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SolidyBrasil

Learning Japanese

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Looks like a simple post asking for efficiency on studies become a war of "cultural" divergences. Remember guys, it doesn't matter how much you guys ( or even some japanese ) dislikes the writing system. Japan have a complete different culture and as long as THEY'RE happy with this it's not of our concern to suggest they to change anything.

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1 hour ago, SolidyBrasil said:

Wow, thanks for the advices ! I will keep reading Tae Kim Grammar Guide and once i finish i prob going to JLPT ( Or trying my best on some untranslated VNs ). Anyway, do you have some examples of easier VNs to start off ?

Also, I believe the English releases of both Sanoba Witch and Senren Banka have an option to toggle between the original Japanese and translated English, which you may find useful for practice. (Might want to double-check that before buying them, though.)

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57 minutes ago, Yuuko said:

This whole thread:

  Reveal hidden contents



Trust me you do not want to read Japanese without kanji

 

Trust me, I know what I want, just saying "without kanji there would be a lot of problems" without stating what are these problems is not convincing, until now the only reason someone gave me is the homonyms which I disagree because context solves this.

And I'm sorry I think I spread misinformation in a previous comment:

Quote

I read somewhere that the Japanese people wanted at some point to use the Latin alphabet in order to facilitate people's lives, but no, the government had to step in and force them to continue using kana

No, I don't know who made this proposal in Japan in the early periods, it could be some individuals in Japan wanting it by their own volition. Or it could be from the government itself. At some point it was an advisor in the Occupation administration, so it's not Japanese people themselves. Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_writing_system#Meiji_period

I'm sorry.

Edited by Soul Hunter

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1 hour ago, SolidyBrasil said:

Anyway, do you have some examples of easier VNs to start off ?

I should note that anything will be hard and what matters is that it's something you can keep reading, not that it's the absolute easiest. Here are some personal recs from what I've seen others rec and experienced myself:

Axanael - https://vndb.org/v3971
from what I've heard not super long (so you can actually finish), lots of dialogue (easier to read usually), lots of voicing, fairly quickly paced.

Aiyoku no Eustia - https://vndb.org/v3770
apparently the sentences are decently short, and it's plot focused with an interesting setting? idk

Sisters ~Natsu no Saigo no Hi~ - https://vndb.org/v3896
A fully animated short vn people often recommend for beginners, I think?

Stargazer https://vndb.org/v15636
Short yuri doujin vn with one main character voiced. Not an amazing vn but also not super hard to read I think...? I read it a while ago.

Kimihane Couples - https://vndb.org/v20444
Yuri. I read the non-expanded version of this vndb lists as a "prequel" but this includes all of the old kimhane as far as I know. All characters are voiced and it should be reasonably short. Some narration in a particular route might be somewhat difficult though, unsure if it matters.

---unvoiced lol

Watashi wa Kyou Koko de Shinimasu - https://vndb.org/v21768
A very short (2265 lines vs like 10k at least in most recs) nakige about two misfits trying to deal with the world being shit, suicide themed. Good pacing means it has a decent lot of plot in its short runtime and little wasted time, which helps when reading it will take 20 hours instead of 2 because japanese is hard. But it's unvoiced feelsbadman.

Watashi no Real wa Jujitsu Shisugiteiru - https://vndb.org/v13321
And entaining otomege with a protagonist with personality. I found this easier to read than a decent lot of things, and it's free to download too. However, it's unvoiced.

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ifyouremoveallkanjijapanesewillbesomewhatlikethisandthisispainfulenoughtoreadanditsonlyonesentencelongseriouslyyoudontwantthat

 

*cough*  that said, my big brain take is that kanji is nothing and the true beast of Japanese is deciphering katakana because maaaaaaaaaan the way they spell some foreign words...

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ifyouremoveallkanjijapanesewillbesomewhatlikethisandthisispainfulenoughtoreadanditsonlyonesentencelongseriouslyyoudontwantthat

You're right, but actually what I want is romaji. Or at least to start introducing some spaces in hiragana, better than having kanji all over the places, I think it might happen in the next 200 years :P .

