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Mar. 9th, 2002

Space Imaging photos of the pentagon and the WTC and downtown Manhattan

Translate stuff into Semaphore or Maritime Symbol flags

Space imagery

"The Japanese have what could be called an "interesting" grammatical structure, but could also be called "confusing", "random", "bogus" or "evil". To truly understand this, let's examine the differences between Japanese and English grammar.

English Sentence:
Jane went to the school.

Same Sentence In Japanese:
School Jane To Went Monkey Apple Carbeurator.

Japanese grammer is not for the faint of heart or weak of mind. What's more, the Japanese also do not have any words for "me", "them", "him, or "her" that anyone could use without being incredibly insulting (the Japanese word for "you", for example, when written in kanji, translates to"I hope a monkey scratches your face off"). Because of this, the sentence "He just killed her!" and "I just killed her!" sound exactly the same, meaning that most people in Japan have no idea what is going on around them at any given moment. You are supposed to figure these things out from the "context", which is a German word meaning "you're screwed"."

translate to japanese

I ... I have too much time on my hands apparently.


Mar. 9th, 2002 06:09 am (UTC)
japanese grammar is far easier than any other language i've learnt. it's consistent and logical. also there are words for i, you, he/she that you can use without being insulting...
people tend not to use the words for i very often because it's comes across as superfluosity, but you can use watashi, or blokes can use boku.. and a few others.

for you, he and she it's slightly more complicated. the direct words for these are as you say usually consider far too blunt. what's usually done is they refer the person by their name, or by something else about them - where they are, what they do, their relationship to you, or the people you are talking to... in fact it tends to be far more informative.

yes you do get some things from context, but it's really not so different from english in that. because the language is far more structured, but at the same time you can do a lot more in terms of word order, you get more information than can properly be translated...
Mar. 9th, 2002 08:17 am (UTC)
I really just posted that becuase I thought the guy's writing style was humorous.

Also, keep in mind he was probably adressing Americans, who've had a difficult enough time getting a grasp on their own grammar and usage rules (which isn't too diffucult to imagine given the strangeness of rules. That will happen when you can't decide what your root language is).

I'm glad that Japanese was easy for you... it just doesn't seem to be the general case. I've known a few people who've given it a shot and who just couldn't wrap their brain around it.

Mar. 9th, 2002 09:14 am (UTC)
"I really just posted that becuase I thought the guy's writing style was humorous."
for some reason i thought it was your work. oops too tired.

"I'm glad that Japanese was easy for you... it just doesn't seem to be the general case. I've known a few people who've given it a shot and who just couldn't wrap their brain around it. "
from what i've heard people seem to find learning the written systems difficult, and the politeness systems (which you should only be learning once you already know an awful lot) difficult, but not the basics. i get the feeling it just badly taught, but then i think programming and learning languages are basically the same skill. :-)
Mar. 9th, 2002 11:50 am (UTC)
The feeling I got from my brief attempt to learn it is that it's not so much difficult as just different. The problem is just getting your brain to think in a different way.

I have a very similar issue with trying to play bass. I play guitar, so I know where all the notes are, but the whole purpose of the instrument is different (unless, I suppose, you're John Entwhistle). If someone told me what to play, I could probably do that, but my timing would still be a bit off, and I'd never really figure out anything beyond the simplest bassline by myself. Hopefully some day I'll devote the time to rectify that.

And maybe learn Japanese.
Mar. 9th, 2002 12:04 pm (UTC)
to some extent i can see you point.. i'm not entirely convinced that japanese and english are more different than say ancient greek and english, but i can probably be persuaded.. or maybe they are different in a different sort of way. having found japanese easier to learn than other languages (possibly because it's my most recent language), i'm sort of curious as to just why others find it more difficult.. it's not as if i'm so linguistics genius.
Mar. 9th, 2002 12:59 pm (UTC)
Well, that was kind of my point... It's not a question of "genius", but mindset. Perhaps the way your mind works lends itself to Japanese.

This is very similar to the arguments that come up about programming languages - certain constructions fit the way some people think, but not others.
Mar. 9th, 2002 01:30 pm (UTC)
what you say is probably true, it's just i can't think what differences between japanese and other foreign languages makes it more difficult for most, and easier for me... i've never notice this sort of thing with programming - it's never struck me as complicated enough to bring up the sort of difficulties you get with 'natural' languages.
Mar. 9th, 2002 05:45 pm (UTC)
Clearly you've never been involved in a Perl/Python discussion...
Mar. 9th, 2002 05:52 pm (UTC)
now why would i want to do a thing like that? :-)
Mar. 9th, 2002 09:59 pm (UTC)
I don't know, but in my case, it rarely has anything to do with wanting to... :)


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