Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Learning Japanese, I think I'm learning Japanese

Today was the first day of my Japanese-lessons and even though I have studied on my own beforehand for quite some time now, the rate at which we'll be going is scary. It was mostly an introductory class today, the teacher talking about the humanistic subjects and where Japanology fits in. He also briefly touched on linguistic stuff like morphemes and phonetics. All this in a Finnish, which isn't my native language, nor is it one that I have such a firm grasp of as English. (To be honest, Swedish and English are the only ones I have any sort of grasp of.) Though I can understand most of the Finnish that I hear, I have difficulties forming any form of response (at least a coherent one).

Some might wonder what I'm doing living in Finland without speaking Finnish as my native language, which I think Wikipedia has a much better explanation to than I do (and then I won't have to think of something to write on my own):
Finland-Swedish is a variety of Swedish spoken in Finland. From the 16th century Swedish, not Finnish, was the main language of jurisdiction, administration and higher education in Finland. In 1892 Finnish and Swedish became official languages with equal status, and by the time of Finland's independence in 1917 Finnish clearly dominated in government and society.

Finland has since then been a bilingual country with a Swedish-speaking minority (5.08% of Mainland Finland's population in 2003), speaking Finland-Swedish, living mostly in the coastal areas of southern, south-western, and western Finland.
As it happens, I live in one of the places where a large part of the population is Swedish-speaking.

So, I'm learning Japanese through Finnish lectures. I wonder a bit what I've given myself in to. Thank (insert higher power of choice) that I had learned about some of the stuff like morphemes and phonetics before, otherwise I probably would've been completely lost.

We're about 20 or so (didn't do any head counting) on the course, quite a diverse bunch I'd say. I didn't see any of the extremes mentioned in this article, but there were a few that made you go "huh?"; like the girl with pink hair, the one with a t-shirt of a Visual Kei band, the really small girl that looked like she was twelve or something... But what struck me was that everybody there is probably either very smart or too stupid to not realize how difficult it's actually going to get. I wonder a bit which of the two groups I belong in.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

huhu-haha. It was hard!!! HARRRDH! -Aino