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Old 06-04-2013, 06:43 PM
 
Location: NYC
90 posts, read 177,621 times
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Close. It is how they sound. To expand on that all Japanese words can be formed using hiragana. Hiragana is a phonetic script. Once upon a time it was the "ladies language" as it is much easier to learn than kanji. Anyway so a kanji can have multiple hiragana based on the onyomi or kunyomi reading. The phonetics are then romanized into English (called romaji).

横浜 (kanji) -> kunyomi reading = よこはま (hiragana) -> romanized = Yokohama (romaji).

You can also pronounce it as

横浜 -> onyomi reading = おうひん -> Ouhin. Nobody would use this however. Also Chinese pronunciation is often spelled out via katakana but I won't get into that.

A Chinese person would pronounce it as

横浜 (hanzi) -> hengbin (pinyin, which is also romanized)

Notice however that the onyomi reading is a lot more similar to Chinese. Once upon a time it was probably pronounced close to ouhin in Chinese as well.

Last edited by aceofangel; 06-04-2013 at 06:59 PM..
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:03 PM
 
Location: Texas
843 posts, read 1,377,163 times
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Japanese has a very different kind of grammar from Chinese/English.
Kanji only affects how you write.
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Old 06-05-2013, 12:20 PM
 
810 posts, read 1,129,648 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceofangel View Post
Close. It is how they sound. To expand on that all Japanese words can be formed using hiragana. Hiragana is a phonetic script. Once upon a time it was the "ladies language" as it is much easier to learn than kanji. Anyway so a kanji can have multiple hiragana based on the onyomi or kunyomi reading. The phonetics are then romanized into English (called romaji).

横浜 (kanji) -> kunyomi reading = よこはま (hiragana) -> romanized = Yokohama (romaji).

You can also pronounce it as

横浜 -> onyomi reading = おうひん -> Ouhin. Nobody would use this however. Also Chinese pronunciation is often spelled out via katakana but I won't get into that.

A Chinese person would pronounce it as

横浜 (hanzi) -> hengbin (pinyin, which is also romanized)

Notice however that the onyomi reading is a lot more similar to Chinese. Once upon a time it was probably pronounced close to ouhin in Chinese as well.
Close to how they sound in English?

For instance...the way "Yokohama" is pronounced using English letters...does it sound the same in Japanese?
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:26 PM
 
25,059 posts, read 23,157,510 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Yes, of course. The Chinese characters can technically be used for any language, with a different word substituted for the meaning of the character or characters. That is how Japanese people as well as speakers of say Cantonese might be able to read Chinese but not speak Mandarin.
Well, my ex step father is Chinese and he can read kanji (漢字) in Japanese sentences but it makes no sense to him, and I've had Japanese friends who have said the same about Chinese. They can read the characters written in Chinese, but the sentence makes no sense. It's very similar to, say, Russian and Mongolian. Both use the Cyrillic alphabet, but the words are not mutually intelligible. Also the same goes for Spanish and Portuguese. Same letters, almost the same language, but I can't understand Portuguese entirely, maybe 40%.

Quote:
Originally Posted by trancedout View Post
Close to how they sound in English?

For instance...the way "Yokohama" is pronounced using English letters...does it sound the same in Japanese?
No. In English it's pronounced as Yoh-koh-hama but the Japanese say it Yo-KO-hama. Japanese does not drag out vowel sounds the same way English does. It's almost the same in Spanish, we don't drag out our vowels, either. I practice speaking in Japanese when we can with my friends on skype, and they say that my Japanese pronunciation is almost native-like. Well, I suppose when your native language has almost the same vowel sounds (U being the exception) as Japanese, it helps a lot, I can also roll my R's as well, and they do, too.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:30 PM
 
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An interesting thing is that Chinese people learn Japanese proper names (of cities, persons etc.) with Chinese pronunciation only. Therefore, they have no idea how these names actually sound in Japanese, or in other languages. Although all educated people in the world know "Tokyo", most Chinese people only understand "Dongjing" and have no idea if you say "Tokyo" to them.

