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Urgent Request for Assistance

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Joined: October 9th, 2015 3:15 am

Re: Urgent Request for Assistance

Postby alasdair69 » October 24th, 2015 9:46 pm

Yuki 由紀 さん、

Thank you for the well-meaning (and absolutely correct) advice. Learning any language is difficult, you have to be prepared for that going into it and I was. I still am. In my experience though, one of the things that makes Japanese and other Oriental languages especially difficult for Westerners is the multiple politeness levels. The rude->impolite->casual->polite->VERY polite range of expression exists in every language but most at least use the same vocabulary, they just combine it differently. If I told someone "Sit down now" that would be rude. If I told them "please sit down" that would be more polite. But 'please', 'sit' and 'now' always remain the same. Japanese often has entirely different words to express the same concept, depending on the desired politeness level, which makes it sort of like trying to learn several languages at once. And, like the idiot I can sometimes be, I jumped straight into the hard stuff so yeah, I'm a little frustrated right now. But hey, at least now I have a better understanding of what to expect when I finally get that far, right? That's got to count for something. LOL

Also, I appreciate the thought but you're never going to be able to convince me not to try to get it as perfect as I can, that's just who I am. But perfection means different things to different people. Some people get so infatuated with Japanese culture that they try to speak, act, even think like a Japanese person. I personally think that's silly and pointless. I am a gaijin. I've always been a gaijin and even if I master the language better than most native speakers, move to Japan and live the rest of my days there, I will still always be a gaijin. I will always think and react like a gaijin and see everything from a gaijin perspective. And frankly, I'm okay with that. I have no desire to become something else, so for me perfection just means being able to express my gaijin frame of reference and point of view in a way that any Japanese person I may be speaking to can perfectly understand it and being able to perfectly understand them when they express their Japanese frame of reference and point of view to me. I think that's why that particular chunk of dialog bothers me so much, because I simply don't think that way. "I think it's painful"? Of course it's painful, it's a broken leg. "I worry about you"? Why? It's unfortunate, but people break their legs every day, it's not like she has terminal cancer or anything. "I think that is inconvenient"? Again, of course it is. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with expressing your sentiments in this way, IF that's the way you think, but the way I personally think is a lot more along the lines of "I was very sorry to hear about your accident", that's all. It's like it's not expressing MY feelings, it's expressing the feelings of someone very similar to me who just happened to have been born and raised in Japan, if that makes any sense.

Anyway, I'd just like to thank you again for all of your help and I'm sure you're right. I'm sure she'll understand that I tried my best and be grateful even if it's not absolutely perfect. Which is a good thing since I'll probably still mangle the pronunciations. :roll:

frustrated but still determined nihongo shoshinsa

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Re: Urgent Request for Assistance

Postby community.japanese » October 25th, 2015 3:42 am

alasdair69 san,
I really understand what you want to be and I am not saying you should not try to be perfect.
I know you are a beginner and trying difficult grammar and expressions at the moment so if you are frustrated, you might be not motivated.
And it might have negative effect to your study.
I don’t know how you have studied Japanese, self-study or studying at university or studying with us and so on.
Even if people study Japanese at high level university (QS ranking within 100), in order to pass N5 it takes two semesters.
I really hope you could send your letter and audio/visual recording to her and receive a reply from her.
Even if she doesn’t reply to you, what you do for that will help you to improve your Japanese.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask us again. :)
Yuki 由紀
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