The Most Interesting Thing

What’s the most interesting thing about Japanese you learned recently?

Mine is definitely pitch accent, thanks to that recent Tofugu podcast. I thought my pronunciation was pretty good to begin with, but I had no idea about pitch accent!

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You should check out the WK Pitch Info script!^^


The youtuber Dogen gives pitch accent lessons on his patreon.


I took the time to learn the structure of grammar taught to natives for the first time. It’s not the same as the structure taught to non-natives. For instance, て and た are auxiliaries in the grammar taught to natives, not parts of the verbs being conjugated.


Do you have an example of this, Leebo?

Like, 食べた is 食べ, the 連用形 of 食べる, plus the auxiliary た. It’s two separate things, not one thing that is the past tense of 食べる.

Scroll down to the entry labeled 助動

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The most interesting thing would have to be how Japanese treats verbs. When they are non masu and te forms, they basically can function as adjectives almost and modify the following words. The te-form is basically the verb if it combined with our concept of “and”. Furthermore, the masu-form/ other polite conjugation serve to indicate the intent and tone of the speaker in how they treat the listener. It’s all pretty different to English.

But I thought all languages are the same. Are you telling me that every language isn’t just a variant of English?


Are you telling me that all people don’t just speak English when no one’s around?


Duuuude, that’s great! How awesome I can work on that while chugging along with WK. :crab::crocodile::heart:

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Oh I agree. This completely blew my mind when I realized this.

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(Shhh… they’re watching!)

[Ironically, I speak Japanese when no one’s around.]


Most people… just don’t talk at all when no one’s around… :thinking:


I sometimes whisper my reviews when I’m doing them at work. Nobody’s ever commented about it. Fortunately one of my two cube neighbors also does WK.


I learned about pitch accent pretty late in the game and it’s been fun trying to relearn how to pronounce words and break incorrect habits…

Yes, I was reading somewhere that the way Japanese is taught to foreigners is essentially an attempt to morph it into English grammar, but by doing so there are many grammatical mistakes that are introduced. One example is the translation of zero-pronouns in Japanese as passive forms in English.

I don’t know if it’s fair to say that it’s morphed into English grammar, because they use the same standards for teaching non-natives of all varieties, including Koreans, who already have a very similar grammar to Japanese.

Basically what it means is that things like 食べて and 食べた are taught early on as though they are simply forms of 食べる, even though it’s not thought of that way by Japanese grammarians. The reasoning seems to be that those forms are so useful to non-natives who are learning Japanese, that it doesn’t make sense to teach the underlying grammar that actually exists, and to just simplify it for the sake of getting useful forms into their hands as quickly as possible.

Natives, on the other hand, do not need to be told how to formulate grammatically correct sentences, so you can teach the true underlying structure without fear of confusing the issue.

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