Nihongo: listening and reading

Continue or start your personal language log here, including logs for challenge participants
User avatar
tungemål
Green Belt
Posts: 409
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 3:56 pm
Location: Norway
Languages: Norwegian (N)
English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, Polish
x 660

Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby tungemål » Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:38 pm

Learning compound words is quite interesting and sometimes funny. I had to laugh when I learned that the characters for "move" and "thing" together means animal:
動物
Animal in japanese (and chinese) is "moving thing"!

I imagine the first chinese hunters in the prehistoric forests of china:
- what should we call those things that are hard to catch but very tasty when we cook them?
- you mean those things that are moving over there? What about - "moving things"?
6 x

User avatar
tungemål
Green Belt
Posts: 409
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 3:56 pm
Location: Norway
Languages: Norwegian (N)
English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, Polish
x 660

Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby tungemål » Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:11 pm

Continuing the "Core 2000" anki deck. I do 20 new cards and 50 reviews every day and it takes me about one hour. It is a long slog but I notice my reading skill improving. Actually I enjoy it, and this collection with example sentences for every word is really good with excellent audio of voice actors saying the sentences. But, I have decided that when I finish this deck I will start reading a graded reader.
2 x

User avatar
tungemål
Green Belt
Posts: 409
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 3:56 pm
Location: Norway
Languages: Norwegian (N)
English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, Polish
x 660

Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby tungemål » Sun Dec 08, 2019 4:04 pm

Core 2000:
Already 1000 words learned! That's a lot. :)
Still 1000 words to go... That's a lot :(

Half full glass.

By the way, I see that youtube is a great resource for learning everyday japanese. Youtube vloggers, foreigners or natives, as long as they provide subtitles preferably in both English and Japanese.
1 x

User avatar
tungemål
Green Belt
Posts: 409
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 3:56 pm
Location: Norway
Languages: Norwegian (N)
English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, Polish
x 660

Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby tungemål » Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:32 pm

New year update:

- I've got 23 days left before I am through the flash card deck.
- I also want to finish the "Colloquial..." -book. I listen to all the audio dialogues untill I understand them. I have done 8 chapters, and if I concentrate on one chapter every week it will take 7 more weeks.

My further plans are to commence more interesting texts and audio, maybe from february, after I have escaped the flash card treadmill.
0 x

User avatar
tungemål
Green Belt
Posts: 409
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 3:56 pm
Location: Norway
Languages: Norwegian (N)
English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, Polish
x 660

Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby tungemål » Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:18 pm

About japanese etymology and kanji:

The kanji show how japanese words are built up from smaller units of meaning, but they make more sense for those words that comes from old chinese than for old japanese words. Etymology of many native japanese words is obfuscated.

Here are 3 examples of japanese words that are clearly built as compounds of smaller words:
- niwatori (chicken) - literally "garden-bird", which makes sense.
- mizuumi (lake) - literally "water-sea"
- kaminari (thunder) - literally "roar of the gods". My favourite! Makes one think of Thor, the old Norse god of thunder.
But they are each written with one chinese character, presumably because the chinese word was only one syllable for these concepts.
3 x

User avatar
tungemål
Green Belt
Posts: 409
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 3:56 pm
Location: Norway
Languages: Norwegian (N)
English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, Polish
x 660

Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby tungemål » Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:06 pm

Already been through 1713 words of the core2000 deck. There were a lot of words in that deck that I didn't know; about half of them.

By the way, I notice how important listening is: By hearing the word and an example sentence, it is much easier to remember the word. Somehow a word I have heard will stick almost like glue, while a word I read is more likely to slip.
1 x

User avatar
tungemål
Green Belt
Posts: 409
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 3:56 pm
Location: Norway
Languages: Norwegian (N)
English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, Polish
x 660

Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby tungemål » Sun Jan 19, 2020 1:12 pm

Now and then I come across some rather strange word compound. Why does this word: 八百屋
mean "vegetable store"?
2 x

User avatar
devilyoudont
Green Belt
Posts: 456
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2018 1:34 am
Location: Philadelphia
Languages: EN (N), EO (C), JA (B), ES (a mess), KO (dabbling)
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12245
x 1251

Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby devilyoudont » Sun Jan 19, 2020 3:25 pm

tungemål wrote:Now and then I come across some rather strange word compound. Why does this word: 八百屋
mean "vegetable store"?


More or less this is an old portmanteau which (nearly?) completely replaced the original word... 青物屋 aomonoya... "blue-green thing store" -> Greengrocer. This was abbreviated to "青屋" aoya

八 historically had an additional connotation of "countless." I'm not sure if the exact reason is known, but I've heard that it ties into 八's fan shape (closed and small at the start, wide and open at the bottom), or that this may originate in folk Shinto numerology.

Anyway, this sense is preserved in random words that use 8 in compounds...

八方 - all sides
八千代 - forever
八百万 - countless (pronounced yaoyorozu in this sense, not happyakuman... My experience is that a 八 pronounced as や is much more likely to have this sense, but as the example 八方 shows, any reading of 八 potentially could have this sense)

Mashing together "青屋" with "八百万" results in 八百屋.... coincidentally slightly easier to pronounce than 青屋 on it's own, and conveying some sense of endless varieties of vegetables to customers.

Modern speakers do not seem to have much sense of 8 meaning countless in my experience. In that sense, these are just total idioms. You could also consider these words to be some kind of living fossils which have survived into Modern Japanese. I love etymology, so I like knowing this. But if this is too complicated, don't worry it, and just memorize it as an idiom.
5 x
Joyo Kanji: 1230 / 2136
Japanese Intermediate 2: 4481 / 12000
--
Spanish Intermediate 2: 2190 / 13200
--
Korean Lingodeer 1: 8 / 70
--
Read a Book in Esperanto: 14 / 28
Language Log in Esperanto

User avatar
tungemål
Green Belt
Posts: 409
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 3:56 pm
Location: Norway
Languages: Norwegian (N)
English, German, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, Polish
x 660

Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby tungemål » Sun Jan 19, 2020 4:00 pm

Thanks, a great explanation! I was thinking it is just some kind of ateji, but your explanation is much more interesting. I will post more of these bewildering compounds here as I find them.
1 x

vonPeterhof
Blue Belt
Posts: 555
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 1:55 am
Languages: Russian (N), English (C2), Japanese (~C1), German (~B2), Kazakh (~B1), Norwegian (~A2)
Studying: Thai, Sanskrit, Akkadian, Turoyo, Polish
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1237
x 1692
Contact:

Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby vonPeterhof » Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:00 am

devilyoudont wrote:八 historically had an additional connotation of "countless." I'm not sure if the exact reason is known, but I've heard that it ties into 八's fan shape (closed and small at the start, wide and open at the bottom), or that this may originate in folk Shinto numerology.

The explanation I've read is that Japanese people prior to contact with Chinese culture had superstitions against counting numbers higher than eight, so eight was often a stand-in for much larger, or infinitely large numbers. Though the book I've read it in was written in the Soviet times and took both the Altaic theory and the South East Asian substrate theory* as a given, so some things in it should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

*Edit: was going to change "Austroasiatic" to "Austronesian", but it may well have been both :D I don't have the book any more, so I can't check..
1 x


Return to “Language logs”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests