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Thread: I want to speak ROMAJI to practice my Japanese!

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  1. #1
    Junior Member kitarimoon is on a distinguished road kitarimoon's Avatar
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    Default I want to speak ROMAJI to practice my Japanese!

    My dream has always been to go to Japan, but, I have to admitt, with the issue of picking colleges and my graduation project this year, it's very hard to practice as I should. That's why I wanted to start this thread. By conversing with the other members of this site that know romaji, I can slowly improve my skills.

    That being said, here are the rules:

    1.)No cursing. I want to learn the fundamentals of the language, not the bad words. Bad words without communicating the right message is a head-banger.

    2.)Your repartee in the conversation must be written in romaji. The hiragana or even katakana can be included for those who would like to see it, but not everyone has the resources to look up the kanji. Hiragana also accounts for 70% of the language, so it's more resourceful.

    3.)Try including the tense of the verb. I want this to be as realistic an experience as possible. I'm sure you can understand why. I don't want to insult anyone by not being polite or not polite enough.

    4.)Always include your translation.

    Rules being posted, I'll begin.

    Konichiwa! (Sadly, that's all I can think of right now!)

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    I highly recommend learning Hiragana and Katakana. You won't get very far in studying Japanese if you don't at least learn the basics of the language. Kanji is really hard, and it's understandable if you don't want to learn it, but there's only about 100 characters between Hiragana and Katakana, and it's phonetic so there's no weird spellings or anything. You can find Hiragana and Katakana charts on Wikipedia if you like (I learned Katakana from Wikipedia). I highly highly recommend using those, especially since Romanji is not standardized and people have different standards so it can be even harder to read than Hiragana or Katakana sometimes.
    日本語をならっている。 まちがえれば、おねがい知らせてください~!

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    ((I'm not saying this thread is a bad idea (in fact, a chance to practice is always a good idea ^-^), but allow me to offer a little bit of advice.

    First off, you know, Romaji =/= Japanese. There are hiragana, katakana, and kanji in the Japanese language, but there is no such thing as romaji. The first time a native Japanese will learn romaji in school is likely to be computer class in junior high, for typing the keyboard. Otherwise it's pretty useless.

    One reason why it's hard to learn Japanese through romaji is that it's hard to get the pronounciation (ex. a lot of English speakers pronounce "ryu (りゅう)" as "rai-yu" when it's supposed to sound like "rue").

    As for kanji, it's not that hard to look up kanji, especially like this on the Internet (you just have to copy and paste it into Google or an online dictionary, unlike on paper, in which case it would be a bit of a pain).

    And last,
    Hiragana also accounts for 70% of the language, so it's more resourceful.
    The first half of that statement may be true, but the second half is questionable. Hiragana may account for 70% of the text, but the kanji accounts for 90% of the meaning, which is more important. Hiragana is mostly used to fill in the spaces between kanji (the English equivalent to "and", "or", "the" etc.). For example,

    I want to speak romaji to practice my Japanese -> 「私はローマ字を使って日本語を練習したいです」

    If you only knew hiragana and katakana, the only places you would be able to read are:

    「は」 (a practically meaningless conjunction)

    「を 」 (another conjunction)

    「って 」(this is "furigana", and only serves to designate how the previous kanji is read)

    「ローマ」 (which is "Rome", as in the city; it only means "romaji" as you know it when the kanji for "word" 「字」 is fixed at the end)

    「を」 (yet another conjunction)

    「したいです」 ("want to do").

    Even if you could read all 12 of the hiragana and katakana, you wouldn't know what the sentence meant if you couldn't read the 8 kanji.))

    -------------------

    Whew. With that out of the way, back to the topic.

    "Minasan ha natsuyasumi ni doko ni ikimashitaka?"

    「みなさんはなつやすみにどこにいきましたか?」

    「皆さんは夏休みにどこに行きましたか?」

    "Where did everybody go during the summer vacation?"
    Last edited by Datenshi; 09-06-2008 at 03:51 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Datenshi View Post
    ((I'm not saying this thread is a bad idea (in fact, a chance to practice is always a good idea ^-^), but allow me to offer a little bit of advice.

    First off, you know, Romaji =/= Japanese. There are hiragana, katakana, and kanji in the Japanese language, but there is no such thing as romaji. The first time a native Japanese will learn romaji in school is likely to be computer class in junior high, for typing the keyboard. Otherwise it's pretty useless.

    One reason why it's hard to learn Japanese through romaji is that it's hard to get the pronounciation (ex. a lot of English speakers pronounce "ryu (りゅう)" as "rai-yu" when it's supposed to sound like "rue").

    As for kanji, it's not that hard to look up kanji, especially like this on the Internet (you just have to copy and paste it into Google or an online dictionary, unlike on paper, in which case it would be a bit of a pain).
    How can you say that there is no such thing as romaji? Of course there is! English speakers wouldn't have been able to learn Japanese without it! Romaji (literally meaning "Roman letters") is Japanese written in "English" (instead of using symbols, Roman letters are used). Learning Japanese with Romaji first is the best way (if not the only way) to learn how to speak it (learning the kana is going to help you with reading, not speaking). People usually pronounce the words wrong because they do not know how to speak the language properly. That is their problem. It has nothing to do with the fact that they are reading it in Romanji versus Kana (if they saw the kana for "ryu", they would still pronounce it wrong if they didn't know the proper way of saying it). I will agree with you in the fact Romaji is not a part of the Japanese language nor should it be considered as such (although that does not mean that it does not exist).

    That being said, kitarimoon, it is impossible to learn how to "speak" Romaji, simply because of its definition. If you are reading Romaji out loud, you are not speaking in Romaji but in Japanese.

    And just as a note, there is no such thing as "curse words" in the Japanese language. There are only words that are more appropriate than others.
    Last edited by wolfgirl90; 09-06-2008 at 09:40 PM.
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    With everyone arguing about this, I feel the need to clear the air. I really really want to learn Japanese.

    I agree with wolfgirl90 when she says that romaji is a good way to start off. I also agree with all of you when you say that a person should not depend on romaji, but learn the Japanese hiragana, katakana, and kanji.

    I have no qualms on that, but considering that I don't know any yet, the object of having you guys write in romaji, was to be able to take my time and look up the hiragana, katakana, and romaji later. This is MY WAY OF PRACTICING writing and learning the Japanese syllabaries. I've been doing this for the past week dilligently using the lyrics from animelyrics.com.

    The idea was not to use romaji as a crutch. It was simply to be able to switch back-and-forth so I could teach others the language. I've been practicing hiragana and katakana for a while and had decided that this was the best way for me to reinforce what it is I have learned. I've also begun learning the kanji. I'm at the twenty first symbols and counting.

    I have no intention of going to Japan and being deemed illiterate or impolite. I've been listening to plenty of Japanese music and watching tons of animes to help with my accent, but the dictionary I have reads romaji first and then gives the kanji so learning romaji was an absolute must. Thanks for your help though, and just disregard this comment and keep going with your conversation. I think I'm done with this thread.

    Ja ne!

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    *whispers in Datenshi's ear*

    ローマ字でどうやって話すんだろう・・・?

    Anway, in answer to Datenshi-san's question:

    "Kodo giasu to gandamu no ibento ni ikimashita~!! Sugoku tanoshikatta desu!!"

    「コードギアスとガンダム00 のイベントにいきました~!!すごくたのしかったです!!」

    「コードギアスとガンダム 00 のイベントに行きました~!!すごく楽しかったです!!」

    "I went to a Code Geass and Gundam 00 event!! It was a lot of fun!!"
    ELPHABA LIVES!!

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    ((もちろん、漫画みたく頭の上にフキダシを浮かせて喋るんじゃないですか?(苦笑) おっと、こうしてると、また二人で何かを企んでると思われてしまいますね…))

    >suzumi-san
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    「羨ましいですね~。僕は毎日自動車学校に通ってて、大変でした…。」

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    @Datenshi-san

    "Menkyou torundesuka? Sugoi desune! ^^ Tottara zehi doraibu ni sasotte kudasai ne? (kimochi dake demo ^_^"

    (疲れる・・・ローマ字疲れるよ~!! >_< )

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    How can you say that there is no such thing as romaji? Of course there is! English speakers wouldn't have been able to learn Japanese without it!
    I agree with this statement to a point, but I strongly disagree with this one:

    Learning Japanese with Romaji first is the best way (if not the only way) to learn how to speak it (learning the kana is going to help you with reading, not speaking).
    Tell me exactly how that's different from a Japanese person saying the best way to learn how to speak English is katakana (ex. "Hello my name is Ken" = 「ハロー マイネーム イズ ケン」 = "Haro Mai Ne-mu izu Ken").

    If you want to learn Arabic, you would learn the Arabic letters, would you not? The same goes for any language. I don't see why you think speaking Japanese is an exception and you can get away with short-cutting through learning even the ABC's of the language.

