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Unintentionally Seeing English Definitions When You Are Doing J-J — 6 Comments

  1. One other thought: if you did RTK, you’re going to have the English keywords floating in your head as you learn new words anyway (at least I definitely do), so I don’t think it’s realistic to think English will be so removed from the process (at least until the kanji are super-internalized, which seems way off for me).

  2. “well it doesn’t really mean that. It is missing X nuance.”

    I think this one is key to what J-J really is. It is all about realizing that words have different nuances between languages even if they have the same basic meaning. This is why most bilingual dictionaries are so terrible – they pretend that there is a perfect 1:1 translation of every word. It just doesn’t work that way. A monolingual dictionary will explain words instead. If the bilingual dictionaries did the same thing, they would be almost as good, but they are dumbed down to simple word translations. Sentences can be translated – words most often cannot.

    • So true. Once I finally actually started understanding J-J definitions, I came to the same conclusion.

      Of course there are some cases where this over-complicates things, like when the word refers to some concrete thing. For example, if I look up 猫 and find like 10 sentences of impenetrable Japanese scientific jargon describing what a cat is in biological terms — I would probably be content to simply see the word “cat” in that case :D

      But then, luckily, Jalup J-J cards come to the rescue, with definitions like:

      猫:人の家によく犬か猫がいる。猫がとても可愛い。外はあまり好きじゃない。ちょっと怠け者で寝るのが好き。犬と猫が友達になることは珍しい。

      • It has been bugging me , so I’ll say it, I have a problem with the Japanese definition, and I completely disagree with the above. I know I might get some hate for saying this, but at least listen to me. Feel free to correct me.

        I have seen many cats which are outgoing and active. And they are not that selfish as people make them out to be. For example, when a cat brings you a dead rodent, it’s its way to say “Thank You” by giving it food. Does a dog do that? NO! I’ve also seen many cat-dog friend pairs too. I don’t think it’s correct to generalize animal nature…oh yeah, I agree with the J-J part though. One of the most important leaps you’ll ever make. The earlier, the better. No problems there.

        • Haha, it is a little bit — racist isn’t the right word — cat-ist? Species-ist? Hopefully there are no dog-loving, outdoors-venturing, go-getter cats who are studying with the Jalup intermediate deck, since they would probably get offended by the definition… I could definitely see them objecting: “そんなことにゃあいよ!”

  3. On the subject of dog-cat relations, I learned an interesting thing from my 少年生のことわざ crossword puzzle book. It seems that in Japanese, it is dogs and monkeys that have trouble getting along, not dogs and cats. 犬猿の仲, dog/monkey relations seem to be particularly bad. Heee…I have met many dogs, but I can not say to have met many monkeys. I wonder why they do not get along with dogs.

    My cats seem to like learning Japanese. They seem particularly good at understanding things like 可愛い, いい子, and 美しい. On the other hand, things like ダメ and やめて, they do not seem to understand at all. Then again, the same goes for English, I think.

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