008-08-10, 06:55
Agilis I think does have a right to request citation if it can be provided, as to be fair this thread has entered the realm of univeristy level linguistics debate. As for me, I realize my statements have no citation, and quite honestly I'm too lazy to look for any since I'm currently in an internet cafe, but they are however observations made from personal experience in translation of the languages, as a learner of the language (Major Japanese, Minor English, so I have studied both as well as dabbled in introductory linguistics.), and as a friend trying to help several different Japanese students (male)learn english. (5 different people, so I will admit my sample size is small, and not very random--2 from an international University, 3 from the same ordinary Japanese university). My experience is nothing I'd write a paper on, but I still consider it valid as I acknowledge the fallacies with my judgements.

That said, I would venture to say that the "four languages" Chrono mentions are most likely Anglo-Norman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Norman_language) which influenced English since 1066, Old Saxon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Saxon), Latin due to it's dominance of Europe in the middle ages through Christianity, and French which held high influence over the english language due to France's proximity and frequent warring with England. Although I feel Anglo-Frisian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Frisian_languages) also bears mention as a possbility, it is very similar to Old Saxon and is also germanic unlike Anglo-Norman.