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OT: Nihongo for Baka

Discussion in 'Single Player Forum' started by Kung Poo, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. Kung Poo

    Kung Poo IncGamers Member

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    OT: Nihongo for Baka

    The "baka" being me. Yes, I admit, this thread is mostly for my benefit (unless any of you are studying Japanese), but it's open to all, of course. I'll be posting questions in here as my studies progress, as there's only so much a book can teach.

    For now, here's my inquiries:

    1. I understand what the "san" suffix means for formality. But what's the difference between "chan", "kun", "sama", and any others I haven't seen yet?

    2. When using the particles "wa" and "o", both seem to point to the topic or direct object of the sentence. When do I know which to use?

    3. When hearing Japanese, I've often heard questions asked without the "ka" at the end. Is there a reason for this?

    I think that's it for now, but I'll be back with more questions later. Advice is great, so feel free to comment.

    ~K_P
     
  2. Kaysaar

    Kaysaar IncGamers Member

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    You might want to shoot Durf a pm or an e-mail. He's a professional Japanese/English translator.
     
  3. Kremtok

    Kremtok IncGamers Member

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    I think rather than learning an established language, you should devise your own.
     
  4. ricrestoni

    ricrestoni IncGamers Member

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    Ach tar pas treyipion gunth gul ath.

    That meaning I agree with creating your own language!

    And an interjection I created that hopefully has no translation to any other known language. Originality rules!
     
  5. Kung Poo

    Kung Poo IncGamers Member

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    ...Not when you're going to visit a country whose language eludes you. The world thinks we Americans are dumb enough... I don't want to fit that description when I go over there. Therefore I study study study.

    ...So no one here speaks Japanese aside from Durf?
     
  6. Indemaijinj

    Indemaijinj IncGamers Member

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    Pierrot Le Fou.
     
  7. Jezzwashere

    Jezzwashere Banned

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    I speak japanese, and i can help you..

    1. san is formal, but talking to friends, 'kun' is for boys names and 'chan' is for gurls. i dont know what 'sama' is.

    2. 'wa' is used after a persons name mostly, and 'o' is after an action. let me say this sentence in romagi. 'boku WA asagohan O tabemasu' this means i eat breakfast (boy).

    3. the japanese are very casual like we are with words.. they forget most of the formalities and understand what each other are on about.

    hope this helped...

    saionara
     
  8. symeon

    symeon IncGamers Member

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    The "chan" suffix means "little" or "child". It's the Japanese equivalent of the English -y ending and is used with people who you know well (generally). In the same way that "-san" is added after a person's surname, "-chan" goes after a person's first name. This I was told by a Japanese guy so I'm pretty certain.
     
  9. WhiskeyJack

    WhiskeyJack IncGamers Member

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    I'd ask Durfbarian for all hard q's....I can answer part of 1 though

    San is roughly equivalent to Mr. or Mrs. Sama is used when adressing someone very, very superior in station- I've seen it in some books when someone was addressing a Daimyo way back in the feudal era, but that's about it- not to say I'm widely read though (a good question for Durf- is it used much these days?). Kun I haven't heard before....Chan (according to my Japanese ex-gf) is a diminutive used between close friends, used after the first name. There seemed to be some pronunciation rules that go with it, something about whether the last sylable is hard or not- ex- when speaking to Hanako, I'd have said Hana-chan, if speaking to Miho, I'd say Miho-san. It didn't seem to be gender specific, or at least, hanako would call me chri-chan (the s in chris was dropped). so it may be that in more colloquial use, a gender difference isn't made these days, at least among younger japanese (Kun may not be used much?). That's just a wild guess on my part though.

    That's the extent that I'm willing to put my foot in my mouth for the day. Hopefully Durf will show up soon and put us all in our place....

