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Core with romaji and translation

#26
(2017-04-03, 4:05 pm)phil321 Wrote:
(2017-04-03, 3:13 pm)pied2porc Wrote:
(2017-04-02, 6:36 pm)phil321 Wrote:
(2017-04-02, 4:07 pm)KameDemaK Wrote: What level of fluency in the language are you aiming to achieve? If your answer is "higher than beginner", I would suggest you reconsider your approach, ditch romaji and learn real Japanese. Attempting to reach a decent level in Japanese with romaji is the equivalent of Japanese people aiming to reach a decent level in English using Hiragana and Katakana. My 2 cents.

Not really.  Way back before computers, people studied Japanese grammar at as high level as they wished using romaji, with no apparent ill effects. 

For example, the following is from an "old" textbook:

Sake o nomu yoo ni natta no wa kyonen no koto desu.
It was last year that he started to drink sake.

Changing the above romaji into kana/kanji does not add any further nuances or insights into the grammatical construction being taught.

By saying that you're also saying kanji are useless and writing everything in hiragana is totally fine, if not better because it is faster.
Punctuationandspaceinenglishdoesntaddanynuancesorinsightsintothegrammaticalconstructionbeingtaught
Your exemple could be read a lot faster using kana/kanji.

Maybe you just lack confidence (not to confuse with arrogance)?
It might be painful at first to write in kana/kanji, but delaying the effort is what hurts you the most.
Maybe you don't realise how much you lose by not using it.
Do you consider yourself a beginner? you don't seem to.
Romaji is holding you back more than helping you at that point, plus it is painful to read.

LOL!  Your example sentence in romaji omits spaces between the words--romaji is NEVER written without spaces between the words so your argument that my example could be read a lot faster in kana/kanji doesn't hold any water.

I can tell you right now that despite your sentence being a fairly simple one, it took me much longer to read and understand than if it had been in written Japanese. That's anecdotal, but I'm telling you right now it's true. That sentence is super basic, but I spent as much time on it as I would an unfamiliar construction in written Japanese.

Also Japanese 酒 and English sake are too different things. What we call sake is more properly referred to as 本酒. Asking for さけ (sake) in a Japan will get you a completely different alcoholic drink as 'sake' just means alcohol, and when not qualified, the assumption is not usually that you want 本酒 but rather a drink called 焼酎.

I dunno if we can point to roumaji as the culprit for the misunderstanding here necessarily though, although I can't imagine it makes it easier to separate the concepts when you're spelling them the same.

HelenF Wrote:
NinKenDo Wrote:Reading romaji will only screw up your aural abilities by making you think Japanese phonology is equivalent to English.
I keep hearing this; but then how do people learn any language that uses roman letters? The tendency to read L2 using L1 pronunciation rules is a real problem to be aware of, but it only really screws up the people who don't pay attention to pronunciation or don't use enough audio at the beginning.

Interesting point. Although I would say that in the examples that spring immediately to mind, there's very marked and well known differences. For instance a Spanish R, or French R for that matter. Stuff like that is actually quite easy to hear, and highly exposed and stereotyped in English speaking circles. The lack of rounding on many Japanese うs? Probably less so, and I can't imagine using a u to represent it will not hinder a learner from realising the subtle difference given that /u/'s lip rounding is so tied to the character, that we used two of them to represent a /w/ sound simply because the tongue is in a similar position and the lips are rounded in both.

But yes, point taken. However I would also point to Japanese phonology being different not only in pronunciation, but in the way the underlying phonological system operates. For instance, the importance of morae to the Japanese phonological system is made much clearer in written Japanese when using a writing system which codes on a mora basis.

But yes, I think your point is a good one. I should look up some research on the effects of roumaji on aural skills and see what it says.
Edited: 2017-04-04, 7:14 pm
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#27
It's also possible to learn entirely with kana and kanji and still have a pretty terrible accent, of course...
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#28
(2017-04-05, 4:01 am)pm215 Wrote: It's also possible to learn entirely with kana and kanji and still have a pretty terrible accent, of course...

