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Kanji
2005-07-18, 19:48
Hello all,
This is the first time I have posted on boards that discuss the genre of bishoujo computer games. I confess that I was not a fan of anime but being a intern in a new city-Milwaukee, have next to nothing to do for the summer and being a childhood fan of DORAEMON-I grew up with the chinese version have compelled me to order a few of the translated titles and give them a look. I have played a few: Snow Drop, Tokimeki Check-in, seasons of the saukara, casual dating club, Hitmoi-my step sister(the Hitmoi path was agony to go through but at least the poor girl had a decent ending). I have to say that Kanon blew them out of the water and grabbed me by the collar and didn't let go.

I think the Kanon in particular made me want to study Japanese and filled me with an odd desire to learn. I was hoping that my knowledge in Chinese characters can help me speed up the process by a little(I attended school in Tianjin until 10ish) . I am thinking about heading down to the local library tomorrow and see if they have any japanese tapes/cds I can listen to. If anyone can offer any advice to help me on this journey I would greatly appericate it.

Also...I know there is a chinese translated version of AIR, and I am toying with the idea of translating it into english since I have jack to do after work and Wisconsin TV is starting to lose its appeal.

Again thanks for taking your time to reading all my ranting. Again, I have to say it was a pleasure to play all the way to the 23rd day of Mai, and I hope to resume the journey.

Bo

zalas
2005-07-19, 00:59
Knowledge of Chinese can be both a burden and a blessing. On the one hand, you'd be able to recognize a lot of kanji. On the other hand, sometimes the kanji don't mean what you think they mean, and you still don't have a very good idea of how to pronounce it. Now, if you have some background in Classical Chinese, that would help immensely, as the grammar is a lot closer to Japanese, plus you have all those deprecated meanings in modern Chinese which are used in modern Japanese.

I would still start with the basics, like learning the two other writing systems, figuring out how to pronounce each kana, and then moving on to some simple grammar.

Kanji
2005-07-19, 13:29
Zalas, thanks for the response. I have read some classical Chinese literature and I understand the point you were making about the difference between that and modern Chinese.

I was taking some time out of lunch browsing though Amazon's selection of Japanese books. One of the highest rated books they have includes "Easy Japanese" by James K. Seward and "Japanese Step by Step : An Innovative Approach to Speaking and Reading Japanese" by Gene Nishi. They are sold in a bundle deal so I might as well save some dough buying it. I also noticed "Mangajin's Basic Japanese Through Comics" that seemed to be quite highly rated among many and it might be a more lighthearted way to learn the language.

Hopefully pronunciation should be an easier experience since I can speak Manderian and I going to get some tapes this afternoon. Besides, I often found my self speaking out from playing those games and it's always great fun to learn language in a entertaining format.

I appreciate all the feedback that you can provide and actually the Japanese word "Kaizen" is quite the fashionable term of business development at my workplace...

Bo

Kanji
2005-07-19, 15:31
I am thinking about signing up for the YesJapan trial subscription for around 10 bucks for first ten days. It looks pretty helpful although it would be good to hear what the folks here think about that website and the online courses and it offers.

Arigatou!

Bo

Kanji
2005-07-19, 19:41
Got myself signed up to YesJapan.com's trial membership, and I am now going after my rei, ichi, ni with Kanon's soundtrack pumping in the background. A few things of note-at least I found them interesting with a Chinese background... the word for three-"san" is pronounced excatly the same in Japanese and Chinese. Also, 4-"Shi", which also means "death" is very similar to the chinese pronouncation of death, which is "si". The Japanese word for 9-"ku", which also means "suffering" is also spoken the same way in Chinese.

Oh well, these things are pretty trival but I got pretty excited nevertheless!

Good night all

Bo

zalas
2005-07-19, 22:01
Actually, in mandarin, there is a difference between the pronounciation of 'three' and the Japanese pronounciation 'san' One sounds like 'bam' and the other sounds like 'bomb'.

omgwtflolz
2005-07-19, 23:53
Also, 4-"Shi", which also means "death" is very similar to the chinese pronouncation of death, which is "si".

Judging from that, I don't think he's talking about Mandarin. Some dialect, perhaps?

Kanji
2005-07-20, 05:48
Actually, "si" is the offical "pinyin" pronoucation for Mandarian in the PRC. If you want to get more specific regarding "si", it's a "s" followed with a "i" with a downward stroke on top, which donates that it's pronounced with the fourth tone.