    I blame him for not answering these q's sooner! :lol:

    cheers all,
    WJ
     
  10. Indemaijinj

    Indemaijinj IncGamers Member

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    As far as I can tell the "chan" is similar to the geman "-chen" and "-lein" endings, something known as diminutives. Mostly used in addressing children or showing affection towards close friends and relatives.
     
  11. Kung Poo

    Kung Poo IncGamers Member

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    ....

    Soooo... "chan" is used for close relationships or for children..? Yes?

    I got "san", that one's easy.

    But what if I have a friend that's a girl (not a girlfriend, just a friend), and I want to address her? Let's say her name is Betsy or something. I can't just say Betsy-chan, because I'll be saying Betsy, you little child-person you!

    ... *blames Durf for his own confusion*
     
  12. DurfBarian

    DurfBarian IncGamers Member

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    1. I understand what the "san" suffix means for formality. But what's the difference between "chan", "kun", "sama", and any others I haven't seen yet?

    In order from formal to casual, they go sama / san / kun / chan, more or less.
    * Sama is used a lot more in writing than it is in speech, although you'll hear it a lot in restaurants and stores attached to "customer": o-kyaku-sama is what you get called a lot by people waiting on you.
    * San is the default suffix, basically. It's the safest to use if you aren't sure where you and the other person rank in relation to each other. It's most commonly used with the person's family name; Tanaka-san is more common than Jiro-san.
    * Kun originally means "lord"; the other pronunciation of the character is "kimi" and can be found in the national anthem, Kimi ga Yo" (the reign of my lord). Nowadays it's usually used with boys' names, although there are some interesting exceptions--in the National Diet everyone gets a "kun" attached to their names in official pronouncements and male bosses will often use "kun" when referring to female subordinates. But basically it's used for people at about your level or below you.
    * Chan is used for small kids, male and female. It's also used for people of all ages by speakers who are very close to them (family members, long-time friends). I'm Piitaa (Peter) in Japanese but my wife and her family all call me Pi-chan. You don't use this unless you're talking about someone you know pretty closely or a little kid. But if you're good friends with Betsy -chan will be fine; you aren't calling her a little kid.
    * In elementary school and earlier, when teachers call students' names, boys and girls alike get -chan attached to their names. In late elementary school the boys will start getting -kun. From middle school on boys get -kun and girls get -san. (Not that this matters to you unless you're going to work in a Japanese school.)
    * Other suffixes include -dono ("lord") which is used only in very formal settings (speeches, award ceremonies) and in formal letters; and also nothing at all. If you call someone by their name along it's called yobisute ("throwing the name away") and you only do it if you're ranked much higher than the person, and even then only if you're unhappy with him or her. A boss yelling out "Suzuki!" across an office is a sign that Suzuki-kun messed up.

    2. When using the particles "wa" and "o", both seem to point to the topic or direct object of the sentence. When do I know which to use?

    It's not really possible to talk about Japanese grammar with English grammatical terms. In general, though, "o" is an object marker and "wa" is a topic/subject marker. In a simple sentence like "watashi wa ringo o taberu" the "wa" marks the subject (I) and the "o" marks the object (the apple I'm eating). "Topic marker" means that the "wa" can be used like this: "Ashita wa Shinjuku e ikimasu." There is no subject in this sentence--it's implied by context (probably "I'm going to Shinjuku tomorrow") and the "wa" marks the topic of the sentence; the thing you want your listener to keep in mind as you present the information. I'm talking about tomorrow. I will go to Shinjuku. It's all very complex and if you're desperately interested I can dig up hundreds of pages of linguistic research on particles in Japanese, but like I said before in another thread (to you, I think) most of the time you're safe leaving particles out of your speech if you just want to get the point across. "Ashita, Shinjuku ikimasu" will be understood by every Japanese person who hears it.