That is most definitely a possibility. ?
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#29
(2017-04-04, 6:56 pm)NinKenDo Wrote: For instance a Spanish R, or French R for that matter. Stuff like that is actually quite easy to hear, and highly exposed and stereotyped in English speaking circles. The lack of rounding on many Japanese うs? Probably less so, and I can't imagine using a u to represent it will not hinder a learner from realising the subtle difference
...
However I would also point to Japanese phonology being different not only in pronunciation, but in the way the underlying phonological system operates. For instance, the importance of morae to the Japanese phonological system is made much clearer in written Japanese when using a writing system which codes on a mora basis.
There are vowel differences between English and French too, some more subtle than others. And timing differences, though this is harder for people learning English.

Right, using kana is going to help the learner to grasp morae too.

And as KameDemaK pointed out, there are several different romaji systems, so when you change textbook etc, words are suddenly spelled differently - while in English or French, only a small proportion of words can have more than one spelling.

Still, learning to pronounce Japanese with romaji is going to be an awful lot easier than learning to pronounce English.
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#30
(2017-04-03, 12:07 pm)KameDemaK Wrote: Secondly, how do you romanize e.g. 単位? "Tani", right? Guess what, you'll be pronouncing it たに then, which will be wrong.

tan'i
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#31
(2017-04-02, 6:45 pm)Stansfield123 Wrote:
(2017-04-02, 6:36 pm)phil321 Wrote: Not really.  Way back before computers, people studied Japanese grammar at as high level as they wished using romaji, with no apparent ill effects.

Have you ever met anyone who became fluent in Japanese without learning the Kana?


Exactly, why are you guys leading him on?  This is pure laziness that will lead to no good end-point.  How many people can speak English fluently but can only read it in katakana form?

You can learn the kana in 2-3 days, and master it in a week.  That's NOTHING compared to the years you need to speak well.  Also, consider that you're isolating yourself from most good study materials, and will be stuck studying tourist/ airport books.


(2017-04-03, 12:34 pm)phil321 Wrote:
(2017-04-03, 12:07 pm)KameDemaK Wrote: [quote pid='243437' dateline='1491176218']
Romaji should only be used to learn hiragana/katakana and for foreigners who have no interest in learning Japanese either at all or past the beginner stage. And yes, that's my opinion, feel free to have yours and disagree.

Yes, we'll have to just feel free to disagree, since I finished RTK1 a while ago, I passed the N5 in the top 16%, I'm studying now for the N4, I read real Japanese stories/articles, and for all that I still sometimes use romaji in my private study mainly because it's convenient.  Romaji is simply one of the tools in my toolbox.

I don't know why it is that with some people, telling them that you use romaji is like showing Dracula the Cross.
[/quote]

Why are you bragging about passing N5?  N2 is the standard for jobs.  The reason Romaji is faster fo you to write is because you're using it.  I never used romaji at any point so I immediately and quickly take notes in kana/kanji.  Reading romaji gives me a headache.  I learned kana before learning greetings, because of my Korean background I just assumed that was normal.  Korean only has 24 letters and people would think your brain had fallen out if you used romaji there.

(2017-04-05, 10:19 pm)fkb9g Wrote:
(2017-04-03, 12:07 pm)KameDemaK Wrote: Secondly, how do you romanize e.g. 単位? "Tani", right? Guess what, you'll be pronouncing it たに then, which will be wrong.

tan'i

I would never have gotten たんい from that.
Edited: 2017-04-06, 1:27 am
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#32
How about like this:  tan-i.  This isn't rocket science.
Edited: 2017-04-06, 6:10 am
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#33
(2017-04-06, 6:09 am)phil321 Wrote: How about like this:  tan-i.  This isn't rocket science.
If we're going to use a code to write Japanese, let's at least go with one that's standardized, so people don't have to guess what the dashes mean in the middle:

- .- -. -....- ..

(2017-04-05, 10:19 pm)fkb9g Wrote: tan'i

You don't think that's going to lead to any misunderstandings?
Edited: 2017-04-06, 8:09 am
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#34
what about:
shake? does it mean 鮭 or is it the english word shake?
sando? サンド or 三度?
with romaji you'd have to read every single word to guess the right one, based on the context.
with kana/kanji you can just glance at the sentence and spot right away the necessary informations.

