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Thyndd

What other languages do you like

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Hm. Can't say I really "like" other languages aside from English and Japanese, since I don't really encounter or use other languages that often.

  • Mandarin is my second language, but I have a difficult time reading traditional Chinese characters, so the "simplified" form is the way to go for me, and even that can be a challenge for me.
     
  • I use Hokkien (a Chinese dialect) quite a lot around the house, but again, it's not really a language I "like" or anything, just a tool I happen to use.
     
  • Cantonese has its appeal, since I happened to grow up watching quite a few Hong Kong drama/movies as a child.


For me, I really see languages as tools rather than some passion of mine, but if you really want to get into it, I guess you could say I do happen to like songs of certain languages over others. Growing up with a Chinese background, Mandarin and Cantonese songs are a big influence, and I found myself preferring their more emotional and passionate style of music over English music at times (I still prefer English music in general though if you ask me).

I have quite a few Chinese songs I liked, not the least of which are Jackie Chan songs (yes, he sings, very well in fact). Also, Andy Lau songs are not bad too. Chinese songs are a funny thing, because they can be so overly sentimental and sappy at the worst of times (much like their movies), but I guess that's also part of their charm that appealed to me as well. :makina:

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On 2/12/2018 at 7:40 PM, LemiusK said:

Mandarin is my second language, but I have a difficult time reading traditional Chinese characters, so the "simplified" form is the way to go for me, and even that can be a challenge for me.

So how is it learning written Japanese for someone who is already fairly proficient with hànzi? I imagine that the multiple readings must still suck, but at least most kanji you may be able to recognize and at least figure some of the meaning (even if it's sometimes somewhat off), no? 

 

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5 minutes ago, Thyndd said:

So how is it learning written Japanese for someone who is already fairly proficient with hànzi? I imagine that the multiple readings must still suck, but at least most kanji you may be able to recognize and at least figure some of the meaning (even if it's sometimes somewhat off), no? 

Yes, that thought did occur to me. Quite a number of kanji characters are actually easier to understand for me, that is correct. The only real problem I have with are the katakana and hiragana. I tried giving them a shot with basic Japanese lessons but... man, it's a real pain. It's like learning third-grade math all over again. My memory just isn't what it used to be, so to memorize those different strokes and what they mean... practically impossible for me. I fell asleep quickly every time.

Edited by LemiusK

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1 minute ago, LemiusK said:

Yes, that thought did occur to me. Quite a number of kanji characters are actually easier to understand for me, that is correct. The only real problem I have with are the katakana and hiragana. I tried giving them a shot with basic Japanese lessons but... man, it's a real pain. It's like learning third-grade math all over again. My memory just isn't what it used to be, so to memorize those different strokes and what they mean... practically impossible for me. I fell asleep quickly every time.

I'm sure your memory is better than you give it credit for :makina: Just need some motivation man! Though I'm sure one to talk... I keep procrastinating my kanji studies because I'm lazy bum...

Anyway, if it's only the kanas that are the problem, just give yourself a full afternoon to learn them and be done with it. As long as you keep using them they will stick. Then use your mighty chinese skillz and you'll be OP!

 

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29 minutes ago, Thyndd said:

I'm sure your memory is better than you give it credit for :makina: Just need some motivation man! Though I'm sure one to talk... I keep procrastinating my kanji studies because I'm lazy bum...

lol It's not just you. I make quite the king of lazy bum myself. Can't tell you how many times I stopped reading a VN in the middle of the route because my mind starts wandering somewhere else, and I ended up switching to either another VN or just YouTube-surfing. :makina: I think I have a really bad attention problem, not being able to sit still for a long period of time.

 

29 minutes ago, Thyndd said:

Anyway, if it's only the kanas that are the problem, just give yourself a full afternoon to learn them and be done with it. As long as you keep using them they will stick. Then use your mighty chinese skillz and you'll be OP!

Well, to be frank with you, even with my somewhat adequate knowledge of Chinese characters, there are still many complex Chinese words out there that I don't know the meaning of. It's actually hardly a surprise why people have trouble learning kanji, when I think about the more complicated Chinese words that aren't used in everyday conversations. Give me words that we use everyday and of course I would be able to recognize them easily. But if it's something more specific, especially those dealing with folklore like plotge often like to use, then I'll probably take as much time as any average westerner to learn kanji as well, especially if I have to learn the different nuance kanji have from Chinese words.

That said, it is nice to hear that you could simply learn kanas under a full afternoon. That does seem to solve half of my problems learning Japanese. Despite what I said above about kanji, if I could get a basic grasp of just the everyday characters Japanese use alone, then I could read at least half of the untranslated VNs out there. So yeah, it's definitely a tempting prospect that makes me want to jump in and start learning now. :)

On the other hand, I think it really takes practice in conversations for you to fully grasp a language. The only reason I'm able to use English as fluently as I can today is because it's a necessity, and because I've been using it for such a long time. And even then, my English is still hardly perfect. So when it comes to Japanese, to find a proper partner to have a Japanese conversation... that can be a daunting task in itself.

Edited by LemiusK

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I don't speak any languages besides German, English and Spanish. I had Latin classes for seven years and even chose it as one of my final exam topics in high school (you only have to pick four in Germany) but that basically amounted to translating while using a dictionary so I don't actually speak any.

