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Post Reply Should you learn Japanese? You tell me.
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Posted 12/29/13 , edited 12/29/13
After reading quite the interesting article a few weeks back, it made me think about my efforts in learning a certain foreign language completely unlike my own - Japanese. Japanese is fun, interesting, and new to Westerners. We hear it all the time in the anime we watch and we can go around shouting random foreign words and feel special. "Here's my paper on American history sensei. Dozo." "Sumimasen, watashi need your cookies!" Hell, even shouting coffee (kōhī) in Japanese is fun. But is it worth it? Or are we really determined to learn Japanese as one might think we are? Well, here's an article that might stir a little conflict in the jumble of gray spaghetti in your head. Tell me what you think after you read it!

http://www.japantoday.com/category/opinions/view/why-you-shouldnt-learn-japanese
(Hyper-linked for your convenience)

Note: May 2013 article so it's up to date
Additional Note: I'm not trying to demoralize anyone on learning Japanese or crush any one's dreams so read at your own risk

I hope this thread is in the right spot

Very interesting responses, I shall read them all!!!
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Posted 12/29/13
I would, but my crippling depression prevents me from doing anything remotely productive
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Posted 12/29/13
I'd have to agree pretty much with what the article is. And more. I've been trying to learn as many key phrases in Japanese and reading more than just hiragana. It's been rough, and I started when I was still a pre-teen.

That being said, Japanese isn't the only language I want to learn, and I eventually would like to learn Arabic, Russian, and the rest of the Spanish I should already know. I'd like to one day visit Japan for maybe a few weeks as vacation, but I'm sure with all the English there and How many natives speak English there, I'll bet I could spend those weeks without having to speak Japanese once. I learn it for myself and not so much for anime or any other dumb reason many people seem to do.
Posted 12/29/13
I should. I do have a damn book laying around somewhere for beginner to intermediate Japanese.
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Posted 12/29/13
I will always promote learning something new, especially a new language. There's nothing wrong with learning a language you hear everyday. If you watch anime everyday that is. lol.


I took it in college and loved it. It especially helped that my entire class was into anime like me. Easy "A" baby. Easy.
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Posted 12/29/13

koji8123 wrote:

I'd have to agree pretty much with what the article is. And more. I've been trying to learn as many key phrases in Japanese and reading more than just hiragana. It's been rough, and I started when I was still a pre-teen.

That being said, Japanese isn't the only language I want to learn, and I eventually would like to learn Arabic, Russian, and the rest of the Spanish I should already know. I'd like to one day visit Japan for maybe a few weeks as vacation, but I'm sure with all the English there and How many natives speak English there, I'll bet I could spend those weeks without having to speak Japanese once. I learn it for myself and not so much for anime or any other dumb reason many people seem to do.


Someone I know has been twice, one time to the cities, the other to visit the shrines and country side. He said he got around pretty easily with just English and very basic Japanese. Plus a lot of things were in English already for him. Besides I definitely retain Spanish a lot easier than Japanese and Spanish is more practical. Japanese grammar and writing is tough :/

I don't know how valid this is, but I've heard about Americans going over to Japan and being English teachers with very little qualifications and get by easily. The only reason I'd learn Japanese was if I wanted to study abroad and go to an engineering school in Japan but a lot of those courses are also in English from research I've done xD
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Posted 12/29/13 , edited 12/29/13

millionaire09002 wrote:

I will always promote learning something new, especially a new language. There's nothing wrong with learning a language you hear everyday. If you watch anime everyday that is. lol.


I took it in college and loved it. It especially helped that my entire class was into anime like me. Easy "A" baby. Easy.


Well, Millionaire, I think the point of the article is; You don't actually NEED to learn it. Chances are you aren't going to run into a ton of people in the U.S. That can ONLY speak Japanese. And almost everyone In Japan, if you're ever likely to go, already knows about six years of English, and don't really want you to speak Japanese, in Japan; as a foreigner.


CoffeeGodEddy wrote:


koji8123 wrote:

I'd have to agree pretty much with what the article is. And more. I've been trying to learn as many key phrases in Japanese and reading more than just hiragana. It's been rough, and I started when I was still a pre-teen.

That being said, Japanese isn't the only language I want to learn, and I eventually would like to learn Arabic, Russian, and the rest of the Spanish I should already know. I'd like to one day visit Japan for maybe a few weeks as vacation, but I'm sure with all the English there and How many natives speak English there, I'll bet I could spend those weeks without having to speak Japanese once. I learn it for myself and not so much for anime or any other dumb reason many people seem to do.


Someone I know has been twice, one time to the cities, the other to visit the shrines and country side. He said he got around pretty easily with just English and very basic Japanese. Plus a lot of things were in English already for him. Besides I definitely retain Spanish a lot easier than Japanese and Spanish is more practical. Japanese grammar and writing is tough :/

I don't know how valid this is, but I've heard about Americans going over to Japan and being English teachers with very little qualifications and get by easily. The only reason I'd learn Japanese was if I wanted to study abroad and go to an engineering school in Japan but a lot of those courses are also in English from research I've done xD


Right? A friend of mine wanted to go to Japan and teach English; she told me the qualifications and how even I could do it. It'd be cool, but It's not like I want to stay in Japan permanently. And since Spanish uses Latin as it's basis just like English; I don't find it difficult to believe it's easier for natural-English speakers to retain it. and Japanese grammar set up is pretty complicated. It was made that way so listeners had to listen to everything someone would say before getting the message. Makes it more polite.

