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Japanese questions

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seals44
Newbie
United States
Joined 3946 days ago

25 posts - 25 votes
Studies: Japanese

 
 Message 1 of 13
16 December 2008 at 4:14pm | IP Logged 
I have two questions right now on my Japanese. I know I'll have more later on, but I'll put them in another post or another topic if need be.

First; I am a little confused as to how much (and when) to use the word "I". This is kind of pathetic as I'm around advanced beginner, but I just cant seem to grasp when it is appropriate. Also, I've heard the word boku used much more than watashi. When is one more fitting than the other? The same thing with the word "you" is also a problem.

Second, one of the podcast I am using to learn with used a phrase I can't find online . They used "no hou" and said it meant "in that direction" and was also used when choosing between two things. Can anybody (preferably native speakers) confirm that?

Also, what is the difference between sukoshi and chotto?

Sorry for using Romanji!

EDIT: Are there any native speakers that wouldn't mind answering questions I PM you as I learn? There probably won't be many, but sometimes words that have similar meaning but are slightly different are a problem for me. Thanks!     

Edited by seals44 on 16 December 2008 at 4:21pm

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Hashimi
Senior Member
Oman
Joined 4188 days ago

362 posts - 529 votes 
Speaks: Arabic (Written)*
Studies: English, Japanese

 
 Message 2 of 13
17 December 2008 at 1:22am | IP Logged 

3. Starting fron the last, both means "little" as you know, but sukoshi is more formal than chotto,

There is another word which is more polite means a little. It is shosho 少々.

Chotto can be used to mean other things like when you say "chotto sumimasen". here it doesn't mean "excuse me a little bit"! or even when someone says something you disagree with, you can say "chotto....." in a kinda of angry/serious tone, which in this case would be like "hey, hold on a second", with the implication that they are out of line. I don't know much about English, but in my native language we have simialr words with simialr functions.

2. "ho" means "direction" and "no" means "of". So "no hou" literally means "direction of." It is used in the two contexts you mentioned. For example, "Okada-san no hou kara renraku itadakemasu ka" means "Can I receive a call from Mr. Okada?" But "Dochira no hou ga ookii?" means "Which one is bigger?"

1. Don't worry. you will learn how and when to use them soon. I can't explain it in English examples, because this may lead you to make mistakes.

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Satoshi
Diglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3752 days ago

215 posts - 223 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, English
Studies: German, Japanese

 
 Message 3 of 13
17 December 2008 at 3:13am | IP Logged 
Normally, japanese does not use "you", they'll use the name/title of the person they are talking to.
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rob
Diglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 4094 days ago

288 posts - 289 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Norwegian, Mandarin

 
 Message 4 of 13
17 December 2008 at 8:22am | IP Logged 
1. I never use the word "you" in a conversation, and I would only use someone´s name if it were absolutely necessary to avoid confusion. I use "I" at times, but if you can avoid saying either altogether, it´s best.

3. 少し means a small quantity of something and ちょっと means "a little" or "a bit", and is often used alone, as in それはちょっと or even just ちょっと。。。 which means "that's a little bit difficult to talk about, so I'd rather not say anything".

Also, ローマ字 would be romanised as "Romaji"
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Luai_lashire
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
luai-lashire.deviant
Joined 3757 days ago

384 posts - 560 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto
Studies: Japanese, French

 
 Message 5 of 13
19 December 2008 at 1:41pm | IP Logged 
ぼく is more casual and masculine than 私 . 私 is used by both genders and is the most formal way of saying "I" or
"me". Another casual male word for "I" is おれ, and that's used a lot by teenagers.
There are no informal words for "I" that can be used by girls.
As rob said, mostly people avoid both "I" and "you" altogether, and use actual names preferentially, or just drop it
altogether. Like if I said, アテナです。十六さいです。高校生です。ね こが好きです。 It would be clear that I'm talking
about myself, so I don't need 私. (although it might have been more grammatically correct to put those all in one
sentence, I separated them for the sake of the example)
I am also around the advanced-beginner stage. :) Thankfully my teacher is very good at explaining things like the
above.
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rob
Diglot
Senior Member
Japan
Joined 4094 days ago

288 posts - 289 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Norwegian, Mandarin

 
 Message 6 of 13
20 December 2008 at 1:31am | IP Logged 
Luai_lashire wrote:
There are no informal words for "I" that can be used by girls.


Actually, あたし is the feminine version of ぼく and あたい is the feminine form of おれ, but I have never heard あたい in real life. あたし is extremely popular though.
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FrancescoP
Octoglot
Senior Member
Italy
Joined 3879 days ago

169 posts - 258 votes 
Speaks: Italian*, French, English, German, Latin, Ancient Greek, Russian, Norwegian
Studies: Georgian, Japanese, Croatian, Greek

 
 Message 7 of 13
20 December 2008 at 2:30am | IP Logged 
These are really serious issues, despite appearences. A man saying あたし would sound totally weird and be labeled as a major henna gaijin (freakish westerner) for days. In Satoshi Kon's "Tokyo Godfathers" there's a scene where one of the protagonists, an obviously masculine transsexual, refers to himself as あたし in a deep baritone. I have no words to describe how funny that (intentionally humorous) line sounded...

P.s. The implications of personal pronouns are definitely worth looking into. "Bokutachi" and "wareware" both translate as "we", but they are not interchengeable and tell a lot about the guy using them and the group he's referring to.

Edited by FrancescoP on 20 December 2008 at 2:33am

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Satoshi
Diglot
Senior Member
Brazil
Joined 3752 days ago

215 posts - 223 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, English
Studies: German, Japanese

 
 Message 8 of 13
20 December 2008 at 2:49am | IP Logged 
Care to elaborate on that, FrancescoP?


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