How to talk like a ge1sha


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A beginner's guide to learn Japanese, from a Ruby programmer's perspective.

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How to talk like a ge1sha

  1. 1. How to talk like a Ge1shaA guide to Japanese as a programmers language Andrew Grimm Railscamp X
  2. 2. Hello World● Minasan konnichiwa (Hello everyone)
  3. 3. Vocabulary● Puroguramaa: Programmer● Waaurufu: werewolf● Bagu: bug● Burogu: blog● Paatii: party● Biiru: Beer
  4. 4. Plz halp● Good morning: Ohayou gozaimasu● Gday: Konnichiwa● Good evening: Konbanwa● How you going, mate? Genki desu ka?● Please (halp): Kudasai● Please (go ahead): Douzo● Thanx: Arigatou● Goodbye: Ja mata
  5. 5. How to copulate● Noun, subject marker, noun, desu● Bigg-san wa puroguramaa desu● Mr Bigg is a programmer
  6. 6. !● Japanese uses different verb forms for negative versus positive● Bigg-san wa waaurufu dewa arimasen● Mr Bigg is not a werewolf
  7. 7. From future import present tense● Japanese does not have a future tense● Just use the present tense
  8. 8. Particles● Those pesky small words go after the noun● No: of● Wa: used to indicate subject● O: used to indicate object● Kara: From (some meanings)● Made: To (some meanings)
  9. 9. Nouns● No singular or plural● Different objects have different counters● Five: go● Five beers: go-hon no biru● Five programmers: go-nin no puroguramaa● Five am: go-ji
  10. 10. Metaprogramming● Kore: This (near speaker)● Sore: That (near listener)● Are: That over there (far from listener)● Kore o kudasai (this please) served in every restaurant I went to – even McDonalds!
  11. 11. Linguistic prolog● To ask a question, just replace a known with a who/what/where word, and add ka at the end● Nan-ji desu ka? (What oclock is it?)● Biru-ji desu. (Beer oclock it is)
  12. 12. Japanese writing● Three writing systems:● Kanji● Hiragana● Katakana
  13. 13. Kanji: the evils of copy & paste● The Japanese copied Chinese characters to represent Japanese words● One character per word● 2000+ characters
  14. 14. Hiragana and katakana: shortcuts● More like alphabets● Derived from simplifications of kanji used for sound alone● Each letter represents a syllable● Each has ~ 46 letters● In general, hiragana used in native words, katakana in European loanwords
  15. 15. Legacy encodings● Japanese used to have many letters with the same pronounciation.● The Japanese government declared these letters obsolete (hentaigana) and not to be taught at school
  16. 16. Politeness: -san● -san is put after names● -san obeys whats called ingroup/outgroup rules● Dont use -san when talking about yourself● Dont use -san for someone in your family when talking to someone outside your family
  17. 17. Politeness: verb forms● Different verb forms are used for different levels of politeness.● The form you initially learn is called teinei- go.● Originated with language used by ge1sha to address their guests (hence the title of this talk)
  18. 18. Politeness: o- / go- words● Used for important things ● O-cha: Tea ● Go-han: Rice ● O-kane: Money ● O-sake: Booze / sake● Used to soften “dirty” words ● O-tearai: bathroom
  19. 19. Politeness: family● When talking about someone elses family, politeness goes up to 11 and you use o-/go- and -san● Father (someone elses): o-tou-san● When talking about your own family to someone else, you use a humble form● Father (your own, when talking to someone else): chichi
  20. 20. Learning Japanese● 16 lessons at a community college was enough for me to speak Japanese, even if not understand the response● “Japanese for Busy People” is slightly boring but good – you can use it if you miss lessons● Searching the internet to answer your curiosities about the language can be a time sink
  21. 21. Learning in romaji or kana● Learning in romaji (Roman letters) is technical debt● I was able to visit Japan without learning kana (hiragana and katakana)
  22. 22. Hints for handling Japan – Japan specific
  23. 23. Train stations● Station names, exit names, and ticketing is in both Japanese and English
  24. 24. Loanwords● The more modern the word, the more likely it is an English loanword (gairai-go)● Tend to have vowels added in to sound more Japanese-like
  25. 25. American English● Bad news: you have to learn two languages● Good news: one of them is similar to English
  26. 26. English heading, Japanese body
  27. 27. Toilets● Blue for boys, pink for girls, green for disabled
  28. 28. Communication – common sense
  29. 29. Pronunciation● 50% of language variations are the same words pronounced in a different way● Writing things down can help ● Gives people more time to understand ● Japanese learn written English more than spoken
  30. 30. Likelihood to speak English● Tourist information desk? Pretty likely● Love hotel receptionist? Maybe not
  31. 31. Questions?