Found in 1 comment on Hacker News
Tor3 · 2023-02-01 · Original thread
True enough, in many ways Japanese looks like a spoken-only language where the parties communicating are always visible to each other and share the context. They did get their writing system pretty late, though not that much later than many other languages which aren't as context-based. Then you have languages like Latin, which is so precise that there's little or no implied context needed (from the little I know of Latin, anyway).

You just have to try Google Translate on Japanese and it messes up all the time, it doesn't understand if it's about a male of female subject, one person or several, and lots of other issues. You can't have machine translation of Japanese until you get true AI - an intelligence that can understand context.[0]

Though I don't entirely agree about particles. Sure there are many - I have a little booklet with some 70 of them[1]- but in practice there are vastly fewer in use and the important 6-7 ones are used all the time and aren't (in principle, at least) particularly tricky (though some are often left out in speech). I find them elegant, in many ways. And yes, regional differences.. my wife (Japanese) uses different patterns from "standard" Japanese, but then again my native language has an uncountable number of dialects, often with grammatical differences too, so to me most other languages' variations seem minor..

(I'll add that I'm not fluent in Japanese yet and therefore stumbles on particle use sometimes - in theory I know how, but in practice I'm not good enough. I never imagined it could take so long learning a language, one that I actually like and enjoy listening to. It's very true, as someone said, that "you can know a lot about Japanese but that is not the same as knowing Japanese")

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