"I don't like kanji"

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Claro's tweet:

Focusing on one note from Kikumoto Shouta:

Then I suggest that Shouta use fewer kanji and more kana — though the teacher probably wouldn't allow that.

[h.t. Brian M]



20 Comments

  1. Narushi said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 1:20 am

    "Let's introduce yourself"

  2. Freddy Hill said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 2:21 am

    I realize this is about Japanese kids and Kanji, but I was taken aback by the "Let's introduce yourselves!" construction

    I'm not a native speaker of English, but I was taught that proper imperative second person singular or plural would be "Introduce yourself" and "Introduce yourselves" Perhaps a "Please, introduce yourself" could be used to soften the command.

    Is this a thing now? Perhaps the other forms sound too harsh in some ears, even with a please in front?

  3. jaap said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 2:56 am

    I think the main problem with "Let's introduce yourself" is that "let's" is short for "let us", so then it should be "Let's introduce ourselves" for the pronouns to match. Since the writer of that sentence is not introducing themselves at all, that isn't really applicable in this situation.

  4. Abigail Fulbrook said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 3:31 am

    Let's introduce yourself is not a thing, unless you're speaking Japanese English. There is a habit of Japanese English to translate to let's when it should be shall we, or not used at all, as Japanese uses the volitional form a lot more than English.
    So around here I see let's discovery, let's Tokyo, let's beer. Urgh.

  5. Chris Cooper said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 3:48 am

    Perhaps the construction is modelled on "Let's you and him fight!"

  6. M.N. said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 4:17 am

    I could say "Let's introduce yourself" if I were helping someone write a letter, for instance. It's vaguely reminiscent of partial control.

  7. Joseph F Foster said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 6:56 am

    Re Abigail Fulbrook's observation:
    Note that "shall we" is pretty stuffy, especially for American English. Almost schoolmarmishly pretentious–and was even 60 years ago when schoolteachers insisted it was "proper grammar". Americans are more likely to say "Let's V." "Do you wanna V…?" or the like.

  8. speedwell said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 7:28 am

    It's not even "let's". It's "let'" and "s", with a space.

  9. Sean Richardson said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 7:43 am

    "Let's introduce yourself" sounds awkward because agreement is crossed for both person and number … but that reflects a reality of teaching, everywhere. Is the teacher part of a "we" with the class or not? Yes. Is the student part of a group, or an individual?
    Yes.

    When things are going smoothly, for a teacher to say "Now let's turn to page …" is completely natural, but when it is more appropriate for the teacher to use the imperative, the second person is what is going to get used … even if it is elided.

    Remembering back to junior high and grade school in Ontario, "Let's" constructions were extant in print (en Français in French class too) and came across as ham-handed when the mood of the class, or my own mood, was definitely not "we're all in this together." The writers of those texts may have wanted to set such a mood, but that can't be done with one word from another year altogether.

    This prompts a curiosity about how Japanese references individuals as parts of a group. Wherever you go, that comes up, and I have seen some astonishing constructions in English to try to get something across in those situations.

  10. Ginger Yellow said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 10:15 am

    So around here I see let's discovery, let's Tokyo, let's beer. Urgh.

    I can get on board with "Let's beer".

  11. Zradradradcek said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 11:41 am

    There's also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let%27s_Active

  12. Gregory Kusnick said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 11:48 am

    Alice: "Oh look, there's Carol. Do you know her?"
    Bob: "No, I don't."
    Alice: "Let's introduce you."

    This seems perfectly natural to me, despite disagreement of number and person. So the problem with "Let's introduce yourself" must have to do with the reflexive nature of "yourself".

  13. Scott P. said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 12:51 pm

    Would a colloquial translation be "why don't you introduce yourself'?

  14. Jonathan D said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 5:36 pm

    Gregory Kusnick, it's definitely the reflexive part that causes the problem. There's no reason why the number or person of the introducers and introducees should agree without it.

