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Japanese has no spaces?

Narau

後輩
3 Mar 2004
19
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This is a total newbie question. 😌
From what I have seen there are no word spaces in japanese writing. Am I not seeing them, or do they actually not exist? If the latter, are there any hints for a new learner for picking out the words in a sentance? For now I am trying to pick out words by findong the particles I know like $B$O(B,$B$N(B and $B$,(B.
Outside of eventually having a large volcabulary, is there a way to pick out the words?
 
Here is an example... If it will work. My Hiragana posts seem to be freaking out...

This shou$B#l(Bd be something like a na ta ni a e te u shi i
 
Narau said:
Here is an example... If it will work. My Hriagana posts seem to be freaking out...

This should be something like a na ta ni a e te u shi i
Japanese isn't functional on these boards at the moment which makes it a little more of a hindrance, but you might have been trying to say "$B#A#n#a#t#a!!#n#i!!#a#e#t#e!!#u(B(re?)$B#s#h#i#i(B (?)" I'm happy to be able to meet you (?) And yes there normally are no spaces in printed Japanese....
 
Elizabeth, is it like the Thai language where the words are grouped into thoughts (sentences)? In Thai, several words are grouped that form an idea or thought, and there are spaces between those groups. For example, the name of a university (Universlty of Chiang Mai, let's say) will look like one long word. Is that how Japanese is written?
 
I never use spaces between Japanese words. The only time I will space stuff is at the end of a sentence. Like...

Nihongo o benkyoushimasu will be something like Nihongoobenkyoushimasu (in Japanese script of course). Words in a sentence are all pushed together with no spaces but sentences are separated by a (.) or (!) or some other sentence ender.

But hey! I'm no expert! :D
 
Elizabeth said:
And yes there normally are no spaces in printed Japanese....
Will it all boil down to having a large volcabulary, or are there any things that will help me pick out the different words?
For example, in that sentance I had before (thank you Elizabeth,you had it right) I could not find "ni a e te" in my dictionary, so I was stuck in figuring out the meaning. Since I could not figure out the begining and ends of the word I started with ni, then nia, then niae, etc. and eventually had to give up, because I got no hits. I probably need a better dictionary:) .What does ni aete mean?
 
Narau said:
For example, in that sentance I had before (thank you Elizabeth,you had it right) I could not find "ni a e te" in my dictionary, so I was stuck in figuring out the meaning. Since I could not figure out the begining and ends of the word I started with ni, then nia, then niae, etc. and eventually had to give up, because I got no hits. I probably need a better dictionary:) .What does ni aete mean?
It's difficult to say without knowing the form in which this sentence came to you. But Particles (ni, o, wa, ga, de) are always in hiragana, verb endings or inflections (in the case the "te" of "aete") almost always, pronouns (such as anata, when they are used) a lot of the time, nouns and adjectives about half the time, verbs and Japanese/Chinese/Korean names almost always in kanji....and everything else of course has to be katakana. ⭕ But seriously, "ni" is the particle in this case meaning "to you" and "aete" (from the infinitive "au," to meet) is able to meet. It is in the "te" form of "aeru" preceding an adjective, in this case 'ureshii,' pleased or happy.
 
Keeni84 said:
I never use spaces between Japanese words. The only time I will space stuff is at the end of a sentence. Like...

Nihongo o benkyoushimasu will be something like Nihongoobenkyoushimasu (in Japanese script of course). Words in a sentence are all pushed together with no spaces but sentences are separated by a (.) or (!) or some other sentence ender.
Although the word breaks in this case would be immediately clear to any fluent reader as Nihongo is a kanji word, o hiragana, benkyou kanji and shimasu would be in hiragana. Plus they tend to use more commas, which there are really no rules for like in English and the spacing between letters in handwritten Japanese is often about what we use for words. It really only becomes problematic, even for native speakers at times, when you get long strings of kanji names or unfamiliar katakana transliterations.
 
