I am a native speaker of Japanese. Ask me anything :)
[Update] I won't answer more question at the time. Thank you so much for asking me a lot of questions!!
If you just want to travel big cities and do not plan to go to a very rural area, knowing some basic words is pretty enough, because we learn English as a compulsory education and need it for entrance exam of university. So many people (especially younger people) can speak basic English to communicate. Also, you can find many English signs in the public space like a station. However if you are fascinate about traveling rural area (such as small islands in the Seto Naikai), it may possible that none of the local people speaks English and none of the signs are written in English. But if you complete the duolingo course, then I think you are pretty good with daily conversation and survival. Unfortunately, some rural area's dialects are so strong that even native Japanese people cannot understand. So I would say, complete Duolingo course then you are ready to travel cities in Japan!
I'm learning Japanese with an app called Human Japanese. It teaches Japanese a different way than Duo does (it starts with only Hiragana and the -masu form before teaching about the informal form), but how far do I need to go to "survive" in a りょかん? I read and learned in that app, these are not located in big cities rather in rural regions. What I learned from I'd rather want to see Japan that way than another.
Many 旅館（りょかん）nowadays targeting foreign people as well. Those りょかん's host speaks English a lot like a hotel staff in the big city. So it depends on the りょかん. If you find the web page of りょかん is written in English, may be you don't need so much Japanese. But otherwise, I think there are some りょかん which only targeting Japanese people, and no one speaks English.
Given this: "Japanese people tend to be able to write excellent English but lack training and confidence in speaking it."
I'd advise traveling with a notebook, and learning how to ask them to write something down. I've done that in Spanish speaking countries -- there I ask them to write in Spanish, because I can read better than I understand speech.
How important is pitch in Japanese, will people notice if you don't have the correct pitch.
What would you say the average amount of kanji a typical middle class Japanese would know.
Yes we immediately notice that you are not a native speaker if you speak the word or sentence too fast or too slow. But I don't think it is important when you communicate with people, because we can understand most of the time even if you don't speak with the correct pitch.
I googled it and seems like 3000 to 4000. When we completed compulsory education, we learned more than 1000 to 1500 kanji. So I guess if you know about 1000 kanji, you are pretty good at daily life conversation. One article suggests that if you know 3000 kanji, then you can understand 99% of newspaper.
The following sentence sounds more natural: 日本の夏は暑いですか？ And my answer is: はい。とても暑いです。特に湿気が多いので、蒸し暑いですね。
Okay, so I've always been curious about this thing. You know how in America they have the Spelling Bee type of contests, where children are tested on their ability to spell English words. Does something similar exist in Japan? I'm sure there are some children in Japan who learn a bit more kanji in a school year than just the required amount. Are there some kanji contests organized for children like that?
Oh yes I know about spelling bee and I wish I had a chance to participate it when I was a child. It must be a fun way to learn spelling! I don't think there is a similar contest exist in Japan. Instead, there is a certification examination called 漢検（かんけん）. It is one of the well known certification in Japan. There are 10 levels. And I tell you, I am very confident that I cannot pass more than level 6 or 7, even though I have a doctor's degree got in Japan. I am not good at kanji... Anyway, school encourages you to take the certification, because it will be a good study method. In addition, many school (including some universities) gives additional credit for entrance exams if you have the good level. Also, it may help you at job interview. If you are interested in, you may start from the easy level :) There are some overseas examination venue.
Japanese words tends to be short and from my perspective, one mispronounce of one syllable (or "モーラ") gives a different word most of the time. So...
How much native Japanese speakers are able to guess what foreigners means if they mispronounce some words?
Would you say that Japanese people that often stutters have bigger difficulty to be understood correctly by other Japanese people? Especially if you compare to other languages that tends to have longer words?
Even if your pronunciation is wrong or strange, if the grammar is perfect and you speak the sentence slowly and clearly, I think we can understand you more than 95%. Yes it is true that mispronouncing one syllable changes the whole meaning of the word, but we can guess from the context! For example, 雨が降っています。(means It rains.) Even if you mispronounce it like 飴が降っています, we can still guess that you are talking about rain, because candy never falls from the sky!
No, I don't think the lengths of words matters. There are people often stutters (like me), but people can understand them naturally :)
- Both 雨 and 飴 are あめ in hiragana. I guess these two differs in pitch. And a question about pitches was already asked by JackRabbitEagan. I was referring to something else. Is it also true if someone mispronounce 雨(あめ) as あね、あぬ、おめ etc? Or 学校(がっこう) as がこう、げっこう、がっくう. Or 犬(いぬ) as いね、いな etc?
I see. It is difficult question. I think it depends on how many words you mispronounce, whether you mispronounce the vowel (a, i, u, e, o), how common the word is, and whether the mispronounced word has meaning in Japanese. Let's examine. Case1. 雨 A. あね: I say 60%. Although あね has different meaning (姉), both め and ね sounds similar (both has vowel of e) so people may guess. B. あぬ: 50%. Even though there is no word to pronounce as あぬ in Japanese, め and ぬ do not sound so similar because a vowel of め is e while ぬ is u. C. おめ: 70%. While the vowel difference of あ and お is crucial, め is same. Also there is no word おめ in Japanese, so maybe we can guess?
Case2.学校 A. がこう: 95%. Because skipping a little つ is such a minor mistake and there is no word to pronounce as がこう. B. げっこう: 70%. Although there is 月光（げっこう), 学校 is much more common word so we may assume you talk about it. C. がっくう: 80%. Just 1 word mistake and there is no word of がっくう.
Case3. 犬 いね or いな: 60%. Both can means 稲, but animal and food can be distinguished by the context.
These are just my impressions. But hope it gives you some idea.
So my first hypothesis is true, but not to that much extent as I thought.
Japanese words tends to be short and thus easier to memorize, but at the cost of density of similarly sounding words and easy to confuse. And on the other hand, it is harder to memorise longer words in other languages, but more mispronounces/mistypes is "accepted" to be understood without any problem.
It is still a relief.
I'm sorry I am not major in education nor language, but here is my opinion: I will ask what is the reason they want to learn Japanese. If it's for getting a white job in Japan or go to university, learn kanji is the must. But we haven't born with kanji. We learned it since we were in the elementary school. Every week, we learned 10 new kanji. We wrote 10 times for a each kanji. And had a mini test every week. If we fail it, we take it again. We do the similar thing for nearly 8 to 9 years (compulsory education)! So just because you are not good at kanji, if you learn Japanese for just a few years, then it is a natural thing, I think..
In contrast, if you just want to communicate with people or learning language is your hobby but struggling with kanji, how about skipping it for a while and just use hiragana? Knowing hiragana means you know the correct way to pronounce the word, so you can both speak and listen to it. You may not be able to read newspaper, but when you hear the news, you know the topic. You can understand TV series, movie, anime in Japanese. Also, if you know hiragana, you can simply google the kanji for the word, look in Japanese dictionary, or if you are using Japanese keyboard, just press a space key bar then it will gives you suggestions.
Little bit curious, because I am interested in Japanese school system and Kanji learning in general (maybe I will copy it to my learning methods). :-)
How does the test look like?
Does in the test appear questions to onyomi and kunyomi as well? Or is it just something like : ,,write kanji for house, write kanji for dog" etc...
There are two types of questions in the test. On the one hand, we have to write how to pronounce the kanji. In other words, we write hiragana or katakana of onyomi and kunyomi.
On the other hand, they provide us hiragana and we have to write the correct kanji. So it looks like this; 1. Write the hiragana of the kanji in [ ]. 彼女はとても[綺麗]だ。The answer: きれい 2. Write the correct kanji. 彼はとても[こんらん]している。The answer:混乱
We all know that respect form of Japanese is very hard for foreign people to understand. So if you are tourist and want to ask a direction, don't worry if you can't use it. If both people are native speaker, we normally use -masu form even if he or she is younger than us.