    3. When hearing Japanese, I've often heard questions asked without the "ka" at the end. Is there a reason for this?

    Just people being casual. You can do the same thing in English: Rather than say "Are you going out tonight?" you can just say "Going out tonight?" with a rising intonation at the end of the phrase. Sometimes queries are marked with a final "no" instead of a "ka": "Osake o nomu no?" (Are you going to drink sake?) Note that this "no" is only used with the root form of verbs and never the -masu form. "Iku no?" is the casual form of "ikimasu ka?"

    Hope that helps . . . I might have some links to online lessons that could be easier to use than this forum. I'll look for them later. :)
     
  13. Kung Poo

    Kung Poo IncGamers Member

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    Hot damn, you know your stuff. That helped a lot.

    So, if I have a friend (not close, just a casual friend), then he/she'd be "kun", whereas if they were close, they'd be "chan". So, for instance, my fiance, Hori (Holly), would be Hori-chan? Or would it be Ho-chan, since I've seen the last syllable taken out on your example? In the same context, my name to her, Masharu (Marshall) would be Masharu-chan, or Masha-chan/Ma-chan??

    As for the particle issue, I'm glad the Japanese are flexible in their everyday speech. It's comforting to know they won't think I'm an imbecile if I screw up or just plain leave out a particle or two.

    Arigato gozaimasu, Durf-san!!
     
  14. DurfBarian

    DurfBarian IncGamers Member

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    I don't thionk Hori would get shortened. Hori-chan and Ma-chan are the cutesy ways to go. :)

    Re the casual friend, it depends mostly on the context. If you're talking in front of a lot of people in a business setting, I'd refer to him as -san, and if it was just the two of you talking, I would go with -san ordinarily or -kun if you were the older or otherwise socially superior one.
     
  15. Kung Poo

    Kung Poo IncGamers Member

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    *bumpity bump* New question!

    When counting, I've noticed that several numbers have more than one word. For example, 4 could be "yon" or "shi", and 7 could be "shichi" or "nana". When do I know when to use which word?

    Also, in pronunciation, I've heard several ways that things are said, and I wondered if they mean anything, or if they're just dialects. For example, when I say "arigato gozaimasu", I say it phonetically as "aree-gato go-za-yee-mass", yet I've heard some say it as "aree-gato go-za-yee-ma-say". Same goes for leaving or keeping the "u" at the end of "desu" or "masu". Care to enlighten me on that?

    I know I'm asking a bunch here, but I really do want to understand this stuff better. Thanks again for all your help.

    ~K_P
     
  16. Kung Poo

    Kung Poo IncGamers Member

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    Boy, this thread slid straight down the chute in one little day. *BUMP*
     
  17. dizzle

    dizzle IncGamers Member

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    The way that my japanese teacher taught it to me is that you use "shi" only when you're talking about the cardinal numbers, i.e. numbers without suffixes. Supposedly it's because "shi" is a homonym of "death," which is true, but I take everything she says with a grain of salt. In practice, I just always use "yon" and only use "shi" if i'm talking about numbers in abstraction, like math. Shichi/nana is a little more difficult. I hear nana coming up with a bit more frequency, like "nana-juu-go-fun" (75 minutes), but I always just use shichi and get corrected on the off chance that I'm wrong.

    If your textbook romanizes "i" as "yee," then tell it that it's dumb. It looks silly, and misrepresents the sound, which is more like "ee." I have also occasionally run across "gozaimase," and I imagine that it's just a less formal way of saying things. Like ganbatte/ganbare (do your best).

    1,2,3, edit: By the way, if Durf or anyone else can answer this I'd be much obliged. I know that Hone Sundan means bone breaker, but what of Kuko Shakaku, Buriza Do-Kya-Non, and is The General's Tan Do Li Ga even in Japanese?
     
  18. DurfBarian

    DurfBarian IncGamers Member

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    When counting, I've noticed that several numbers have more than one word. For example, 4 could be "yon" or "shi", and 7 could be "shichi" or "nana". When do I know when to use which word?

    They're largely interchangeable. There are some spots where you will always hear one (shi-jû-ku-nichi, the Buddhist ceremony held 49 days after a person's death, for instance) but in general you're safe using yo/yon and nana for most things. Keep it simple!