And what about human errors? miswriting/misreading in romaji is far less forgivable than a wrong stroke in kana/kanji.
I cannot imagine reading 字幕 / novel / manga or anything that has more than one sentence, just by using romaji.
Romaji is ok to learn hiragana/katakana. Then it should be ditched away for your own good.
And i'm not even talking about 四字熟語 or 早口言葉. Even though the latter could be fun to see it written in hiragana/romaji, it just shows the added value of kanji, and the former can only be appreciated with kanji.

I'm not against the use of romaji, but it has its limits. I see no good reason to stick with it.
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#35
(2017-04-06, 6:09 am)phil321 Wrote: How about like this:  tan-i.  This isn't rocket science.

 No, but it is dumbing-down something simple to the point of making it difficult.
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#36
(2017-04-06, 6:09 am)phil321 Wrote: How about like this:  tan-i.  This isn't rocket science.

So you have to come up with exceptions and apply them to everything you read in romaji.  However you wouldn't even know what the exceptions are if you only read romaji.
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#37
(2017-04-06, 6:35 pm)cracky Wrote:
(2017-04-06, 6:09 am)phil321 Wrote: How about like this:  tan-i.  This isn't rocket science.

So you have to come up with exceptions and apply them to everything you read in romaji.  However you wouldn't even know what the exceptions are if you only read romaji.

I think people misunderstood me.  I only use romaji in studying vocabulary lists, signal primitives and grammar.  And for vocabulary lists, I only use romaji if I have to type up the pronunciations of the kanji from scratch.  If the list is already made with kana pronunciations than I just use that.  I wasn't suggesting that people should attempt to read everything in romaji or that it would be desirable to do so.

I also use romaji for taking notes by hand just because I write faster cursively (romaji) than printing (kana/kanji).  Now maybe there's a Japanese version of Pittman or Gregg Shorthand out there I could learn....
Edited: 2017-04-06, 9:12 pm
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#38
(2017-04-06, 9:03 pm)phil321 Wrote: I think people misunderstood me. 

You're in a thread where someone is asking for a tool to study Japanese using Romaji...and you're arguing/trolling against the people who are giving him the very solid advice to learn Kana instead.

I think we understood you perfectly fine.
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#39
They're not studying Japanese using romaji they're using audio material and supporting it with romaji. The people saying you need to learn kanji even if you're only learning to speak seem more like trolls to me, though I don't think anyone is.
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#40
(2017-04-07, 7:59 am)Splatted Wrote: They're not studying Japanese using romaji they're using audio material and supporting it with romaji.
Yeah, I got it. Again: trying to learn Japanese, spoken or otherwise, without learning the Kana, is not going to work.

You're giving out bad advice, and people are going to end up wasting their time and giving up on learning Japanese if they take you seriously.
Edited: 2017-04-07, 8:33 am
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#41
Okay. Well I disagree with that but not very strongly. I think learning kana and kanji is best for most people but there are other factors beyond just learning efficiency that mean putting it on the back burner can be the best choice for some. You're worried about learners giving up due to lack of progress, which is a valid concern, but I've also seen plenty of people obsessed with efficiency burn out.

My take is that the best way of combating both these problems is to help learners make informed decisions and then support them to carry out those decisions as effectively as possible.
Edited: 2017-04-07, 9:48 am
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#42
From my experience, kanji also help in conversation.
I wouldn't have said that a few years ago, but when someone talks to you and says an ambiguous word like しゅうかん,
kanji pops up in my head and helps me find the right word. It acts as a filter.
Also when you're not sure about the word, it's a common habit to ask how it is written.
But again, I'm not against romaji, and I don't want to sound like praising kanji.
All that false debate about romaji vs kanji is just ridiculous.
There is no need to feel so emotional about romaji, like phil321 said, it is just a tool to learn more complex concepts.
Edited: 2017-04-07, 10:50 am
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#43
(2017-04-07, 10:42 am)pied2porc Wrote: From my experience, kanji also help in conversation.
I wouldn't have said that a few years ago, but when someone talks to you and says an ambiguous word like しゅうかん,
kanji pops up in my head and helps me find the right word. It acts as a filter.
Also when you're not sure about the word, it's a common habit to ask how it is written.
But again, I'm not against romaji, and I don't want to sound like praising kanji.
All that false debate about romaji vs kanji is just ridiculous.
There is no need to feel so emotional about romaji, like phil321 said, it is just a tool to learn more complex concepts.

