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Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/23 18:52
Hi.
My name is Shahar and I am a 25 years old male from Israel.
I am a native speaker of hebrew.
A few weeks ago I decided to start learning Japanese as I like the way it sounds.
I did not realize however that there are so many mannerisms involved in speaking Japanese.
After watching several Japanese television shows and seeing how Japanese people actually speak I have noticed the several mannerisms :
1 ) Constantly nodding when someone speaks to you and interrupting their speech with "hai" all the time.
2 ) After you finish speaking saying "hai" and nodding several times.
3 ) Saying "ne" after almost every sentence you say.
4 ) Saying "eeeeeee" whenever someone explains something to you.
5 ) Whenever explaining something to someone, breaking the sentece to small pieces and elongating the pronunciation of the last word.
I don't know how to use Japanese to illustrate this point so i'll use English.
Let's say you want to explain to someone that you went to the supermarket yesterday and saw a fish with a big red mark on it.
So I noticed they would pronounce it something like this:
Yesterday when I went to the stoooore, I saw a big Fiiiiiish, the fish had a maaaark, and the mark was reeeed.
Something like that.

Anyway I don't ever see myself speaking with all these mannerisms and to be honest I find them quite annoying and cumbersome.
I like speaking a language in a "straight forward" way the way Hebrew, English and all European languages are spoken.
So I don't know if there is even a point in continuing to learn Japanese because speaking it in a "straight forward" way like you would speak Hebrew or English, without all these mannerism might not be appropriate or effective when speaking with Japanese people.
by Shahar. (guest)  

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/23 19:44
Well, Japanese is famous for being a very vague language with certain ways of communicating. This includes differences in female and male speech and very marked politeness levels among others.

So if you want to broaden your linguistic experience and study how people outside of the European cultural circle (I guess Hebrew communication patterns can be included into this area of languages, from what you state) effectively communicate, Japanese is great.

But giving up is okay as well. There is no kantianian requirement to study Japanese ;-)
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/23 20:17
What kind of answers are you looking for here? Just do what you want.
by Firas rate this post as useful

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/23 21:44
Well, all the "hai", "eeee", "neee", "soo", "saaa", "yo" things are just one feature of spoken Japanese. It is probably not the most outstanding feature of Japanese as a language.
I guess the issue is that you do not yet understand a lot of what is said in these TV programs you watched (which is totally fine as you just started to study Japanese). So the one thing you "understand" or notice is all the "hai", "neee" part, because it is repeating. But while it is part of Japanese spoken language, it is definitely not predominant. And it has its very own charm.

I am aware that Hebrew is not a European language, but I thought you were talking about communication strategies rather than language classification. Sorry, if I misunderstood that.

But yes, if it turns you down, then study an other language. No ofense taken.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/23 21:50
Maybe it's "made for television" Japanese you are referring to? Perhaps it's exaggerated on television so it gives the appearance of a conversation between two people and so that the other person doesn't appear as a statue on the television. Could this be possible?

On a side note, I was just curious why you'd like to learn a language just because you like how it sounds. Would you be interested in using it with Japanese people in Japan or elsewhere?
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/24 05:06
but some things can really get a Little bit annoying, like soo desu ka?

I mean when people translate Video games or movies they sometimes translate it word for word and you always wonder why they say that, it makes no sense in the context. But actually its quite funny, i can speak like no japanese but can hear whenever they make such mistakes.


by Kenshiro (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/24 05:39
I'm not sure you can form a real basis for how Japanese works on having watched 'several Japanese TV shows'. For one thing, there is usually a fairly big difference between how people talk in real life vs. what you see on TV. And it definitely depends on which type of TV shows you are watching. A lot of celebrities talk in a very exaggerated way.

I'm certainly not an expert, but beyond a few years of self-teaching and a couple of years of college classes, I've also been to Japan a few times now, and I watch a lot of Japanese TV (like several hours a day) and I've not seen the things you are seeing to the degree you imply.

To your specific points:

1. This is a fairly typical custom - rather than 'interrupting', it's a way of showing to the person talking that you are listening and following along.
2. Not sure where you are seeing this one. Definitely not a common thing from what I've seen.
3. This is definitely up to the person speaking - some people say it a lot, some hardly ever. It's a way of adding emphasis or inflection, from what I've seen.
4. This is similar to #1 above - showing you are following what they are saying.
5. This one I'm not sure what you are talking about. I've only ever heard something like this in very specific situations, like a cooking demonstration where the chef is explaining his process. In that one situation I've heard them emphasize the final 'masu' of the verb after each sentence, but again it's not a common thing in general.

The bottom line is that most of the things you are observing are not necessarily widely used practices beyond the TV shows you are watching. I have not noticed them to nearly the extent you seem to have (and I've been exposed to a ton of Japanese media), much less in dealing with people in person when I was there.

And there is no rule that says you need to do those things if your only goal is to be understood. People will understand you perfectly fine without needing to use all of the extras you listed. I wouldn't let it prevent me from trying to learn a language I was interested in. And from experience, most Japanese people will just be happy you are trying to speak the language at all and won't be worrying about whether you are following all the 'unwritten' rules, which as I've said above are not necessarily as common as they might appear to be from your limited experience with a few TV shows.
by frippscratch rate this post as useful

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/24 11:09
Learning a foreign language is a huge investment of time, doubly so when it's completely unrelated as are English and Hebrew with Japanese. Do you want to learn about Japanese culture, communicate with Japanese people, and maybe travel or live in Japan? If so, studying Japanese is worthwhile. Otherwise, I don't understand why you would want to devote so much time to it.
by Gigi (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/24 13:03
Well non-native speakers may have some differences from the natives. Like I've learned english but i didn't catch up with english voice. But they're still understand what i'm saying.
by danieltran rate this post as useful

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/24 18:51
It's me the OP.
Im my 5th example I am not talking about elongating the masu, I am talking about that I have noticed that when some Japanese people explain something some of them will break down the sentence and elongate the connecting words.
For instance explaining someone you saw a big fish in the fish section in the supermarket yesterday, so some of them will say : kinou waaaaaaaaa, mise niiiiiiiii, fish aisle (don't know how to say it Japanese) niiiiiii, ooki sakana o mimashita.

Yeah I have already decided not to continue learning it because of the constant nodding and interjections they just drive me crazy.
I will never be able nor do I want to speak like that.
If the Japanese people spoke Japanese like you speak Hebrew or English, in a straight forward fashion without all those noddings and interjections I would have continued studying it.
I mean I am used that you listen to what other person has to say until he finishes and then you say what you have to say.
Like this :
Speaker A: Yesterday, I went to the supermarket, and in the fish aisle, I saw a big fish.
Speaker B : I see, that's interesting.

But this is how the Japanese people speak:
Speaker A :Yesterday , isn't it (ne)
Speaker B : Yes (hai).
Speaker A : I went to the supermarket, isn't it (ne).
Speaker B : Yes (hai).
Speaker A : And in the fish aisle, isn't it (ne)
Speaker B : Yes (hai)
Speaker A: I saw a big fish, isn't it.
Speaker B : I seeeeeeeeeeee ( eeeeeeeee).

I just don't like this way of communicating and from what i've seen this is how Japanese people speak their language.
by Shahar. (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/24 19:48
By the way, I have found the Japanese term that describes what I am talking about, it's called, "Aizuchi", 相槌.
I am qouting from the Wikipedia page in English on it:
In the Japanese language, Aizuchi (Japanese: 相槌 or あいづち, IPA: [aizu͍t͡ɕi]) are the frequent interjections during a conversation that indicate the listener is paying attention and/or understanding the speaker. In linguistic terms, these are a form of phaticexpression. Aizuchi are considered reassuring to the speaker, indicating that the listener is active and involved in the discussion.[1]

Aizuchi are frequently misinterpreted by non-native speakers as the listener showing agreement or fully comprehending what is being said.[2]

Common aizuchi include:

hai (はい), ee (ええ), or un (うん)(yes, with varying degrees of formality)
sō desu ne (そうですね) (I see.)
sō desu ka (そうですか) (is that so?)
hontō (本当), hontō ni (本当に), maji(マジ), or (in Kansai) honma (本真)(really)
naruhodo (なるほど) (I see, that's right)
nodding.

