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Thread: Learning an oriental language - need help!

  1. #11
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bae View Post
    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.
    This is my experience as well. I actually took two classes (at work) in Japanese and found it very different from English. The alphabet, sentence syntax, the whole relative-pronoun thing (often the difference between singular and plural is determined by conversational context; there's the ways of numbering items based on their shape [flat, cylindrical, etc.]), and more.

    Fortunately, basic Japanese follows a fairly consistent form, so if you learn how to ask where the JR station is, you also know how to ask for the post office, the sushi-ya, etc. We got along decently in Japan (three visits) making a little effort to find English-language subway maps, staying at hotels at which English was spoken, and learning a few key phrases ("Sumimasen!" "Excuse me!"). We got lost a few times and, as long as we could point to the address or the name of the place we wanted (in Japanese) people were very happy to help. Doesn't hurt to learn a few social customs, either, like using both hands to hand something to someone (or receive an item from someone) or finding out how to say "That was delicious" after omakase.

    (can you tell going back to Japan is my bucket-list trip?)
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  2. #12
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    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
    Razz: That was the only reason to bring it up. You clearly aren't a bigot and we wouldn't want to see you unintentionally give offense. Isn't that what friends are for?

  3. #13
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    Has anyone studied Yiddish? I have an opposite concern. I took German classes before. Would the languages be so similar that I would confuse the two?

  4. #14
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I can't address the Yiddish/German thing, but I studied Spanish and Italian, and only rarely got them mixed up. In fact, I had four distinct language classes in a row on a daily basis and was able to switch pretty readily.

  5. #15
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    Good to know Jane.

  6. #16
    Senior Member bae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yppej View Post
    Has anyone studied Yiddish? I have an opposite concern. I took German classes before. Would the languages be so similar that I would confuse the two?
    I don't think so - I know several Germanic languages, and it has only been helpful to have more, not terribly confusing at all.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosarugosa View Post
    Razz: That was the only reason to bring it up. You clearly aren't a bigot and we wouldn't want to see you unintentionally give offense. Isn't that what friends are for?
    I was not offended!
    “I came from a real tough neighborhood. I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand." -- Rodney Dangerfield

  8. #18
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    Years ago, I learned a very few things from Shogun. Later, I inherited some stuff, which included WWII Japanese phrasebooks, which taught me some more. While those might not be so appropriate now, I wonder if there are still any government surplus book stores that might have guides and such, like we used to have around here?
    That said, if I really wanted to learn it, there are a few people I know that could teach me (Japanese chef, his ex wife who has had a crush on me, friend that was a consulate driver and raised by a neighbor as his mother wanted him to learn good English). I've been told that women teach it more and there are subtle difference between the way a man and a woman might say something.

    But speaking it and learning to read it, are very different things.

  9. #19
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToomuchStuff View Post
    But speaking it and learning to read it, are very different things.
    Indeed. I can read Japanese (somewhat sorta) in Romaji but can only differentiate kana characters in written Japanese. But I think many people find it easier to be functional speaking a language than reading and writing in it.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  10. #20
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaneV2.0 View Post
    I can't address the Yiddish/German thing, but I studied Spanish and Italian, and only rarely got them mixed up. In fact, I had four distinct language classes in a row on a daily basis and was able to switch pretty readily.
    In high school my geology class took a road trip to mexico for spring break. One of my fellow students spoke pretty good Italian. She could understand the Spanish spoken to her pretty well, but was often not understood when she tried to respond with Italian.

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