Japanese people love doing everything they possibly can to abbreviate and contract their language. While I suppose you could argue the same thing about any language, I think that Japanese take it to a new extreme (like they often have a tendency to do with everything . . .) I’d go even as far as to call it a 略フェチ (ryaku-fechi, abbreviation fetish)?
So to keep this website in line with this Japanese tradition, I’ve decided to try something new. Japanese Level Up will now be abbreviated to JALUP. It rhymes with scallop and gallop, two words which have their merits. Expect to start seeing usage of this beautiful abbreviation in new posts to come.
To actually give meaning to this, I’ve purchased the domain name for JALUP.com, so you can now access the normal site by typing that in instead. This should be easier to input with its minor 5 letters as opposed to the long treacherous fifteen. Your enjoyment of the site may go up (or is that down…?) by 3x. And if you are wondering why I didn’t go with JLU.com, I think every 3 letter domain name was bought up by smart internet bubble guys 15 years ago and now have hefty sale prices of around $20,000. So JALUP.com works just fine. And who knows, maybe one day JAL (Japan Airlines) will have a huge economic recovery and want to purchase my domain name from me for $50,000?
But back on topic to some information that might actually be useful. You are going to have to get used to all the Japanese abbreviations and word contractions in the language. Prepare to be brought both pleasure and annoyance by them:
– Everything becomes shorter (novel idea. . .) meaning you have less to remember.
– The pronunciation is easier. This matters when you confront those painful and difficult to pronounce katakana loan words. Trust me, no one wants to have to say マクドナルド (makudonarudo, McDonald’s) when マク (maku) exists.
– It takes away those unfathomably long kanji compounds that just seem to travel on forever. I’m talking about the 10-20 kanji strung together in a row for one long organization name, department, or technical term (e.g. 経済部投資審議委員会第一組).
– If you can’t remember them you aren’t alone, because even native Japanese have trouble keeping up to date with all the new abbreviations
– Japanese is a constantly changing language and you will keep up to pace with the rapid transition.
– Katakana loan words, which we as foreigners with native English should be absolute pros at, will often stumble because contractions of these words turn them into unrecognizable Frankenstein-like creations.
– If kanji is the key to gaining the best grasp of Japanese possible, what happens when you are constantly changing the shape of that key. Many abbreviations are long kanji phrases cut short by removing some of the middle kanji. Sometimes the remaining kanji are enough to easily understand the meaning, but other times it can be a complete and utter mess.
– They make listening to Japanese more difficult than it should be. What you study in textbooks, school, and even many native forms of media is often in a fairly proper form of the language. However, real live speaking and writing abbreviates and contracts the language more than you can imagine. This makes the progression from regular reading and listening practice to real life situations take that much longer. Many people face the dreaded fate of finally going from Japanese listening material to conversations and everything is so blurred together you wonder what language you are actually listening to.
Just like you need to get used to all the English loan words in the Japanese, you will just need to get used to the massive amount of abbreviations and shortening of words. And the only way to do this, which I’ve reinforced on too many posts to keep count, is to just keep listening, more and more. The more you know the proper language in its original form listening, the more your mind will make conclusions and deductions on how that original form is being abbreviated. While it will be helpful to hear these contracted conversations as well, you can still get plenty of practice from everything else. Think of it as a mini-game of trying to fill in the missing pieces of a conversation.
JALUP! (I figure I had to say it one more time, otherwise everyone will just forget about it after they finish reading this post.)
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