How long should you use -masu form? Hmm.. If you two get really close and be friends, then maybe it is ok not to use -masu form. Otherwise, always use -masu form when in doubt. For example, if you are a student and writing to your professor, you should always use -masu form no matter how long you two know each other.
Yes I think it is complicated for mainly 3 reasons; Firstly, kanji!! There are so many kanji which pronounce the same but means different. Many times I am not sure which kanji I have to use. For example, when I want to say "reformation", which kanji should I use, 改心 or 会心? both pronounce かいしん. However, 改心 is the correct answer while 会心 means "satisfaction". Every time when I am in doubt, I have to google it :(
Secondly, a postpositional particle is very mysterious. りんごが食べたい。りんごを食べたい。both means "I want to eat an apple." However when I write りんごは食べたい。It still means the same thing, but it gives you the nuance that there are something I don't want to eat (for example an orange) so I choose an apple. But this kind of nuance is hard to explain because I learned this not because I studied at school but rather from my experience. And it is very difficult to explain it to foreign people..
Thirdly, honorific form and humble form... I have to be very careful to use both form when I write a business mail or a mail to my professor, and it literally takes me more time because I have to make sure I do not mixed up both form and end up respecting myself while insulting the professor, haha.
Thank you so much, tekuharu-san! I have a few questions if that's okay.
1) Can you try to explain to me the particles は and が from a native Japanese perspective? What is the easiest way to know when I should use which one? Will native speakers still understand me if I make a mistake?
2) How important is learning 尊敬語 and 謙譲語? Will I cause offense to native speakers if I don't know how to use these forms properly?
3) What is your number one advice you think Japanese learners should know?
- No I don't think there is the easiest way to know when to use は or が. If you ask professional Japanese teacher or a linguistic teacher, they may have an idea. But I have no idea how to explain it. I will give you an example why I cannot explain it. So, は and が is a tricky one. Both means "is" or "are" in English. The deference is that SOMETIMES は can indicate exception. Give you an example, suppose you ask someone "What kind of animal do you like?" then if he answered 犬が好きです。, it means he likes a dog. We don't know if he likes animal in general or whether he likes cat or not. On the contrast, if he answered 犬は好きです。, it still means he likes a dog. However, it is interesting he intentionally decides to use は instead of が. So there is a possibility that he does not like animal in general but likes a dog as an exception.
However, SOMETIMES we use は instead of が right after the subject. For example, we normally say 彼女は学生です。Still we can say like 彼女が学生です。But if you use が in this case, it sounds like you want to emphasize the part right before が, which is 彼女. Therefore, it is like you want to indicate that the other people are not student but only she is a student. Now you may confused. Me too.
So you may want to ask me, "How do you decide which one you use!??" And I would answer, "I don't know!!! I just feel it!" It is something I FEEL correct, not by logic. So,, if you watch a lot of Japanese movie, anime, or read a book, then I think someday you will obtain the feeling.. Sorry for my not so useful advise, but this is the honest answer.
And regarding your other question, Yes, we can understand you if you make a mistake. Sometimes we may get the wrong impression because of the reason I explained that it can contain the meaning of exception or emphasize, but other than that, we won't be panicked just by one word mistake.
If you want to work in Japan, I think you need to learn at least 尊敬語. But just for traveling or communicating with your friends, you don't need it. As long as they know you are a foreigner, Japanese people are very tolerance and do not feel like offended as long as you can use お願いします、すみません、and ありがとうございます.
My advice would be, do not try to master the grammar or kanji perfectly!!! Because you can't. And none of the native speaker can unless they are linguistic research professional. Japanese is something not made artificially but developed historically, so there are a lot of rule or nuance which is hard to explain. Without the experience of communicating in the Japanese community, it is so natural that you don't know what is correct or not. It is not because you do not work hard enough. So stuck with mystical grammar or kanji is a time consumer. Instead, I think knowing more word and remembering useful phrase is more important.
