Japanese is a fantastic language to learn, but it really can be tough, especially for native English speaking learners. That said, you can make the whole process less difficult by simply realizing a few significant distinctions between English and Japanese. This article will explain those variances. By the way, if you are looking for Japanese language learning software, check out my Rocket Japanese Review.
Levels of Formality
In English, it’s completely okay to speak the same way to everybody, within reason. For example, you would say the words “Good morning,” to your significant other, your supervisor, your buddies, and to a total stranger. Things are totally different in The country of Japan. There, it’s essential to speak in different ways to different people, based on their age and their connection to you personally.
To illustrate, I’m going to talk about this particular Japanese morning greeting:
“ohayo” (informal) or,
“ohayo gozaimasu” (formal)
When you get out of bed and see your children and your significant other, you should say, “Ohayo.” When you’ve reached your workplace and meet your manager, alternatively, saying that may get you terminated! To your boss, it’s essential to use the much more formal, “Ohayo gozaimasu.”
How about one’s colleagues? To almost all of them, you will speak formally, saying, “Ohayo gozaimasu.” To the people you have made close relationships with, however, you could get rid of the formality and say, “Ohayo.” When speaking to people you just met, always use the more formal variation.
Just how essential is this? Extremely! Speaking informally to strangers, your manager, or individuals older than you is fairly rude. To obtain a better understanding, suppose that you’ve got a teenage daughter.
Now suppose that she brings a teenage boy to your home for dinner. This guy comes into your house, approaches your elderly dad, and says, “Hey gramps, what’s up.” Just what would you feel in regards to this boy’s etiquette? I predict that although you wouldn’t throw him out on the spot, you probably would not ask him back either. Understanding the way to communicate in Japanese with proper formality will probably ensure that you do get invited to come back!
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English VS Japanese Word Order
In The English language, we order our sentences like this:
Subject + Verb + Object.
To illustrate, we will glance at the simple sentence, “I love you.” In this short sentence, the verb is “love.” The subject is “I,” and the object is “you.”
For this reason, we produce the sentence. I (subject) love (verb) you (object). Japanese sentence structure is a touch different. In the Japanese language, word order is such:
Subject + Object + Verb
The above mentioned sample sentence would be structured in this way (Romanized).
Watashi wa (Subject [I]) anatao (object [you]) aishiteru (Verb [love]).
Recognizing this one significant variation between English and Japanese will significantly boost the rate at which you learn Japanese grammar–remember it well.
Subject and Object Markers
This is very basic. The Japanese language contains subject and object markers, while the English language does not. Working with these markers correctly is quite hard. Here, though, I will simply give you the basics.
Let’s consider the example sentence, “I ate Japanese food.” The particular markers we’ll use, in Romanized form, are “Wa” and “Wo.”
English language word order: I ate Japanese food.
Japanese word order: I Japanese food ate.
Japanese language word order with markers: I wa Japanese food wo ate.
“Wa” marks the subject “I,” and “wo” marks the object “Japanese food.” When you get deeper into the Japanese language, you’ll learn more about just how these kinds of markers are used to make subtle modifications to sentence connotations. For the moment, though, just be aware that they are there, and try to use them the right way whenever conversing.
Mastering the Japanese language can be tough. We are able to make it far less complicated, however, by comparing it directly to the English language. Keep in mind the variation in word order, the utilization of object and subject markers in Japanese, and the distinct formality differences between the two languages and you will definitely have great achievements learning the Japanese language.