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Thread: Learning an oriental language - need help!

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Learning an Asian language - need help!

    For my upcoming trip to Japan later this fall, I thought that I would learn some key phrases. I am using Duolingo which is great in its approach. I had no idea how different Japanese would be. Has anyone any hints that might help as the sounds as well as the script are so new to me?

    Is this language set up the same way as Romance languages? Perhaps Bae with the Nordic influence might have some insights.
    Help!
    Last edited by razz; 8-11-18 at 8:44pm.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Oriental? In the US that is not PC at all...
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I studied Arabic and found it very different from English or the Romance languages. I really don't have any idea how I got through a year of it, I was such a lazy student.

    I imagine rote learning of a few key sentences will get you through, and your effort will probably be appreciated. Watch a lot of Japanese videos; that should help.

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    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultralight View Post
    Oriental? In the US that is not PC at all...
    I was thinking the same - it is my understanding that "Asian" is appropriate.

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I always thought that the word 'Orient' had a mystic magical image so was shocked to read UL's post. i did a little research. It sounds as though someone made a mountain out of a molehill and passed it into law. There may also be some emotion remaining from the war in Vietnam.
    I am wiser now and actually glad of that information when I am going with a group and would have innocently used the word possibly causing someone some discomfort. Asian it is from now on.

    NOW back to the OP. One site I visited advised - "above all else place the verb at the end if every sentence". i just want some simple phrases including the sounding of the words.

    My Research:
    "From this perspective it all boils down to Eurocentric implications as viewing everything in relation to cultural and historical influence suggesting predominance of the European culture and race.
    Is oriental then simply an issue of racial discrimination? Where people of black origins were referred to as Negro to what is preferred today as African American or Black African? It is fascinating to note that oriental when referred to a certain food, oriental dish or object such as an oriental rug is not considered derogatory as opposed to calling someone, ‘that Oriental man,. The acceptable term used for oriental especially in Northern America is Asian. Asian, meaning: Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Mongols, Vietnamese, Filipinos, Malaysians, Indonesians, and etc.
    Why is oriental offensive? Is it a matter of general opinion where the preference of the majority dictates what is offensive? Does personal opinion no longer count in the general scheme of society? It is interesting to know that the word oriental if spoken in Asia whether being referred to a person or not is not considered offensive at all. I cannot speak for everybody but being an Asian myself with oriental ancestry, the word oriental has never occurred to me as offensive.
    Source:
    https://www.knowswhy.com/why-is-oriental-offensive/

    AND
    It is now politically incorrect to use the word "Oriental," and the admonition has the force of law: President Obama recently signed a bill prohibiting use of the term in all federal documents. Rep. Grace Meng, the New York congresswoman who sponsored the legislation, exulted that "at long last this insulting and outdated term will be gone for good."
    As an Oriental, I am bemused. Apparently Asians are supposed to feel demeaned if someone refers to us as Orientals. But good luck finding a single Asian American who has ever had the word spat at them in anger. ..
    And why should it be? Literally, it means of the Orient or of the East, as opposed to of the Occident or of the West. Last I checked, geographic origin is not a slur. If it were, it would be wrong to label people from Mississippi as Southerners."
    Source: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed...nap-story.html
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    I am pretty good at languages and began learning Spanish in the sixth grade; still intermediately fluent. HOWEVER, I tried to learn Japanese, and it confounded me.
    My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!

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    maybe Asian should be offensive too, I mean isn't that lumping a lot of people from a lot of different countries, that often really didn't like each other very much (neither did Europeans oftentimes), into one category? Oriental does sound archaic to refer to people, but not so much languages.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Merriam-Webster: Definition of oriental
    1 or Oriental : of, relating to, or situated in the orient
    2 or Oriental : of, relating to, or coming from Asia and especially eastern Asia oriental food oriental art —now sometimes considered offensive especially when used to describe a person
    3 Oriental : of, relating to, or constituting the biogeographic region that includes Asia south and southeast of the Himalayas and the Malay Archipelago west of Wallace's line
    4 a : of superior grade, luster, or value
    b : being corundum or sapphire but simulating another gem in color

    My children are Korean and we only used "oriental" to refer to objects - not people. We always referred to people as "Asian" in general, or the specific ethnicity (i.e. Korean) if known.

    Again, that's just how we used it.
    To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. - Anon.

    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. - Dalai Lama

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    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    I speak a moderate amount of Japanese.

    It is not similar to Romance languages (much), but it isn't terribly difficult to learn in an immersive environment, at least to be able to speak at the level of a child or barbarian. The "real" language is quite a bit more nuanced, but you are not generally expected to understand or be able to use the subtleties - for instance, there are ~15 first personal singular pronouns.... It has some really fascinating features.

    I'd think an English speaker with a good ear could become proficient enough to order food/find the restroom/apologize/ask for directions without much trouble. It's the effort of trying that seems to count - pretty much everyone my age or younger in Japan, in the urban areas, speaks much better English than I speak Japanese. The younger folks also seem to be dispensing with much of the overly formal parts of the Japanese language.

    Have fun!

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    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosarugosa View Post
    I was thinking the same - it is my understanding that "Asian" is appropriate.
    Right, like Asian culture, Asian cuisine, Asian rugs.
    I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

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