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Reading the gospels and asking questions about specific sentences

Davide92

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Hi everyone!

I'm considering reading the four gospels in Japanese. I can easily access the English translations, I know the story and the syntax is pretty simple (at the very least in the English version), so that should help. Below are two screenshots from the edition I found. My question is: is the language used here reasonably modern in style , or is it rather archaic? Obviously there will be words for ancient objects, but as long as these terms themselves are not archaic and the grammar is modern, I don't mind.

(The sceenshots are taken from the second chapter of the gospel of Matthew):
 

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mdchachi

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It's written in modern grammar and it looks like it's made to be easy to read and very accessible since it includes the furigana for every kanji even 1st grade level words. Plus it shows the verse numbers which makes it very easy to find the matching line in English. So it's actually not a bad idea to use this as learning material I think.
 

Majestic

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I think you'll find it very rough going, and you will progress much faster if you use a textbook. At your level, it would be like "studying" hieroglyphics. I don't know precisely your current level of Japanese, but if you look at those two pages and are wondering if the grammar is modern or old, it tells me that this level of Japanese is already above your pay grade. If you are an elementary-level speaker, it would be good to try an elementary level text at first.
But...there are many paths to enlightenment. There was a guy here who was using Harry Potter as a study tool. I thought he was out of his head. But he persisted. I often wonder what became of him.
 

Toritoribe

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I agree with Majestic-san. Textbooks are far more usuful for beginner learners. For instance, it would be hard to interpret the meaning of お生まれになった or 知らせてくれ only from a dictionary or something, without knowing the structure of expressions "お + masu stem + になる" or "-te form + くれる".

There was a guy here who was using Harry Potter as a study tool. I thought he was out of his head. But he persisted.
I have to point out a fact that he was already at the level between intermediate and advanced at that time. He could relatively easily understand properly-written materials such like example senteces in textbooks or news articles. However, he was not good at colloquial or conversational exressions, so I recommended him reading a real material. Then, he chose Harry Potter series (probably because he could easily get the original English version).

I often wonder what became of him.
Yeah, indeed...
 

mdchachi

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The others had good points. If you don't recognize most of the grammar there already then you should take a step back and start with the basics. On the other hand if you won't listen to reason and insist on trying the brute translation method of learning the language, this is much better material than Harry Potter or Alice in Wonderland.
 
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Davide92

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I'll try to reply in Japanese. Any corrections are much appreciated!

エムディーチャチさん、マジェスティクさん、とりとりべさん、ありがとうございます。 私の日本語のレベルは日本語能力試験のN4より高くてN3より低いと思います。毎日文法書使いますがまだ知りません文法的な規則が沢山あります。文法を勉強し続けるつもりですけど、簡単な本文も読んでみたいです。

この本文ならどうにか分かりますが簡単ではないです。それに読書はたくさんの時間がかる。

I asked the question just to make sure it's reasonably modern. I came across a few expessions that seemed to me a bit archaic, such as 身重になった and possibly による in ユダはタマルによるパレス[...[ の父[...]であった in the first chapter, but these were kind of wild guesses.

Guess I'll stick to grammar books for a few more months, then we'll see....
 

mdchachi

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Looks like you're coming along. I don't think there's anything wrong with tackling text like this if you're also working through textbooks also.
You can skip the grammatical forms you don't know. Or take a stab at them and ask here for clues.

身重になった
I didn't know this word. My wife says it's not unusual or archaic. Just probably not something you'd hear in conversation.
ユダはタマルによるパレス[...[ の父[...]であった
I don't see the entire sentence but it seems like normal grammar.
 

Majestic

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簡単な本も読んでみたい

OK, I don't think the gospels are 簡単, but If you can read those gospel passages that you posted, and are just tripping up on some of the exotic vocabulary, then it sounds like you are doing OK. The Japanese used is modern grammar, so if it is interesting and fairly readable for you, give it a try. But if each sentence is a struggle, and its more like 解読 rather than 読書, then it might be slow going and frustrating for you. But if you want to give it a go and post any questions about the grammar, you can post here and we can try to help.

Your Japanese above is understandable, and fine, I would say, except maybe slightly unnatural phrasing.
N4より高くてN3より低い →  you could just say N4とN3の間
文法書 → テキストを使ってます

FYI, I have JLNPT Level 1, and I didn't know the word 身重. Just goes to show that the learning process is endless.
 

Davide92

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Mdchachi, Majestic, thanks! Well, some passages do feel like 解読 so I think I'll wait a little longer and keep using the textbooks. I also have a 十分で読める伝記 book meant for Japanese fourth graders that I might read before the gospels, depending on which one I find easier. If I have any questions about that, can I ask them here or should I start a new thread?
 

mdchachi

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Mdchachi, Majestic, thanks! Well, some passages do feel like 解読 so I think I'll wait a little longer and keep using the textbooks. I also have a 十分で読める伝記 book meant for Japanese fourth graders that I might read before the gospels, depending on which one I find easier. If I have any questions about that, can I ask them here or should I start a new thread?
Either is fine.
 

Davide92

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Hi guys! I've been busy woking with textbooks, seems the best strategy for the time being. I have found this example sentence:

この花の色の美しいこと。

The book says こと is a feminine sentence-ending particle indicating emotion and offers "What an exquisite colour this flower has!" Why is there の before 美しい though? To me that looks like the topic/subjiect, so I would expect が、は or an informal/emphatic equivalent..... Any help is appreciated.

@mdchachi-san: given your risponse, I'm going to use this thread to ask questions about specific sentences if that's ok.
 

Toritoribe

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I editted the thread title.

That's an expression to show admiration/praise to the beauty/exquisiteness of the color of the flower, not to a fact that the color of the flower is beautiful/exquisite. You can think that こと only nominalizes the last adjective 美しい, not the whole preceding phrase, therefore you need to use the possession particle の to connect 色 to 美しいこと. In fact, it can be rephrased with using the noun form of the adjective 美しさ instead of 美しいこと.
e.g.
この花の色の(なんて/なんと)美しいこと。
この花の色の(なんて/なんという)美しさ。

彼の足の(なんて/なんと)速いこと。
彼の足の(なんて/なんという)速さ。

この部屋の(なんて/なんと)静かなこと。
この部屋の(なんて/なんという)静かさ。
 

Davide92

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That makes sense... a bit like saying "Ah, the beauty of this flower's colour!" then. Thanks Toritoribe-san for your detailed explanation, helpful as always!
 

OoTmaster

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You should stick to manga if you're into fiction...
Maybe they have a reason for liking to study that way. Maybe you should stick to manga for learning if that's what suits you. I don't see why this comment is even needed at all. It's not relevant to the topic at hand. Availability of an English equivalent might be a good reason for this method or perhaps personal preference. Unless you're unable to recognize that people that aren't you have personal preferences that don't align with your own.
 
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