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Correct my statement, please.

WonkoTheSane

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Recently I sent a message trying to explain my job after being asked what I do:

仕事はSpeech Language Pathologistです。自閉症時や他身障者を担当しています。 話すや重いことが教えています。。。 分かりますか? 私の日本語はまた上手宮内からごめんあさい。 難し説明と思います。

I'm pretty sure I botched it completely grammatically, at the time I just decided I'd do my best to get my point across. I'd appreciate it if someone could:

1. Point out the parts which are absolutely incomprehensible.
2. Point out the parts which are grammatically unsound even if comprehensible to a forgiving reader.
3. Provide some insight on how I can better express these thoughts in the future.

Thanks so much!
 

lanthas

 
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Since the person you're writing to evidently doesn't know English, there's not much point in sending them the English name of your profession. The Japanese word for speech therapist is 言語聴覚士 (げんごちょうかくし), and speech therapy in general is called 言語聴覚療法 (げんごちょうかくりょうほう).

自閉症, not 時 (self-close-syndrome-child, not -time). May not be the word to use if your patients are not limited to children.
What's a 他身障者? If you want to express "differently abled" (as a euphemism for "disabled"), this won't work. Look at the kanji breakdown for "handicapped person": 身障者 body-damage-person. Hence a 他身障者 would be a "differently handicapped person" which really doesn't help.

話すや重いことが教えています - no idea what this is supposed to mean I'm afraid.

私の日本語はまた -> you probably meant まだ as in "not yet" (good). また means "again" or "in addition".
...上手宮内 -> presumably you meant the くない ending for negative い-adjectives, which is composed of the ~く adverb ending + ない (negative of ある) and therefore does not use these kanji. Even so, 上手 is a な-adjective, so its negative is not 上手くない but 上手ではない. Alternatively you can simply say 日本語はまだまだです (still a ways to go).

ごめんあさい -> ごめんなさい. Composed of ご免 (a pardon for someone) + なさい (from なさる, the honorific version of する), i.e. "please pardon me".

難し説明と思います。- "I think it's a difficult explanation", though I guess you meant "I think it's difficult to understand", which would be 分かりにくい or 分かりづらい.
 

WonkoTheSane

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Thanks very much!

Regarding use of the English term: The person has some English, though that's a good point and in the future I'll use the Japanese term. I hesitate because, though similar, the two professions are different in scope. Additionally, in the (distant) past when I've tried to use the term I've been met with blank stares. Probably due to poor accent, hopefully I've improved.

自閉症時や他身障者 was supposed to express "autistic children and people with other disabilities." For Autism, my practice is limited to children.

話すや重いことが教えています Yes, I was afraid my language completely broke down here so I'm not surprised. I was trying to express that I teach such things as communication and cognition.

私の日本語はまた All I can say is oops! Completely overlooked that typo.

日本語はまだまだです Good to know, thanks!

ごめんあさい -> ごめんなさい... Oops! Another simple typo. The things I know I often do too quickly, I think, leading to mistakes. I'll work on that.

難し説明と思います Thanks! I was going for "I think it's difficult to explain" but I spaced out on connecting します to "explanation" to create a verb.

Thanks very much for your corrections and thoughts!
 

lanthas

 
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Maybe they didn't understand 言語聴覚士 when you said it due to your pronunciation; maybe it's one of those words that's not often used in a spoken context and easier to understand when people get to see the kanji.

Not sure how one would say "people with other disabilities" - I'd guess 他の障害のある人, but I fear that this may get interpreted as 他の(障害のある人) instead, i.e. "other people with disabilities".

重い means heavy; you probably meant 思い. However, this word means "thought", not "cognition". You can always visit the Japanese wikipedia article to pick up relevant words.

"To explain" is simply 説明する. I did some research into ~にくい vs ~づらい and it turns out I should've done this before my first post, since there is a difference apparently: ~づらい blames the subject's ability while ~にくい does not. So:
説明しにくい: difficult to explain (because it's a complex topic)
説明しづらい: difficult to explain (because of the speaker's lack of ability)
分かりにくい: difficult to understand (because it's a complex topic, or because the explanation is bad)
分かりづらい: difficult to understand (because of the listener's lack of ability -> 失礼)
 
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WonkoTheSane

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Thanks very much!

I'm trying to figure out how to connect ~にくい and ~づらい to mean: Difficult to explain because it's a complex topic and (or, made more difficult) due to my lack of ability.

I'm thinking to just do this:
これは説明しにくいです。そして、日本語まだまだです。(again, thanks for the tip on this expression)

But I'm wondering if there is a more natural way you can recommend.
Thanks for the Wikipedia link, I'll work my way through it.
 
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mdchachi

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説明しにくい: difficult to explain (because it's a complex topic)
説明しづらい: difficult to explain (because of the speaker's lack of ability)
分かりにくい: difficult to understand (because it's a complex topic, or because the explanation is bad)
分かりづらい: difficult to understand (because of the listener's lack of ability -> 失礼)

I don't know if I'm "right" or not but I've always felt the ~づらい pattern has the nuance of lack of physical (or perhaps mental) ability. In other words, even if it's Japanese ability that is lacking, I think 説明しにくい is the better choice.

It's somewhat more advanced grammar which may belie your claim of not having enough Japanese skill but you could also say:
(私にとって)日本語能力はまだまだですので説明するのは難しいのです。
 

lanthas

 
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But I'm wondering if there is a more natural way you can recommend.
Not really, I'm far from reaching the point of producing natural-sounding Japanese myself. (Which is no wonder as I barely practice writing at all, just reading and listening.)