Just for the record, how many people here are able to read an entire Visual Novel without ANY furigana? And how many years did you take to reach this level? I just want to have an idea of how many years will take until I become one of these masters (hopefully), until now I only memorized some basic words like 私 or 日本語 and some numbers, actually this is the trick with kanjis, you don't learn them, you learn words, each kanji can have more than 4 readings, and if you see them in a word you might not know how to read.

Edited by Soul Hunter

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1 hour ago, Soul Hunter said:

Trust me, I know what I want, just saying "without kanji there would be a lot of problems" without stating what are these problems is not convincing, until now the only reason someone gave me is the homonyms which I disagree because context solves this.

Ok I will just mention a few things. One is that homonyms are quite common in japanese and is very common with many commonly used words as such lots of things can be confusing, for instance if any store want to promote something they can use the kanji for it in big letters, but if they have to write with hiragana or romanji they have to write sentences to ensure people understand what it is actually about.

There is also the loss of kanji word play and such which is quite important in japanese literature, anything by Nision Isin for instance would lose quite a lot of flavour without playing off kanji.

One problem is that words are made up of multiple kanji, by understanding what a kanji means you can understand words that you haven't encountered before and it gives you a better understanding of how words in japan is made in general which gives you a much better graps of the basics behind large parts of the language. Understanding the basics which builds up a language helps you become much better at it than just memorizing things.

Also if you add spaces which you would have to do it would I think the particles would be quite awkward to read, basically reading text would be quite odd due to the way in which japanese sentences are built up.

Other than this I also think there are some more reasons for it not being a good idea, however I think it is somewhat hard to explain to someone who doesn't have a decent understanding of japanese.

If somehow this actually did still go through and worked decently enough it would likely cause a culture war in Japan though. Anyone who doesn't learn kanji will have a worse grasp on the laguage as they don't understand the individual parts words are made up of and thus won't be able to understand words they haven't encountered yet where others could understand it based on how the kanji is put together. They will also be unable to read lots of literature as some books are likely not to get translation treatment due to lack of popularity or at the very least they will not understand word play based on kanji.

Them not learning kanji would also require basically every part of society to accommodate for them by adding writing by the alphabeth to everything. This would likely make anyone who choose not to learn kanji to be seen as lesser people as they force the society to do a lot of shit so that they themselves can be lazy while they also reject the japanese history and heritage as well as their lazynes having an impact on their ability to understand japanese on a fundamental level. Basically I think anyone who were to choose this would be scorned by the society.

 

23 minutes ago, Soul Hunter said:

Just for the record, how many people here are able to read an entire Visual Novel without ANY furigana? And how many years did you take to reach this level? I just want to have an idea of how many years will take until I become one of these masters (hopefully), until now I only memorized some basic words like 私 or 日本語 and some numbers, actually this is the trick with kanjis, you don't learn them, you learn words, each kanji can have more than 4 readings, and if you see them in a word you might not know how to read.

I read VNs without furigana, I started reading Nisekoi Yomeiri about half a year after I started learning japanese, though that has full voice acting. Guess it took a bit more than a year before I read a VN where the main character wasn't voiced. Also you should learn both words and kanji. Understanding kanji is important for understanding japanese as recognizing a kanji can help you understand words you haven't encountered yet. Also once you have learned a lot of kanji learning words in general becomes way easier.

Edited by bakauchuujin

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Bakachuujin, Thank you for the big reply.

Quote

 for instance if any store want to promote something they can use the kanji for it in big letters, but if they have to write with hiragana or romanji they have to write sentences to ensure people understand what it is actually about.

Yeah maybe, but I find this a really minor problem, and easy to solve, actually I don't see much difference between Japan and the western in this regard, google "advertisement in japan", you'll se a lot of symbols and even romaji, but okay if you say so.

Quote

There is also the loss of kanji word play and such which is quite important in japanese literature, anything by Nision Isin for instance would lose quite a lot of flavour without playing off kanji.