Also, in regards to Zalas's post, yes there are differences in pronouncation of "san" but it's similar sounding enough that I think anyone who isn't used to the sound of the word would be able to distinguish them.

What kind of messed of me up now is the fact that I can understand most of the Kanji but they are pronounced differently. And on the yesJapan forums, people were talking about how nowadays its more common to use multiple Hiragana characters to represent a word(eg. "rabbit") instead of using only one Kanji character. Makes me wonder why did the Japanese adopt Chinese characters at all...

Bo

Haeleth
2005-07-20, 08:06
The similarity in pronunciation of those numbers is because, quite simply, the Japanese borrowed the Chinese pronunciations along with the characters. Of course, you'll also find them pronounced with the native Japanese pronunciations in some words, and for 四 and 七 the Japanese pronunciations "yon" and "nana" are probably more common than the Chinese-derived "shi" and "shichi".

What kind of messed of me up now is the fact that I can understand most of the Kanji but they are pronounced differently.
Well, naturally: they're writing a different language. You'll also have to be careful about your assumption that you can understand them... I'm not aware that 八 ever means "snack" in Chinese, but that's what お八つ means in Japan. ;)

people were talking about how nowadays its more common to use multiple Hiragana characters to represent a word(eg. "rabbit") instead of using only one Kanji character. Makes me wonder why did the Japanese adopt Chinese characters at all...
Because they didn't have any writing of their own at all, of course. Now that they have two kana scripts as well (and in case you hadn't realised, the kana were created by taking certain kanji and simplifying them), they can choose for each word whether they think it's easier to read and write with kanji or with kana. In the case of animals, nobody seems to agree, so you'll see 兎, うさぎ, and ウサギ, sometimes all in the same paragraph...

omgwtflolz
2005-07-20, 08:32
Maybe my memory is terrible, but I'm pretty sure that the Mandarin 四 is pronounced nothing like the Japanese 死/し

Kanji
2005-07-20, 15:54
To omgetflolz, well I guess the two character don't excatly match, but their sounds are close enough that I would consider them similar.

To Haeleth, the yesJapan website did state that because of the different meanings of "shi" and "ku", that they are considered unlucky in Japan. I would like to point out that for the exact same reason the number 4 or "si" is considered unlucky in China, to the extent where people get discounted prices on cell phone numbers that includes 4!

Also on your comment the Japanese simplifying Kanji, ironically enough, the current script(Simplified/Mandarian) used by the PRC/AKA mainland China is also a simplified version of the original "complex" characters. I suppose more than quite a few folks found them troublesome to jot down.

Bo

gp32
2005-07-20, 19:17
Speaking of which, I have always found it incredibly amusing that Labor And Delivery is located on the 4th floor of C.S. Mott Childrens' Hospital ...

Kanji
2005-07-21, 18:30
It's now day three of my yesJapan regimine, I am averaging around 2-3 hours per day on the website learning Hiragana with the tune 少女の檻 chiming in the background...somehow the melody keeps me focused...

I am adjusting to a pretty regular scedule now-work,food,gym,japanese,sleep...and repeat. Learning the new Hiragana isn't easy and I am forgetting about 30% of the word/meanings every night. This is no walk in the park and I guess the first steps are the hardest to take.

Anyways, that's all I have to rant about tonight, back to pencilin some Hiragana!

Bo

Kylon
2005-07-23, 13:19
Hello,

Good to hear you're trying to learn Japanese as well. I learned Japanese through my Chinese background as well, although through Cantonese.

I remember the first thing that made me want to learn Japanese was hearing the phrase "denwa" (電話). It just suddenly hit me and I thought that the character was speaking Chinese. 8) (Mind you there were no tones so I didn't think that for long.)

So as a result I've self taught myself Japanese for the last 6-7 years for fun. Each time I finish a renai game my Japanese (and my Chinese) improves alot. I haven't gone to any Japanese courses because they all teach from an English point of view whereas I found my retention was much better when learning from a Chinese point of view.

I wouldn't say that your Chinese is a hinderance to learning Japanese unless you make the assumption that the Chinese is the same. In all cases, you should look up the Japanese and memorize the difference. In fact, in doing that, I find that I actually have a better recall of the words themselves.

For example:
勉強 means like 'forced' in Chinese (meen keung), but it means 'to study (ben kyou)' in Japanese. (This is one of the phrases I've seen that's the most different in meaning.) So, its easy to remember if you think about all those hard years of study in University that you had to force yourself to do. 8)

The other thing is, be aware that the imported sounds (the ON yomi of Japanese kanji) have been imported sometimes from Cantonese, sometimes from Mandarin... and some from other dialects. A Japanese student once told me that some ON yomi are from Japan as well.