Thanks for the Wikipedia link, I'll work my way through it.
That's how I found the word 言語聴覚士 in the first place: browse to the English Wikipedia page on the topic and then switch to the 日本語 version. Can be a handy alternative for words that are not readily found in the dictionary.
 

WonkoTheSane

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I don't know if I'm "right" or not but I've always felt the ~づらい pattern has the nuance of lack of physical (or perhaps mental) ability. In other words, even if it's Japanese ability that is lacking, I think 説明しにくい is the better choice.

It's somewhat more advanced grammar which may belie your claim of not having enough Japanese skill but you could also say:
(私にとって)日本語能力はまだまだですので説明するのは難しいのです。

Thank you!

I had a feeling ので would be useful here. At my level, would this work or does it lose the meaning I want to convey: 日本語まだまだですので説明しにくいです。

While I understand the meaning of the phrase you wrote, I don't think I can construct a similarly intricate phrase on the fly, and I don't want to misrepresent my abilities when I write or speak because then people write and speak back as if I can understand more than I can. That's why I'm trying to simplify the phrase.

@lanthas That's a great idea, I don't know how I overlooked switching Wikipedia between the two languages, thanks!
 

mdchachi

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I had a feeling ので would be useful here. At my level, would this work or does it lose the meaning I want to convey: 日本語まだまだですので説明しにくいです。

Looks right on to me. I totally understand. That's why I avoid writing in Japanese to colleagues any more. Then I get a crapload of Japanese email to wade through. It's like working in quicksand.
 

Toritoribe

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うまい is written as 上手い in kanji, so 上手くない works well as the negative of 上手い, not 上手だ.

"To explain" is simply 説明する. I did some research into ~にくい vs ~づらい and it turns out I should've done this before my first post, since there is a difference apparently: ~づらい blames the subject's ability while ~にくい does not. So:
説明しにくい: difficult to explain (because it's a complex topic)
説明しづらい: difficult to explain (because of the speaker's lack of ability)
分かりにくい: difficult to understand (because it's a complex topic, or because the explanation is bad)
分かりづらい: difficult to understand (because of the listener's lack of ability -> 失礼)
Well, I don't fully agree with the discussion there. I believe 分かりづらい doesn't imply the speaker's lack of ability, and therefore 分かりづらい文章で申し訳ありません doesn't sound rude at all even used for superiors.
~づらい is hardly used with non-volitional verbs, and almost always has a negative nuance, whereas ~にくい can be used for general use. I recommend using にくい when you are unsure which is more appropriate.

I had a feeling ので would be useful here. At my level, would this work or does it lose the meaning I want to convey: 日本語まだまだですので説明しにくいです。
I would say 日本語がまだまだ上手ではありませんので、うまく説明することができなくて申し訳ないです。
 

WonkoTheSane

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うまい is written as 上手い in kanji, so 上手くない works well as the negative of 上手い, not 上手だ.


Well, I don't fully agree with the discussion there. I believe 分かりづらい doesn't imply the speaker's lack of ability, and therefore 分かりづらい文章で申し訳ありません doesn't sound rude at all even used for superiors.
~づらい is hardly used with non-volitional verbs, and almost always has a negative nuance, whereas ~にくい can be used for general use. I recommend using にくい when you are unsure which is more appropriate.


I would say 日本語がまだまだ上手ではありませんので、うまく説明することができなくて申し訳ないです。

I see, I will definitely stick to にくい for the foreseeable future.

I have a couple of follow up questions if it's not too much trouble:
1. In this phrase, is the 上手(ではありません) read as うまい or じょうず?
2. Should I modify the 申し訳ないです depending on the relationship I have with the person to whom I am speaking (like I do with apologies), or should I leave it as is?
3. I noticed 日本語が as opposed to 日本語は. Is this because I do not want to say *only* my Japanese is not good enough? Meaning that if I used は I would imply that I am good at other languages?

Thank you very much!
 

Toritoribe

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1)
It's じょうず. As you can see below, you can judge by the conjugation suffix which reading should be used (i-adjective-->うまい vs na-adjective-->じょうずだ).

うま(い)
dictionary form: 上手い
negative: 上手くない
past: 上手かった
attributive: 上手い
adverbial: 上手く

じょうず
dictionary form: 上手だ
negative: 上手ではない
past: 上手だった
attributive: 上手な
adverbial: 上手に

2)
It depends on the context and relation.

3)
Yes, that's right. は works as a contrastive marker there.
 

lanthas

 
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I keep forgetting about 上手い, and when I see it, I always read it as じょうずい initially. Aargh :). Putting aside irregular pronunciations like 美味しい, having completely different pronunciations for 上手 and 上手い just seems evil, especially in line break scenarios like:

[...] おぉ、松本さん上手
いですね!

Oh well, nobody said it would be easy.
 

WonkoTheSane

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1)
It's じょうず. As you can see below, you can judge by the conjugation suffix which reading should be used (i-adjective-->うまい vs na-adjective-->じょうずだ).

うま(い)
dictionary form: 上手い
negative: 上手くない
past: 上手かった
attributive: 上手い
adverbial: 上手く

じょうず
dictionary form: 上手だ
negative: 上手ではない
past: 上手だった
attributive: 上手な
adverbial: 上手に

2)
It depends on the context and relation.

3)
Yes, that's right. は works as a contrastive marker there.

I understand now.

Thank you very much!
 

Mike Cash

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I keep forgetting about 上手い, and when I see it, I always read it as じょうずい initially. Aargh :). Putting aside irregular pronunciations like 美味しい, having completely different pronunciations for 上手 and 上手い just seems evil, especially in line break scenarios like:

[...] おぉ、松本さん上手
いですね!

Oh well, nobody said it would be easy.

Don't forget うわて
 
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