Okay, but again I find this a really minuscule problem, the same way we won't be able to make jokes like this:https://www.wish.com/br/product/chinese-kanji-sex-fck-funny-doggy-style-jdm-sticker-for-car-suv-truck-window-bumper-vinyl-decal-5b9d2a19706d4449da3e2d8b?hide_login_modal=true&share=web, it is kind of sad that these kinds of jokes might disappear, but only a few care.

In my opinion what we have to gain from switching kanji to romaji is bigger then what we have to lose, think about how easier will be for foreigners to go to Japan, get decent jobs and build awesome things there.

Quote

One problem is that words are made up of multiple kanji, by understanding what a kanji means you can understand words that you haven't encountered before and it gives you a better understanding of how words in japan is made in general which gives you a much better graps of the basics behind large parts of the language. Understanding the basics which builds up a language helps you become much better at it than just memorizing things.

Sorry man but I didn't quite understand what you're trying to say here, are you saying that in order to understand more japanese grammar, you need to know kanji? (you didn't use the word grammar and were vague instead, so I'll interpret that way) Sorry but how? Kanjis were just imports from the chinese writing system that happened throughout hundreds of years in various places in Japan, so they were really confusing even inside Japan, each region had its different kanjis for the same words than other regions etc, they are in Japan by pure chance at least, it is just how history writes itself, if by "understanding the basics of the language" you mean its history than that's only what it is, history, the science of how the language evolved.

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Also if you add spaces which you would have to do it would I think the particles would be quite awkward to read, basically reading text would be quite odd due to the way in which japanese sentences are built up.

Disagree, being "awkward" is 100% subjective, particles are basically the same as articles and prepositions from western languages from a visual point of view, I actually prefer romaji to hiragana in this regard because of the particle は, which can be read as "ha" and "wa" and this confuses me sometimes since there is no space in japanese sentences, so spotting the particle は for beginners is a bit tricky, and the same happens with  へ, with romaji this problem disappears.

Quote

If somehow this actually did still go through and worked decently enough it would likely cause a culture war in Japan though. Anyone who doesn't learn kanji will have a worse grasp on the laguage as they don't understand the individual parts words are made up of and thus won't be able to understand words they haven't encountered yet where others could understand it based on how the kanji is put together.

You're the first person who tells me this, until now every material I read and every one who learned Japanese told me that when it comes to kanji you learn the words, and not the kanji itself, how did you learn that 日本人 is read as nihonjin? Did you study each kanji separately? Or did you just went straight to the word?

Quote

They will also be unable to read lots of literature as some books are likely not to get translation treatment due to lack of popularity or at the very least they will not understand word play based on kanji.

Yeah I know, you're right, but look, this is a problem of the present, in the future we won't know if these books will remain untranslated forever, I assume here you're talking about books in the present, this is when freedom of choice comes at hand, nowadays, of course Japanese people won't abruptly switch to romaji if the government makes kanji optional, they're already used to their system, the majority of texts are written in kanji, this is something that takes time to change, how did English evolve until its current state? In the middle of this process people started innovating, writing differently, speaking differently, all this in order to suit their needs, the same would happen in Japan, if it happens to be better for them to switch to romaji, this process will take slowly.

Quote

Them not learning kanji would also require basically every part of society to accommodate for them by adding writing by the alphabeth to everything. This would likely make anyone who choose not to learn kanji to be seen as lesser people as they force the society to do a lot of shit so that they themselves can be lazy while they also reject the japanese history and heritage as well as their lazynes having an impact on their ability to understand japanese on a fundamental level. Basically I think anyone who were to choose this would be scorned by the society.

No, as I said earlier, this process is a slow one, nobody has the duty to satisfy the needs of people as myself who are lazy to learn kanji, this won't happen from the use of force, but from the use of choices being made every day by individuals during decades :D, the same way modern languages evolved until today, have you ever seen old english? It is incomprehensible for the modern English speakers, so how did one turn into another without confusing people? No idea.

