Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Learning Japanese

I was wondering if any attorneys with Japanese language back rodney1801/10/17
I'm turning Japanese. I really think so. mtobeinf01/10/17
Developing strange sexual fetishes? imoothereforeim01/10/17
No but I love women of color and certain Asian women. Only p mtobeinf01/10/17
I don't speak Japanese, but my girlfriend lived there for th bucwild01/10/17
Are you planning to take courses or self-study? junkwired01/10/17
Probably a combination of both. rodney1801/11/17
It depends on what you mean by acquire skills. To be able t tedandlisa12301/10/17
If you are living in Japan, and speaking it every day, I wil tuliotanaka01/10/17
For a native Mandarin speaker I would say it takes one year ichininosan01/11/17
I have been learning Japanese for years as a hobby and I am diligentsolo01/11/17
Thanks for the serious, helpful answers! rodney1801/17/17
Knowing kanji is a huge advantage. But what is your goal? Co shuiz01/18/17
Native chinese speaker here. If it is document review work y secondcareerlawyer01/18/17
Well played second career and good advice. Also, I was unaw mtobeinf01/18/17
rodney18 (Jan 10, 2017 - 4:50 pm)

I was wondering if any attorneys with Japanese language backgrounds might be able to give some input on how long it takes to acquire solid Japanese language skills. I practice immigration law and am very interested in the country and culture. I am already fluent in Mandarin and can recognize Chinese characters.

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mtobeinf (Jan 10, 2017 - 5:03 pm)

I'm turning Japanese. I really think so.

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imoothereforeim (Jan 10, 2017 - 6:23 pm)

Developing strange sexual fetishes?

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mtobeinf (Jan 10, 2017 - 8:57 pm)

No but I love women of color and certain Asian women. Only problem is I like some booty. My women thick. Japanese I'd need to develop some fetishes to get around banging skeletor.

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bucwild (Jan 10, 2017 - 5:58 pm)

I don't speak Japanese, but my girlfriend lived there for three years. She speaks/reads it conversationally well enough to get by, but she's not fluent. She's a native English speaker. Hope that helps.

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junkwired (Jan 10, 2017 - 7:05 pm)

Are you planning to take courses or self-study?

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rodney18 (Jan 11, 2017 - 6:16 pm)

Probably a combination of both.

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tedandlisa123 (Jan 10, 2017 - 8:23 pm)

It depends on what you mean by acquire skills. To be able to converse comfortably in everyday situations is one thing. To be able to comprehend denser novels or listen to more technical media is another.

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tuliotanaka (Jan 10, 2017 - 10:59 pm)

If you are living in Japan, and speaking it every day, I will say 3 years to become conversationally fluent.

Since you are already fluent in Hanzi you will be able to pick up Kanji in about a year if you immerse yourself. A lot of it is really the same in the end.

Take a simple example in our language 湯. For you this would mean Soup or Stew. For us it means hot water. An educated person would automatically know what you mean, but if you are dealing with Japanese professionals you can expect them to try to ridicule you for this. Yamato pride and all. You must be vigilant if you do face to face work with them.

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ichininosan (Jan 11, 2017 - 8:43 pm)

For a native Mandarin speaker I would say it takes one year if you take intensive language classes (3 hrs class time + 3 hours homework x 5 days / week) while living in Japan if you are < 30. Over 30, longer. There are plenty of such schools, esp. in Tokyo. Mandarin and Japanese share the same characters, but are from different language families, so the languages have little in common in terms of grammar structure and the Japanese prepositions - に、の、か、が、は、etc and many verb tenses are difficult to master, even if you have Mandarin fluency (only Korean and Mongolian speakers pick these up quickly.) It should take you somewhat longer as presumably a native English speaker. An average English-only speaker takes 2 years. It's a big investment, but Japanese / English fluency is still uncommon and the ability to fall back on $90 / hr. doc review is probably worth well more than your law degree. I haven't done doc review, but there are threads here on the perils of conflicting yourself out of such gigs, so it's not all roses either.

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diligentsolo (Jan 11, 2017 - 9:55 pm)

I have been learning Japanese for years as a hobby and I am definitely not fluent (I am sure if I was a lot more intentional I probably could be). If you learn the basics of Japanese, I recommend switching your smartphone to Japanese to immerse yourself in the language. It will be frustrating at first but reading things like "unread mail" and "weather" in kanji everyday will really make you remember. That would be a poor method by itself but in conjunction with other methods of learning I think it gives a nice boost.

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rodney18 (Jan 17, 2017 - 9:00 pm)

Thanks for the serious, helpful answers!

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shuiz (Jan 18, 2017 - 4:10 am)

Knowing kanji is a huge advantage. But what is your goal? Conversational Japanese is not that difficult. If it's legal work, on the other hand, then unless you are some sort of language savant, I'd say several years.

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secondcareerlawyer (Jan 18, 2017 - 10:14 am)

Native chinese speaker here. If it is document review work you are after there are a lot of Chinese speakers doing Japanese doc review especially on the east coast.

The situation is analogous to the native Spanish speakers moving into the Portuguese market. Of course most aren't conversationally adept but you don't need to be for doc review. Nuances like grammar are harder to learn but not insurmountable. If you can recognize traditional characters then it is much easier. This is the case with the overseas Chinese diaspora. Those from Taiwan have it especially easier as they both know traditional Chinese and have been exposed to Japanese influence for a very long time.

Certainly it is easier for us than Western weabos whose only Japanese link is cosplay, anime, and video games. Don't let talk of how hard Japanese is coming from others scare you. They are just trying to protect the market with intimidation tactics. This is not to say that it is a cake walk. You need to be genuinely interested to learn a language well.

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mtobeinf (Jan 18, 2017 - 11:43 am)

Well played second career and good advice. Also, I was unaware of the Chinese diaspora. I have been in Pittsburgh for a decade where it's white/black/Asians from Carnegie Mellon, but have lost my ability to differentiate amongst Asians when I came back to Philly (aside from last names). I will be on the look out.

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