Totally agree with this. It gives you something solid to latch on to which, even if just subconsciously, helps you catalogue different usages.
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#44
Quote:I also use romaji for taking notes by hand just because I write faster cursively (romaji) than printing (kana/kanji).  Now maybe there's a Japanese version of Pittman or Gregg Shorthand out there I could learn....

That would be great if there was a web site about that...haven't checked yet.
That's something I would ask a native to treach me.
I just use a few myself because I don't write that much.
The shortcut I use are for hiragana like ね、れ、わ:
When you start writing the second stroke, you don't need to scribble the little zigzag thing, you can just go straight down and do a vertical bar. It is also true for all the kanji with the radical ⻌.
For み, I've seen it written all curvy. I think it's a bit girlish to write it like that, but since then I also ended up using that shortcut.
い could be written in a single stroke, juts like the second stroke ふ.
口 is usually written in 1 stroke, making it look more like the number 2 with a vertical bar in front. I've also seen it written with a circle.
⺣ becomes little wavelets.
When writting you also don't need to pay too much attention to stroke order.
Anyway no one will check. and some shortcuts are impossible to do if you follow the order.

I'm curious about what shortcuts you people use.
Edited: 2017-04-07, 1:27 pm
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#45
(2017-04-07, 1:24 pm)pied2porc Wrote:
Quote:I also use romaji for taking notes by hand just because I write faster cursively (romaji) than printing (kana/kanji).  Now maybe there's a Japanese version of Pittman or Gregg Shorthand out there I could learn....

That would be great if there was a web site about that...haven't checked yet.
That's something I would ask a native to treach me.
I just use a few myself because I don't write that much.
The shortcut I use are for hiragana like ね、れ、わ:
When you start writing the second stroke, you don't need to scribble the little zigzag thing, you can just go straight down and do a vertical bar. It is also true for all the kanji with the radical ⻌.
For み, I've seen it written all curvy. I think it's a bit girlish to write it like that, but since then I also ended up using that shortcut.
い could be written in a single stroke, juts like the second stroke ふ.
口 is usually written in 1 stroke, making it look more like the number 2 with a vertical bar in front. I've also seen it written with a circle.
⺣ becomes little wavelets.
When writting you also don't need to pay too much attention to stroke order.
Anyway no one will check. and some shortcuts are impossible to do if you follow the order.

I'm curious about what shortcuts you people use.

This is a Japanese shorthand, it's called 速記. I know it's based on kana. I haven't really researched it, so that's all I know.
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#46
I still maintain that if OP wants to only learn spoken language then that's fine. They should learn spoken language. People can learn a language that way, provided they're okay with being completely illiterate, both in terms of access to books, but also in terms of how they speak. Illiteracy will effect how intelligent you sound speaking.

However again, this is perfectly fine depending on OPs goals.

But if OP doesn't want to learn how to write, they should again, just learn by sound and not use roumaji.
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#47
If OP is still reading this thread, I tried to learn "only the spoken language" and found out that it's actually easier if you also learn to read Japanese. It seems like it would be easier to skip kana and kanji and make everything romaji but it's actually the opposite.

I actually went so far as to try to learn everything in kana, but the concept is the same as romaji. The problem I started running into was that when I wanted to read something, I had to convert it to kana before I could read it. This sounds like a small problem, and it is, but it adds up over time. You also won't be able to use tools like yomichan or rikaisama to define unknown words because those tool don't work on romaji. I know you are saying "that's written language, not spoken" but reading subtitles and transcripts and using tools such as subs2srs are a large part of learning the spoken language.

