Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Giving and Receiving in New Words

Tomorrow comes a new beginning of Japanese lessons with Fukunari-sensei.  I've been preluding for it today by studying Japanese again.  I can feel my brain plunge deeper into the murky lake, taking in an awareness of what is below the pristine surface of blissful superficial communication.  The possibilities that lie waiting below.  To go a step deeper seems to make treading the surface that much harder.  When I first returned to Japan I was so happy with my understanding and ease of communication.  Compared to knowing nothing, I was doing great.  But with this gradual realization creeping back in, the second-guessing that comes with learning how little one knows has made my pencil hesitate to fill in the missing particles and vocabulary in my two-month-old homework.  I lack the same authority and knowing intuition I might have ignorantly summoned a week ago.  The door is being used as an entrance right now, and no information in my brain seems able to escape.  I remember this feeling from high school, that the more I read, the less I seemed to be able to speak.  Writing was another matter.  That might just be my brain....

What has become more clear to me, though, is a certain particular point concerning giving and receiving verbs that had confused me greatly before I left (and only mildly–like maybe a 6 on a 10 point scale–now).  Three words- ageru (to give), morau (to receive), kureru (to give if I'm the one receiving).  There's a lot of exchanging going on, but the rule is that if someone is giving something to me, kureru is the verb that must be used.  If I'm giving I can use ageru.  For example, "I ageru the chocolate to Kaneko-san." I'm also able to receive the chocolate from Kaneko-san, "I morau the chocolate from Kaneko-san."  The catch though, is that Kaneko-san CANNOT simply ageru the chocolate to me, he must kureru it.  I can receive from him, but it takes a special word for him to give it to me.  So, "Kaneko-san (can) kureru the chocolate to me,"  and, "I (can) morau the chocolate from Kaneko-san," but "Kaneko-san (CANNOT) ageru the chocolate to me."  At least that's my latest understanding of the matter.  

It's just words.  Words that need to find a place in murky meaning.  Feeling my way through the feeling behind this, sculpting the relief of meaning on a very blank slab of marble.  It's an interesting thing to learn a language.  And language, the teaching of it, comes after a culture has intuitively evolved it and individuals absorbed it from their surroundings.  It is such a natural thing to develop and acquire.  May it be so with me....

No comments:

Post a Comment