https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beebee201909

DON'T use anime for Japanese (Conclusion)

EDIT: Thank you to everyone who commented! Looking at all of them, I think we've concluded: Anime isn't bad, if it makes it more enjoyable, go for it! Just watch out for these things:

  1. They use impolite Japanese, so be aware.
  2. (1 continued)They speak with friends a lot so they use 「あんた」or「てめえ」when addressing them, which are not to be used unless very, VERY close.
  3. (this should be a given xP) People will get annoyed if you add "Nya", "Myo", etc. to the end of your sentences. It ain't cute.
  4. If you are going to use Anime, try going without your native language's subtitles first, sometimes its hard to concentrate when you're reading them.
  5. Not all anime is created equal, for example some use "ですはぁ<sub>~</sub>" abundantly (coughlookinatyouSylphinefromUmarucough) and some use normal informal speech.

Tell me if I missed anything! |0|0| Original (feel free to still comment.)

Basically, I've heard people say "Don't use anime for Japanese, their sentence patterns differ and its over dramatic" and nobody elaborates, but... I don't know what they mean by that.

Could you give some examples? Maybe of the natural way vs. The "Satanic Anime version™" just so I know what to watch out for.

June 7, 2019

54 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mikeeezyy

Logically thinking if you are really planning on learning Japanese seriously and fully, It shouldn't matter if you start with more of the "dramatic" or "impolite" words/expressions because at some point in your learning process you'll come across those things anyways.

At that point you'll know when to use what and It's not like you are learning completely false stuff or words which don't exist.

I for my part started learning Japanese with Animes and because of Animes and if you ask me I'd say even more important than learning things in the perfect order is having fun in the process and if you are having fun learning Japanese from Anime you should continue.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Firetrix

The reason I’ve most commonly heard is that anime doesn’t use polite Japanese and some things if spoken could be very offensive. For those who don’t live in an area Japanese is readily spoken though anime can be a good listening exercise.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheLord2k1

Violet Evergarden uses polite Japanese

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WADIYA_PRESIDENT

YEAHHHH

June 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/soupqueen94

there are many shows that do actually. only people who don't know much japanese yet think that all anime is casual. no it's not.

and it's more than a good listening exercise. i based almost all my learning off watching anime and studying sentences from japanese subtitles, plus reading raw manga. now i'm fluent.

July 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Animiles

Sometimes they also use old japanese, or things which only certain people say. You'd often hear someone say わたくし in an anime, but you should never use it while speaking Japanese. (unless you're joking).

June 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wmcouto

Because it's like to have a conversation with a native English speaker using the vocabulary that I have learned by the "GTA", for example. I hope have helped!

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beebee201909

That'd be funny, something bad happens and "AH SH--, here we go again". I just remembered a good comparison, this one guy learned English strictly through rap interviews, and it was really odd.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/soupqueen94

not all anime is the same though???? there are thousands of slice of life anime that are just people in daily life situations. why do people think anime is only naruto and dragon ball z?

July 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ash185264

It depends on the anime. I'm not super into anime so I don't know how much it differs, I started watching some after I started learning Japanese but it's not like they speak an entirely different language lol.

To begin with (imho) you can't learn though anime alone, you can review what you already know, so I don't see a problem if you do it correctly. And then there's people who learn Japanese because they like anime, so for them it obviously makes sense.

Of course if you want to use Japanese for work and all you can say is お前はもう死んでいる then you have a problem :D

I would say if you like anime, watch anime. If not watch or listen to something else.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pikachu025

Folks in Japan: NANI? xD

You're damn right though!

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Animiles

Off-topic: I just realised after reading the kanji that "omae" means something like "That which is in front of me". When I phrase it like that it sounds like you refer to the other person as an object.. xD

June 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pikachu025

Konnichiwa~! ヾ(^∇^)

Ahah, the popular question about Japanese in anime and how accurate it is when it comes to spoken/colloquial Japanese!

"Satanic Anime version™"... perfectly put lol. That's a gross generalization, in my opinion.