(like 月 of which the ON-yomi is 'GATSU' ... its 'yuet' in Cantonese and 'yue' in Mandarin... so this one came from somewhere else.)

A good resource to have is JWPce if you're looking for a free software dictionary. (It's got kanji look-ups by radicals. 8) )
http://www.physics.ucla.edu/~grosenth/jwpce.html

Anyways, good luck!

Blitzwing01
2005-07-24, 19:28
As someone who is also from a Cantonese background, though I've only been studying Japanese for 1 year, I'm finding that I also have a renewed interest in learning more Chinese. When studying kanji, i try to learn both the Japanese and applicable Chinese meanings. 2 birds with one stone.

Another useful program for studying Japanese and Chinese is Wakan (http://wakan.manga.cz/). Give it a try!

Shirotatsu
2005-07-28, 13:55
Maybe my memory is terrible, but I'm pretty sure that the Mandarin 四 is pronounced nothing like the Japanese 死/し

Well, the Japanese 四 (よん/し) comes from the Mandarin 四 (sì - which is a low tone, like a depressed "oh" or something of the sort.)...since Japanese must have derived from a major language, it must have come from either Mandarin or Cantonese, and it can't have come from Cantonese because the Cantonese 四 is pronounced like the word "say". (I don't know the tone though, regrettably.)

Another thing is that the Mandarin "i" isn't really pronounced like the Japanese "i". The Mandarin "i" is closest to the the "e" sound in the word "runner". Try pronouncing the word without the final "r". While the Japanese "i" is the long "e" sound represented in "she" "he" "bee", etc.

四/死 in Japanese is therefore pronounced "Shee/shee" and 四/死 in Mandarin is therefore pronounced "Sì/ Si, with a short sign over the "i" showing a rising tone", both "i"s in the Mandarin version pronounced like the Korean "eu" or the English "er" without the final "r".

...that's just from what I hear when I hear the two though...but I believe this is correct...

Haeleth
2005-07-28, 14:35
Well, the Japanese 四 (よん/し) comes from the Mandarin 四 (sì - which is a low tone, like a depressed "oh" or something of the sort.)...since Japanese must have derived from a major language, it must have come from either Mandarin or Cantonese, and it can't have come from Cantonese because the Cantonese 四 is pronounced like the word "say".
The reason you can't match the Japanese pronunciation exactly with a modern Chinese dialect is that Japanese adopted the kanji over 1500 years ago. It didn't take the readings from modern Mandarin or modern Cantonese - it took them from a variety of ancient dialects. There have been many, many changes in both Chinese and Japanese pronunciations since then.

The reading シ for 四 is, I believe, a 漢音読み - that is to say, it's based on the pronunciation of the word in Chang'an of the Tang dynasty. The reading ヨン is an original Japanese reading based on the root よ in the original Japanese counting system.

An analogy for Westerners: consider English and French. The English word castle is derived from the same Latin root as the French château,<sup>1</sup> but after nearly a thousand years of divergent evolution, the two are pronounced very differently. Now substitute Tang-dynasty Chinese for Latin, modern Mandarin for French, and Japanese for English, and you're pretty close to the oriental situation.

1. Pedants' corner: "castle" actually entered the language via the Anglo-Norman dialect of Old French. Calling it "Latin" is close enough for the analogy, okay? :p

Kanji
2005-07-28, 17:09
Hey guys, I am happy to see that this post is still alive and well 6 days after my last post. I had to take a break from the lessons since my company sent me up to Michigan to count some beans, and I just got back from the airport today.

I tried to do some studying on the plane and in the hotel but I was too tired to make any real progress. I did pick up the book "Mangajin's Basic Japanese through comics" and it was pretty good at explaining how people spoke in real life. It explained things very clearly to someone with no basic experience in the language, ie: Me.

I was also lucky enough to have sat next to a gentlemen on the plane who currently lives in Japan on the Misawa Air Base. He mentions how he can speak the language now flawlessly but can't read well at all. He was also complaining about the lack of decent place for Japanese food around Cleveland and Milwaukee. And he has a firm belief that YesJapan is not that useful because no one in everyday life talks like that. If anyone have any advice about that website please share because I want to have a good foundation to build from.

To Kylon, good to hear from an another person who have walked this path. I want to ask you that when you play the renai games, how long does it take you to complete it usually. Especially towards the beginning when you were starting out...