Then there's kanji, which is a huge pain when you start learning it, but at some point, kanji turns from being a burden to being a net positive. If you run across a word that you don't know and it's written in kanji, you have a very good chance of guessing the meaning and the reading based on the kanji. If you are reading in romaji, you have the reading but you'll have a hard time guessing the meaning and you can't use a pop-up dictionary to find the answer.

Again, it seems like a shortcut but the shorter way isn't always the fastest. Consider that my kana only core deck took many more anki reviews to learn a word than the cards in my kanji core deck.
Edited: 2017-04-13, 8:32 pm
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#48
(2017-04-07, 7:59 am)Splatted Wrote: They're not studying Japanese using romaji they're using audio material and supporting it with romaji. The people saying you need to learn kanji even if you're only learning to speak seem more like trolls to me, though I don't think anyone is.

This website has one purpose and one purpose only, to help people with kanji.  Those people should go to a different site that tailors to the less motivated instead of dragging us down.  Don't park your Janky station wagon in the Ferrari only section.

(2017-04-13, 8:31 pm)yogert909 Wrote: If OP is still reading this thread, I tried to learn "only the spoken language" and found out that it's actually easier if you also learn to read Japanese.  It seems like it would be easier to skip kana and kanji and make everything romaji but it's actually the opposite.

I actually went so far as to try to learn everything in kana, but the concept is the same as romaji.  The problem I started running into was that when I wanted to read something, I had to convert it to kana before I could read it.  This sounds like a small problem, and it is, but it adds up over time.  You also won't be able to use tools like yomichan or rikaisama to define unknown words because those tool don't work on romaji.  I know you are saying "that's written language, not spoken" but reading subtitles and transcripts and using tools such as subs2srs are a large part of learning the spoken language.

Then there's kanji, which is a huge pain when you start learning it, but at some point, kanji turns from being a burden to being a net positive.  If you run across a word that you don't know and it's written in kanji, you have a very good chance of guessing the meaning and the reading based on the kanji.  If you are reading in romaji, you have the reading but you'll have a hard time guessing the meaning and you can't use a pop-up dictionary to find the answer.  

Again, it seems like a shortcut but the shorter way isn't always the fastest.  Consider that my kana only core deck took many more anki reviews to learn a word than the cards in my kanji core deck.

I'm in the same boat as you.  Kanji put jet boosters onto my retention rate.  I was at least 3-4 times slower learning vocab when it was kana.  Kanji gives my mind something to latch onto if that makes sense.
Edited: 2017-04-13, 9:52 pm
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#49
(2017-04-13, 9:45 pm)theadamie Wrote: This website has one purpose and one purpose only, to help people with kanji.  Those people should go to a different site that tailors to the less motivated instead of dragging us down.  Don't park your Janky station wagon in the Ferrari only section.

I can't fully agree with this. I seem to recall Fabrice himself stating at some point that the forum, while initially being just an "add-on" to the main site, has grown into an entity of its own (or something along those lines). It obviously still keeps that purpose in its DNA, but some the most thriving threads at present can hardly be categorized as kanji-related, if at all. And even if that was really the case, I feel letting novices come here, express their opinions freely and receive meaningful answers, even if diametrically opposed to what they think, is valuable.

That said, while I can understand people framing themselves to learn just the spoken language because of a tight schedule and/or pretty specific needs, specially in languages where the written form is as complex as in Japanese, doing so without a good reason is, to say the least, unfortunate: you'd be losing too much, and you'd be doing it constantly. Its not just about the didactic materials you won't have access to, or your illiteracy surfacing to your spoken discourse on a regular basis (which I think is true but that's debatable), or even your vocabulary retention dropping dramatically when compared to people knowing kanji, which are very valid concerns nonetheless... but picture yourself in some situations varying from the most trivial to the most crucial: unable to understand a native drama or anime because one of the keys lies in some displayed letters or messages in a phone; being in the country and unable to grasp the dishes in a menu even when you know them all, or going through a distress situation: if you need a fire extinguisher or an emergency exit, good luck searching for the corresponding sign to be able to locate it (and that's not the best example). You'd probably be able to pull though by asking others, but the situation would be far from ideal most of the time.

