In lessons 10.5 & 13.8 it seems as if the words sonkeigo, kenjougo & teineigo have been completely avoided. Personally I think it would be better to introduce them. These terms are very widely used in other books, web articles on Japanese grammar etc, & I think its *helpful* to have things categorised like that so one can cross refer to other sources. Because English doesnt really have these concepts, its very easy to get muddled between the them; the distinction between 'respectful' and 'polite' for example in English is vague; but distinct as sonkeigo & teineigo in Japanese. (Its odd that the 'plain form' is almost always called that, & not by the Japanese term ふつう or くだけた but Im not sure if they are exact synonyms?)
10.5 & 13.8 culture lesson 'nomenclature'
August 2, 2012
August 2, 2012
I never found the distinction hard to see. Lesson 13.8 explicitly states that: Polite is for all situations. Respectful is to exalt those of higher status than oneself, thus used when referring to superiors' actions, etc. Humble is to make your own actions less significant. The different keigos are actually called by name in lesson 20.8, though I don't really support Rocket Japanese's avoidance of mentioning them prior, I do see why they would do so; it could provide an additional level of complication that most speakers wouldn't appreciate. At any rate, personally I found the course to be more colloquially- and casually- and culturaly-oriented, while providing some business Japanese. I think with that in mind, it doesn't seem unreasonable, though I do agree it'd be nice to just put the terms in brackets before polite, humble, respectful. As to the matter of calling "plain form" as such, and not using Japanese terminology, I think it would be rather alienating for learners to have to refer to Japanese grammar in Japanese. It's like when I started learning Spanish, I'd have been really lost if I had to refer to all the grammatical elements in Spanish. While it has the potential to increase the rate of learning, it could be disorienting for learners, and if the Japanese word has an equivalent in English, I don't see any problem with it being used if it makes it more accessible. Case in point, for abstract, Japanese-exclusive words, tatamae, giongo, gitaigo etc, the Japanese words are used. I'm not sure if futsuu and kudaketa are synonymous. I know futsuu just means "normal" and is an adjective, while kudaketa is a noun/adverb. Also, I'd imagine "plain form" would be futsubun or something.
August 6, 2012
Matter of 'taste' more than anything probably.One issue is that the explantations it seems are clarified in 13.x and 20.x but one is hitting these things in much earlier lessons. Generally I would agree that using Japanese terms for general grammar nomenclature would be a bad idea. But these distinctions dont really exist in a clear way in English as they do in Japanese. 'Respectful', 'humble', 'polite' are rather vague, non-specific & overlapping terms in English without a clear grammatical meaning - & I dont know what Id use for 'plain form', 'everyday speech' perhaps? Its not really the same as say 'colloquial'. But as I say its arguable; I have a taste for 'the naming of parts' if you know your first world war poetry! Curious that should come to mind; the third line mentions 'Japonica' http://www.solearabiantree.net/namingofparts/namingofparts.html