Also, I am glad that Haeleth provided such in depth info regarding pronunciations. I was aware that the adoptation occured in the Tang Dynasty although it's always a plus to find out where the pronoucation orginated from.

As always, thank you all for your advice and support. I gonna resume the studying tonight cause I don't want to let you guys down. :)

Cheers

Bo

zalas
2005-07-28, 22:36
Well, the Japanese 四 (よん/し) comes from the Mandarin 四 (sì - which is a low tone, like a depressed "oh" or something of the sort.)...since Japanese must have derived from a major language, it must have come from either Mandarin or Cantonese, and it can't have come from Cantonese because the Cantonese 四 is pronounced like the word "say".
The reason you can't match the Japanese pronunciation exactly with a modern Chinese dialect is that Japanese adopted the kanji over 1500 years ago. It didn't take the readings from modern Mandarin or modern Cantonese - it took them from a variety of ancient dialects. There have been many, many changes in both Chinese and Japanese pronunciations since then.
My current theory is that they borrowed from the then main dialect during around the Tang dynasty or so. I believe this is why it's a little more similar to Cantonese than Mandarin, but not totally Cantonese. What we know as Mandarin is mainly a northern-ish dialect, and also keep in mind that the Qing dynasty ruled China for almost 300 years, after they invaded from the North in the mid 17th century. I think the similarities between Mandarin and Japanese are probably due to the fact that the invaders more than likely melded their language into the language of the conquered. When the Tang dynasty was in power, their capital was much more south than where Beijing is today.

Kanji
2005-07-31, 20:37
Hello all, this is the end of my first complete week of japanese study. I have finally finished learning all the Hiragana and I am now going through the katakana.

In terms of difficulty, going through the katakana is actually easier since it's the same as the Hiragana in terms of pronouncation and the number of letters. I think by the end of the week I should know all the katakana & hiragana.

I tried translating some of the dialogue for Casual dating club last night for practice and I was pleasantly suprised that I could actually understand about 10 percent of the reading material already. The steamier scenes were the easiest to understand/translate since it was just a character repeating again and again.

I also watched Spirited Away for the first time today, and aside from realizing that it is the best animated film of my generation, also tried to pick up the speech in the movie. As far as practice goes, Miyazaki's movies will be a big help in boosting my hearing competence.

Side note: the word for love, pronounced "ai" in japanese, is exactly the same in Chinese. Furthermore, the Kanji of "renai" have the same meaning in Chinese in the sense that they imply romance.

ok, enough self ranting for tonight, have a great weekend all!

Bo

GreatSaintLouis
2005-08-01, 07:38
Haeleth, your knowledge of the current form and evolution of the Japanese language is amazing! Is this all information you've just accumulated over the years, or would it be possible to find books on the subject (in English, of course) on Amazon or at one's college library?
Just as knowing the Latin roots can help in the understanding of English and the Romantic languages, I'd imagine having an idea were modern Japanese came from would be helpful for someone trying to grasp that language, right?

Haeleth
2005-08-01, 08:40
Is this all information you've just accumulated over the years, or would it be possible to find books on the subject (in English, of course) on Amazon or at one's college library?
<strike>エロティックな</strike>告白コーナー

I don't actually "know" most of this stuff... I just have a few good friends like Google, Wikipedia, and a number of bookcases. :p

The actual level of "knowledge" that went into my previous post was "There's more than one kind of on'yomi, but they're all old". The rest was looked up on the spot.

Just as knowing the Latin roots can help in the understanding of English and the Romantic languages, I'd imagine having an idea were modern Japanese came from would be helpful for someone trying to grasp that language, right?
I think it depends how your mind works. I personally find it a lot easier to learn a grammar when I can see reasons and derivations, and often knowing the etymology of a word does help to remember how it's used (e.g. 四 reading シ = from written language = formal register, reading ヨン = from spoken language = informal). But I've known people who found the historical stuff a pointless distraction, too...

GreatSaintLouis
2005-08-01, 23:50
エロティックな告白コーナー
YAAAYYY!!!

<strike>エロティックな</strike>告白コーナー
Oh, sad. I feel cheated now.

Anyways, I'm one of those people that likes hearing the etymological progressions of words - those same mundane details that others despise are actually what help me half the time to remember a word I'd otherwise forget. Of course, this is English we're talking about here, but I can't see why it wouldn't be helpful in Japanese. Either way, I need all the help I can get, I suppose.

zalas
2005-08-02, 00:47
エロティックな告白コーナー
YAAAYYY!!!

