Thursday, January 25, 2018

Nihongo

Kon'nichiwa!

a, i, u, e, o

I just started taking a Japanese course last week. It's a challenge, but a fun one. We're being taught both the romanji (Roman alphabet) and Hiragana (one of three alphabets used) writing systems at the outset. I've only a few short Hiragana words committed to memory. And if I had a Japanese keyboard, I'd show you! Writing the characters is like creating little, tiny pieces of art. Our Latin alphabet isn't so difficult to render, comparatively speaking. This is especially so if one is using block letters. Japanese, by contrast, looks as if it were still written by brush--there are little tales on many of the end strokes. One is meant to reproduce the characters in this way even with a pencil or pen.

Japanese sentence structure is also different from English.

English is: S-V-O or subject-verb-object.
Japanese is: S-O-V.
It also seems that word order in Japanese is less fixed than it is in English. For example, word particles sort of like our prepositions following the noun refer back to the noun, if that makes sense. It doesn't yet make a bunch of sense to me.

Bea (s) san* wa gakusei (o) desu (v). Bea (s) is (v) a student (o).

If one wants to ask if Bea is a student, then the question word 'ka' is simply tacked onto the end of the statement. That's pretty cool & not too difficult to remember.

Bea san wa gakusei desu ka?      Hai, gakusei desu. Yes, (Bea) is a student. The subject in the answer is omitted.

*san is an honorific

Anyway, it's all pretty interesting and full-on. We can already count to 100, use basic greetings & dabble in basic negations. Woot!

It's a good stretch for the old brain. I'm grateful to be there.

4 comments:

  1. I am really really impressed. I love the way they do kanji I think that is what it is called. You must be a young whippersnapper as my old brain could not have enough years left to master this.

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    1. It's a fun drain on the brain reserves. :) The characters are really like art. Hiragana, Katakana & Kanji make up the 3 writing systems. Kanji are the more complex characters taken from Chinese script.

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  2. Sounds like fun. I used to follow a blogger from Japan who taught Japanese to newcomers. She wrote in English so she could practice English. Alas, I lost the link and haven't checked in on her in a long time.

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    1. Oh, that's really cool. I should search through blogger to see what I could find, language-support-wise!

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