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58 minutes ago, surimi said:

 

You are my saviour. :bow: I don't want to bother random people and some questions get unnoticed in fast-moving threads, so I rejoice I've found a volunteer to badger about Japanese. :happy: 

 

And lol, Hydroblade, reading your many posts about how all things Japanese feel natural to you, I can't help but feel you must have been a Japanese in one of your past lives. ;) Learning the hiragana and katakana in just two days, I don't know how that's even humanly possible. O_o

If i had a dollar for every time someone has said that to me, i could probably afford several Yuzu related things a year :P. I think they feel natural because i've been consuming japanese media for nearly two decades now, and i've always liked to analyze things and look beyond what it's being explicitly presented. So there are a lot of "feelings" i understand, which i think are crucial to have a better understanding of japanese culture. (The flavors of japanese cuisine are something really weird to me though, they definitely feel "nostalgic". I cried the first time i ate something made with real dashi :rofl:)

But learning them in two days isn't impossible if you think about it. As a child, my brain had a better capacity to rewire for a new language. If you add that to the need i felt to understand, the fact that i practiced for hours until i got them memorized and that i've always liked to study, it's not impressive :P I might have an innate ability for languages, i know this sounds weird because i am saying it :laughing: but i taught myself to read and write when i was three and i was reading at third grade level in kindergarten, so... Yeah, i have experience teaching myself languages :rofl:

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Emzie   

@surimi I had same problem as you (I still have it sometimes) when I just couldn't dig out a kana from my memory, so you're not the only one :consoling2:. And I noticed I'm way slower while reading katakana in comparison to hiragana :crybaby:.

Polish is just hard...

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Geo1   
10 hours ago, surimi said:

 

Hi Geo1, thanks for your insight! I hope to drop in here often! I picked out two points of your post  which are unclear to me.

1. I don't think the representation for 'e' is accurate? That would mean 'hito' would be pronounced as 'hii-toe' and 'Satoko' would rhyme with 'Costco'? Is the short Japanese 'o' rather not closer to the 'o' in, say, Italian or German or Spanish? As for the long 'o', the one transcribed with a macron above it, I think it would correspond to the sound of 'aw' in 'law', or perhaps just a tad longer?

2. I am now utterly confused about the 'ei' pronunciation. Some sources and users say it's just a long 'e', like 'é' in French or 'eh' in German, and some say it's 'ei', like the 'ey' in the English 'hey'. So which is it, am I speaking [égo] or '[eygo] right now. Help. :hopelessness:

 

Hi Surimi,

 

First of all, the Japanese have an vocal exercise for the pronunciation of Romaji vowels ('a', 'i', 'e', 'o' and 'u') which I can't demonstrate without being able to speak to you. The point is that each of these vowels are always pronounced the same, unlike English where vowels are pronounced differently in different contexts and words.

 

Remembering that each vowel is pronounced the same whenever it is used to spell Japanese words in Romaji should make it simpler.

 

1. I think that you're questioning the pronunciation of the vowel 'o'? In your post your first question is, "I don't think the representation for 'e' is accurate? Although you reference 'e', your examples all refer to the use of 'o', so I will try to answer regarding the vowel 'o'.

 

'o' is always pronounced like the 'o' in the words "oh", "no", "toe", "low", "pro", "alone" and "mellow". The word for person, "hito" is pronounced as "hee-toe". "Satoko" is pronounced with each of the 'o's sounding the same as the last 'o' in your example "Costco". The 'o's in "Satoko" do not sound like the first 'o' in "Costco".

 

'o' in Japanese is never pronounced like the sound of "aw". It is always pronounced like "oh" ("toe", "no", "low", "pro", "alone" and "mellow").

 

2. Regarding the 'ei' pronunciation, it is pronounced like the English words "hey" or "hay". If you break down the pronunciation of each vowel 'e' and 'i' you can see how the two of them together end up sounding like "ay" in "hay" – 'e' = "eh" and 'i' = "ee" (as in "see") – "eh-ee". Pronouncing each vowel with its distinctive sound separately and strung together makes it sound like "ay" in "hay".

 

So you are speaking "Eigo" (English) = "Eygo" (as in "hey"-"go", but dropping the 'h').

 

The easiest way is to hear someone actually pronounce these words. Once you hear them, it is easy to apply. If you are still having problems understanding my explanation, you can private message me.

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Pamigena   
2 hours ago, 五十嵐 美幸 said:

as a quick and easy to remember hint, vowels in Japanese are generally pronounced like vowels are in German or Spanish. :)

 

Can't speak for Spanish, but at least in German there is never just one way to pronounce a vowel  :laughing: (I wish! I had to sit through one too many phonetics classes. Those were neither quick nor easy)

 

 

1 hour ago, Geo1 said:

'o' is always pronounced like the 'o' in the words "oh", "no", "toe", "low", "pro", "alone" and "mellow". The word for person, "hito" is pronounced as "hee-toe". [...]

 

So you are speaking "Eigo" (English) = "Eygo" (as in "hey"-"go", but dropping the 'h').