On the other hand, while I learned the kana pretty soon, I'm not too fond of the idea that rōmaji will impair you forever like others seem to think. Having learned several Romance languages, and English, at different points of my life, I see no problem arising from learning Japanese pronunciation from Latin characters (given you use a decent system: one where you write "rōmaji" or "roumaji" but not "romaji")... well, that is unless you are unable to keep a clear distinction between the way both your own language and your chosen Japanese romanization system treats the alphabet, which is actually a problem to some -- in that case, it's obvious you should learn the kana right away.

On a side note, the funny thing about that last point is most people (but not all, of course) having this problem seem to be native English speakers; I say its funny because of the fact that English pronunciation is non-deterministic (see note [1]), so it seems natural to think they should be prepared to understand a more deterministic romanization system that doesn't diverge wildly from what they have in some of their own words (I'd say it's just a subset). Can it be due mostly to vowels? I'd like to hear some opinions.

Notes:
[1] E.g. How's a "g" followed by an "e" supposed to be pronounced? As in "get"? As in "gentle"? And don't get me started with your vowels -- you know, the Big Vowel Shift and such ;-)
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#50
(2017-04-14, 7:37 pm)faneca Wrote:
(2017-04-13, 9:45 pm)theadamie Wrote: This website has one purpose and one purpose only, to help people with kanji.  Those people should go to a different site that tailors to the less motivated instead of dragging us down.  Don't park your Janky station wagon in the Ferrari only section.

I can't fully agree with this. I seem to recall Fabrice himself stating at some point that the forum, while initially being just an "add-on" to the main site, has grown into an entity of its own (or something along those lines). It obviously still keeps that purpose in its DNA, but some the most thriving threads at present can hardly be categorized as kanji-related, if at all. And even if that was really the case, I feel letting novices come here, express their opinions freely and receive meaningful answers, even if diametrically opposed to what they think, is valuable.

That said, while I can understand people framing themselves to learn just the spoken language because of a tight schedule and/or pretty specific needs, specially in languages where the written form is as complex as in Japanese, doing so without a good reason is, to say the least, unfortunate: you'd be losing too much, and you'd be doing it constantly. Its not just about the didactic materials you won't have access to, or your illiteracy surfacing to your spoken discourse on a regular basis (which I think is true but that's debatable), or even your vocabulary retention dropping dramatically when compared to people knowing kanji, which are very valid concerns nonetheless... but picture yourself in some situations varying from the most trivial to the most crucial: unable to understand a native drama or anime because one of the keys lies in some displayed letters or messages in a phone; being in the country and unable to grasp the dishes in a menu even when you know them all, or going through a distress situation: if you need a fire extinguisher or an emergency exit, good luck searching for the corresponding sign to be able to locate it (and that's not the best example). You'd probably be able to pull though by asking others, but the situation would be far from ideal most of the time.

On the other hand, while I learned the kana pretty soon, I'm not too fond of the idea that rōmaji will impair you forever like others seem to think. Having learned several Romance languages, and English, at different points of my life, I see no problem arising from learning Japanese pronunciation from Latin characters (given you use a decent system: one where you write "rōmaji" or "roumaji" but not "romaji")... well, that is unless you are unable to keep a clear distinction between the way both your own language and your chosen Japanese romanization system treats the alphabet, which is actually a problem to some -- in that case, it's obvious you should learn the kana right away.

On a side note, the funny thing about that last point is most people (but not all, of course) having this problem seem to be native English speakers; I say its funny because of the fact that English pronunciation is non-deterministic (see note [1]), so it seems natural to think they should be prepared to understand a more deterministic romanization system that doesn't diverge wildly from what they have in some of their own words (I'd say it's just a subset). Can it be due mostly to vowels? I'd like to hear some opinions.

Notes:
[1] E.g. How's a "g" followed by an "e" supposed to be pronounced? As in "get"? As in "gentle"? And don't get me started with your vowels -- you know, the Big Vowel Shift and such ;-)

Find me one person who became fluent in Japanese in a reasonable time who is illiterate and/or uses romaji.  I'll shut up when you do.  As far as I'm concerned you're just giving out bad advice that will only harm beginners.
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