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Japanese words and phrases
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Posted 9/5/14 , edited 9/5/14
I just read a closed tread about this and noticed that it had serious flaws, like misunderstanding onii-chan, which doesn't mean brother, but big brother. Same for big sister. For little brothers and sisters you use their name.

So, the question: Is there an easy and correct dictionary anywhere on this site or elsewhere on the Internet?
Posted 9/5/14 , edited 9/5/14
I think that's because there's no English equivalent of "onii" or "onee" since English speaking people don't refer to their siblings as "older brother" or "older sister". The closest equivalent would be "brother"... which English speaking people do use... e.g. "How's it going, brother?"

But the literal meaning of the word is used to refer to someone who is older than you, it doesn't have to be you real older brother or sister. But if you translate it into an English speaking context, it's "brother" at the end of a spoken sentence.

But I could be wrong, linguistics isn't my forte...
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Posted 9/5/14 , edited 9/6/14
An excellent Japanese-English dictionary can be found at http://www.jisho.org
It is based on EDICT, which is data collected by the team of an university professor for many years now (over 20 IIRC).

After you search, checkmark the box that says "Kana as romaji" and search again. That will display the Japanese words using our alphabet. Whenever you are ready to start learning Japanese writing, learn hiragana (almost 50 symbols) and then katakana (almost 50 symbols). You can find these two syllabaries in Wikipedia, and on many sites on the Internet.

When you search, use asterisk to represent a wildcard of zero, one or more characters. For example:
kyou* <--- search for words that begin with kyou
*kyou <--- search for words that end in kyou
*kyou* <--- search for words that contain kyou (or begin or end with)

Note that kyou without asterisk is treated as kyou*
Also, use a question mark to represent exactly one character. For example:
kyou? <--- search for words that begin with kyou and are followed by one Japanese character (which may be more than one of our letters)
kyou?? <--- search for words that begin with kyou and are followed by two Japanese characters
Question marks have been helpful to me before, albeit rarely.

Here are a few words (read "ou" as a longer o):
ohayou <--- Hello, use very early
ohayou gozaimasu <--- More polite version
konnichiwa <--- Hello, use in the morning (not very early) and early afternoon
konbanwa <--- Hello, use in the later afternoon and night
oyasumi <--- Have a good night (when going to sleep)
oyasuminasai <--- More polite version
moushi moushi <--- Hello, use when picking up the phone

youkoso <--- Welcome
mata ne <--- Literally means "again, OK?" Use when saying goodbye to someone you're likely to meet again soon
ja ne <--- Another goodbye
sayounara <--- Another goodbye, more formal

o-jama shimasu <--- When entering someone else's home, sort of like "sorry to intrude"
shitsurei shimasi <--- When leaving a room after talking with other people there, sort of like "I apologize for leaving"
gomennasai <--- Please forgive me (formal)
gomen <--- informal
gomen ne <--- More informal
sumimasen <--- Please excuse me, can also be like "please forgive me" for small things
suman <--- Like sumimasen, but informal
A phrase that ends in kudasai <--- Please...
onegaishimasu <--- Another please, with more weight to it

okaasan <--- Someone else's mother, or "mother" when talking to your mother
haha <--- "My mother" (when talking about your mother to someone else)
otousan <--- Someone else's father, or "father" when talking to your father
chichi <--- "My father" (when talking about your father to someone else)
oniisan <--- Big brother
otouto <--- Little brother
oneesan <--- Big sister
imouto <--- Little sister
ojiisan <--- Grandfather
ojisan <--- Uncle
obaasan <--- Grandmother
obasan <--- Aunt

hito <--- Person
hitobito <--- People
ko / kodomo <--- Child
otoko no hito <--- Man
otoko no ko <--- Boy
danshi <--- Boy
shounen <--- Boy
onna no hito <--- Woman
onna no ko <--- Girl
joshi <--- Girl
shoujo <--- Girl
otome <--- Maiden
akanbou or akachan <--- Baby
tomodachi or otomodachi or yuujin <--- Friend

inu <--- dog
neko <--- cat
tori <--- bird
uma <--- horse
ushi <--- cow/bull
saru <--- monkey
tora <--- tiger
raion <--- lion
shishi <--- lion (less commonly used, do not confuse with shichi (= 7) or chichi (= my father))
mimizu <--- worm
hebi or kuchinawa <--- snake

akai <--- red (adjective)
aka <--- red (noun)
aoi <--- blue (adj)
ao <--- blue (noun), can be used for green light in a traffic light
ki iro <--- yellow
cha iro <--- brown
mizu iro <--- cyan (literally "color of water")
murasaki <--- purple
midori iro <--- green
orenji or daidai <--- orange
hai iro <--- gray (literally "ash color")
shiroi <--- white (adjective)
shiro <--- white (noun)
kuroi <--- black (adjective)
kuro <--- black (noun)
pinku <--- pink
momo iro <--- pink

hayai <--- fast or early
osoi <--- slow or late
ookii or ookina <--- big
chiisai or chiisana <--- small
atsui <--- hot
atatakai or attakai <--- warm
suzushii <--- fresh (temperature)
tsumetai <--- cold (thing)
samui <--- cold (environment)