Edited by Soul Hunter

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48 minutes ago, Soul Hunter said:

Sorry man but I didn't quite understand what you're trying to say here, are you saying that in order to understand more japanese grammar, you need to know kanji? (you didn't use the word grammar and were vague instead, so I'll interpret that way) Sorry but how? Kanjis were just imports from the chinese writing system that happened throughout hundreds of years in various places in Japan, so they were really confusing even inside Japan, each region had its different kanjis for the same words as other regions etc, they are in Japan by pure chance at least, it is just how history writes itself.

Not talking about grammar but words themselves like a noun for instance, knowing a kanji can make it easy to understand a word you haven't seen as you piece together your understanding of the kanji that makes up the word. 

 

48 minutes ago, Soul Hunter said:

You're the first person who tells me this, until now every material I read and every one who learned Japanese told me that when it comes to kanji you learn the words, and not the kanji itself, how did you learn that 日本人 is read as nihonjin? Did you study each kanji separately? Or did you just went straight to the word?

You should know both. Yes knowing that 日本人 means japanese is nice and you need to know it is read as nihonjin, however you will learn much more if you learn the symbols. For instance 人 commonly called hito or jin means person or people, the kanji is very often used and you will encounter it in multiple situations, an example of this is that they use the country one originates from and 人 to say a person from that country, a Chinese person would be 中国人 for instance with 中国 being China consisting of 中 which is middle and 国 which basically means country. 日 can mean either sun or day and is also commonly used so knowing that will help you out a lot since you will see it in a lot of words like for instance the different week days. 本 can mean book or origin and also is widely used, so for instance if you are going around japan looking for a book store you can look for that sign. 日本 of course means japan, though you have probably heard it be called the land of the rising sun, here the origin meaning of 本 and the day meaning of 日 are put together and by understanding those kanji and knowing the phrase it is easier to remember. Basically each of the kanji 日本人 consist of are very important and knowing and understanding them will help you out a lot with the language. To learn japanese you should learn both the words and how they are pronounced as well as the kanji, atleast for commonly used kanji, if the kanji is very rarely used I guess you don't really have to learn it but at the very least learn the basic kanji that have lots of different uses in japanese.

 

If you want to learn a language you should try to understand as much about it as possible to connect dots, for japanese words I would say is quite important if you want to remember words. Fragmented information like singular words are easy to forget, however if you build up on a lot of connected pieces it is way easier to understand and remember. 

48 minutes ago, Soul Hunter said:

No, as I said earlier, this process is a slow one, nobody has the duty to satisfy the needs of people as myself who are lazy to learn kanji, this won't happen from the use of force, but from the use of choices being made every day by individuals during decades :D, the same way modern languages evolved until today, have you ever seen old english? It is incomprehensible for the modern English speakers, so how did one turn into another without confusing people? No idea.

Those types of changes are gradual, changing slowly by generation to generation, the problem with changing a writing system is that changing parts of the writing system itself doesn't really seem that likely. I doubt japanese will just randomly change a few words at the time to the alphabeth while keeping the rest of it japanese. Old english might be different from current english however the letters themselves are quite similar, they didn't suddenly add some hebrew or korean symbols to just throw into the mix or anything, it was just gradual changes all within a system that worked coherently.

 

Edited by bakauchuujin

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Okay, I understood what you're trying to say about putting pieces together with kanji, and I appreciate your advice, but I already tried this method of studying kanjis separately, and it didn't work, learning only the words first and by consequence the kanji is easier for me in my current level, but I'll try it when I become more advanced, what you said makes sense and you probably think like that because you already know quite a bunch.

Quote

Old english might be different from current english however the letters themselves are quite similar, they didn't suddenly add some hebrew or korean symbols to just throw into the mix or anything

Thing is, this is exactly what happened with Japanese, they imported the chinese characters to their writings, and it happened in different regions in Japan independently, this is one of the reasons that you see a lot of kanjis having different readings instead of only one (the ideal world), and also for there to be about 50,000 kanjis, but "only" 2136 are recognized by the Ministry of Education, and probably only a bit more of 400 are essential in your average text, so yeah, what I see here is Japan suddenly adding a lot of new characters into their mix.