1) 不思議（ふしぎ） means Mysterious. Wonderful in Japanese is 素晴らしい（すばらしい）. So the sentence means: Mysterious power hiding. 2) クリア is not career! We write career as キャリア。Usually クリア means clear. For example, ゲームをクリアする means complete (or finish) the game. 3) 4) Sorry I do not understand てうれが and てうれ. These are not correct Japanese. 5) Yes that's right. 持っていません。means I do not have it/that/this/etc. Hope this helps you!
Hmm.. I don't think there are politeness difference between them, but I would use 女の子 and 男の子 rather than 少女 and 少年 for daily conversation. Because 女の子 and 男の子 is more natural and casual way while 少女 and 少年 sounds more old fashioned or formal way.
〜みたい and 〜っぽい is almost the same and I cannot explain the difference. I use both words equally. However, 〜みたい is slightly more formal while 〜っぽい is completely casual so you better not use 〜っぽい to your teacher or a boss, even if you put です in the end.
Both 〜に似ている（you can say as 似てる but 似ている is better because it is more traditional way of writing) and 〜のような/のように are more formal way than 〜みたい and 〜っぽい. The difference of nuance is that 〜に似ている means "similar", and many cases it refers to the similarity of appearance, while 〜のような/のように means "as if" and it often used if something reminds you of it. For example, if you say 彼女はマドンナに似ている。, then I would firstly think Oh, she looks like Madonna. On the other hand, if you say 彼女はマドンナのようだ。, then I think Oh, maybe her character or way of living reminds you of Madonna. Still, you can use 似ている not only for appearance but also her character, etc. It's just a very slight nuance..
Yeahh I can totally understand how frustrating it is to wait something to be translated in my mother tongue and also have to pay extra cost for translator (Although I myself work as a translator). Well I've broadly peak Duolingo's Japanese course, and my expression is: It gives you the ability to communicate well in daily conversation. But I think to understand Japanese manga, you need to know different type of language. For example, you may know the famous manga ONEPIECE. But from the first episode, it use not only daily words but also many words which mainly used in fictional world. Such as 死に際、野郎共、間抜けた、貴様、and 腰抜け. Those words are so rude that you cannot use in your daily life and less chance to learn in school or Duolingo. But once you know these slangs, it will help you read other mangas, because many fighting manga use the similar word as well such as 貴様. So I would say, after complete duolingo corse, you may learn some slangs so it will be easier to read manga or watch anime.
Dear Tekuharu san Thank you for your support. All comments were really interesting.
I started to learn Japanese about 2 years ago. My wish is to read Japanese liturature [not only manga :) ] in Japanese. Therefore, I want to practise Kanji but the problem is how to increase the level bit by bit. At first I thought to use books for children .... unfortunately they are mostly in Hiragana, only with some single Kanji (for example animals like kuma, ookami etc.). To read newspapers and books is way too frustrating as it lasts too long to translate everything. Can you recommend something else?
By the way: I am a German native speaker. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to ask :) Thanks once more.
I see. There are 2 types of children books. One is 絵本 which target children under age of 6, and there are 児童文学 which target older children such as 6 to teenager. It seems like you have read 絵本. Did you try 児童文学 as well? For example, how about reading 赤毛のアン (Anne of Green Gables), The Saga of Darren Shan, or other children book which ordinary translated from English or German book, so you know the story. Also, have you tried reading Harry Potter in Japanese? Do you know the publisher named 小学館(Shogakukan)? It published Adult books but also many children books, both originally written in Japanese or translated from other languages.
Danke! German is my 2nd foreign language and I can understand very easy sentences and TV series. I will ask you if I got stuck :))
こんにちは。konnichiwa. onlyは、にほんごで「のみ」または、「だけ」とやくします。only wa, nihongo-de-"nomi"-matawa, "dake"-to-yakushimasu.
