Sep 20, 2009, 10:34:10 AM9/20/09
to Huliganov and friends
Let me first start with saying that Japanese is an extremely intensive
language. Not only must you learn the 2 alphabets (Hiragana &
Katakana), 1000+ standard usage Kanji characters, their writing
strokes (for faster, more effective writing), their Chinese/compound
readings (Onyomi) and Japanese/singular readings (Kunyomi), honorific
grammar system(s) called Keigo (Sonkeigo, Kensongo & Teineigo), but
also the general opposite sentence/grammar structure from Russian.
I have learned Japanese for about 6 years until I stopped recently; I
lost interest and starting learning Slavic languages. Slavic languages
and Japanese, by the way, are the most difficult languages for English
speakers to learn, due to their intensiveness and differences. Your
learning of both of these languages will be a truly daunting task,
because as I have experienced, Japanese is a career in itself - you
must review CONSTANTLY or you will forget the little annoying things.
But, if you have the passion, and the time, you can do anything.
You may have noticed that the Japanese Particles are sometimes viewed
as Cases. I never learned it like this, but as far as learning Russian
at the same time, this may help keep your transition between the two
languages consistent and less confusing. Learning Japanese is requires
more understanding of the culture since the notion of politeness and
honour plays an integral part. Also, the idea of context plays a role
in Japanese more so than any language there is. What may be friendly
towards someone, may be rude to someone of higher standing (the
opposite applies with a certain amount of arrogance), and what may
seem like a statement about someone else (due to lack of use of
certain pronouns or subjects), may be a statement about themselves...
and the instances go on and on. So Japanese requires more attention to
politeness and context than Russian. I would not say that Russian is a
rude language at all, just that Russian does not go out of its way to
be polite and respect a person of a certain standing.
However, of course, you may choose to learn and teach your children
Japanese at a certain pace which slowly introduces them to these
complex ideas later in your and your children's learning. But in order
to live in Japan (working in a workplace), these concepts play a
critical role to integration within their culture. I am welcoming you
to learn both languages at once, but do not come into it thinking that
you will master each language in 5 years or so - they both take a very
high level of intensity. I may suggest you will be able to accomplish
more, quicker by learning one language at a time.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.