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Should you learn Japanese? You tell me.
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M / USA
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Posted 12/30/13
I understand where a lot of people are coming from as I've read every comment up to here, some being walls of texts but I find it interesting to see determination in people and everyone's varying positions. Because I'm a realist, I look towards the future and what needs to be done and how to succeed. Ask yourself,what do you plan on doing later on? Where will you be in life? Will this help me pay bills or put food on the table? If you are success, you have time for the fun things, considering if you will still watch anime when you're 30 I promote learning a new language entirely and enjoying it certainly makes the learning process easier, but what I want people to get out of it is "...either bake the cake or do not." Time spent is time you don't get back. But then again, if you enjoy doing something, it's time well spent. I'm not telling you what you should do, I simply want your stance because I find it interesting. Thanks!
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M / Southern California
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Posted 12/30/13
I would. I speak Spanish and English, already. Why not another language?
37906 cr points
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Posted 12/30/13 , edited 12/30/13
Well, lucky for me, I'm that super-Japanese looking guy they talked about.

Also, some points were super exaggerated. They take six years of English, but think about those three years of Spanish or French everyone takes in High school. No one really knows it very well, unless they took an interest in it.
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20 / M
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Posted 12/30/13
If you are planning on living in Japan then you should without a doubt learn the language, simply because it would be a respectful thing to do, but if you try to learn the language just because of anime then its kinda pointless.
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24 / M / CA
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Posted 12/30/13
I took up to japanese 3 at my school. Got an A in all of them and decided to quit learning. The problem is kanji. You learn katakana and hiragana and you think you know something. Then you find out you need to learn over 3,000 different kanji, some with over 20 different meanings. It takes way too much time. So many people have told me Japanese is easy and I will never trust them again. I think it is probably the hardest language ever.

If I did have my whole life to devote to it though, I think it would be worth it. Almost everything I watch and play is in Japanese so it would be nice to be able to read it. If anyone is only interested in a little Japanese, they should learn katakana. Things written in katakana are usually just English(but sometimes German or something else) so you will be able to understand a lot. Most games put the menus all in katakana. Pretty much all you need to know for fighting games and helps a lot in other kinds.
22083 cr points
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Posted 12/30/13 , edited 12/30/13
I think its great to learn new languages. I had taken 4 years of Japanese 2 in high school 2 in college. I got to the point I could hold a conversation, but I eventually quit for reasons. I can not speak it well anymore but when spoken to I can understand. I think the reason for that is because I live in Hawaii and 75% of the population here is Japanese. I honestly wish I kept up with it but things in life happen. Very interesting article. It also pointed out the facts that learning Japanese is difficult. People think its easy but in reality its not. Almost every region has a different idiolect. I learned this when I went to Tokyo. I thought if I could speak Japanese here and people get it then heck I could speak it anywhere in Japan. Not in Hokkiado. Just because of their region they had a hard accent which made them pronounce words differently they couldn't understand me nor could I understand them. Same when I went to Okinawa. So if you want to study any foreign language I suggest to do it in their culture if you can. If not find someone with the native language to learn from. Also don't forget what they teach you in school and in books is formal speaking so people might not get what your say or laugh at you for being to polite.
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Posted 12/30/13

senel_coolidge wrote:

I took up to japanese 3 at my school. Got an A in all of them and decided to quit learning. The problem is kanji. You learn katakana and hiragana and you think you know something. Then you find out you need to learn over 3,000 different kanji, some with over 20 different meanings. It takes way too much time. So many people have told me Japanese is easy and I will never trust them again. I think it is probably the hardest language ever.

If I did have my whole life to devote to it though, I think it would be worth it. Almost everything I watch and play is in Japanese so it would be nice to be able to read it. If anyone is only interested in a little Japanese, they should learn katakana. Things written in katakana are usually just English(but sometimes German or something else) so you will be able to understand a lot. Most games put the menus all in katakana. Pretty much all you need to know for fighting games and helps a lot in other kinds.


Some kanji do have lots of meanings and readings, but only a few (like, four to ten) have a lot (like twelve) of readings. The meanings for the most part can be fairly generalized, and most of the Jouyou kanji have one on and one kun reading. Some, maybe one or two more. It's not that difficult as it seems in the beginning when first faced with it. The more you learn, the easier it gets.
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Posted 12/30/13

senel_coolidge wrote:

I took up to japanese 3 at my school. Got an A in all of them and decided to quit learning. The problem is kanji. You learn katakana and hiragana and you think you know something. Then you find out you need to learn over 3,000 different kanji, some with over 20 different meanings. It takes way too much time. So many people have told me Japanese is easy and I will never trust them again. I think it is probably the hardest language ever.

If I did have my whole life to devote to it though, I think it would be worth it. Almost everything I watch and play is in Japanese so it would be nice to be able to read it. If anyone is only interested in a little Japanese, they should learn katakana. Things written in katakana are usually just English(but sometimes German or something else) so you will be able to understand a lot. Most games put the menus all in katakana. Pretty much all you need to know for fighting games and helps a lot in other kinds.


