A couple of days ago I wrote about a Japanese pun I came across while surfing and doing language learning. I wanted to know more about how these kind of language-tricks work in Japan. And this is what I’ve found:
“Japanese puns, or 駄洒落 (dajare), can be not only groan- or laughter-inducing, but they can also help you improve both the depth and breadth of your language ability.”
Learning a new language is full of discoveries along the way!
As I am spending more time on learning the Japanese language the more different things seem to unlock. One of those things is the apparent fun Japanese companies have with puns/slight writing mismatches.
Like this one – I think (as I can not be 100% sure yet…learning!):
This is an advertisement in a supermarket for a laundry detergent. It is themed to an Anime called “Attack on Titan” – properly because the detergents name is Attack. So when I tried to make sense of the text I first read it wrong, of course.
Let’s look at it step-by-step:
I first started reading the Hiragana portion and make sense of it. There I made my first mistake which is to misread the first second character. For some reason my brain went for わ (wa) when I should have gone for れ (re).
Then I typed away further and came to the Kanji. I read a 活 (katsu) when it in fact was a 汚 (kitanai).
Given that you’ve typed those into Google Translate you will get very interesting results. I had a good laugh by then:
I am not sure if this is on purpose or not – as I do not yet know if I am just making a mess on this or if this is intentionally done so that, given your level of Japanese reading and attention-spent reading it, you get very different and funny results.
Any Japanese readers that can add some explanations? Am I far off with the thoughts?
Since a couple of months we are trying harder to learn a foreign language.
And as we excepted it is very hard to get a proper grasp on speaking the language. Especially since it is a very different language to our mother tongue.
And while comfortably interacting with digital assistants around the house every day in english and german the thought came up: why don’t these digital assistants help with foreign language listening and speaking training?
I mean Google Assistant answers questions in the language you have asked them. Siri and Alexa need to know upfront in which language you are going to ask questions. But at least Alexa can translate between languages…
But with all seriousness: Why do we not already have the obvious killer feature delivered? Everyone could already have a personal language training partner…
I am at the stage of “trying to comprehend” the japanese spoken language.
I’ll be a happy camper if I would understand most of what is being said and could follow daylight normal conversations pointed towards me japanese. Like, you know, when trying to make a purchase or having to ask for that one bit of information.
For this, apart from excessive exposure to the spoken language, I am using some tools to help with reading to a small degree.
For those completely out of the loop:
Japanese has no genetic relationship with Chinese, but it makes extensive use of Chinese characters, or kanji (漢字), in its writing system, and a large portion of its vocabulary is borrowed from Chinese. Along with kanji, the Japanese writing system primarily uses two syllabic scripts, hiragana (ひらがな or 平仮名) and katakana (カタカナ or 片仮名). Latin script is used in a limited fashion, such as for imported acronyms, and the numeral system uses mostly Arabic numerals alongside traditional Chinese numerals.