    What I wanted to say is that romaji is not a natural part of the Japanese language. It was made by forcefully fitting closely-sounding words between English and Japanese together, and therefore you can get the approximate pronounciation, but it will never be accurate. It may be a useful tool, but it will almost certainly become a crutch if you start thinking it's the "only way" to speak.
    Last edited by Datenshi; 09-06-2008 at 11:29 PM.
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    @Datenshi: I agree with wolfgirl90 on this one. I started learning Japanese using Romanji (the first half of my Japanese 101 course was done in Romanji). However, we quickly had to learn Hiragana, as we were forced to read Hiragana after halfway through the course, and forced to write exclusively Hiragana on our final exam (we were allowed to use Romanji for Katakana words, as we hadn't learned Katakana yet). It's a useful learning tool to begin with and kind of eases you into the language nicely, but using it is definitely a bad habit to get into. Saying Romanji is completely useless is like saying Pinyin is useless to learn Chinese, and I know Chinese natives who use Pinyin dictionaries. And I think that probably Katakana is the best way to ease a Japanese person into learning English. As a Japanese native, when you were in High School (or whenever they start teaching English), how did they start?

    @Thread:

    僕は5月に日本に行った、3週間でだった。 とても楽しかったから、いつか戻りたい、でも旅行から、お金は ちょっと。。。日本に、MistressPookyChanとLavaBugに東京で会って、晩ご飯を食べ た。

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    Ugh. I'm not rewriting that in Romanji. Use Rikaichan.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Datenshi View Post
    Tell me exactly how that's different from a Japanese person saying the best way to learn how to speak English is katakana (ex. "Hello my name is Ken" = 「ハロー マイネーム イズ ケン」 = "Haro Mai Ne-mu izu Ken").

    If you want to learn Arabic, you would learn the Arabic letters, would you not? The same goes for any language. I don't see why you think speaking Japanese is an exception and you can get away with short-cutting through learning even the ABC's of the language.

    What I wanted to say is that romaji is not a natural part of the Japanese language. It was made by forcefully fitting closely-sounding words between English and Japanese together, and therefore you can get the approximate pronounciation, but it will never be accurate. It may be a useful tool, but it will almost certainly become a crutch if you start thinking it's the "only way" to speak.
    I didn't say that a person didn't have to learn how to write in Japanese so long as they have romaji. What I'm saying is that when an English-speaking person first learns how to speak Japanese, romaji is used to teach them how to pronounce the syllables and the words. Kana, when used on beginners, is not the best way to teach someone how to pronounce a Japanese word because, at first, kana does not help them pronounce anything (in more advanced classes, once students know how to pronounce words and how to read kana, romaji is not used at all). However, they are also taught the Japanese way of pronouncing the words. Romaji does help with speaking so long as that person is taught how to pronouce the words in a Japanese way. This is the reason way some people's Japanese sounds off because they have not been taught how to speak Japanese properly. It has nothing to do with the fact they were taught how to pronouce a word in romaji instead of kana.

    Again, a person can not "speak" romaji because of the definition of the word. They can only write in romaji. An English-speaking person can probably learn how to speak in Japanese with only kana and without any romanji but they would have to be shown the syllables and the words over and over and memorize their sounds without ever writing something down on how to pronounce them (if they write the word down using Latin letters, then they used romaji). Romaji is not a bunch of sounds that were thrown together. Romaji, simply put, is Japanese written in Latin letters. Nothing more. A person still needs to be taught how to pronounce the words in Japanese fashion. Romaji only becomes a crutch when a person decides that writing Japanese words with Latin letters is the best way to write a Japanese word and never learns how to write with kana (ie only writting down "kon'nichi wa" instead of learning how to write "こんにちは").
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    I learned the kana first actually, and that wasn't a college-level Japanese class. See, what happened was my mother didn't really think I learned anything after practicing Japanese for three years on my own, so she put me in Japanese I. The first day was the most boring because we were learning hiragana. After that one day, I was quickly bumped up to Japanese II.

    Anyway, I agree with Datenshi on this one. I think the writing is much much better in the beginning than romaji. I make sure that every dictionary I get doesn't have romaji.

    @Ertai - 羨ましい! 日本へ行きたい。 学校で日本があって、そして入学をすりたい。
    Urayamashii! Nihon he ikitai. Gakkou de Nihon ga atte, soshite nyugaku wo suritai.

    Ugh... I hate romaji.

    深く根ざした||傷は消えない
    Hide it, Hide it, Hide me









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    日本はすごかったよ。 絶対に行くほうがいい。 でも、三週間は足りなかったよ。 その上、東京に三日間だ け住んでた。 秋葉原だけに行ったが、また足りなかった。 よく探検すると、東京だけは一月間かかると思う 。

    Nihon wa sugokatta yo. Zettai ni iku hou ga ii. Demo, sanshuukan wa tarinakatta yo. Sono ue, Toukyou (Tokyo) ni sannichikan dake sundeta. Akihabara dake ni itta ga, mata tarinakatta. Yoku tanken suru to, Toukyou dake wa ichigatsukan kakaru to omou.
    日本語をならっている。 まちがえれば、おねがい知らせてください~!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paraphrased from LavaBug
    I remember that day 'cause it's Sailor Mercury's birthday...or is it my mom's?