Numbers:
1 ichi
2 ni
3 san
4 yon or shi
5 go
6 roku
7 shichi or nana
8 hachi
9 kyuu or ku
10 juu
100 hyaku
1000 sen
10000 man
100000000 oku (hundred million)
trillion --> chou
million --> hyakuman (literally a hundred 10,000's)

1 person ---> hitori
2 people ---> futari
3 people ---> san-nin (or very rarely mitari)
4 people ---> yo-nin (or very rarely yotari)
5 people or more ---> use normal number and attach -nin (i.e., go-nin, roku-nin, etc.)
Dragon
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Posted 9/5/14
Okay, folks, I fixed the title, and removed the now off-topic posts about how it was spelled before.

For me, translations are fascinating, since I used to work in video games and have to deal with localization in almost every title. I know they had rules of thumb for the translations, but every case was unique for a good translator.
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Posted 9/5/14 , edited 9/5/14
ローマ字で書くのは意味がありませんし。同音語がいっぱいだけど、書き方は違う。だから、ローマ字はだめです。

早いと速い葉同音語です。でも意味と書き方が違うんだし。。。

There´s no point in writing in romaji. There´s a lot of homophones, but the way of writing differs. So using romaji is useless.

早い and 速い are homophones (hayai). But the meaning and writing is different.
Early and Fast.


The romaji is something to avoid, It hinders the learning of japanese. If someone want to learn japanese should start as fast as he/she can to learn the two types of kana.

Also Tangorin is as good as (Denshi) Jisho as a dictionary...

P.S: If you want I can write this in spanish too.
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Posted 9/5/14 , edited 9/11/14
It's not easy to translate Japanese into English. Sometimes the translation is too weeabooy and sometimes people complain that it's not weeabooy enough.

Basically there's 2 types of translation: Translation and Localisation. Translation is explaining the meaning in a different language - such as translating "onii-chan" into "big brother." Localisation is giving as good a meaning that makes sense in a different language. As we don't call our big brothers "big brother" we could use the words "brother" or "bro" to give a more localised meaning.

Each has their flaws and each person prefers different methods - but at least they're not translating "onii-chan" as "onii-chan" which I've seen some subbers do.
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Posted 9/5/14 , edited 9/11/14

aListers wrote:

It's not easy to translate Japanese into English. Sometimes the translation is too weeabooy and sometimes people complain that it's not weeabooy enough.

Basically there's 2 types of translation: Translation and Localisation. Translation is explaining the meaning in a different language - such as translating "onii-chan" into "big brother." Localisation is giving as good a meaning that makes sense in a different language. As we don't call our big brothers "big brother" we could use the words "brother" or "bro" to give a more localised meaning.

Each has their flaws and each person prefers different methods - but at least they're not translating "onii-chan" as "onii-chan" which I've seen some subbers do.


It´s cool to know the meanings of "onii-chan" or other words. But it make no sense if you don´t know japanese at all, only a few words. You could never know if a translation is good or bad... (I don´t say that for you, aListers. I´m generally speaking.)

If you want to do a really good translation you have to do a equally good localization.

The important part is to understand the meaning of what the characters say in your own language (even if you know a few japanese words, as some people do).

The point is: What you see on your own language should be as natural as much as possible. Also you need to be as literal as you can, when you can.

Should be really hard to translate an anime or manga (or other things as books or games).

I don´t like Weeaboo-complains at all. Be in english, or in spanish.
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Posted 9/5/14 , edited 9/11/14

aListers wrote:


Basically there's 2 types of translation: Translation and Localisation. Translation is explaining the meaning in a different language - such as translating "onii-chan" into "big brother." Localisation is giving as good a meaning that makes sense in a different language. As we don't call our big brothers "big brother" we could use the words "brother" or "bro" to give a more localised meaning.


clap, clap, clap...

I've been trying to explain that to anime fans but it's useless.
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Posted 9/5/14 , edited 9/5/14

edwarx wrote:


aListers wrote:


Basically there's 2 types of translation: Translation and Localisation. Translation is explaining the meaning in a different language - such as translating "onii-chan" into "big brother." Localisation is giving as good a meaning that makes sense in a different language. As we don't call our big brothers "big brother" we could use the words "brother" or "bro" to give a more localised meaning.


clap, clap, clap...