Okay, first things first, "anime" stretches across a BROAD range of genres, and like any other media (movies, soaps, cooking shows, online podcasts, etc), has a lot of plot based nuanced variations... often intentionally designed to construct the ambiance of the show. There are shows that are absurdly distant from normal speech (The big bang theory, Gintama, etc) and on the other hand, ones with natural realistic dialogues... (Everybody loves Raymond, In this corner of the world, etc)

So, don't stick to any one genre of anime (which reuse a set of words and phrases) and further, use anime as ONE OF your references. Bilingual books, Japanese news (Japan's NHK world channel is excellent), movies and even Japanese discussion forums can comprise your reference list! :D

Ok, on a final note, there is no right way to learn a language, ALTHOUGH there might be a formal one... whichever language it might be, Japanese is not special. So, if anyone quotes "Satanic anime version™", they are neither right nor wrong, just smile and judge them based on the silly anime genres they watch! :P

Mata ne~ :)

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beebee201909

I watch mostly slice of life, where they use informal japanese, and no weird speech patterns from what I can pick up (I know how to turn a sentence formal) but still I keep hearing "StAy AWAY from anime" and treating it like its a curse. At the end of the day they're speaking the same language, lol. thank you for your input, またね!

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pikachu025

Oh! Same here, love SOL anime. Nichijou, Yuru Yuri, Yuru camp are my favourites. :)

Yeah, you're right! SOL are the least corrupted, on the other hand, "action/horror/thriller" themed anime use cruder words in general...

No problem, thanks! What's your DP from anyway? :P

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beebee201909

Yay, fellow SOL lover! I like the simplicity of it. Someone said that people are more likely to be called out in slice of life if they use crude words, as well. (that or its more obvious) She's an original character! don't worry she won't hurt you ;P

June 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Muon9.42

I once read a bit of language learning advice from a Spanish instructor: "Clase, calle, clase" or "class, street, class" (pardon if I used the wrong word for "street"-it's been a while). The idea is that to really learn a language you should learn the formal version taught in class but spice it up with exposure to casual speech as well. I think of anime as the closest I can get to "street" with Japanese without going there. It's still useful to listen and read the language "live" rather than relying only on the carefully constructed teaching sentences from Duo or other lessons. Certain things are even easier to pick up through anime than through lessons, like the difference between "さあ,” "あの” and "じゃあ.”

Just be sure to remember that if you go to Japan as a foreigner and talk like some of the characters from anime, you might get yourself in trouble. Not all of them all the time, but many TV anime characters spend a lot of time chatting with friends or yelling at enemies. In both cases, very casual speech is used. For instance, sentences that end with "だ" or completely omit polite words like "ます" and "です." These are fine if you are talking to close friends, but for people you've just met or whom you're trying to get to know, the polite speech is best. Also casual pronouns like "てめえ" or "あんた" can be almost like curse words, so avoid those. The good thing is that other anime characters will often frown at the behavior of the rudest speakers, so you can usually tell who not to talk like.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beebee201909

Thank you for the help, this is useful! Oof, considering あなた can be impolite if you know the persons name, I wonder how they would respond if you were to use てめえ

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Muon9.42

My anime observance is that てめえ is almost always used in anger, ranging from annoyed reproach to frothing rage. Another good resource if you want to check what kind of impression pronouns might make is the Wikipedia page on Japanese pronouns. They break down a whole list of first, second, and third person pronouns.

June 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pikachu025

Yes sir! The specific examples you've quoted are to be noted. Thanks for some new Spanish words! :P

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lumine_114

From what i know most anime speech is considered "impolite" in Japanese. Then again, if watching anime is a good motivator for learning, keep doing it. I myself got into learning Japanese that way and after all, It's not like your learning false words.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beebee201909

Anime is a great motivator! I'll be watching anime and sometimes I'll understand a lot of what they're saying, then inspiration hits and next thing you know: "hECK yeAh lets learn some more!"

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Animiles

I started watching anime because I was interested in Japanese. Then I started learning Japanese because I was watching anime. Then I started watching more anime because I was learning Japanese. Now I want to learn Japanese even more because I'm watching so much anime. It's a never ending cycle of exponential weebness.

June 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/soupqueen94

not all speech in anime is impolite. anime has a broad range of speaking styles based on the setting and characters. there are many politely-speaking characters in anime, especially if they are businessmen, butlers, maids, store workers etc.