たとえば、「わたしは、りんごだけたべます。」なら、 tatoeba, "Watashi-wa, ringo-dake-tabemasu"-nara, "I only eat an apple."といういみです。 "I only eat an apple. "-toiu-imi-desu.
だけ is more casual way while のみ sounds more formal :)
I would say it is easy to learn easy kanji and it is difficult to learn difficult kanji. For example, 一、二、三 means one, two, three. Pretty easy, right? And also, 田、木、日、火、水 means rice field, tree, day, fire, and water. It's not so difficult. I can guess some of the meaning from the form.
However, it takes a lot of time to learn most of the kanji which has more stroke count. For example, 憂鬱 means depression. Wow, it's really depressive to learn the kanji. And 薔薇、齟齬、瑕疵...。But don't worry, there are many native people who can't write these difficult kanji. What will we do? Well, we use our smart phone or computer to converse it from hiragana.
Learning Chinese to get similar with kanji is a nice idea! However, if you want to learn only Japanese, be aware that we use different form of kanji and pronunciation is different. Do not assume that Japanese and Chinese are similar like Spanish and Portuguese. Because it's not.
My tips are:
Write, write, write. Sometimes we write same kanji for 30 times to prepare for the exam at school. try to remember it using your hand, not only brain.
Write with the right stroke order!!! If you write with correct stroke order, it's more easy to write and the kanji looks more beautiful.
Yes I think I read some articles that people tend to use more higher pitch when they pronounce Japanese, so I think it is true. It is difficult for me to speak Japanese with lower pitch like when I speak English. Though I don't know why. Sorry I am not major in language teaching and don't know good study sites. But I found the blog which suggests some websites, hope this will help. (http://www.nihongonoki.com/blog/kotoba/post1748/)
I wish I could come up with a magical solution to remember all kanji.. :( But I think only way to remember would be write, write and write. That is how we learn them. Every week my left hand got pain because I had to prepare for kanji exam. Notes them efficiency is a difficult question, because we do not usually make a kanji reference notebook since we have a kanji textbook provided by school. I also had a kanji dictionary when I was a child.
Sure, if it's ok that I don't have the book 皆の日本語。
So there are 3 types of word form (like an alphabets) in Japanese, hiragana, katakana, and kanji. For example, imagine the following sentence: 私の名前はマイクです。It means "My name is Mike." In this sentence, の、は、です are hiragana. In many cases hiragana represents a postpositional particle. It is like "is", "am" in English. Next, マイク is written in katakana. Katakana is often used to describe the words which translated from foreign languages. In this case, Mike is a foreign people's name so we use katakana instead of hiragana. Lastly, you can see the most complicated looking form of words; 私 and 名前. These are kanjis. The reason why we use not only hiragana but also kanji is to make the sentence more shorter and distinguish between the words which has same pronunciation (hence, same hiragana) but has different meaning.
Yes it's true that Japanese and Chinese share many kanjis since originally kanji were introduced by China. However, since kanji had been developed in Japan, you cannot understand every kanji in Chinese even though you understand Japanese perfectly. Still, we can guess some kanji's meaning :) The examples of kanjis which has similar meaning in both languages are: 我、飯、魚、的、一、二、多少、医、and much much more!
What do Japanese keyboards look like? I am learning Japanese in honor of my dad who wanted to move my family to Japan but couldn't and so I could move there when I'm older.
Japanese keyboards looks like, 1 hiragana and 1 English alphabet for each key. We type hiragana and then push a space key bar when we would like to change it to kanji.
As you may know, birth late of Japan is declining every year and to keep the population is the serious issue now. So if you have some skill (especially nursing elderly!!) there is a chance you may move here. But please be aware that the time changes and what your father saw in Japan at the time may be not true anymore today.