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    Junior Member Shiroi_Okami is on a distinguished road Shiroi_Okami's Avatar
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    The best way to learn how to pronounce Japanese is to listen to a native speaker. That's how I learned my first words, becuase ever since I was small my parents had been involved in Japanese homestay exchanges, and so I picked up how the language was spoken, so that when we started learning Japanese in school, my pronounciation was fine. I'm not quite sure why some people have trouble pronouncing the Japanese characters correctly, when it is a phonetic language, but it is probably due to the differences in saying something like ろ as opposed to 'ro' in a lagnuage like English, where it would be pronounced 'row'. Thats why watching anime, or just listening to people talking in anime, is a good way to pick up how to pronounce a word, even though the language in anime is often not something you should be using with people on the street :P.

    As for the characters, I'm with Penguin-san. I learnde hiragana before I even knew what romaji was. Our teacher refused to teach us a single word until we knew every damn hiragana back to front XD. But I'm better for it I guess, even though I still struggle with Kanji, but thats probably my fault for not spending much time learning them. I know maybe 100 basic ones which I was required to know for my exams, outside of that, I'm in trouble. I also know a few strange ones mainly from games and anime, such as 爆発 [ばくはつ] (Explosion) and 死 [し], the kanji for death. But back to the topic, dealing with the Kana from the start is a much better way to learn in my opinion, or you may become reliant on romaji.


    Ertai, あなたは本当にラッキーと思う。僕は日本に行きたい。。。十年前、成田に止まる。でも、十二時だけだ。まだ かえりたいね。。。

    Sorry if my grammar is a bit off, I haven't written any Japanese in over a year. >< I should really get back into it before I forget it for good.
    健全なる魂は、健全なる精神と、健全なる肉体にあどる。

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    Heh I think your grammar is fine, I was able to read it (although that place name looked a bit funky...either it's not in Rikaichan or you spelled it wrong. If it's a small city, it's probably not in Rikaichan).

    日本の旅行は授業だったよ。 僕の大学には、毎年の夏、中国か日本か韓国の旅行がある。 一月間ぐらいで、 言葉を練習したり探検したり勉強したりする。 僕たち(全部は十一人、先生とTAなければ)は京都大学で日 本語を勉強して、京都で探検した。 寺と神社に行き過ぎるんだよ! 疲れたけど、とても面白くてよかった。  でも、東京の時は小さすぎる。。。
    日本語をならっている。 まちがえれば、おねがい知らせてください~!

    Quote Originally Posted by Paraphrased from LavaBug
    I remember that day 'cause it's Sailor Mercury's birthday...or is it my mom's?

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    英語むずっwwwwwww


    やっぱみんな日本語に熱心してるねwwwwww


    さっき上ら辺をふと見てみたら、「京都で探検した。」って書いてあるのを見て、思わず吹いたw wwww

    俺はたまに不思議探検するwwwwwwwwwアキバでwwwwwwwww



    日本語ガンバw
    「意味分かんねぇ」が口癖
    エロゲに興味無いんだよ!(・ω・`)mjd

  17. #17
    Chibi Wuver ^^ Evockzi has a reputation beyond repute Evockzi has a reputation beyond repute Evockzi has a reputation beyond repute Evockzi has a reputation beyond repute Evockzi has a reputation beyond repute Evockzi has a reputation beyond repute Evockzi has a reputation beyond repute Evockzi has a reputation beyond repute Evockzi has a reputation beyond repute Evockzi has a reputation beyond repute Evockzi has a reputation beyond repute Evockzi's Avatar
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    Romanji you don't learn you already know since you know English, its not rocket science, Only differences between Romanji and Japanese are some Vowel Pronunciations. E.g.

    Here's a part right from my Early on of Japanese Learning program.

    a sounds like “a” as in “art”
    i sounds like “ea” as in “eat”
    u sounds like “oo” as in “food”
    e sounds like “e” as in “bed”
    o sounds like “o” as in “orange”

    Easiest way I can Recommend learning Hiragana and Katakana is just simply study some of the Words and write them down in both Hiragana and Katakana, its what I did at first to get them downpat. Don't worry about Kanji for awhile, Another way would be go to like Chapters and pick up some Flash cards or something, but Self study is difficult.
    Last edited by Evockzi; 09-13-2008 at 02:18 PM.
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