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Monday, April 1, 2013

No, I will not change to "kininarimasu"

Okay, I’ll bite. I have some free time to kill anyway. So first things first, according to the’s definitions of “correct,” the second adjective definition is: in accordance with an acknowledged or accepted standard; proper: correct behaviorr. In this case, it will be on the matters of the transliteration of the Japanese language. Just so we’re on the same page transliteration is: “to change(letters, words, etc.)into corresponding characters of another alphabet or language.”

The main purpose of transliteration is usually for
easier learning and/or communication between two languages of different alphabets. So, efficiency towards ease of reading is preferred. Since spaces exist between words and particles in the English language for the sake of ease of reading, the same rules have been applied for transliterations, like the Hepburn Romanization (a style that’s been in use and development for longer than you have been alive).

You see, Japanese is easy in the sense that their alphabet is entirely phonetic and easy to transcribe into English with the exception of a few sounds, unlike Korean or Chinese which both have sounds used in their language that cannot be easily transliterated into English and resulting in awkward spellings and pronunciation by those speaking the latter. Were we talking about either of those two languages, I’d wholehearted agree with you. Official does not necessarily mean correct, especially the (arrogant) missionary and Wade-Giles systems of transcribing Chinese that turned something that sounded like “Guanzhou” into “Canton.” This isn’t Chinese nor Korean though, this is Japanese and so something a Japanese says, can easily be written in English as you know.

I’m getting to my point, don’t you worry. Japanese uses Chinese characters (kanji) in their language to increase their reading efficacy. It is solely because of kanji that the Japanese have no use for spaces. If you think I’m kidding, I’ll use Korean as an example.

Korean, having similar roots in the Chinese language like Japanese, developed its own simplified alphabet but still used Chinese characters for many words to differentiate the meanings between homonyms mainly because unlike in Chinese, Korean does not differentiate words using tones, only sounds. In general, there are no rules for spaces in Korean besides common sense, such as not placing a space in between words. Korean didn’t have a need for spaces because, like Japanese, the Chinese characters helped differentiate between words, particles, and particular conjugation and was easy to read because of its use. During the passing of a particular act, however, Korean became frustratingly hard to read because the act temporarily forbade the use of Chinese characters.

Suddenly all the words were in the Korean alphabet and crunched together which created problems in differentiating between words. Generally, it’s been a non-officially accepted rule to space similarly to the English structure (not because Americans had a hand in it, but because it was common sense). It has its personal exceptions regarding certain kinds of particles but that’s not important.

Why is talking about Korean important? I answer that by asking a question of my own. Have you ever read a report/essay by a particularly ambitious Japanese grade-schooler or a college freshman studying Japanese? The entire essay is more or less in all hiragana with spots of Kanji making the essay EXTREMELY hard to read because of potential misspellings along with spending time trying to figure out which hiragana are linked together to form each word. Why? Because there are no spaces used in Japanese, so it’s hard to tell whether that
to () or ha () is meant to be a particle or part of another word. With Kanji, spaces are completely unnecessary because most of the hiragana are only used as particles, or particular words for emphasis.

Which leads me back to my original point. We, as English speakers, do not use Chinese characters to replace words, so following your rule of not placing spaces will be a deterrent to reading efficiently. Second, we are transcribing a different language into our own, which means we should apply our rules on our letters on the words we import for the sake of ourselves. Every other country does the exact same thing to their own transliterations (applying their own rules based on their language. Applying the Japanese rule of spacing on transliterated words because it is “proper in Japanese” is downright stupid. It does not help US read any easier, which is the entire purpose of transliterating. I can say with 100% confidence that writing out the full name for OreImo as an example will be MUCH easier to read by applying our rules (Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai) than by following yours (orenoimoutogakonnanikawaiiwakeganai). I bring up OreImo because of YOUR suggestion that I write “kininarimasu” instead of “Ki ni Narimasu.” That suggestion implies that you write all your transliterations as such. And if you don’t, shut the fuck up, you hypocrite.

Your suggestion sounded stupid, and your rationale behind your suggestion sounded stupid, so here’s a full length essay in the form of Youtube comments detailing how stupid you sound.