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  • (Japanese) Hello everybody, BigBong here!

  • Nah, don't worry guys, I'm just teasing you!

  • This video is going to be in English.

  • I know that some of you were introduced to the Japanese culture through anime.

  • Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining!

  • It's actually a good thing!

  • In fact, on behalf of the Japanese people, I'd like to thank you for your interest in our culture.

  • Some of you actually fall in love with the country and place going to Japan at the very top of the bucket list.

  • However, learning Japanese only by watching anime might not be the wisest choice.

  • Oh, calm down!

  • All right then, where to start?

  • Well, first of all, I'm sorry to say that Japanese might be the trickiest Asian language to learn.

  • No tones like in Chinese but they use three different alphabets: the hiragana, the katakana and the Chinese characters called kanji.

  • Of course, you can't learn just one of them and be thinking it'll be enough.

  • And you'll be missing so much by learning Japanese with the Latin alphabet.

  • On the top of that, unlike Mandarin in which each character is usually read in one unique way, the kanji on the contrary, commonly have two pronunciations.

  • We call them kunyomi and onyomi, respectively the traditional Japanese word associated to the character for its meaning and the pronunciation imported from China.

  • But of course, there are many exceptions and some characters can be read in many other ways, like this one!.

  • It can be read iku, yuku, okonau, KOU, or GYOU depending on the context.

  • Now of course, some of you don't necessarily want to read and write but just learn enough of the spoken language to be able to interact with the people when you go there.

  • Fair enough!

  • But like many Asian countries, Japan is a very hierarchical society.

  • So obviously, you won't be speaking to your friend the same way you'll speak to your boss, to your parents, or your spouse.

  • What usually matters the most is the age and the social position.

  • In a nutshell, there are the informal, the neutral, and the formal ways of speaking.

  • Let's just focus on the last one for now.

  • There is the Teineigo, which is the neutral polite way of speaking.

  • Then you have the Sonkeigo, which is the honorific way of speaking about someone who is superior in the hierarchical ladder.

  • And finally you have the Kenjougo, which is the way to humble yourself and thus making your position crystal clear.

  • Now some words can completely change from one category to the other.

  • Let's take the verb "to eat" for example.

  • In English, no matter the context, it's always going to be the same.

  • In Japanese, the neutral way of saying it is "taberu," but if it's the president who is eating then it becomes "meshiagaru," and if you're eating next to the president, it'll be "itadaku".

  • Speaking of which, does "itadakimasu" ring a bell?

  • Itadakimasu!

  • It's what Japanese people say before starting their meal.

  • Let's also add the familiar one which is "kuu."

  • All these words mean the same thingto eat.

  • You see how tricky it is already?

  • And it's just the tip of the iceberg!

  • For example, there is also a distinct way of speaking between men and women.

  • Stop with your gender role bullsh*t already!

  • Hey, I didn't invent the Japanese society, all right?

  • Where was I?

  • Oh yeah, women usually finish their sentences with "yo," "wa," "no."

  • It's actually called "onnakotoba" women's words, and here are a few examples.

  • [Japanese] I'm strong, right? What kind of kid is he?

  • [Japanese] He's good looking! Are you going?

  • [Japanese] What is it about?

  • By the way, most of the Japanese teachers are women, so if you're a cis male you better pay attention to this style of speech because the devil is in the detail.

  • Back to anime now!

  • if you've watched some of them, you know for a fact that a lot of characters arelet's say special.

  • And that obviously goes with a certain way of speaking.

  • [Japanese] I just cut the explosion.

  • [Japanese] My Foxfire Style allows me to cut something with fire and also cut flames.

  • [Japanese] Hey Aniki, Kids these days are broke!

  • [Japanese] Idiot, that's why I told you to stop going for kids!

  • [Japanese] It's not my fault!

  • [Japanese] I tilted by accident.

  • [Japanese] If you have a complaint, go tell Yamcha!

  • Kin'emon from One Piece speaks like a samurai.

  • The gangster conversation was pretty obvious, and Master Roshi is the caricature of an old man speaking.

  • Now you're probably asking yourself, "what kind of content should you watch?".

  • Well, anime for children would be a good start because that's how Japanese kids learn it.

  • Anpanman & Doraemon are great options, also because they are classics in Japan.

  • Otherwise, dramas that are more representative of real life.

  • But again, try to analyze the hierarchy and how people interact with each other.

  • All right, after watching this video, it might feel daunting to start learning Japanese.

  • My goal is absolutely not to discourage anyone.

  • It's definitely worth learning it!

  • Don't hesitate to share this video to anyone who's interested in the language, and if you're a Japanese teacher, feel free to show it to your students.

  • [Japanese] Thank you so much for watching until the end!

(Japanese) Hello everybody, BigBong here!

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What Makes Japanese So Difficult? - BigBong

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    nanako.kamiya posted on 2020/04/21
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