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Avoiding romaji??

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Avoiding romaji??

Postby zico268_516676 » May 27th, 2017 8:10 pm


I am an absolute beginner in learning Japanese. Before I started I had obviously done some research as to how hard it is and what advise people who already speak it might have. And an overwhelming notion is that you should avoid romaji or not to relay on it, because it will make your head spin way down the line.

What I don't understand is, how do you then learn how the different Japanese characters sound like if you don't use romaji? Or am I missing something?

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Re: Avoiding romaji??

Postby jim.schuler » May 27th, 2017 8:45 pm

There are really four different sets of written characters you're dealing with:

1) Latin script/romaji
2) Hiragana
3) Katakana
4) Kanji

Except for the very, very early stage, you want to avoid the Latin script, and to do that you learn Hiragana. Hiragana and Katakana are syllabic alphabets: each symbol represents a sound, and will generally always represent that sound. It will take you one, maybe two, weeks of study to learn either. Hiragana is a necessity because not only is it used for the grammatical parts of a sentence, but it's also used for furigana, which is the tiny writing placed near Kanji characters that tell you how to pronounce them. Katakana is more a "learn it when you need/want to" type thing. You can get by for now without, just know that you will eventually be traipsing off to the web to look up a Katakana chart whenever you run into a foreign word imported into Japanese or someone wants to emphasis something (in that way Katakana is like the Japanese version of italics).

Kanji, meanwhile, are the however-many thousands of characters that have multiple meanings and multiple readings that you are likely looking at and wondering how you will ever learn them. That's what Hiragana helps you with (Katakana helps, too, but for the sake of simplicity at this point don't worry about it; you'll understand where that fits in eventually).

So, in short, use Romaji to learn how to pronounce Hiragana, and use Hiragana to learn how to pronounce Kanji.

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Re: Avoiding romaji??

Postby henryskitt_516675 » May 28th, 2017 2:47 pm

If your learning from a youtube series (like I was) you will come to a point when you suddenly realise they have stopped using romaji and start using hiragana it will happen gradually and it will be scary- suddenly strange symbols start to appear next to your treasured romaji until finnaly it swallows romaji whole and you never see it again. At this point you head into the comments about to write a furious comment about how unfair it is they are throwing you in at the deep end, when some wise old sensei comes along and says "Bruh Romaji is a crutch learn to walk by learning hiragana" (which by the way learn right now) so ye eventually you will look back at all the romaji fools who think they can live their linguistic lives crippled and reliant on this crutch. Then you hit a point when words you thought you recognised become these 20 stroke kanji and your like waaaiiittttttt that was a word made of 2 kana why so complex? when you can't read basic sentences anymore cause they've become KANJIED!!! you will freak out and head to the comments where some wise old sensei will tell you "Hiragana teaches you to walk kanji teaches you to fly" so your like okay I gotta learn kanji and your hmph this can't be hard then you realise On'yomi (by the way this is very complex) is written in the strange angular katakana which you have ignored cause "lIke who even needs that anyway, its like english or sumin" so you learn katakana and think your set until you discover japans FIFTH writing system Kanjikana lol I got you. But actually tbh kanji may aswell be made up of another alphabet with all this compound kanji and on and Kun stuff ye um good luck

The point of this story is DON'T GET STUCK IN ROMAJI you just end up having the rug pulled from underneath you like everytime you learn a new word
good luck

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Re: Avoiding romaji??

Postby community.japanese » June 27th, 2017 3:34 am

san, jim.schuler san,
Thank you for sharing your opinion.

If you study Japanese for traveling in Japan, you don’t need to memorize hiragana, katakana and kanji.
However, if you want to study Japanese properly, I recommend you not to use romaji.
The reason why is that pronunciations of hiragana are different from English phonetic sounds.
For example, ら, り, る, れ and ろ are different re, ri, ru, re and ro.
If you rely on romaji, your pronunciation would be worse.
In order to memorize hiragana, please use our lessons,
Yuki 由紀

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