• Hello,
    I would like to get some help with the following:
    First, I'd like to know what verb should I use when I want to say a certain promise isn't kept. (George doesn't keep his promises.)
    Second, in my Genki workbook it says "yokutaberu", and i want to understand the purpose/meaning of the "yoku". Niku o yoku tabemasu ka.
    Third, 希臘 < that last kanji really got me there haha. Just out of curiosity, what do those kanji have to do with greece from the japanese perspective? (Like with the kanji for Italy which one might figure out.)
    Finally, 風邪引く shows as an uncommon verb in more than one dictionary including Denshi Jisho, but I seem to keep encountering it, because come on, people catch colds, so what do the japs use if not this?

    Now, I'm a bit worried about my encounters with the japanese language, which are too few. I can't get manga in japanese here in the middle east. Of course, there are no japanese people here at all. Anime is just not enough, and modern anime has too much katakana crap (not that it stops me from watching). I can't find any online games in japanese, and the offline ones are about the same as anime. I can't read japanese newspapers yet, and I'm way to shy to speak to any jap on the internet, unless it's by chat (- hence gaming). If anyone can find me a good solution to ANY of the above, like a global shipping manga store or a good online game, be a pal, thanks! ;)

    P.S. sorry for the romaji, I promise it's not by choice.
  • Romaji aren't bad, only people who believe they can learn Jpanese without kana/kanji are. So don't worry.

    1) not keeping a promise is 約束を破る (yakusoku wo yaburu, to break a promise), or 約束を守らない (yakusoku wo mamoranai, to not keep a promise).

    2) よく食べる: よく can also be used as an adverb with the meaning "often". As a mnemonic, the adjective よい means "good" and if something is good, you want to do it often.

    See the dictionary entry here (sense 4):
    http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/leaf/je2/78134/m1u/よく

    I don't like textbook sentences, so here's an example from real life.

    (A multiple choice question regarding your calcium intake.)
    牛乳や乳製品をよく食べますか? (How often do you drink milj or eat dairy products?)
    - 大好きで良く食べる (I love it and eat it often)
    - 週に1~2回ぐらいは食べる (I eat it about 1-2 times per week)
    - あまり食べない (I don't it very often.)

    Note that the distinction between the other sense of よく is not always clear:

    よく食べてよく寝る。これがいちばん (Eat well, sleep well. That's the best.)

    You could interpret this as "Eat often, sleep often" as well with pretty much no change in meaning.

    3) 希臘: 臘 is hardly used anymore, and originally referred to a festival near the end of the year; and in extension the last (12th) month of the lunar calendar. 稀 originally meant small, a little, rare and in a positive sense extraordinary or phenomenal. Now you need to recall that these kanji spelling are from a time period where the educated were expected to know and use many kanji, especially for nouns. Some spelling are also taken from China, and they didn't have kana.

    Using their kanji only for their sound and not for their meaning is called 当て字 (ateji). Also, some kanji had derivative reading for this purpose. This was more common in the past and I don't think they are supposed to mean anything really, beyond the whim of whoever came up with these kanji (perhaps "extraordinary festival"??). Although for countries, kanji with a positive meaning would probably have been preferred so as not to offend anybody.

    You can find more kanji spellings here, such as 華盛頓 for Washington, 哥白尼 for Copernicus, or 比斯馬克 for Bismarck.

    http://homepage3.nifty.com/maryy/japanese/country-names.htm
    http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/国名の漢字表記一覧


    4) 風邪引く: Jisho uses edict, a freely available Japanese dictionary. Many other free sites (which you've been using ptobably) and android and iOs application use it as well. Edict is great because of its Creativr Common license, but it's edited by people in their free time. Expect some errors and check with other dictionries when in doubt.

    Edict website:
    http://www.edrdg.org/jmdict/edict.html

    More online dictionaries.
    http://meta.japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/756/resources-for-learning-japanese/761#761

    Many of these include example sentences and explanations , which is super helpful and missing in edict, which is "jusy" a collection of possible translations for each Japanese words. And that is why you shouldn't use it for English-->Japanese.

    And I wouldn't call 風邪引く a verb, it's just the noun 風邪 + the verb 引く.

    5) You can try http://www.yesasia.com/global/en/home.html They should be shipping almost anywhere and have got a pretty large sortiment. I've been using them to buy non-mainstream books/novels in Japanese and personallt I didn't encounter any problems. As with most online shops, check your local customs and tax regulations.

    Also, personally I've found an electronic dictionary (google for denshi jisho) with handwriting input for kanji immensely useful.

    Good luck!
  • Pardon the late response. Thank you for the reply, it was very helpful. Paragraph 3 is especially interesting, the history of the kanji always makes me wonder. When I encountered the kanji for "bad"/"evil" 悪, for example, and Denshi Jisho showed me the outdated kanji 惡, I figured it was something done intentionally against the church trying to push their way through japan back in the day, but I was never able to verify that.

    Sadly, I won't be able to study for the next month at least, which is kind of annoying because I just entered a good pace. But, mabye I'll be able to take a peek in one of yesasia's books every once in a while...
  • Don't worry, no need to rush :-)

    Do you mean that the upper part of 惡 looks like a cross (✞)?

    The old forms of kanji are those that had been used traditionally and officially. For ease of writing, there were many simplified forms and variant. Around 1950, some of these and other simplifactions (新字体, shinjitai) were officially adopted. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tōyō_kanji#Reform)

    The simplfifaction seen in 悪→惡 is not restricted to this kanji, other kanji with this element got simplified as well: 唖, 壷, 亜.

    Admittedly, there are not many common kanji with this element, and 悪 is by far the most common one; I'd say any connection with the church is an interesting, but probably far-fetched, idea.

    PS: This forum is rather inactive. Stackexchange is a great place with a large user base:

    http://japanese.stackexchange.com

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