I've been trying to explain that to anime fans but it's useless.


So, trying to explain that to weeaboos?
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Posted 9/5/14
Cool! I think this is very helpful, I'm glad I saw this thread. I've been kinda curious to learn Japanese so to me this thread is a helpful beginning.
Posted 9/5/14
I just got out of Japanese class. Not even kidding.


That extra letter makes all the difference. Like uncle or grandfather, grandmother or aunt. It is pretty confusing actually. And one small letter changes the meaning all together.

Japanese isn't that hard to me personally, but overall it's definitely one of the hardest languages you can try and learn.
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Posted 9/5/14

clutz157 wrote:

Cool! I think this is very helpful, I'm glad I saw this thread. I've been kinda curious to learn Japanese so to me this thread is a helpful beginning.


Here's my little story. A bunch of years ago I was playing web games (Flash-based). I liked those that you can win in about 5 minutes since my time had been limited. Then I came across a game that was in Japanese, and I thought, jokingly, "if I can learn a few symbols then I can tell my friends that I know Japanese! Even though later I have to reveal that I only know 5 symbols or so" So I searched for a Japanese tutorial and came across the following excellent site for beginners:
http://www.learn-japanese.info/indexg.html
And I liked it so much I still study Japanese to this day.
The grammar lessons are very good, and they're in both romaji (that's our alphabet) and in kana (hiragana and katakana: the first near-100 characters you should learn). I recommend trying the romaji grammar because you'll learn a bunch of things fast. Then, as it was said above by IgnatiusSp, learn kana as soon as you can which should speed up learning. Then, redo the grammar excercises but this time use the kana version (the site calls them "Japanese script"). Since you will have learned grammar in romaji by the time you do this, you'll understand faster and is good kana practice.

For learning kana, there are several sites out there that have web applets that help you memorize kana in a better way than just reading from paper alone.

After that, which could take a few weeks, then consider the following, which I wrote as a reply in a different thread:


RaspberryStar wrote:

I recommend Basic Kanji Book, volumes 1 and 2. They're pretty good. I also have Intermediate Kanji Book, volumes 1 and 2. The intermediate ones are... kind of good, in the sense that in fact I did manage to learn a bunch of stuff, however, they're somewhat harder to get into than the basic ones. The basic books have about 12 kanji per chapter, and about 4 words to learn associated with each kanji. The intermediate have about 20-25 per chapter, and a bunch of words to learn associated with each kanji (the amount varies but it can over 10 sometimes). They tried to pack too much per chapter I think. The kanji index is also harder navigate in Intermediate 1, I know why they did it though, they want the reader to practice looking up kanji in a dictionary by looking up radicals, etc etc etc. But to learn all the kanji in one chapter requires a lot of flipping (I meant to say page flipping, ha, ha). Intermediate 2 is better in that all kanji are together by kanji (like the basic books), which make it easier. If you like the basic books, I recommend afterwards going for a different intermediate book, and then, maybe, if you feel like it, try Intermediate 1. Also, a paper dictionary is convenient while reading the books. Otherwise, I recommend http://jisho.org.
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Posted 9/5/14
You should get some books, because they will be more accurate (most of the time) or make sure to find certified sites.
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Posted 9/5/14
How to read romanized Japanese (= Japanese written using our alphabet)

1. Vowels
Read "a" always as in "pat"
Read "i" always as in "pit"
Read "u" always as in "put"
Read "e" always as in "pet"
Read "o" always as in "pot"
Note: aiueo is the dictionary order for Japanese vowels
Read "ou" as a longer o.

2. Consonants
Read consonants as you would in English.

3. Double consonants
Think of the word as if they were multiple words together. For example, to pronounce "yukkuri" (which means slowly, calmly), pronounce the kk as you would when you pronounce "bookcase". It's not "boocase", but rather "book-case". Another example: to pronounce "zutto" (which means "all along", either in distance or time), pronounce tt as you would when you pronounce "hot tea". It's not "hottie" but rather "hot-tea".

4. Double consonants in songs
Sometimes, but not always, the first consonant of a double consonant in a song will change to sound like the vowel that precedes it. So "zutto" in a song might sound like "zutto" or it might sound like "zuuto".
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Posted 9/6/14
The problems with the sounds is that English actualy doesn't use wovels in the alphabet. A isn't aaaaaaa as in most other languages, but EY or something like that. I tried learning Thai with an English based course. Total failure since the sounds can't easily be translated to English. Norwegian, and most other languages I know of, on the other hand, works great. A YU is a uuuuuuu. A wovel is suposed to be a sound without start or end, it's the same sound for as long as you have breath. So, if English isn't your only language, don't use it as basis to learn a new one.
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