July 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChiyePurp

Reason why people say not to use anime is because different characters have different speech patterns. If there's an overly casual character for example, their speech could be butchered and impractical, yet to anyone foreign, no one else would know the difference. Another reason is because some characters might replace Japanese words with English words, giving a false sense that there is no Japanese word for what they're trying to say. And obviously there are characters who put "-myon" or "-nya" at the end of every sentence or try to be cute in their speech patterns.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beebee201909

センキュー!(That for example?)

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Seattle_Scott

Teenagers say that sometimes now.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beebee201909

そうですね :'D this is why I have trust issues

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pikachu025

Hey hey hey! Not only teenagers haha, I'd been to a conference one time, and one of the people there said 『サッンキャウー』 when I helped him with the door!

Haha, I was so taken aback lol, you can 100% ascertain he is Japanese in a word! He was middle-aged anyway, not a teenager! xP

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beebee201909

Maybe he was watching too much anime? We need a control group up in here

June 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/soupqueen94

"Reason why people say not to use anime is because different characters have different speech patterns" kind of like real life!

"If there's an overly casual character for example, their speech could be butchered and impractical, yet to anyone foreign, no one else would know the difference." unless they were fluent in japanese, which is the point we're all trying to get to. exposure to those things is necessary to know which is right or wrong. not avoiding it completely.

July 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CJbr549

One thing you notice in anime is that they say "you" (anata) a lot. This would be considered impolite, you would normally call someone by their name, or just not use the "You" in the sentence for spoken Japanese. It is used in written Japanese, though. That being said, I have learned quite a bit of vocabulary from anime.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/soupqueen94

using anata is not impolite. it just means you don't know the other person's name. "anta" on the other hand is impolite.

July 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beebee201909

good points! Actually, I learned to use peoples names instead of "anata/kimi" from watching "Chi's sweet home" (without subtitle). Same here, listening to Japanese anime has helped me with learning and reinforcing words!

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FunnyHorse3

I don't think anime is a terrible way to learn Japanese. You might actually pick up on some words. But one reason that it might not be the best is not everyone is very polite, and I think politeness is vey importent in Japanese. I noticed in the anime I am currently watching that a couple characters call almost everyone てめえ which is an extremely rude version of 'you.' That's not the kind of word you want beginners to pick up on!

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/soupqueen94

"not everyone is very polite, and I think politeness is vey importent in Japanese" not between friends. not in casual situations which you will be in if you expect to have actual relationships with japanese people at some point. only knowing how to speak polite japanese will make you sound stiff and overly-guarded to friends. you need to learn both. who cares if beginners learn how to say てめえ, if you allow yourself to get lots of input into the language instead of being scared of words that are "impolite" you will learn the difference of what's okay to say when.

July 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CaseyNedry

Sure anime can help. I'd offer these constraints.

1.Where listening fluency is the goal, I'd suggest listening to shows that you can understand 85-90% of the words of sentence in. Understanding less and you'll probably be spending a lot of your brain power just trying to unpack the individual words and miss out on the sentence.

  1. Where speaking is the goal, again find something you can understand 85-90% of and that you really enjoy. Listen to a line or two of dialogue. Then repeat it. Try to match the intonation and pronunciation as best as you can. Build up speed/fluency as you go. Nothing wrong with starting out slow but do try to build up your speed.

  2. Where reading is the goal, same range again. Turn on the subtitles and try to read what you see. This is presuming the subtitles are accurate.

You're probably not going to learn much in the way of formal/business Japanese but you may learn some. It all depends on the anime you watch. Just think about cartoons in your native language and how accurate they are in mimicking it.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CrackedLCD

Everyone's covered the polite/impolite aspect of speaker in anime, but another issue is you're watching with hard-coded subtitles (in other words, if you can't turn them off) it makes it harder to follow along with the Japanese since the sentence structure is so different from English.