Do you think there's a disadvantage for foreigners trying to use 敬語 or just more polite forms? I feel it's impossible for a foreigner to use exactly correct politeness levels, but have felt that if I try to be too 'Japanese' in my politeness, then they expect me to abide by complex rules of I don't understand. Even my Japanese friends say politeness and asking for things is very difficult in Japan. Yet if I see foreigners speaking very casually, they seem to be forgiven for being blunt as they're a foreigner and it's expected.
Firstly, if you take really long tome or effort to learn it, it is possible for foreigner to obtain the ability to use 敬語 perfectly, or better than native people. The problem of 敬語 is that because time has past, what is common 敬語 in today is not always grammatically correct from the traditional point of view, so we have to google it to know whether the 敬語 which people normally use is "correct" or not.
Secondly, you are true that if you are foreigner, we tend to forgive you if you cannot use 敬語 and speak really casually to older people. But be aware that it is limited among friends or in a school. If you want to work in Japanese company and get a white job, knowledge of business 敬語 is the must no matter your nationality.
hahah yeah!!! the vocals letters are so easy to pronunciate to japanese!, i want to learn japanese! i love japan and the culture, the anime, the streets, the history, where are you from in japan? i think will be nice to talk to you (sorry if i have some wrong in the ensglish, im learning english too!)
Hi, and thanks! 1) "atashi-tachi". Would that mean "we, a bunch of girls" or "we, that is me (a girl) and some other people"?
2) Familyname-san is standard polite, and givenname-chan is pretty intimate. How are familyname-chan or givenname-san used, or how do they rank in politeness/intimacy?
3) Pretty much anyone can get away with givenname-chan when addressing small children, especially girls, right?
4) I've heard that you often don't need to make medical appointments, just show up and wait, even for specialists. Is that true?
5) Anime often has kids, occasionally even pre-teen kids, living on their own or with token supervision, in a way that American media never does. Is there any basis in reality for that?
It can mean both, so just translate "we" would be the correct translation.
Interesting question. Familyname-chan is not common and I cannot remember someone use it. But it may possible that teacher call a student, or among friends. You should know that if you use -chan, the politeness level decrease dramatically. So you only hear it among friends or elderly call younger people. On the contrast, givenname-san is common. For example, some couple likes to use it to call the partner, because it sounds more respectful than just call their givenname. Especially female tends to use it to their husband, because husband tend to be more older a bit than a wife, though the tradition cannot always true these days, and there are more male use it to call their girlfriend, even if she is younger than him. The other example is that a younger worker call their boss. It is not polite as familyname-san, so it gives you the expression that they are intimate at some level.
Yes. Small children can call givenname-chan.
So there are 2 types of hospital. Regional normal hospitals and university hospitals. Normally you don't need an appointment to go to a normal hospital though you may wait longer than those who made an appointment. If you want to go to university hospitals, first you have to get a letter of reference written by a doctor and make an appointment. But if you want to go to a psychiatry, normally you need an appointment for a regional hospital too because it takes more time to see the patient.
I won't say it is true. It is not common for a kid under a high school age to live alone. I think it is just to make the story easier for kids to whatever they want to do..
If you mean somewhat decent as good at daily life conversation, I say yes. However, the biggest problem of Duolingo is that because they have to register the correct sentence, what is normal way of saying and grammatically correct answer can be marked as a mistake and you never know which part is a mistake unless you ask someone. This is especially problem of Japanese course because it has more ways to express the same thing by using different phrase, word, and grammars, but many of them cannot be recognized by a system. Therefore, I advise you that if you complete a tree of duolingo, try to be familiar with "real" Japanese by listening to a movie, read a book and manga, or watch a movie or anime.
I am using Human Japanese to learn the language. I pretty like it, but it is not to recommend if you can't read hiragana, I think. There are two parts of the app and both cost like 11€ once, but it teaches you about culture and speaking politely. In the second part you'll get to learn speaking informal and writing some kanji! So, my recommendation would be to use another platform to learn Kanji and Kana besides the expensive app. Don't get me wrong, Human Japanese is really good but it costs much for an app.