And, they already have to learn the Latin alphabet anyway, they live with it normally in computer keyboards and media, it's not something alien to them, actually what it's happening recently is that the younger people in Japan don't even know how to write kanji, they only type something in the keyboard and the kanji magically appears, so what I foresee in the future is kanjis becoming gradually more obsolete, I might be wrong of course, but I bet 2 cents on this.

Edited by Soul Hunter

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The subreddit /learnjapanese has a lot of great content on learning methods, suggestions and so on.

Genki I and II is a really good start since it covers both N4 and N5 content, it should be everything you need for a start . Anki is mandatory for retention and its really simple to use. 

I highly recommend Wanikani for learning Kanji, it is a great method that works for me and a lot of people, it might not work for everyone since you really need a focus and a habit of studying every day. It isnt free, but the first few levels are free so you can check it out to see if it works for you.

Japanese is hard to learn, you really need compromise to maintain a regular practice, otherwise its a waste of time.

While Kanji are certainly imported chinese characters, Japan will never abandon it, just the suggestion of abandoning it for romaji would embarass yourself and people wouldnt respect you for it, japanese people are very conservative and proud of their culture and this is no laughting matter. It is hard, it takes a lot of time to learn, it takes longer to write, but there is no greater reward than to dominate it, even with some nonsense with some characters like 生 having a fuckton of different pronunciations and no universal rule ( you might think that words in kanji with no attached hiragana might use onyomi but this isnt true in every case). 

Some people i know have something like 3k hours logged on Diablo, World of Warcraft or some shit like that and complain that learning things like programming or japanese might be hard when they are just lazy, just spend your time to be productive and you should see results

 

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1 hour ago, philipmikh said:

Anki is mandatory for retention and its really simple to use. 

incorrect, can just keep reading and remember words anyway

haven't done a single anki flashcard after finishing rtk1

have no problem with the statement useful for retention tho

1 hour ago, philipmikh said:

Genki I and II is a really good start

slow af zzzzz just tae kim tbh

1 hour ago, philipmikh said:

you really need compromise to maintain a regular practice

depends. I didn't and it worked with my yukkuri lifestyle and inability to establish basic routines. I imagine I would have learnt more if I read more, but this is immaterial as I'm not racing, I'm enjoying myself

Other people may be different and find relatively slow progress due to only reading when they want (or never wanting to read that way) demoralizing.

 

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On 7/22/2020 at 4:14 AM, Zakamutt said:

Aiyoku no Eustia - https://vndb.org/v3770
apparently the sentences are decently short, and it's plot focused with an interesting setting? idk

Maybe I'm just kind of slow, but I found Aiyoku quite tedious as a beginner. It uses a lot of words that aren't common day to day words. Its fine with a text-hooker, but I remember having to look up words quite frequently. On the contrary I found Suba Hibi easier to read. Because aside from the short segments where they talk about philosophy, most of the language is regular conversational Japanese. 

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6 hours ago, philipmikh said:

just spend your time to be productive and you should see results

Thanks for the advices !! I'm almost done with my grammar studies ( Tae Kim is really the best option imo ).

 

5 hours ago, Zakamutt said:

haven't done a single anki flashcard after finishing rtk1

May i ask what is " rtk 1 " ?

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4 hours ago, Zalor said:

Maybe I'm just kind of slow, but I found Aiyoku quite tedious as a beginner. It uses a lot of words that aren't common day to day words. Its fine with a text-hooker, but I remember having to look up words quite frequently. On the contrary I found Suba Hibi easier to read. Because aside from the short segments where they talk about philosophy, most of the language is regular conversational Japanese. 