Learning Kanji to me was fun but what got me is just to read the average Japanese news paper you need to know more then 10,000 kanji that's when I was like umm... yeah if I grew up there
JuJu26 
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23 / M / U.S.A.
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Posted 12/30/13
After I learn spanish, I might take it on.
anamal 
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29 / F / Long Beach CA
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Posted 12/30/13
Totally took a semester of Japanese already and loved it, although I haven't had the opportunity to speak it with anyone afterwards and therefore lost half of what I learned but I plan on going to Japan within the next 2 years so I'm willing to Rosetta stone it and relearn before I go:) I think it's worth it especially with the amount of anime I watch I like the idea that sometimes I don't even have to look at the subtitles to understand what I am watching!
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30 / M / NC USA
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Posted 12/30/13 , edited 12/30/13
Frankly, that article is a joke. Take a quick look at his site and other posts and you will quickly realize this person's approach to Japan and its culture. In a word, Jaded.

I started learning Japanese in middle school along with German, French, and Spanish. Japanese is the culture and the language that stuck with me.

Starting with Hiragana and simple phrases. Moving on to Katakana in short order. Continuing that through High school with increasing levels of difficulty through conversation and Kanji.

Given the stark difference in the Japanese "alphabets" the initial steps can be challenging. Kanji is a life long battle. I think most people don't realize how long it takes Japanese people to learn Kanji! Seriously, there are everyday Kanji, and then there are academic Kanji.

Also, there is nothing sweeter than being able to understand someone when they think you can't. I recommend always hiding the fact that you can understand them. I nearly floored an older Japanese man in Vienna when I started giving him directions after overhearing their conversation.

I'm not fluent, but I'm comfortable going anywhere in Japan. Not even taking the language into account, some of the accents are an interesting challenge.


tl;dr

forget that guy. Do what you want. Japanese is an interesting language that is heavily entwined with the culture it represents. You can learn, and yes it will take time.


Happy to offer words of encouragement to any one out there. Don't make your life harder than it needs to be.
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21 / F / United States
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Posted 12/30/13
Learning other languages is an important part of life, in my opinion. Japanese may seem like an odd choice if one lives in an area where Japanese is rarely spoken, but it's honestly enriching to learn about other cultures and to try to learn to communicate with others. If you know English, chances are you will be able to find someone who knows a bit of English on your travels, because it is spoken all over the world. Why not other languages? Being bilingual or multilingual is, essentially, making yourself more available to other people. The thing about Japanese is that so often, people try to self-teach themselves the language; you can make leaps and bounds on your own, but if you don't have help, it can be difficult. Some people soak up languages like a sponge, others do not. I took two years of Spanish in high school, but understand it quite well because I spent a large portion of my childhood in southern California, where Spanish is spoken regularly, as it has a high population of Hispanic/Spanish-speaking families. However, I cannot speak it. I can read and write it, so there's obviously a barrier there. I feel like Japanese would end up the same way; you can learn to read/write a language through articles/study, but speaking is an entirely different conquest.

That article was interesting, though jaded. If someone wishes to attempt to learn a language, it absolutely is worth it. It isn't pointless study; language is one of the most important parts of being human.
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25 / M
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Posted 12/30/13
I've been learning Japanese for about three years now, and I've actually found it quite satisfying. It's nice being able to play the good games and read the good books that either never make it out of Japan or get horribly butchered in translation. And it can really be an ego booster when you've learned just enough Japanese to catch errors made by professional translators in subtitled anime (although alternatively, it can be kind of depressing).

About Kanji: it's true that you need to learn roughly 3000 kanji to truly be proficient in Japanese. But it isn't as bad as it sounds. You just need to start learning them right after you finish memorizing the hiragana and katakana; do NOT put them off until later. Sure it takes time, but it's already a given that learning a new language will take a lot of time. Say for example, you memorize 5 new kanji every day (which is entirely realistic; there were times when I was memorizing ten new kanji every day), then that means you'll learn 3000 kanji in about two years. Which is entirely reasonable for learning a language.

One thing I have a hard time believing in that article is the claim about people quitting after one and a half years. If you go that long and then quit, then you were never seriously studying it to begin with. Serious study for a year and a half will give you enough proficiency to read things like manga, and from there on learning becomes a lot easier.

The key is commitment. If you want to study the language, you absolutely must, without exception, commit at least a few minutes every day. It starts off difficult, and then it gets harder. But at a certain point, when you start to understand the rules of the language and become able to recognize patterns, it gets much, much easier. As long as you put in the time.
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19 / M / The Sarlacc Pit
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Posted 12/30/13
I entertain the idea of learning Japanese to fluency, but to be honest, I don't think I need to.

I mean, I have heard too many horror-stories of xenophobia in Japan to really consider a trip, and if I did go, no one there wants/needs me to know it.

I might as well just learn something that sounds cooler.

Maybe German. I spraken du deutch? Ja?
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