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Japanese Linguistics

Jim Asmussen

16 May 2017
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I am a fellow student from Germany.

Within the framework of our Linguistics class at the Uni Flensburg, we anecdotally addressed the Japanese writing system. We’ve gained a brief insight into the writing system and do have knowledge about the key elements, but nothing abstract.
Our professor told us about a suvery of your written language which elaborates, that a Japanese/Japanese-speaking-person casually has problems to fully understand the content of media (For example newspaper). This issue arises allegedly due the circumstances, that the Japanese written language is very complex, in terms of a lot of different word variations and a lot consonant words, so one might not be able to fully understand the context of written language.

The question is: Is that a appropriate understanding of your language? And if so, how do you organize “knowledge”, by knowledge I mean aspects in within the scope of sciene or even just a simple operation manual (How to use a remote for a tv), considering that such knowledge archiving has to be very accurate.

Kind regards


Mike Cash

15 Mar 2002
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I had a college professor who told us that in Japan McDonalds serves rice dishes instead of hamburgers.

Your professor is just as wrong as mine was.

How would a people go about evolving a language so hopelessly complex that they themselves couldn't understand it?

How could newspapers stay in business selling consumers something written in a manner the consumers couldn't read?

There was an American comedian named Jerry Clower who said, "Some people are educated beyond their intelligence". I think he was talking about your professor.


8 Feb 2008
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Your interest seems to be genuine but I am intrigued by the expression "your language". Are you aware that most of the forum members do not speak Japanese as their native/first language?

Also, what do you mean by word variations? And with "consonant words" do you mean homophones, i.e. words that are pronounced the same way (but written with different characters)? I don't see how you could be referring to "consonant" as opposed to "vowel" here.

You're saying that "one might not be able to fully understand the context of written language". I cannot follow your logic here. Context in particular is something that helps you understand a written or oral statement as you can infer the meaning of (unknown) words.
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