I think you should perfectly go with intermediate but keep in mind that the apps are a bit built on each other. Part one has still many vocabulary. It explains how to use で、の、は、に、か、を、object counters (like -じ for hours), ways to say "but..." adjectives, adverbs and more, but these were the most important ones. The best thing about it is that it also teaches you about culture. :)
maybe have a look into the lite versions of both to see which you like to use
So "That's right" can be translates as follows: from politest one to friendly one; 仰る通り（おっしゃるとおり）でございます。仰る通りです。その通りでございます。その通りです。仰る通り。その通り。そうです。そうなんです。そうなんだよ(for a male speaker)。そうなの(for a female speaker)。それな(can be translated as "This.")。
I don't think there is a better app. But if you want to talk with a native speaker teacher using Skype, there is a app made in Japan called Cafetalk. But note that it costs reasonably.
If you are an English speaker, then there is no wonder you struggle with Japanese because it is very different language. Anyway, did you make sure you remember all hiragana and katakana? We spent some time to remember all of them when we were child. Without knowing them, you will be stuck soon. If you remember hiragana, then you know how to pronounce the word correctly. For example, the reason why こにちわ is wrong is because we don't pronounce like ko-ni-chi-wa. If you say this way, we will know you are a foreigner. The correct pronunciation is kon-ni-chi-wa. See we have "n" after "ko"? This is why we write ん to express this "n". The reason we don't use わ instead of は is tricky. Although normal sound of は is "ha", sometimes it can sound as "wa", exactly same as わ. It is like English "U". You know, sometimes it sounds like a of umbrella, but sometimes u of Luke. Hope this helps you.
Hi! I just begin to learn Japanese, but I wanted to know if pitch is very important. I can pronounce words "well" 'cause Spanish is my mother language but I feel that if I don't say something with the correct pitch it would be difficult to native speakers understand me.
And I want to know if should I have to learn kanji now that I know some basic stuff and hiragana and katakana. And... Verbs in Japanese use kanji? How do you learn verbs and their form in an easy way?
In Japanese, the pitch is important to sound natural, but it is not often a problem being understood if your pitch is off. On some few words with the same pronunciation other than the pitch, like 橋 箸 （ Bridge and chopsticks, both はし）, it may cause some confusion. I am just learning Spanish, so I don't know a comparison in Spanish, but it is somewhat like "dessert" vs "desert" in English: similar pronunciation other than the stress/pitch.
Other than a few words like this, you will be understood with the correct pronunciation. They will hear it as a foreign accent. I wouldn't let it slow you down. You can focus on learning the vocab and grammar and get speaking faster. Once you understand enough you can listen to the pitch of speakers around you or on TV, and begin to emulate them to sound more natural.
One more thing: there different pitch patterns even in Japan based on the local dialect. If you someday learn the Tokyo "pitch" pattern and later travel to Kyoto and think the pitches are all different, it is because they are. :-)
Justin438716 Thank you very much, it is very helpful for me to know about it so I can practice more and be more confident in Japanese as I am in English -or maybe Spanish-.
And that was a good example even though you don't know a comparison in Spanish. As a matter of fact, in some cases I prefer an English explanation than in Spanish... I don't know why.
I appreciate your help, so if you have a doubt with Spanish you can ask me ;-)
Hi Alyizz, so you are Spanish and you may pronounce every vowel correctly, then you don't have to worry so much about pitch. Although there are correct pitch exist for standard Japanese (which is the language spoken in Tokyo), we can still understand you in most case.
Your 2nd question, should you learn kanji after learning hiragana and katakana. If you want to read and write Japanese, then I think it is must. But you just want to listen or speak Japanese, not necessarily? But if you are serious about Japanese, then learn as soon as possible, because you have to remember about 1000~1500 kanji to master the daily conversation.
Oh yes we use kanji for an auxiliary verb, such as run, swim, sleep, go, visit, etc. Unfortunately there is no easy way to remember those kanji. But don't worry so much, the kanji used for verbs are relatively easier one and has less stroke counts!
I don't know your native language, but if it is English or similar language, then you have to know that Google translation of Japanese from English is terrible. "only" is のみ. Not のみます, which means "drink". No, you cannot use わ there. Instead, use は. ではまた and ではまたね both means "see you". The deference is the latter one is slightly more friendly.
Do you want to go to a good university? Then Tokyo has a lot of options. Otherwise, if you definitely want to stay in the big city, then Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya will be the choices. However if you want to live in cheaper places, then you may look for more rural area. I found Fukushima is pretty popular among foreigners. Yes sushi is a native food in Japan.
Hello, I am having a hard time with kanji. I have just started learning Japanese and I am working on hiragana and kanji at the same time, but kanji is a lot tougher than hiragana to learn. I was wondering if I should wait on kanji and just focus on hiragana, and if you have any tips for a beginner learning kanji. Thank you!
If you haven't finished learning hiragana, I think your first priority is hiragana. The reason is: 1. If you know hiragana, you can google or change it to kanji using a Japanese keyboard easily when you don't know its kanji. 2. There are some words which use both kanji and hiragana, such as 走る。(means run). 3. There are no goal of kanji because it's impossible to learn all kanji in Japanese (even you are native speaker), while goal of learning hiragana is clear so you will feel great accomplishment when you completed it. There are some comics and books which put hiragana for every kanji, so you can read those without the knowledge of kanji.
For kanji beginner, there are 3 tips: 1. write as much as possible with a correct stroke order. I know many foreigners who write kanji with their own stroke order. Unfortunately, the results don't look beautiful. 2. Set a goal. As I told above, you cannot learn all kanji like English alphabet. So how about set a goal of the number of kanji you remember? If you wan't to master the daily conversation, it would be 1000-1500. If you want to read 99% of newspaper, then it would around 3000. If you want to be like a native speaker, 3000-4000. So, maybe start with learning 100 kanji? 3. Start with easy kanji. So, the difficulty of kanji varies a lot. Some kanji are relatively easy (like 水、行、大、犬), others are nightmare (like 鬱、髴) which should not be learned by a beginner learner. We, native speakers do not learn kanji randomly. We learn from the easiest kanji to the hardest kanji when we get older, so we won't be freaked out. Therefore, make sure you use the correct textbook so you can gradually familiar with kanji. Hope this helps you!
Hi you are really kind do to that! I'm not an English speaker so please forgive me !! I've always been fascinating by Japan and I'm asking myself if it's dangerous to live in Japan because of radiatons . What do you think? Then... can you please explain to me when Japanese people pronounce the hiragana "wo" like "o"? I'll be very gratefull if you will answer! Have a good day, bye!!
Hi! Now (towards the end of the levels in the Duo), it seems to me that the lessons are being more for memorizing Kanjis than for learning grammar. I also saw that there are many repeated phrases, but with different words, as if I was learning how to say the same thing to my friends, and the same thing to the elderly but in a different way. I studied the Duo in parallel with "Minna no Nihongo" and, reading the books Shokyuu I and Shokyuu II, it seems to me that Japanese grammar is very short, and many subjects are redundant. For me, learning Japanese is: 70% to memorize kanji, 20% to learn how to say the same thing in a different situation, and 10% is grammar. Am I right? And there is something funny for me, by studying other languages, you usually learn words that complement each other, such as: TV, sofa, couch, desk, chair ... them all compose a living room. For example, in other languages you learn words that are from the same ambient, and gradually you'll learn the less used words, words used in specific situations. I noticed that I am not learning daily words, and that they aren't correlated. I learn in a lesson words like "planet", "aliens," "life" in the next chapter, they teached me words in an accident situation, like traffic accident got it? It seems to me that I am learning these words because of the kanji, and not because of the correlation between them, thus making it harder to remember.