I went to Japanese class today (right now it is Friday afternoon…I usually write my posts ahead of time.) We study quite hard–my Japanese teachers are taskmasters, especially my Friday ones.
I was reading a paragraph from my N2 Somatome textbook and was stumbling over it a bit. The reason is that THERE ARE NO SPACES BETWEEN WORDS in Japanese. (At least not at an adult level. A picture book may have spaces. But anything above a picture book–no.)
One of my teachers said he sometimes has trouble with this himself even, separating the words when reading. Usually it is no problem to figure it out, but sometimes you have to think a bit.
So here is my husband’s newspaper so you can see what Japanese looks like:
In a newspaper, print will typically go from top to bottom, right to left. When a word reaches the end of the line, it can be divided at any part of the word at all. No hyphens, no nothing to signify the word continues on the next line.
You may be thinking: That is why Japanese is so hard! Geesh!
Actually this stuff is not such a big deal for me. You get used to it pretty quickly. The hardest part is stuff like remembering characters and vocabulary. That’s really hard for me. Grammar is quite hard, too, although I don’t think I do Japanese at its toughest levels so it isn’t as hard for me as characters and vocabulary.
You will probably notice in that news article that there are different kinds of writing. It’s about the election in the U.S., so a lot of American names are in katakana.
See if you can find a couple of them: