日本語の隅 - Nihongo no Sumi - Japanese Corner

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Re: 日本語の隅 - Nihongo no Sumi - Japanese Corner

Postby Talib » Fri 14 Aug 2009 5:43 pm

Would it be helpful to study Chinese characters first, since they are what kanji (and the principles of their composition) are based on?
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Re: 日本語の隅 - Nihongo no Sumi - Japanese Corner

Postby Sobekhotep » Mon 17 Aug 2009 3:37 am

Talib wrote:Nastaʿlīq is not really representative because it's a calligraphy style not used in Arabic.

But it is the standard for written Urdu, I believe.

Talib wrote:
Well, I would advise anyone attempting to learn Japanese to learn at least the 1,945 jōyō kanji (jp:常用漢字; "habitual use sinographs") first, before even learning kana. Knowing those kanji gives you a solid foundation for learning the actual language itself.
I would study those but learn kana first, because it's simpler and might give me a) some idea of how to read Japanese and b) practice with the stroke rules and so on of kanji.

sokuban wrote:Nah, I think learning kana first would be better, because a lot of dictionaries etc only show the reading in kana anyways, and if they romanize it you don't know which romanization system they used, which might be a little confusing.

The reason why I recommend kanji first is because while you're learning them you won't be using kana for anything. When you're learning kanji you only will be learning the meanings; no readings. If you learn kana first, there's a chance you'll forget them by the time you're done with the kanji.
But, I don't think that learning kana first would be detrimental, either, so it's OK to do it that way.

Talib wrote:Would it be helpful to study Chinese characters first, since they are what kanji (and the principles of their composition) are based on?

I'm not sure I understand your question. Kanji are Chinese characters. Kanji (JP:漢字) is just what they're called in Japanese. I suppose the term in English specifically refers to those that are used in Japanese but most of them also are used in Chinese.
But that's exactly what I recommend: to learn kanji before you start learning actual Japanese.
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Re: 日本語の隅 - Nihongo no Sumi - Japanese Corner

Postby Talib » Mon 17 Aug 2009 7:45 am

Sobekhotep wrote:But it is the standard for written Urdu, I believe.
It is but we were talking about Arabic.
The reason why I recommend kanji first is because while you're learning them you won't be using kana for anything. When you're learning kanji you only will be learning the meanings; no readings. If you learn kana first, there's a chance you'll forget them by the time you're done with the kanji.
But, I don't think that learning kana first would be detrimental, either, so it's OK to do it that way.
I want to just because it's a simpler task.
I'm not sure I understand your question. Kanji are Chinese characters. Kanji (JP:漢字) is just what they're called in Japanese. I suppose the term in English specifically refers to those that are used in Japanese but most of them also are used in Chinese.
But that's exactly what I recommend: to learn kanji before you start learning actual Japanese.
I thought Japanese kanji differed from Chinese. Japanese uses characters which aren't found in Chinese and vice versa, and Chinese has simplified characters.
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Re: 日本語の隅 - Nihongo no Sumi - Japanese Corner

Postby Sobekhotep » Tue 18 Aug 2009 1:39 am

Talib wrote:I thought Japanese kanji differed from Chinese. Japanese uses characters which aren't found in Chinese and vice versa, and Chinese has simplified characters.

The majority of kanji are traditional Chinese characters. But many of them are uniquely Japanese simplified and are not found in either traditional or simplified Chinese. A few were also created by the Japanese specifically for Japanese.
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Re: 日本語の隅 - Nihongo no Sumi - Japanese Corner

Postby Talib » Tue 18 Aug 2009 2:16 am

I knew that, which is why I asked if it would be helpful to study Chinese first. The basic principles are the same but not all the characters are. Right?
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Re: 日本語の隅 - Nihongo no Sumi - Japanese Corner

Postby sokuban » Tue 18 Aug 2009 9:40 am

Hmm, that sounds like a boring way to learn kanji. Only the meanings, and you can't use them at all.

Talib wrote:I knew that, which is why I asked if it would be helpful to study Chinese first. The basic principles are the same but not all the characters are. Right?


It would help, but it doesn't really matter which you learn first.

If you learn Chinese, the knowledge of hanzi will help when you learn Japanese.
If you learn Japanese, the knowledge of kanji will help when you learn Chinese.

If you are more interested in Japanese, I think you should learn Japanese before Chinese. Learning a language /just/ to learn another language is a little funny.
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Re: 日本語の隅 - Nihongo no Sumi - Japanese Corner

Postby Talib » Tue 18 Aug 2009 6:50 pm

Well I'd want to ideally learn both, but that's quite a burden to take on oneself.
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Re: 日本語の隅 - Nihongo no Sumi - Japanese Corner

Postby Sobekhotep » Wed 19 Aug 2009 3:56 am

sokuban wrote:Hmm, that sounds like a boring way to learn kanji. Only the meanings, and you can't use them at all.

Kanji primarily have meaning. That’s why Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean…all can use the very same sinographs despite pronouncing them completely differently. That’s why a single kanji in Japanese can have multiple readings. Because the meaning is the same. You can understand so much through “only” knowing the meaning & writing.
Here's an excerpt from Richard Heisig's "Remembering the Kanji" in which he explains this method:
One only has to look at the progress of non-Japanese raised with kanji to see the logic of [this] approach. When Chinese adult students come to the study of Japanese, they already know what the [individual] kanji mean and how to write them. They have only to learn how to read them. The progress they make in comparison with their Western counterparts is usually attributed to their being “Oriental”. In fact, Chinese grammar and pronunciation have about as much to do with Japanese as English does. It is their knowledge of the meaning and writing of the kanji that gives the Chinese the decisive edge. My idea was simply to learn from this common experience and give the kanji an English reading. Having learned to write the kanji in this way — which, I repeat, is the most logical and rational part of the study of Japanese — one is in a much better position to concentrate on the often irrational and unprincipled problem of learning to pronounce them.


Talib wrote:Well I'd want to ideally learn both, but that's quite a burden to take on oneself.

Sure, but it can be done. Just like you could learn Arabic & Persian!
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Re: 日本語の隅 - Nihongo no Sumi - Japanese Corner

Postby Talib » Wed 19 Aug 2009 4:05 am

Arabic and Persian would be one hard and one moderately difficult language. Arabic, Chinese and Japanese would be masochism. Might as well add Russian and Korean just to make things as hard as humanly possible.
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Re: 日本語の隅 - Nihongo no Sumi - Japanese Corner

Postby Sobekhotep » Wed 19 Aug 2009 11:44 pm

Here's the best thing about Japanese: no broken plurals! :mrgreen:
How about Hausa? Afro-Asiatic grammar with implosives, ejectives, & lexical tone. At least it's not written with Arabic anymore. Officially, at least.
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