    Also, in pronunciation, I've heard several ways that things are said, and I wondered if they mean anything, or if they're just dialects. For example, when I say "arigato gozaimasu", I say it phonetically as "aree-gato go-za-yee-mass", yet I've heard some say it as "aree-gato go-za-yee-ma-say". Same goes for leaving or keeping the "u" at the end of "desu" or "masu". Care to enlighten me on that?

    Mostly a question of personal pronunciation, and maybe dialect. In general you should leave the "u" sound off the end of words like that and stick with the "-mass" and "-dess" sounds. I don't think you want to give that much separate stress to the "i" in the word, like you seem to be doing with your "yee" there. A-ri-ga-tô is four syllables, but go-zai-mass (three syllables) is the usual pronunciation there. ("-say" or "-se" at the end of a gozaimasu is just plain wrong.)

    I know that Hone Sundan means bone breaker, but what of Kuko Shakaku, Buriza Do-Kya-Non, and is The General's Tan Do Li Ga even in Japanese?

    Burizâdo Kyanon = "the Blizzard Cannon"
    Kuko Shakaku = not sure . . . it sounds like it might be made from characters that might mean things like "horn of shooting emptiness" but my guess it the Blizzard people used some really crappy dictionaries and just made things up that sounded kind of cool.
    Tan Do Li Ga = sounds like Chinese to me. Not sure what those four characters might be, though.

    Here's a big page of slang and official game-related terms in Japanese. Kind of interesting to see what Japanese players say instead of "gimme shako u nub":

    http://www.spacelan.ne.jp/~yyoshimoto/d2words.htm

    I liked learning that Hephasto is called simply buta, or "pig." :D
     
  19. Kung Poo

    Kung Poo IncGamers Member

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    Another question, if I may. I've started getting together a bare-bones plan on visiting Japan in the not-so-distant future (next year, perhaps), and there are a few things bothering me.

    The first, and most important, is my allergy to all fish. Yep, if I eat any, my throat swells and it's quite hard to breathe. However, that's a staple food in nihon. Can I survive a visit there for, say, a week without eating fish? Is it considered disrespectful at all? I know they have soups and such (miso, ramen, etc.), but I dunno if I can survive a week on nothing but carbs. Also, if I decide to stay at a ryokan or some sort of bed/breakfast, I'm sure they'll try and feed me fishy creatures... what do I do?

    Secondly, the toilet situation. After some reading up on etiquette and daily life, I've discovered the horror of Japanese toilets. From what I understand, they're hooded... squatting holes, yes? Erm... is there any way around this, or is it just something I have to deal with? I also read some places don't have toilet paper. WTF!? Me = spoiled American, apparently...

    I can't think of anything else at this point, but I'd be quite appreciative of any info you can provide. Arigato gozaimasu!

    ~K_P
     
  20. DurfBarian

    DurfBarian IncGamers Member

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    Toilets: Nothing to worry about, really. If you go to an out-of-the-way area or stay in a really old, really cheap inn, you might come across a squat pot, but Western toilets are common nowadays. (Some public toilets, especially in parks and train stations, lack toilet paper, so having a little packet of tissue is a good idea. Most toilets in department stores and restaurants have paper though.)

    Fish: You might be in trouble. There is nonfish food out there, but even the stuff you named--miso soup and ramen--is made with dashi, broth made from shaved dried bonito. There are places for you to get a meal--fast food joints should be more or less safe, and you'll be fine with things like tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet) and other meats. But I'm afraid you're going to need to give up on a lot of dining experiences if your reaction is that strong, because there's dashi in a whole lot of dishes. Some phrases for you:
    "Dashi wa haitte imasu ka?" Is there dashi in this?
    "Sumimasen, sakana wa dame desu." Sorry, I can't eat fish.
    "Arerugi- desu." I have an allergy.
     

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