James Doolittle

September 9, 2005

Interesting Progress

Filed under: Uncategorized — jdoolittle @ 3:08 pm

Japanese is indeed a difficult language. Learning numbers has been especially taxing because I’m not only dealing with a new phonetic system, but I’m also trying to attach that system to the numonic system that I know to be one, two, three, ad infinitum. Because I’m attaching the new phonetics to the system I already know, I am very slowly registering ‘1′ in my mind as ‘ichi’–this is using romanji, the use of roman characters to voice the japanese kana or kanji, as the case may be. My oral assosiation in Japanese with the roman numerals forces me to change my thinking in an area rooted as deeply as grade school. To compensate for this, for my slowly paced reading of japanese numbers, I had been using the romanji for the number rather than its numeral counterpart; that’s when it dawned on me. I know the Japanese kana–the Japanese phonetic alphabet–phonetically, and the numbers would be listed in such fashion anyway (not to mention that I would, at the same time as learning my numbers, be practicing my hiragana). Unfortunately, there’s a seperate system for recording numbers comprised of a combination of kanji and hiragana; thus proving the lesson: never look for a pattern in Japanese.

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