All in all, as the article said, It's not a necessary language to learn, I think the reason why most people in the U.S. even bother trying Is they think the following: "Oh I like Anime, but I've caught up on all of it, and the rest of it is just in Japanese with English subs. I think it'd be cool to do it without the subtitles so it doesn't feel like I'm reading more than watching, because hurr-durr I'm lazy, but will spend 20x the effort to learn a new language since I think it sounds cool anyways." then they try but never fully learn it and still end up reading subtitles because they wouldn't understand the anime if they watched it raw. It's a waste of time and personally, I find it annoying when they insert Japanese words into an English conversation, such as "that's so kawaii" as if despite everyone hearing it all the time in animes, we'd think they're cute for using it. I despise it, but that's just my own opinion.

EDIT to avoid double posting.
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Posted 12/29/13
Before I even touch Japanese, German and Russian are my two target of languages worth learning.

RUSSIAN. LOOKS. CHALLENGING. TO. ME.
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Posted 12/29/13
Yeah, while I would love to read the Spice and Wolf or DRRR!! light novels in the original Japanese, it's pretty obvious learning Mandarin or Arabic or Spanish or French would be a better investment of my time. With more than seven times the population of Japan, I'm sure there's loads of amazing Chinese shows to watch and books to read, but unfortunately, I don't know what they are and have never heard any of them or what makes them wonderful, so I don't care about them. That's not me hating them, it's just that I'm not going to have deep emotional connections to titles alone. On the other hand I already know what's really cool about anime and manga. I suppose it's kind of irrelevant, as I'm unlikely to make the time to learn any new languages in depth at this point, except maaaaybe C++ or python at this point.
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Posted 12/29/13

millionaire09002 wrote:

I will always promote learning something new, especially a new language. There's nothing wrong with learning a language you hear everyday. If you watch anime everyday that is. lol.


I took it in college and loved it. It especially helped that my entire class was into anime like me. Easy "A" baby. Easy.


Oh I completely agree about learning something new, but it's not about what you learn, it's about how you use what you learn. Spanish and Chinese have more practical use in our daily lives than Japanese. What's nice about Spanish is the similarities in the other Romance languages (Italian, French, Portuguese) and is like a gateway language. However, I don't know how well Japanese relates to Korean or Chinese. I'm not saying don't learn Japanese, I just want to give another angle at learning Japanese such as there are 3 sides of the coin: the face, the back, and the rim xD
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Posted 12/29/13 , edited 12/29/13

tehbeefer wrote:

Yeah, while I would love to read the Spice and Wolf or DRRR!! light novels in the original Japanese, it's pretty obvious learning Mandarin or Arabic or Spanish or French would be a better investment of my time. With more than seven times the population of Japan, I'm sure there's loads of amazing Chinese shows to watch and books to read, but unfortunately, I don't know what they are and have never heard any of them or what makes them wonderful, so I don't care about them. That's not me hating them, it's just that I'm not going to have deep emotional connections to titles alone. On the other hand I already know what's really cool about anime and manga. I suppose it's kind of irrelevant, as I'm unlikely to make the time to learn any new languages in depth at this point, except maaaaybe C++ or python at this point.


Looove Spice and Wolf... Holo is my dog--err wolf
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Posted 12/29/13

qualeshia3 wrote:

Before I even touch Japanese, German and Russian are my two target of languages worth learning.

RUSSIAN. LOOKS. CHALLENGING. TO. ME.


Russian is VERY challenging. The Cryillic script takes quite a while to fully understand, since B's sounds live v's, E's sounds like Y's and N's sounds like E's. plus there are 33 versus the latin 26 so there's a bit more to it. than learning the phrases with the accent's gets even harder. I've been wanting to become more proficient for a while, but there is only so much I've managed. Good luck.
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Posted 12/29/13
At the spur of the moment i started over 3 yrs ago and still continuing down till this day. Sure, theres no 1 i know who speaks it except the store i occasionally visit lol But I started just to challenge myself, to be unique, escape the drama and from there it went uphill. Learning a new language brings you into a new world and experiences. IIRC, it is or one of the easiest asian languages to learn (pssh score!). So glad I went for it =]
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Posted 12/29/13





My reaction to something in Russian.
I still want to learn the language.
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Posted 12/29/13
Keep in mind there's a HUGE difference in learning to read the language or speaking the language. Learning to speak it isn't as hard as most people think it is. But I would definitely agree that the writing is a nightmare. I find the desire to speak it, and don't really care to learn to read it. Since the language is directly related to something I love (anime), I was able to memorize almost 200 words and form simple sentences in just a couple of weeks. There's nothing wrong with learning it if you enjoy it. Hell, I wasted so much time on learning Spanish in high school, and I have yet to *need* it, it's just nice to have once in awhile.

Any form of learning is self-improvement, which gives confidence. That is something I completely lack. So in my opinion, it isn't about whether you will need the language or whether it's worth it, it's whether you enjoy it or not. Of course, it will probably help motivation-wise to have someone to practice with. I would suppose there are exceptions. Like if you could use a different language instead for your job, or are moving overseas, etc.

Just my thoughts =D
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