Uncommon vocabulary isn't really a big deal when you don't know any vocabulary to begin with, so this probably depends a lot on mindset, lookup tolerance, etc. Since I started with near zero vocab, I probably have high lookup tolerance... I also wonder if Subahibi's occasional Actually Sorta Difficult sections might not be more annoying, especially since you want to actually understand the philosophy. #itdepends

1 hour ago, SolidyBrasil said:

May i ask what is " rtk 1 " ?

don't do drugs kids it's Remembering the Kanji 1, a way and order in which to memorize one shape→keyword correspondence all of the government's "common use kanji" plus a few more, 2200 total. It focuses on making mnemonic stories from the repeating components that make up kanji, and will not teach you near any useful Japanese directly for like 3 months +. I generally think it helped me with remembering words I got from reading, Zalor here said it probably wasn't worth it for him iirc. In general I think it's a hardcore approach and most recommendable if you have a hardon for kanji and especially writing them. It took me 1.5 years to complete because doing memorization sessions was hard on my poor executive function (but daily reviews mostly wasn't...)

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I've been doing WaniKani to learn kanji, and it seems to work for me. It also teaches some vocab along the way, so two birds with one stone ;)  (although it cannot be the only vocab resource, since the words it teaches are there mainly to reinforce the kanji readings)

Tae Kim's grammar guide is quite useful. Another good one later on, to look up things that might be not found on Tae Kim is "Dictionary of Basic/Intermediate/Advanced Japanese Grammar".

Also, there's ton of videos about grammar on YT. I started my learning with YesJapan's Japanese From Zero online course (there's also book version), and they have YT channel with pretty good explanations, especially for basics.

I also really like videos from Misa.

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2 hours ago, Zakamutt said:

Uncommon vocabulary isn't really a big deal when you don't know any vocabulary to begin with, so this probably depends a lot on mindset, lookup tolerance, etc. Since I started with near zero vocab, I probably have high lookup tolerance... I also wonder if Subahibi's occasional Actually Sorta Difficult sections might not be more annoying, especially since you want to actually understand the philosophy. #itdepends

 I generally think it helped me with remembering words I got from reading, Zalor here said it probably wasn't worth it for him 

That makes a lot of sense actually, part of the reason I was able to work through Sayooshi early on was because it didn't matter whether I was reading a moege or something hard, I was going to be looking up all the words anyway. What frustrated me with Aiyoku is at that point I was already pretty comfortable with conversational Japanese, so I was expecting it to be easier then it was for me. But that's kind of my fault for having misplaced expectations. 

And yeah, personally aside from helping me commit stroke order to muscle memory I didn't get a lot out of the Heisig method. But I know for some people they find it quite helpful. I also hated the memorization aspect of it, and like you I don't like Anki much either. 

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Actually having read a game (Fukai ni Nemuru Oujo no Abaddon) where most of the text was kana-only, I can affirm that it's awkward to parse and slows down reading.  Japanese doesn't have many different syllables to differentiate words, so skimming becomes difficult, even with spaces between words.  Japanese is already a very context-dependent and often ambiguous language, and no kanji just amplifies the issue.  As much as language learners might not like them, kanji do serve a purpose.

If you're using a text hooker, kanji illiteracy shouldn't be a major barrier anyway.

Edited by sanahtlig

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I know this is a long sunken post but I think I can give some valuable suggestion.

If you know German, I think it would be much better to learn Japanese via German than English, for a trio of reasons: Pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. (Correct me if I am wrong, I am not a native speaker of either)

The 5 vowels (a,i,u,e,o) are pronounced the same in Japanese and German (but NOT necessarily the dipthongs)

The に and を particles sometimes roughly correspond to the dative and accusative case in German. (But don't think too much about it, I doubt even scholars have consensus on this aspect)

e.g. 私は妹に本をあげる。

       Ich gebe (meiner) Schwester (ein) Buch.

And lastly, perhaps due to borrowing of vocabulary in the past. Vocabularies, especially in the sciences, resemble each other in Japanese and German.

e.g. Sauerstoff     Wasserstoff       Gesellschaft

       酸素              水素                  社会

       oxygen          hydrogen          society

(the pattern is more evident if you look up carbon, nitrogen etc)

Edited by zxdvas

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