<strike>エロティックな</strike>告白コーナー
Oh, sad. I feel cheated now.
I feel the strong urge to create a parody 4koma of that...
...and done
http://www.cjas.org/~zalas/pics/haelethkokuhaku4koma.png

GreatSaintLouis
2005-08-02, 14:15
HAHA!!

That is totally awesome! You are officially my Hero Of The Dayâ„¢.

Kanji
2005-08-15, 19:52
Hi all, it's been a while since my last post. I was shipped out of town for much of last month walking around giving presentations and trying to count up machines...(For those interested, contact me and I'll introduce you to the exciting world of Accounting!)

Back on topic, I finally got through all the Hiragana and katakana characters including the compounds and irregulars and went through about 200 or so vocabs. I think I got past the first big hurdle since learning all those characters plus vocab was a big obstacle to overcome. I think I am now ready to plunge back in and I am recieving a lot of help through some of the games that I bought such as Crescendo, Kana, and Private nurse. I am learning all the body vocabs right now and with the basic character knowledge this is going a lot faster too.

And to end it with a fact of the day...The character "ba" バ is pronouced and written the same in Chinese, without the daksen(sp). The meaning is way different now though.

That's it for tonight, good night all.

omgwtflolz
2005-08-15, 20:20
Once again, if you're talking about Mandarin... no, they're not pronounced the same. Similar, but not the same.

And just for the record, the Mandarin si and Japanese shi aren't even close to being similar. The Japanese shi is more like the English "she", except... I don't know, shorter? And the Mandarin si is closer "sir" without the R.

Edit:

Actually, "sir" is a really bad example, but I can't really think of any good ones.

zalas
2005-08-16, 02:07
The Mandarin 'si' sounds a bit like 'ssssssssssssssss' but voiced. Like start hissing, and then try to hum at the same time. The Mandarin pronunciation of 八 does sound a bit like バ, but the Chinese one I think is pronounced more strongly.

darklegion
2005-08-28, 20:07
On a somewhat similar topic (I don't know any chinese) , I would like to know what are some particularly interesting sites to read in Japanese.I've played around with POPjisyo (one of those mouse-over-the-word translators) and found it to be very conveniant in getting used to the grammar and for very fast translation(as opposed to using a real or software dictionary).I just need some interesting sites to read, as I don't know any yet.Sure I could just search around google.co.jp or any other search engine but I figure you guys would have an interesting database of links that you just would love to spread around :)

AstCd2
2005-08-28, 20:44
It's a little difficult to gauge what you'll find interesting if you don't express any particular areas of interest, but I'll presume otaku-related pursuits and Key are amongst them, given that you're here. Some sites I frequent are:

News:
Moon Phase: http://www.moonphase.cc/
Moon Phase Notes: http://d.hatena.ne.jp/moonphase/
Doujin Doraku: http://www.doujingame.com/index.php
Piece of Key Heart: http://www1.ocn.ne.jp/~yuki1485/
Rakugakidou: http://www.rakugakidou.net/
Yui Dream: http://horie-yui.web.infoseek.co.jp/index.html
2ch: http://www.2ch.net/

Comic-type things:
Mushiatsui kara nugu: http://boma.tank.jp/nugu/nugu.htm
MULTI-MANIAX: http://multi.punimoe.jp/top.html
Quarter Ice Shop: http://kanon.comic.to/index.htm

Other:
Notes on Key Staff: http://aomura.hp.infoseek.co.jp/staff/key.html
Suzumoto's Notes on Air: http://www2u.biglobe.ne.jp/~zumo/near/summer_s.htm
Hakagi Royale: http://hakagiroyale.nobody.jp/
USO9000's Travel Log: http://www7a.biglobe.ne.jp/~uso9000/
Todokanai Sora: http://www109.sakura.ne.jp/~sh49/ts/
2ch Dictionary: http://www.media-k.co.jp/jiten/

Korgath
2005-08-29, 05:39
I recommend Japanese for Everyone (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0870408534/qid=1125322026/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-3071870-4143923?v=glance&s=books) to anyone who is serious about learning Japanese. It's best that you know the Japanese kana and have some basic knowledge of how kanji works before using this book. It's very concise and thorough without dumbing things down too much or being overly complicated. It does expect you to work for it, but if you do you'll gain a thorough knowledge of Japanese grammar and learn about 2000 words.

I personally learned 95% of all the grammar you'll come across from this book, and when combined with seperate Kanji/vocabulary training from other sources you'll probably make quite some progress.