Japanese Challenge: Update


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Charlette wrote a little write-up at the end of our Japanese Challenge. Moreover, she had a go at writing something about herself in Japanese. There may be mistakes. Check it out:

And so, our time as language geeks with nothing better to do with our lives than learn a language in a week draws to a close. Was it worth the sleepless nights on the floor, the exudation of highly aromatic body odour, the often-heated fallouts over grammar rules? Tuesday marked the day of the assessment. Despite our exhaustion from last-minute cramming, we made a heroic effort to impress. Little did we know the assessment was actually designed for children Japanese-speakers, so criteria such as “our ability to form friendships with other children” could be disregarded as irrelevant (and we would probably have failed that part anyway). In the end, we were awarded the title of “questioning communicators”.

Here’s her Japanese text:

Ohayou gozaimasu. Watashi no namae wa Charlette desu. Igirisu-jin desu. Sukottorando no shuto ni sunde imasu. Ni juu san sai desu. Daigakusei de gengogaku o benkyou shite imasu.  Watashi to watashi no tomodachi no Mirjam chan wa charenji ga suki desu kara, konshuu nihongo o naratte imashita. Senshuu takusan no gengo o hanasemasu otoko futari ni tsuite no bideo o mimashita. Watashitachi wa totemo kurashikatta. Konshuu wa taihen deshita kedo, nihongo wa omoshiro kutte demo muzukashii desu. Watashitachi no sensei no Noriko ga oshiete ni kimashita.

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4 Responses to Japanese Challenge: Update

  1. Congratulations! Your Japanese text looks pretty good. Well done.

    I dunno if you want corrections but:

    “Watashi to watashi no tomodachi no…” is technically okay, but it is better to elide “watashi no”, as it will be implied. Japanese people tend to avoid referring to themselves whenever possible, and one of the stereotypes Japanese hold of Westerners when they speak Japanese is that they use “watashi” all the time, as if they always want to draw attention to themselves.

    “Senshuu takusan no gengo o hanasemasu otoko futari ni tsuite no bideo o mimashita.” This means, “Last week, I watched a video about two men who can speak many languages.” Not sure if you intended that. In any case, it is better to write, “…hanaseru futari no otoko”. Using the -masu form of a verb when it modifies a noun phrase is technically okay, but comes across as a form of hyper-politeness.

    “Watashitachi wa totemo kurashikatta.” “Kurashii” takes as subject the thing that was difficult, not the person who feels it, so it is better to say, “(Benkyou wa) Totemo kurashikatta.”

    “nihongo wa omoshiro kutte demo muzukashii desu” This should be “nihongo wa omoshirokatta kedo muzukashii desu.” Maybe you were thinking of “omoshirokute” (one T), which is the gerund form of “omoshiroi”. (Also you probably would want this in present tense — “omoshiroi” — anyway, because Japanese presumably remains interesting even when you are done studying it.) “Kedo” means “but”; “de mo” also means “but”, but you can only use “de mo” that way at the beginning of a sentence.

    “Noriko” should be “Noriko-sensei” or “Noriko-san” because, as you’ve probably been told, it sounds rude to refer to someone you are not extremely close to without using some kind of suffix.

    Lastly, “oshiete ni kimashita” should be “oshie ni kimashita”, but I doubt you learned this form.

    • Mirjam says:

      Thank you very much, Frank. We’ll discuss your suggestions in our weekly “nihon-go no kurubu” (Japanese Club :-)), which we’ve set up to keep it going…

  2. Dear Mirjam-san:

    Since you are a German-English interpreter who is studying Japanese (and who subscribed to my silly blog), I wonder what you might think about my theory: https://patenttranslator.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/no-doubt-about-it-the-japanese-are-a-long-lost-germanic-tribe-2/

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