(before this turns into another rant blog >.<)
1. It’s just totally different, you know?
This is stereotypical and yes, I am aware that it is not totally different from the other languages in that region, it’s only different cause I’m an ignorant Westerner. But it’s just so fascinating. It’s amazing to see a language where you just can’t make out anything without prior study. It’s amazing how even with prior study you just run into things that are totally unlike anything you’ve encountered before. Every time I pick up a textbook I learn something new and different. I can read a newspaper and encounter a gazillion things that I have no idea how to make out. It’s not a “hey, that has “ness” in it so it’s a noun”, it’s “I have no idea what that is. Cool”.
2. The experience of learning is unlike any other language.
(is this a continuation of no.1? So be it).
Most Western languages have a foundation on which you build, and it becomes easier and easier to comprehend as time goes by. Once you get the basics, you just improve on them. With Japanese, the basics is just an informal introduction to the vastness of the language. It’s not about perfecting the subtleties, it’s about gaining access to a completely new area once you get past each step.
3. Kanji. ❤
I love Kanji. Each and every one of them. Even the weird ones that make no sense. I got into Japanese when a friend showed me 雨 and explained what it is. They’re just lovely bits of art, each and every one of them. Decrypting their meaning is fun and interesting. Finding out their origins(the ones that have a menaingful origin, that is) is always an interesting task. Being able to link a Kanji to some cultural thing is fascinating…Ok. Occasionally it is hilarious. Am I the only one that laughs when she sees 母？I must be childish that way.
4. The language is embedded with the country’s culture.
I’m big on linguistics, sorta. I’m an amateur, so that translates to “I don’t know anything” in the linguistic world. I think Japanese is any linguist/linguistic anthropologist’s wet dream. I mean it’s kind of cool how these 3 different countries have the same word for something because of their common Latin ancestry but Oh My God are those things derived from a simplistic tribal view on things and have been well preserved for millenia? Sprinkled with the historical view on various subjects? And the national attitude and general view on life is totally reflected in the language? It’s Christmas all over again.
5. Culture which, by the way, is amazing.
So yeah. Nothing new here.