So this + the "ne" that the Japanese say after almost every sentence are the reasons I do not want to study Japanese.
If the Japanese did not use this "Aizuchi" and the "ne" I would have continued studying it
by Shahar. (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/24 21:27
the reason why japanese always say "hai" and nod, is cause the verb comes always at the end of a sentence and they need to make sure if the other person they speak to, is still following.

so basically you dont know what the sentence is about until it is finished. japanese sentences have the tendency to get very long and people seem to love to "hold back" the verb, but in order to make sure that the other still has got all parts of the sentences in his mind or memory, people acknowledge this by nodding and saying "hai".

(the explanation above is not mine, but was in some scientific journal about languages and i find it very logical and if you think about it and it makes perfectly sense. you can even test it: talk to some japanese, and dont say "hai" or dont nod, then they will close the sentences with a verb more early than they would do regularly)

in any case, here is a (very funny) video, that will explain you the basic japanese. and you dont even need to learn more than a week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_RM8To5mjU
by Glimpigumpi rate this post as useful

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/24 21:40
I totally agree with Firas. He is right.
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/24 21:55
Firas doesn't usually play well with others but I agree with him this time. Do what you want. I also think it's a little condescending to post in a Japan forum, complaining about Japanese language and Japanese way of speaking are. Furthermore, you went so far as to say "If the Japanese people spoke Japanese like you speak Hebrew or English, in a straight forward fashion." Every languages and expressions can't be the same. It's the pain and joy of learning a new language.

Different countries have different ways of expressing themselves, and like the others have mentioned, nodding and saying "hai" and "neee" are ways to show people that you're following what they are saying. The emphasis and drawn out pronunciation that you mentioned help emphasize break in sentences.
by taiyou (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/24 22:07
Noone here can do anything about it if you don't like the way the language sounded on that one particular program. To me "at worst" that conversation in English would be something like:

A: You know what, yesterday
B: uh-huh?
A: Like, I went to the supermarket, you know,
B: oh. and?
A: And in the fish aisle, like,
B: uh-huh
A: I saw a big fish, you know?
B: Ah-huh.

We do the "hai" to acknowledge the speaker has my full attention, I admit, but for the rest, I think they might have just dragged out the short sentence for that program (whatever it was) to build up excitement, or whatsoever.

Don't take it as the typical conversation that is inherent in the language.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/25 00:13
It's me the OP and actually I thought of learning Japanese and speaking it the way I would speak my native language Hebrew or English whom I can also speak, that is without all the nodding and without all the Aizuchi and the "ne".
Speaking Japanese "on my terms" if you will.
But wouldn't that be considered rude ?.
I mean after reading about the Aizuchi I understand that is meant to show the person you are listening to them and also all the nodding.
And the "ne" is supposed to "soften" the sentences right? So wouldn't that be considered rude to never use it?.
So all in all I am afraid that if I will speak Japanese without all that , the Japanese people will think I am rude.
by Shahar. (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Not sure if to continue studying Japanese 2017/8/25 03:17
But to be honest, if thats was bothering you, if it really does and you are indeed serious and not trolling. I would advise you to not ever study Japanese again, or any language at all.

But i think studying japanese language is even worse if you never talk with a japanese and dont study japanese language, the way you think with words. Learning japanese a different thought System is in itself worth doing in my opinion. Maybe i Interpret too much in it, but ist just fascinating to me. That being said you really need a teacher. Otherwise it takes forever and all books have some flaws and you have to read so often that you die of boredom reading the same sentences again, even if its another textbook and you start new.
by Kenshiro (guest) rate this post as useful

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