Category Archives: Japanese

Japanese: 「テンション」

「テンション」means ‘excitement’. So if you hear someone say 「テンション上がる」 it means “getting excited.” I don’t know the etymology of that but there it is.

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WaniKani and Japanese: 「予め」

Since I’ve started using WaniKani last April there has been subtle but drastic changes in how I see Japanese text. I’ve come to realize that using WaniKani has been a very valuable change in my Japanese learning.

I’ve watched a video of Tofugu (again) on how important it is to tackle on your weaknesses. So far I’ve identified the following:

  • Writing. Writing isn’t really a specific problem that can be easily addressed by WaniKani or anything via our computers, smartphones and stuff, our current technology. But then again, that’s somewhat whetted down by the same current technology. I mean, type something on your IME and it will suggest what you meant by that. And I could just use my reading skill to choose what I meant by that. But the problem still exists and eventually I’d want to address that.
  • Reading material? I constantly watch a lot of anime, so I have a lot of reading practice. But then again.

The “drastic” part of the change occurred to me when I first encountered the vocab 「予め(あらかじめ)」. It’s an adverb that means “beforehand”. When I first encountered it in WaniKani I felt intimidated by its sheer length. I mean, four kana in a kanji, seriously? But then it occurred to me: I have encountered at least two instances in anime where they say this word like it’s nothing. I am recognizing vocabulary that I haven’t been able to recognize before.

It’s really cool. I’m beginning to grasp mastery of this language. And I will.

PS: By the way, I’m jobless now (as of writing, of course), if anyone’s hiring.
PPS: Also, I’m sorry about that comment I haven’t approved for six months. Basically I haven’t visited my blog for that long.

An intransitive use of を?

I was translating a song and came across this usage of the particle を along with 飛ぶ. As we know, 飛ぶ isn’t exactly transitive, so what is this?

According to this Q&A at the Japanese language Stack Exchange—Do “direct object を” and “directional を” occupy the same slot?—the other usage involves an action that moves the doer.

For a Japanese speaker, the 道 in 「道を歩く」 is not a piece of background scenery that the subject of the sentence simply floats past on their way from point A to point B; rather, it is tread on, pushed, even kicked, by the subject’s feet.

Also, Japanese do not distinguish between the two meanings, so there might be some mindset-changing required here. That’s why you can’t use the two meanings together in one clause.

gkbr

“gkbr” is a special effect / internet speak associated with trembling. It is short for がくがくぶるぶる. (These two terms are defined in JMDict so I’ll not go further with them.)

From this point on I’ll abbreviate special effects to “SFX” in Japanese-related posts.

こく(放く)

I actually hit this when I was searching for 「こいて」. It’s defined in Wiktionary as “emit” (actually it has no entry with the kanji yet). It’s actually defined in the JMDict but I’ll explain it anyway. Here’s the definition from goo.ne.jp. As you might have guessed, this term is usually written in kana.

This term is a transitive verb, with a godan conjugation.

  1. Emit something from the body, e.g. a fart.
  2. To quote someone, or retell something, e.g. a lie.
  3. To do. This makes it a synonym of the verb する.

小鳥遊(たかなし)

I read about this in the English Wikipedia and it gave me a feeling of laughter and disbelief.

Go there for the details, like really.

I also verified this in ENAMDICT via WWWJDIC and it just gave me “Takanashi”. So that’s a thing.

So, 小鳥遊 should really be read as ことり あそび. It literally means the little birds are playing. So since the little birds are playing, the hawks must be away. たか (hawk) が いない — たか なし.

Badum-tss!

Rant about kanji learning sites

kanji why o why

Most kanji learning sites are like this. They present you with a kanji and they expect you to know the meaning of that kanji given that kanji alone. Reality check: Often, kanji are written with okurigana.

Sure, students in Japan learn kanji in elementary school every day of their life. But that doesn’t mean we as adult JSL learners don’t have to go through that kind of daunting experience.

Okay, here’s another rant. Many sites show kanji with their stroke order. Reality check: Most people don’t care. Plus, if you know how to write the individual radicals, you can forget about the whole one to sixteen stroke order of a kanji. Though I must admit, there are some that have specific ordering, so if you do care, do so. But most likely you’ll look it up anyway if it’s complex like that.

Okay, here’s another. Some sites teach romaji as if it’s a Japanese fundamental. Reality check: Japanese don’t use romaji. Well, mostly. Most likely you’ll only really see them in names. Open up a Japanese Wikipedia page on anything. Was there any romaji in it? Plus, there are many types of freakin’ romaji out there.

A Japanese learning site may try to list all the readings for each individual kanji. Reality check, although this may sound obvious if analogized with an English context: some readings may be used more often than others. It doesn’t mean that if a kanji such as 生 has twenty or so readings, you have to memorize them all, or you have to use all of them in your entire life.

Game breaker: Most apps and sites use JMDict to “teach” kanji. Reality check: JMDict is created by a linguist. And as a linguist, Mr. Breen’s will try to include all definitions of a word. That includes useless usages of a word: historic, archaic, obsolete, you name it. And that’s not helpful at all.

And then some might ask: What kanji learning site do you recommend then?

I don’t know. If there’s anything that you readers might recommend to me, please let me know. I have gone through kanjidamage; it solves many of the problems I have but has deficiencies of its own.

Remember: If you feel like sifting through a dictionary instead of learning, you’re not learning at all. (Or you might be, but it’s very inefficient.)

ロードショー

Okay, I’ve seen this a lot of times already and I can say this is very weird. The definition is somewhat far from the English “roadshow”.

For the record, ロードショー means the premiere of a movie. The first showing.

I looked up the term on Wiktionary but it didn’t have any etymology info on it.

世界 and 地球

TL;DR: 世界 – world, 地球 – Earth

世界 (せかい) – means “world”, as in, the world is ending, the world that we live in, etc.

地球 (ちきゅう) – means “Earth”, as in aliens are invading Earth, the Earth is the third planet, etc. This is really odd as the Japanese naming convention for planets are a bit different, but I think it’s really reasonable. Planets other than Earth are “stars” and end with the kanji 星 (せい).

I… think I won’t go over planet vocabulary over here, but if you’re here for the word “earth” (the ground), the kanji is 土 (つち).