I'm just on here for casual brain-strengthening, not to really become super fluent, but even with that light learning load I've found myself distracted trying to follow some Japanese content when there are English subtitles, as my brain defaults to its native language and I lose the context easily.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beebee201909

Yes, good point! if I'm trying to learn japanese from anime (I mostly use podcasts right now, but once I'm better I might), I listen without subtitles try to understand what they've said, listen again, and if I still can't get it I use google translate/turn on sub. I've noticed from watching subbed anime that their translation mostly differ quite a bit, too; which can make it extra hard to concentrate :'D

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Animiles

I once tried to watch anime without subtitles, so I took some electrical tape and covered the subtitles. Electrical tape isn't too sticky, and you can't see through it whatsoever. But you could use other ways to cover up the subtitles. When watching on pc I just grab another window and cover the subtitles that way.

June 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beebee201909

There's usually a way to turn them off!

June 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Animiles

At that time it wasn't possible with the service I was using to watch it. (And currently it's still not available on mobile devices which I usually use to consume my daily dose of anime)

June 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ScoobaDooba

True, you need to watch without subtitles and trying to concentrate on the meaning of what they say.

June 9, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/soupqueen94

i became fluent in japanese from using japanese subtitles. don't know why people think english subtitles are the only option

July 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SakamotoAlderson

Listen just ignore everything and do what works. If watching naruto devour bowls of ramen is even slightly more fun than learning the "proper" way to say something then do that. It mostly wont matter and if youre aiming for high level or fluency picking up new phrases and words at that point will be incredibly easy. Just think of your native language, picking up new phrases and words is essentially as easy as finding a dollar bill on the sidewalk and picking it up. Also learning the impolite manner of speaking or "slang" is probably just as if not more important than the formal way.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Animiles

I think it is fine to learn it through anime. But I also advice to not only use anime as a reference. If you ever have to speak Japanese then they would probably hear that you've been learning through anime.

Since it is very important to the Japanese language that you speak with the correct level of politeness you should learn it properly before you're going out to Japan. Otherwise you'd be yet another rude weeb.

But since it is hard to start learning a language I think it is important to either have a really good reason to learn it, or to have fun learning it.

Once I can understand Japanese to some degree I plan on watching the Japanese news, and maybe some Japanese YouTubers. I also thought about watching interviews with the developers of some games like Pokémon or interviews with voice actors.

June 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/soupqueen94

"If you ever have to speak Japanese then they would probably hear that you've been learning through anime" no they won't. the japanese people i speak to are always surprised when i tell them most of my japanese was learned from anime. i watch SLICE OF LIFE, 日常生活 genre of anime, which is mostly characters in normal everyday situations with normal casual speech and sometimes formal. the same kinds of speech japanese people use.

japanese people do not ONLY talk in formal, and if you want actual friends in japan then you have to know how to speak casually or there will be distance and stiffness in the relationship. people over-value formal speech in the beginner japanese learning community. coming from someone who's fluent and talks to people in japan almost every day, yes, formal speech is needed in some situations like talking to your boss or to bank workers. but i use casual way more amongst friends and coworkers i'm cool with.

July 2, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ankurpande97919

BTW whats your favorite anime I like Naruto and One Punch Man.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mikeeezyy

Hunter x Hunter is probably the only "god tier" anime I've watched so far, but there are many good ones out there.

Of the Animes which are currently airing I enjoy One Punch Man the most but I liked the first season way more - better animation and less over the top sound effects in my opinion.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beebee201909

Some of my favorites in no particular order: "Rising of the Shield hero" "Tokyo Ghoul" (the manga), "Anohana", "Erased", "Usagi drop" and "Orange"! Plus every Studio Ghibli, lol.

June 7, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mikeeezyy

I quite liked the beginning of shield hero, I thought it had really good potential and I kind of wished naofumi would have went complete dark mode, destroying everyone who follows the King or Malty.

What really put me off tho were the fighting scenes, I wish they would have invested more money into the animations but obviously the whole Raphtalia storyline and how she literally is his "light in the dark" is pretty good.

I still watch the anime weekly but yea I though it could have been much better with all the lost potential, maybe (hopefully) season 2 will have a bigger budget.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beebee201909

That would've been quite a twist, I wish he would've gone all dark mode at least for a little too. All things considered, the animation is pretty good! Maybe I feel bad for the animators, though. Yeah, gotta love Raphtalia x3

June 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fernando_Ismael5

Well...I'm learning Japanese just to watch anime without subtitles.

June 8, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Beebee201909

Any reason to learn a language is a good reason! 頑張って!

June 10, 2019
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