  15. Nathan Hopson said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 5:46 pm

    On the awkwardness of "Let's introduce yourself!" including the apparent space b/t apostrophe and s:
    1. The "Let's" is a very common misapplication of one translation for the verbal ending 〜ましょう. In Japanese, this sentence would be 自己紹介しましょう (Jiko shōkai shimashō). The 〜ましょう is an exhortative construction, and is used as a polite imperative, as here. In tone, it's more like, "Why don't you…" I guess.
    2. The apostrophe-space problem is an illusion. This is what often happens when you use a Japanese font to write English. The punctuation is in Japanese, i.e. fullwidth characters (全角文字).

  16. Filter Fodder said,

    October 3, 2017 @ 6:27 pm

    > This is what often happens when you use a Japanese font to write English. The punctuation is in Japanese, i.e. fullwidth characters

    But the rest of the characters are proportional, not monospaced (the l makes it obvious). So either the apostrophe wasn't part of the font and it somehow defaulted to fullwidth, or something else went wrong.

  17. Matt said,

    October 4, 2017 @ 12:21 am

    So either the apostrophe wasn't part of the font and it somehow defaulted to fullwidth, or something else went wrong.

    Whatever it is, it's extremely common when writing in English on Japanese computers for your apostrophes and smart quotes to suddenly start coming out full-width. Like Nathan, I recognized the problem immediately!

    Presumably it has to do with the fact that the "curly left/right single/double quote" characters are actually considered part of the Japanese punctuation set, for left-to-right writing at least. Word (or whatever) must sometimes misinterpret them as Japanese characters that need to be set in a Japanese font, rather than typographically correct English (or French, etc.) characters that can stay in Times New Roman or whatever you're working in.

  18. Chas Belov said,

    October 4, 2017 @ 1:57 am

    I must be fairly descriptive where it doesn't cause confusion. "Let's introduce yourself," didn't bother me from a grammatical POV, only from the superior-subordinate cutesiness.

  19. flow said,

    October 4, 2017 @ 11:00 am

    The technical analysis of the apostrophe spacing problem is certainly relevant as such (and also of practical importance for non-technical users and programmers alike), but as soon as the stuff is printed and handed out, all that counts is appearances, and there is definitely too much whitespace between the apostrophe and the following letter. I regularly fight with stuff like that when mixing scripts and it's not easy to get right.

    So here we are supposed to talk about Kanji (are we?), and yet… it's all about the Let's and the punctuation…

    "I don't like kanji, but I stuby it everyday". This sentence have many question.

    The 'd' is mirrored / confused with a 'b'. This must be difficult about the Latin alphabet and I remember I found it difficult when I had to learn to distinguish dbpq (not to mention that the relationships to the upper case forms DBPQ is different for each letter, and somehow one should *expect* D to become b by just making the stave longer, but no, you have to flip it around).

    Shouta writes kanji, not kanjis, which is in fact how I use the word in English; there are 42 kanji, I have 200 yen (Yen?), both without the plural -s. However, the writer might be unaware of English plural altogether at their stage of learning, which is why they write 'it' instead of 'them'.

    Third, 'I study them everyday'; I assume that 'study' is used as a direct translation of 勉強する (but of course one can't be sure); while that verb does mean 'to study', it has also overtones of repetitive work, of diligence and of effort that are rather absent from the plain 'to study'. I *guess* what the writer intends to communicate is that 'although I do not like kanji, I have to put a lot of work into them day after day'.

    Those kids have adorable names, too. One girl is called Karina, one boy Taiga (I wonder whether that's from 'Tiger' or the Siberian 'Taiga', which is in fact called タイガ in Japanese).

  20. Matt said,

    October 5, 2017 @ 12:41 am

    I *guess* what the writer intends to communicate is that 'although I do not like kanji, I have to put a lot of work into them day after day'.

    Maybe indirectly… I honestly would not read that much into "study" here. My guess is that he means "They are part of the curriculum in my daily Japanese (lit. 'National language') class, and consequently I study [=sit through a class about] them every day." There may also be homework involved.

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