Other than that I really like the sound of Portuguese and Dutch since for me it kind of sounds like someone with a throat condition trying to sound cute. Also Basque really fascinates me since apparently it isn't related to any other known language and it is said to be so complicated that it's impossible to learn if you haven't grown up with it.

I'm actually surprised that German seems to be a popular language. I heard many people say that every conversation in German sounds like people are arguing. On the other hand a lot of famous authors and poets wrote in German so it has to have some kind of appeal. The Japanese language also has quite a few words they took from German, my favourites being Lumpenproletariat (I mean, obviously) and Arubaito (from Arbeit, meaning work) which for some reason has a slightly different meaning in Japanese since it refers mostly to part time jobs. Also the term Steins Gate sounds weird from a German standpoint beside the obvious language mixing. You would probably say Stein gate. While adding the "s" is not technically wrong since the rules for connecting words in German are kind of loose, it sounds like a genitive implicating posession thus resulting in a meaning like "gate belonging to the stone". Several German cities actually have a place called Steintor ("stone gate"). I know Rintaro playing around with other languages is supposed to be stupid, but it still bugs me for some reason. The term "reading Steiner" is even weirder since the form Steiner for the word Stein doesn't even exist. Steiner exists as a surname though. Stein is pronounced "Shtine" by the way.

Something similar goes for the anime Schwarzesmarken (German pronounciation Shvartsesmarken with both "a"s being pronounced like the u in ruffian). It took me some time to understand that it's supposed to mean something like "black marks". But then it would have to be Schwarzmarken or Schwarze Marken.

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6 minutes ago, alpacaman said:

Other than that I really like the sound of Portuguese and Dutch since for me it kind of sounds like someone with a throat condition trying to sound cute. Also Basque really fascinates me since apparently it isn't related to any other known language and it is said to be so complicated that it's impossible to learn if you haven't grown up with it.

Oh yeah, I didn't mention Basque now that I think about it, but I love it and have read my fair share of grammar books and papers about it :sachi: It has way too many amazing features to go unnoticed. Morphosyntactically, it's one of the few ergative-absolutive languages in Europe; it features polypersonal agreement which is just the coolest thing ever and something you really need to move far from home to find (the Caucasus for example, look at Georgian); it also features surdéclinaison... a french term for inflectional morphology being used derivationally and recursively (e.g Bilbo-ra-ko bidea / Bilbao-ALL-GEN.LOC / The road to Bilbao), and a lot of other very cool features that I could keep talking on and on... It's beautiful, truly!

As for the learning difficulty... it's just like any other language, really. Sure, it's not a indo-european language and if you've never left the family before it's gonna take some time to get used to it. The fact that every baby in every country in the world learns how to speak in the same amount of time on average, means that there's no "harder language". Just a matter of familiarity :yumiko:

22 minutes ago, alpacaman said:

I'm actually surprised that German seems to be a popular language. I heard many people say that every conversation in German sounds like people are arguing. On the other hand a lot of famous authors and poets wrote in German so it has to have some kind of appeal.

I mean, the "it sounds like they are angry" thing can be heard about any language people are not used to. I hear that all the time about Chinese and Arabic from people around me, for example. There's also the stereotypes and the contexts people often hear that language being used. 

To me, German sounds lovely, and I don't even frequently read german literature nor I'm particularly fond of any german band or anything. 

34 minutes ago, alpacaman said:

I know Rintaro playing around with other languages is supposed to be stupid, but it still bugs me for some reason. The term "reading Steiner" is even weirder since the form Steiner for the word Stein doesn't even exist. Steiner exists as a surname though. Stein is pronounced "Shtine" by the way.

There you have it, my favorite butchered German in Anime. Just out of curiosity, how well can you understand what she's singing without looking at the lyrics? :sacchan:

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I just listened to the first minute or so. I don't understand everything but I think it's mostly because of pronounciation. The singer obviously doesn't speak any German, but the grammar didn't seem too terrible. The mistakes were mostly ones even some more advanced learners make, like mixing up genders or constructing side clauses wrongly.

Japanese is not that great a first language to learn other languages from since it few phonems when compared to other languages and having every syllable end on a vowel (except for n) makes learning the pronounciation of especially European languages very difficult. To take an example from the song the singer pronounces "er|in|nerst" (hyphenation in German is between the phonetic units (I hope that's the correct term, I'm not a linguist)) as something like "eeanas". While pronouncing an "r" like a muted "a" (or something like the u in "hut", for the English speakers who wonder how to pronounce an "a" in German)) when it comes after a vowel is something that's even done in many parts of Germany (especially in the northwest, where I'm from), she still has to turn it into two syllables thus swallowing the i (pronounced like the i in "hit") to keep up with the song although it's supposed to be the stressed syllable. Pronouncing the "er" at the end of the word like an "a" is again something that's also done in some parts of Germany, but not something you would expect a German professional singer to do. The same goes for dropping the "t" at the end of the word.

On a side note: nobody in Germany actually speaks exactly the German you learn in school since there are many regional differences, even when it comes to pretty common expressions. Hochdeutsch or High or Standard German is something that the first countrywide news show after WWII invented because they had to decide when to use northern or southern German terminology and how to pronounce certain letters. And people from Bavaria are still usually not able to speak it properly because they tend to roll the "r" and have a tendency to turn straight vowels into diphtongs. I still don't know why Bavarian is considered a German dialect and not its own language because the difference between High German and Bavarian are not that much smaller than the one between Polish and Russian for example.

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