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Thread: [mod] Be helpful, not a show off

  1. #1
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    Default [mod] Be helpful, not a show off

    LavaBug and I have talked about modding a little bit and have noticed something:

    Sometimes, people try to "show off" their Japanese skills. While I think it is wonderful and fantastic that people can understand a difficult language, there is a time and a place to "show off" and prove your 上手ness. For example, open a thread and chit chat in Japanese, write a Japanese blog on AF, have a debate on slang, or write a story/article for the forum.

    The threads where people are asking for help is not the place to try to show off, and it is especially not the place to have fights about very minor details (especially slang, dialect issues, interpretations, and the like). It is a place to help people gain a better understanding of the language. As many of you know, Japanese has many little unspoken rules. Are they important? Not necessarily. I could get by in Japan by calling everyone -san and saying watashi instead of atashi, or saying desu ka instead of no. Don't even get me started on the differences between the Japanese in different areas and the different levels for bosses and subordinates!!

    When answering questions, think of these:
    - what is the person's Japanese level?
    - what will they use the Japanese for?
    - what am I basing my answer on?
    - are there exceptions to the rules? are they important?

    Mainly what I am asking people to do this think before writing. Japanese can be very daunting. By dumping a lot of cultural things on people at once, it may be very overwhelming for them and they could give up. Think about how you studied/are studying Japanese. By thinking of these points, it will be much more beneficial for the person asking the question.


    questions? discussion?
    Last edited by MistressPookyChan; 06-17-2008 at 04:52 AM.

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    Huh? So you want everyone to be helpful by discussing these Japanese skills rules and make stuff up in Japanese in just a thread, and not show off by saying some san chan desu and arguing about Japan's cultures?

    personally I think all the same use of Japanese words is a ...... Like ありがとう、ごめん、猫、大好き are all so overused it's been a bit tiring, especially when you're not even sure if that person knows Japanese? And I don't think it's show offy if youre trying to correct someone, because I was told that 'Watashi' sounds a bit stupid when introducing when we're just bratty kids/teens. (Not really, but that occurs to me)

    I just use English lol, unless I'm gossiping about something with my classmate without being understood. I think it's a great idea to have a thread for people to type in Japanese, I really need help with gossip phrases. >_>

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    What I was trying to say is to pick your battles. If someone is a newbie and wants to just know how to say "hello" to a new classmate, then tell them a couple typical ways to say "hello". If a more advanced person wants to knows some differences between "arigato" and "domo", then go ahead and whip out the differences. Just think about the audience and what will be helpful and clear for them.

    I'd also like to see a decrease in the "no, you're wrong!" sort of things (unless they are obviously incorrect!). As I said, Japanese varies between people and situations. For example, the Japanese I learned and the Japanese my husband learned is very different. Dialect (tokyo vs kansai), gender (female vs male), level (casual vs formal), and situations (differences in work and activities) all affected our perception of Japanese. What I say may be different from what he would say. It's not wrong, just different.
    Last edited by MistressPookyChan; 06-17-2008 at 05:13 AM.

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    I've seen many similar accusations of linguistic elitism in the past on various different forums, and to paraphrase a former sempai who pretty much sums up my sentiments on the matter, "You can know twenty-seven languages and be douchebag in every one of them."

    I'd like to point out that it's not as if people get paid to come here and help out. There are a number of very proficient and devoted people out there, but I strongly believe the responsibility is partly on the reader's half to consider each post, sort through the details, and make intelligent decisions.

    Being off-topic over minor details is another problem entirely and I don't approve of it, but then when you look at the threads in this forum now, the original posters are often very vague about what exactly it is they want answered (like "help with slang/numbers/Japanese in general") and so again I believe the residents are not entirely to blame on that count.

    *edit*
    On that note, I've often found myself at a total loss when confronted with a question like, "tell me about Japanese suffixes". Where do you start with such a question and how can you explain something like that without delving into an endless sea of details? There are bounds of tutorials and Internet learning sites painlessly accessible through Google where you can easily get such information but some people never even seemed to have tried.

    I'd also like to see a decrease in the "no, you're wrong!" sort of things (unless they are obviously incorrect!).
    The problem I see in that is, if as you say the two people come from entirely different backgrounds, they both won't know what is wrong or simply different until they have actually discussed the matter. For all one knows the other could really be wrong. That is the whole point of coming to a forum to discuss a language.
    Last edited by Datenshi; 06-17-2008 at 05:20 AM.
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  5. #5
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    @Dateshi: good point about the vague posts. Should we ask people to make the questions more specific? Or perhaps send them to a generic "learn japanese!" site? There are a few in the sites sticky, but people haven't been contributing to it lately *hint hint!*

    btw, how was HMV? (can answer in PM to keep it on topic if ya like)

    When people are vague, I tent to answer very basically and ask if they have any other questions. Those types of questions tend to come from beginners that may not know (or care?) about the differences that exist.
    Last edited by MistressPookyChan; 06-17-2008 at 05:26 AM.

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    i think people shouldn't overdue it with the use of the japanese language, but let it be ok to just use it occassionally.

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    Could you elaborate, Happi? I'd like to hear your opinion.

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    I think Datenshi said pretty much everything I was thinking of saying.

    And sure you *could* get around saying "watashi" and "desu ka" all the time, but you'd sound like a foreigner and you'd be really awkward in a lot of places. It's important to learn the basics, true, but it's also important to learn to use the language as natives do so you can actually use it without feeling like a gaijin. That's why I try to explain as much as possible, although I do always begin with the basic "you must know this" stuff.
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    I'm not saying that you have to rule out all language discuss from the forums. All I am saying is to use your judgement. Scaring off newbies and trying to one-up others is not helpful.

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    About the "showing off" and "proving your 上手ness" bit...

    What if Japanese is your first language and it just comes out faster?

  11. #11
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    Then that's great. I never once criticised anyone's Japanese abilities; it's the attitude issues. Helping others can be done in a way that is helpful and doesn't try to put down others that are helping or simply trying their best. Really, it's not difficult. I've heard from a couple people that have been put off by some stuff that has gone on in here, and I really want to keep that from happening again. This is a new forum with a lot going for it; great contributors, a lot of different levels and backgrounds, and people who are interested in learning.

    If you all think I am totally wrong about this, then PM me and let me know.

    We will be watching to make sure this place stays friendly and helpful for all as well as make sure threads say on topic and, if it will help, a little more specific.
    Last edited by MistressPookyChan; 06-18-2008 at 10:01 AM.

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