Posts Tagged ‘language’

A Linguistic Head-scratcher – English Assimilation

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

As long as any given language is significantly exposed to some foreign language, there is a possibility it may be influenced by that foreign language. Any English speaker should be well aware of this phenomenon, as several non-English words are a part of our daily vernacular. Have you committed a faux pas recently, or voted to maintain the status quo the last time you were at the poles? Hmmm? Well, foreign words have made their way into the common Japanese dialogue as well, and some them have done so in an interesting way beyond the usual conversion to katakana pronunciation. Let me give you a taste.

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Japanese Is Easier Than You Think!

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

 

I have to admit, when I was a newbie to the Japanese language I thought it was the most difficult thing on the planet, next to Chinese. And don’t lie, you probably think so too. But under closer inspection, this is a big, fat, ugly, atrocious (insert more adjectives here) lie. Let me show you why Japanese is so easy and why you should stop telling yourself it’s too hard!

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単語 Tuesdays – Fruits

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

The theme for this week’s 単語 Tuesday is some healthy foods you should eat regularly – fruits! It’s a little deeper than just a bunch of fruit names – we’ll talk about stuff you can do to them as well.

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The Geography of a Language

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

As a relatively new student to the Japanese language (and a very part-time one, at that), I find it rather interesting how much of a culture there is behind the scenes of what we normally see. Now, what I’m talking about isn’t so much the Japanese culture itself- that has its own few hundred years of history. I’m talking about the culture behind the learning of the language. There’s something to be said about a society who’s culture is slowly but surely taking over the world (Pokemon – need I say more?). There’s something even more to be said about a culture in which people from different parts of the world come together in a very “Let’s sing Kumbaya while sitting around the campfire” type of way in order to help each other learn a language that is as captivating as it is difficult.

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単語 Tuesdays: Hair

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

First of all, before I hop into the post, I want to explain what 単語 Tuesdays are. If you don’t know the word, 単語 means “vocabulary.” Every other Tuesday will come a vocab lesson based on a theme. In today’s case, it’s hair!

Hair comes in all shapes and varieties. You can have long hair, short hair, straight hair, afro hair, blonde hair, fluorescent orange hair… you name it, someone’s got it. There are things you can do to your hair also: cut it, dye it, wash it, set it on fire… (I don’t recommend that last one.) Japanese has quite the vocabulary for hair, so let’s take a look!

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Five Awesome Japanese Learning Video Games

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

One of the best ways to learn Japanese is through video games since they’re highly interactive and memorable in most cases. There are a few games out there to help children learn and Japan is no exception – especially in the writing department. There are even games for adults to practice writing (due to writing becoming a scarce act). Let’s check out a my top five games, shall we? (Note – most of these are on the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii systems.)
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Speak Often, Speak Loud

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Hello!

There are four fundamental parts to a language – reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Reading and listening are input – you read for comprehension, you write for comprehension. Writing and speaking are output – you are putting out information to other people for them to read or heard and understand.

Just like input, output is key to learning the language – although this is relatively difficult because it’s hard to know where to start. Even the most basic sentences can become confusing. But as they say – “practice makes perfect,” and this is definitely true when it comes to output.

Even though babies go through a lot of input, they don’t learn the language in just this way. There are people all around them teaching them words and phrases, and they spend their entire life learning their dialect. Most importantly they attempt to speak as they get older, and even though it’s not perfect, they learn. Learning a language as an adult is a tad bit different.

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Blog Is Now Working

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

So it took a while thanks to my wonderful net admin to get the forums and blog up and running, but they’re here and I will be moving certain posts from the former blog back here. Some posts were transformed in to guide posts on the main site. It will take some time before things get moving again due to the fact that I need to make the theme for the blog because using defaults is lame. In the mean time, if you want to read the posts on the old blog it’s still live on wordpress.com. Click here.

The blog now will generally cover Japanese and Japan in general, like reviews on games, books, manga, as well as happenings in Japan. So stay tuned. ;)

Books You Must Have For Studying Kanji and Kana

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Over several years I have accumulated almost a library of books in the study of the Japanese language. Some of them were quick one-time reads, others were garbage, and the rest (a large portion) I read on a near-regular basis. A majority of these books are extraordinarily helpful for English speakers learning the Japanese language because they explain things in deep detail in a way you would rarely find on the internet or in a classroom.

A majority of my books are Kanji dictionaries while others actually teach things such as radicals and distinguishing between look-alike characters. I could easily say that without these books I wouldn’t have learned anywhere near as much as I have, and I feel that they will help somebody. I have linked to Amazon (some are on amazon.co.jp, which you have to separately register for) if you’re interested in purchasing (I’m not selling these books so profits go to either Amazon or a direct seller).

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Historical Japanese Writing

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

The Japanese language has certainly come a long way, as we saw in Origins of Kana and Kanji. The phonetic system has underwent changes, as people became lazier and lazier in speech. At the same time, its writing system (which had already been developing for hundreds of years, not to mention the countless before it for the development of Kanji itself), up to its present form to make up for these phonetic changes. The modern form we see today is as recent as World War II. That’s incredible, to think that Japanese was so different just over a hundred years ago.

But because these changes are so recent, there are still materials out there that are written in an older style of Japanese that is no longer used today except by a few people. This post aims to explain some of the changes that occurred over the years and what old Japanese writing resembled.

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