Yeah, commas seems to be used in any whack ways. I just use them when I feel that the reader needs a 'break' in the sentence, or when I'm thinking. (kyou wa, (...) blah blah blah)
 
And those commas are a straight line in the reverse direction from ours, which actually leaves a more prounced space than a regular sentence ending period (also larger & rounder). Ditto with Japanese quotation marks. So they have quite a few visual tricks to navigate around in. In addition to this small black dot separating words in the paper sometimes that I've never quite figured out the function of.....:confused:
 
It doesn't really boil down to having a large vocabulary so much as having a good grasp of grammar and, especially, the various ways verbs conjugate. Once you get that stuff down breaking the sentence apart will become relatively easy. One possibility for your example is that aete is a conjugation of the verb "au" (to meet). Or "ni" might not be a particle at all and it could be a conjugation of the verb "niau". That's why using kanji actually makes reading Japanese "easier." It's easier to parse sentences.

Narau said:
Will it all boil down to having a large volcabulary, or are there any things that will help me pick out the different words?
For example, in that sentance I had before (thank you Elizabeth,you had it right) I could not find "ni a e te" in my dictionary, so I was stuck in figuring out the meaning. Since I could not figure out the begining and ends of the word I started with ni, then nia, then niae, etc. and eventually had to give up, because I got no hits. I probably need a better dictionary:) .What does ni aete mean?
 
Elizabeth said:
And those commas are a straight line in the reverse direction from ours, which actually leaves a more prounced space than a regular sentence ending period (also larger & rounder). Ditto with Japanese quotation marks. So they have quite a few visual tricks to navigate around in. In addition to this small black dot separating words in the paper sometimes that I've never quite figured out the function of.....:confused:
Hmm.. it seems the only time I see the black dot is when it separates foreign words that have two more words in it instead of making it look like one long word.
 
mdchachi said:
Or "ni" might not be a particle at all and it could be a conjugation of the verb "niau". That's why using kanji actually makes reading Japanese "easier." It's easier to parse sentences.
I suppose it could have been anata niaete without the "ni" but that would probably make it even rarer than "niaeru" itself. Which goes to show also that with romaji you take the risk of winging it a bit more on common sense and experience. Fortunately in this case things seem to have come up on the right side 😌
 
:) Thank you all for your insights (especially @Elizabeth and @mdchachi). I think I am trying to bite off more than I can chew at this point. My next logical step is to get a better understanding of grammar and verb conjugation before attempting to break sentences apart.
 
Keiichi said:
Hmm.. it seems the only time I see the black dot is when it separates foreign words that have two more words in it instead of making it look like one long word.
Yeah, that's probably the main category, longish names and technical terms. I have also seen it between two kanji words, though, that I'm guessing is to set them off as proper nouns in this case.
 
Regarding Sentense structure

Also, as has been stated, there are no "sentences" in Japanese in the sense that there are in English. Basically, the Japanese language is a series of utterances that are linked together by structural particles along with verbs and a few connecting words.
This I read tonight on a site I was using to learn a bit about "particles". What are your opinions on this statement? :?
 
Narau said:
This I read tonight on a site I was using to learn a bit about "particles". What are your opinions on this statement? :?
The words pile, of and crock come to mind.

I think I see what they are trying to get at though. It is true that with regard to meaning there is generally no significance to the order of words within a sentence [save for the verb] as long as each word / noun phrase is marked by the correct particle. The words gets across if you the meaning even in shuffle English of course usually. :D
 
It is true Japanese doesn't have the long, time dependant modifying clauses you sometimes get in English. You can't say something in the vein of "I've finally decided to use the interest on the money earned last summer traveling around doing part time work as a glass technician at a factory in Minnesota my stepfather inherited five years ago to buy my kid sister a garnet necklace for her next marriage next year." All clauses and phrases need to at least have an implied particle, with word order mostly mattering for meaning with the order of the verbs.
 
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