Probably only China and Korea have the same problem.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
An interesting thing is that Chinese people learn Japanese proper names (of cities, persons etc.) with Chinese pronunciation only. Therefore, they have no idea how these names actually sound in Japanese, or in other languages. Although all educated people in the world know "Tokyo", most Chinese people only understand "Dongjing" and have no idea if you say "Tokyo" to them.

Probably only China and Korea have the same problem.
Sounds similar to how some foreign places in the world have English names but many go with the native name in English. The places that have names in English were thanks to the British Foreign Office back before WWI that "translated" these places.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:36 PM
 
6,724 posts, read 6,599,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theunbrainwashed View Post
Well, my ex step father is Chinese and he can read kanji (漢字) in Japanese sentences but it makes no sense to him, and I've had Japanese friends who have said the same about Chinese. They can read the characters written in Chinese, but the sentence makes no sense. It's very similar to, say, Russian and Mongolian. Both use the Cyrillic alphabet, but the words are not mutually intelligible. Also the same goes for Spanish and Portuguese. Same letters, almost the same language, but I can't understand Portuguese entirely, maybe 40%.
It depends on the context.
I would say, a Chinese can understand about 40% Japanese from a regular newspaper. And an educated Japanese can understand slightly more, maybe 50~60% of Chinese newspaper.

The mutual intelligibility goes higher in formal articles such as those in law, and goes lower in informal, conversational contexts.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
It depends on the context.
I would say, a Chinese can understand about 40% Japanese from a regular newspaper. And an educated Japanese can understand slightly more, maybe 50~60% of Chinese newspaper.

The mutual intelligibility goes higher in formal articles such as those in law, and goes lower in informal, conversational contexts.
I don't know about that. I'm just going by what the native Chinese speaker told me. He most likely understands as much Japanese as I do Portuguese or Italian, but only when read. Ask him to understand spoken Japanese and he wouldn't have a clue, and he wouldn't know how to write it, same for me with Italian and Portuguese. I can read both languages to an extent, but ask me to say or write any word in either language and I'm lost. The grammar is also not the same, unlike the Romance languages which share many similar grammar structures. Comprehensibility in that context is a one-way street
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:47 PM
 
6,724 posts, read 6,599,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theunbrainwashed View Post
I don't know about that. I'm just going by what the native Chinese speaker told me. He most likely understands as much Japanese as I do Portuguese or Italian, but only when read. Ask him to understand spoken Japanese and he wouldn't have a clue, and he wouldn't know how to write it, same for me with Italian and Portuguese. I can read both languages to an extent, but ask me to say or write any word in either language and I'm lost. The grammar is also not the same, unlike the Romance languages which share many similar grammar structures. Comprehensibility in that context is a one-way street
Yes I am talking about reading only. Even a Beijinger cannot understand a Shanghainese, if we talk about listening. (Beijing and Shanghai dialects sound as different as Spanish vs Italian, at least.)

However, Chinese has a very simple grammar so everyone can figure some things out as long as he got the vocabulary.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:52 PM
 
25,059 posts, read 23,157,510 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bettafish View Post
Yes I am talking about reading only. Even a Beijinger cannot understand a Shanghainese, if we talk about listening. (Beijing and Shanghai dialects sound as different as Spanish vs Italian, at least.)

However, Chinese has a very simple grammar so everyone can figure some things out as long as he got the vocabulary.
I've tried to learn Mandarin Chinese. The grammar is simple, that is without a doubt. What really killed me was pronouncing the words. I can't do tonal languages, I ended up massacring his poor language lol. Chinese is crazy with all its dialects that might as well be languages by themselves. How they all use the same exact characters (except Hong Kong and Taiwan which use Traditional and not Simplified) and mean the same thing is beyond me.
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