Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Introduction to learning the Japanese language

Here is a web site explaining how different the Japanese language is from other languages, like English.

'Fascinating language of one of the world's largest economy and the best path into an utterly refined an complex culture. Japanese is a very difficult language to read and write, but it is very rewarding and can be put to many cultural and professional uses.'

They give the highest score for its difficulty to the Japanese language. I am proud of my command of this complicated language.

In this page, you can partly get why English spoken by Japanese people is often difficult to understand, in terms of their pronunciation. For example:

'Japanese pronunciation is dead easy, all the sounds are perfectly natural for the native English speaker, the only new sound is the Japanese R which is nothing like an English R and involves tapping your tongue just behind your teeth, similar to the English L.'

It is very difficult for many Japanese to differently pronounce L and R. Examples are:

long - wrong
lock - rock

Other typical confusions are:

shit - sit
very - bury

For those who are highly interested now, I present below a table of Japanese alphabets (obtained here). Be careful. We also use Chinese letters very often, and just learning the Japanese alphabets will not give you sufficient command of the Japanese language.

'Japanese, like Korean, borrowed most of its Kanjis (characters) from Chinese. This is good news if you already speak Chinese since the vast majority of characters are very similar or exactly the same in both languages. Furthermore, they are often pronounced in not totally different ways, which considerably helps when learning new vocabulary.'

I hope this is good news to you!