Monday, May 25, 2009

Gone Fishin' - i.e. Busy Tweeting

Yes, I've joined the "revolution" of slaves to messaging 2.0. That's sorta why I haven't been posting here lately. I've been talking to "real Japanese people!" lately, in Japanese, so I've not been on or haven't really had anything relevant to post here, either. If you'd like to follow me, you can do so here.

It's sorta funny because I never really stepped back and noticed how verbose I am until I was regularly communicating with people in another language. I may have studied Japanese for a long, long time now, but honestly I didn't really use the skill on people that much. It's very different whenever you're just reading a magazine, or a figure package or a website or listening to a song, versus talking to real live people and having to think on your feet. But trying to convey thoughts in a language that has a whole lot of subtext, virtually zero sarcasm and where one word can have 3-4 meanings... it becomes difficult to break habits in English that just don't translate over well.

What's more, words like 皮肉 (hiniku), which means ironic, can also mean sardonic and sarcastic. In English these words are separate entities. Sardonic means that you're being sarcastic with the intention of being insulting to the subject of said sarcasm. Sarcastic means that you generally indicate by your inflection, the opposite of what you're saying. "Oh yeah, that's good," would mean that you're trying to indicate - via sarcasm - that you're not looking forward to whatever "it" is. Moreover, often times you have to add 的 (teki) or っぽい (-ppoi) to "augment" the states of some words, while others have their own special word and yet still others are set into different facets of grammar.

Upon learning more and more Japanese over time, I find it ironic (heh heh) that a culture that is so steeped in beauty and the arts, has - to me at least - a language of "approximation". I guess one could argue that the arts are how the Japanese express themselves, but comparative to English, there aren't nearly as many "unique" adjectives/adverbs. Conversely you could also say that English has too many created words, as it's easy to branch or combine or mangle in the English language.

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