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WizzyWednesday 29th of June 2005 06:37:26 PM
Learning to Write/Speak/use on XP - so I'm just starting to learn Japanese. Why? Because for some reason Japanese culture is very amazing to me. From the food, to the language, to the customs, to the history. It's got such a beautiful, rich history. I come from Canada... despite how great the country I live in is, and what a great life it gave me - its history is rather boring, and doesn't go back very far. anyway, that's not the point.

I'm just starting to speak Japanese. I have a friend, who I don't see too often, who is Japanese. He has come over here to get his teaching degree and will be going back with his wife and son. So he would help me a bit if I need it.

I'm wondering about writing - I had never thought to try it because it just looks so damn hard - and there appear to be 3 different ways to do it. So my question is - which do I learn? It seems this Kenji or Kanji (sp) is the most popular.

I'm also wondering how I can enable Japanese text on my computer - I'm trying to do it right now by myself, but if it doesn't work then some tips would be nice :)

anyway, just saying hi - and asking a question or two.


DaanWednesday 29th of June 2005 07:35:51 PM
- I don't study Japanese (although I have started it a looong time ago, but quitted equally as long ago). However, you can switch on support for typing Japanese characters in XP by going to the Configuration Panel, clicking Country Setup/Localization (or something, I use the Dutch version) and select "Enable Support for East-Asian Languages". Windows will have to reboot and from then on, you will be able to change between English input and Japanese input using the Language-thingie in your taskbar.

You can also consider downloading www.njstar.com's software, which is great for typing in Japanese/Chinese and includes a dictionary. It is free of charge and the demo version works until doomsday, even though the site mentions that it will only function for 30 days.

Hope this helps :)
DuffieWednesday 29th of June 2005 10:34:48 PM
- Daan's got it.

All three writing systems are used.

Hiragana for smaller words - kind of hard to describe. I see it a lot in Adjective usage.
Katakana for foreign, imported words (i.e. England, America, Computer)
Kanji make up a few thousand words, built of assorted "radicals" or shapes. Most children learn Hiragana and Katakana first, but since those two do not describe where to put the accent, Kanji is used primarily.

Example:
If you wrote "Chopsticks", "Bridge" and "Edge" in Hiragana, you would get all the same thing - はち, or Hachi. That doesn't give you any indication where to put the accent. Kanji are used because they sum it all together and still describe the object enough to understand where to put the emphasis.

Another example of shortening -
The pronoun "I" is わたし in Hiragana, but in Kanji it is 私. A little shorter to write, and, just in case there was another word that spelled わたし, 私 tells you that it's "I" because it tells where to put the emphasis.


Yes, kind of confusing, but as you coast into more Japanese usage, you'll find it to be logical.
PsyThursday 30th of June 2005 03:31:01 AM
- I don't suppose you're reading Japanese Step by Step by Gene Nishi?

Have to make some corrections here. chopsticks/bridge/edge are 箸/橋/端, respectively, but they are はし, hashi not hachi. Secondly, 私 can be pronounced わたし, あたし and わたくし (watashi, atashi and watakushi), so the pronunciation isn't always made clear by the given character.