 

well, none of these examples of hito or eigo sound anything like I would say go, low or toe. And those examples are pretty much how I was taught to say these words, so I get why surimi got confused :smiley-rolleyes009:

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18 minutes ago, Pamigena said:

 

Can't speak for Spanish, but at least in German there is never just one way to pronounce a vowel  :laughing: (I wish! I had to sit through one too many phonetics classes. Those were neither quick nor easy)

 

 

 

well, none of these examples of hito or eigo sound anything like I would say go, low or toe. And those examples are pretty much how I was taught to say these words, so I get why surimi got confused :smiley-rolleyes009:

 

I hate to contradict, but while both Japanese and German have more of what I call vowel-like sounds - like German ä, ö, ü or things like eu or oi, or Japanese y+o or u - the basic five of a, i, u, e, o are exactly the same. 

 

Which is why for example it's relatively easy for Japanese choirs to thing Beethoven's must-at-year-end Ode to Joy in the German original, but not its English translation.

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38 minutes ago, Pamigena said:

 

Can't speak for Spanish, but at least in German there is never just one way to pronounce a vowel  :laughing: (I wish! I had to sit through one too many phonetics classes. Those were neither quick nor easy)

 

 

 

well, none of these examples of hito or eigo sound anything like I would say go, low or toe. And those examples are pretty much how I was taught to say these words, so I get why surimi got confused :smiley-rolleyes009:

Spanish and japanese are pronounced practically the same :P only differences are 'u' (it's a veeeery small difference but i definitely notice it), 'fu', 'ya yo yu'... hmm... the 'a' isn't quite the same but you can get away with pronouncing it like spanish and of course the 'r' :D 

I pronounce the o exactly as the spanish o, which is o̞ in the IPA.Wikipedia lists it as mid back rounded vowel and it is the same in japanese.

ETA: From the Japanese phonology article

Quote

All of the Japanese vowels are pronounced as monophthongs. Except for /u/, the short vowels are similar to their Spanish counterparts.

ETAA: I achieved Romeo and Juliet rank with this post lmao

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kitsune   
16 hours ago, surimi said:

 

Hi kitsune (and Emzie), glad to know I'm not the only beginner around. You two are further than me though, I have yet three remaining hiragana signs to remember, and most of the katakana. I'm at about 10 kanji too! ^ ^ That is, I recognize them, but cannot yet write them. Anyone else suffering setbacks with the two basic systems? Just today, I was going through the hiragana in my head while washing the dishes, and found to my dismay that I couldn't recall what a couple of them look like. I recognize the signs when I see them written, though.

Kitsune, I'd recommend talking to your gran (she's Japanese, I take it?) and writing emails to her at least once a week. It's hard in the beginning, but practice makes it smoother and faster. I practice Polish this way (though sadly, I don't have any relatives I could talk to in foreign languages), and I see some very slow improvement. It would make your gran happy too, wouldn't it?

My grandmother is Japanese but writing emails to her would be a little strange we almost live together, we are neighbors and always have dinner at her house. We talk mixed with what little I know Japanese and what little she knows Portuguese and we understand each other in that weird way.:rofl:

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15 hours ago, surimi said:

 

You are my saviour. :bow: I don't want to bother random people and some questions get unnoticed in fast-moving threads, so I rejoice I've found a volunteer to badger about Japanese. :happy: 

 

Feel free to ask but please PM me so I'll see it. :)

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Pamigena   

@kitsune Depends on your computer, I guess. I got a windows PC and just downloaded the language pack. At the bottom right corner there's a symbol where I can switch between languages. The letters I type then get automatically converted. 

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On 5/27/2017 at 13:01, Hydroblade said:

In your phone just install the Japanese language. I use Google keyboard :D

 

i think android can be in many different languages (at least i saw the list in my language options had like 30+ languages to choose from)

 

and the google/android keyboard allows u to switch between languages very easily

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surimi   
On 26. 5. 2017 at 03:48, kitsune said:

My grandmother is Japanese but writing emails to her would be a little strange we almost live together, we are neighbors and always have dinner at her house. We talk mixed with what little I know Japanese and what little she knows Portuguese and we understand each other in that weird way.:rofl:

 

Hmm, how about writing something like sticky notes or shopping lists in Japanese then? We're in a similar situation with my own gran - except she comes to have dinner in our flat as she's a terrible cook - and sometimes I stick a note on her door when I don't have much time, or collect her lists of what she wants us to buy for her. Too bad she doesn't speak any foreign language. ;)

 

Can anyone suggest what to download so I can see Japanese characters in forums or the Wikipedia? At present I can only see some strange symbols in their place. I'm afraid I'm very much computer illiterate, and still run Win XP on a prehistoric an old computer.

 

Also, here's something distantly related to Japanese that's been intriguing me for a good while. Several years ago, I met a lady in a local department store that might have been Japanese. She didn't speak English well, and was trying to tell me something she found funny about the teas she was browsing through. They were Lipton's 'Japanese Sencha' and 'Indonesian Sencha', and the lady was laughing and pointing at them - I am assuming she was trying to tell me something like that the only true sencha is the Japanese one, and there's no such thing as sencha from other countries? No clue up to this day. Perhaps someone can explain? :)

 

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Hi! I'm so glad a thread like this is around! 
I'm also a beginner at japanese - I actually took it as a non main course elective at uni this semester and I would like to keep going once the class is finished:) It's an intro class and we're going through the first 6 lessons in genki I and I've loved it (even if it has been a pain on top of my other classes lol)
also, thank you for all the links to resources in this thread! I'll go back and read them once my break starts :smiley-love017:

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