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learning nihongo..is it worth it?





vanille
I'm about to start taking Japanese lessons because I'm interested in visiting/living/working in Japan (TOKYO! buwahahaha oh the expensiveness) but now I realize that it's going to be extremely difficult because there are three different writing systems I have to memorize along with grammar lessons. Maybe I should just stick to the subtitles in animes? Plus, Japan is generally an expensive place. Razz What do you think?
Aiz
Being a Japanese major, I guess I should say...something.

The 3 writing "systems" are not exactly that, but rather think of it as 3 different sets of alphabets, the biggest set being kanji of course. The hiragana and katakana are not that hard at all, it's the kanji that throws most people off. Being Chinese, I can't say much about that though... But, it actually is not that hard to memorize the kanas if you try to use what you've just learned to write. After a while, writing and reading in them become as natural as English ABCs. Personally, the hardest things about Japanese are the grammar and the different level of politeness and the different versions of the same word to be used in different circumstances.

About the expensive living cost issue, I spoke to one of my Japanese instructors about that, and this is what she told me. She said that usually it's the major urban cities that are expensive (top of the list is Tokyo of course), but in more rural places, like where she's from, it isn't that expensive at all.

So, living cost isn't too important unless you are an urban lover o.o;.

You might just take one course in Japanese to start with and if you like how it is, you can continue onto harder ones; or if you really, after having spent a while learning it, decided it's not for you, it would not be too late to decide to give it up then.
vanille
Thanks for the tip. ^_^ You speak Japanese?
matto
One big suggestion I would have you consider is to do a little culture imersion early in your studies. You sound like someone who’s not very familure with japanese culture so something like a 6 month exchange program would be a great opportunity to immerse. (You may find that you miss your private baths or shooting off your gun…)

Afterwords you may decide that you want to live out the majority of your life there and that you’ve found very attractive company to share your baths with, or…

Well, there’s always a need for a translater here in the states and hey, what's six months of your life worth right now anyways... Live it up!

--matto
McDucque
I've tried both trying to teach myself and taking a course, and self-teaching japanese is nearly impossible, at least for me it was.

Its a fun language to learn.
bickers
I took one semester's worth of Japanese, and I must say that I had much more fun than I ever did when I took Spanish. Learning the hiragana and katana was really fun for some reason... probably helped that writing totally unfamiliar symbols seemed more pleasing than just using characters found in English.
reddishblue
Japanese is not an easy language, and self learning it is near impossible, but if you enroll into a class you may have some success.
I have been learning for two years now, I can't say I am very good, but I know Hiragana (used for the writing of Japanese words) and Katakana (used for the writing of words from other languages in Japanese) and each have around 48 characters.

I will never understand why they insist on making things hard on themselves, but of course, those two alphabets wouldn't be TOTAL overkill, they also have Kanji, which according to my teacher, has around 50,000 characters, made for words to be written with one picture that often vaguely resembles the item it describes.

But, if you want to get into industries like game design, and technology in general, it's worth learning, even if you are not actually going to live in Japan. Also, if you like anime you can finally watch without subtitles and you can import games from Japan before they come out, and finally, you can make yourself look cool in front of your friends, who will worship you for knowing such a great language.

So enroll now, you won't regret it, hopefully!

Reddish

Also, this is my one thousandth post. Woot!
gorn
reddishblue wrote:
I will never understand why they insist on making things hard on themselves, but of course, those two alphabets wouldn't be TOTAL overkill, they also have Kanji, which according to my teacher, has around 50,000 characters, made for words to be written with one picture that often vaguely resembles the item it describes.



When I first was learning about the different alphabet systems I was thinking it sounds overly complicated but it's actually implemented really well. If you're reading hirogana it's all pretty straight forward to pronounce (yeah ha versus wa and dropping the u on "su" but it's much less weird than English). Then if it's katakana it looks VERY different, so right away you know it's foriegn. But it can still be sounded out the same way. For me this is nice because if I sound out a hirogana word I don't try to associate it with an english word. But if I sound out a katakana word and it sounds like english then I know it is whatever word it sounds like. I suppose Kanji might be "unneeded" but it has its benefits too. Look at english where we say: 1, 1st, 100, 1.0.0. That's all symbols representing different words, but the symbols always have the same meaning. It's easier to write it that way than: one, first, one hundred, one point zero point zero. And it's more clear at a glance what you mean. But it does require knowing the symbols.
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