"Anime" (アニメ) is the Japanese word for any sort of animated works, but in America, the word is used to refer to Japanese animated works.
Watching Japanese movies, including anime, is a good way to begin developing a vocabulary of phrases and idioms. The typical progression seems to be something like this:
- friend shows you some anime which has been rerecorded with English voices (dubbed),
- you find some anime which has been subtitled in English, leaving the Japanese voice track (subbed),
- you find more anime on the internet which hasn't been released in the USA yet, but has been subtitled by bi-lingual anime fans (fan-subbed),
- you start watching anime without any subtitles or dubbed English, without understanding much of the finer points of dialogue,
- you increase your understanding of the dialogue as your Japanese vocabulary grows.
Of course, most anime dialogue wouldn't encourage proper grammar, but when combined with more formal education methods, it can be fun to learn a few things that aren't in the curriculum. Just remember to confirm a few things before you assume that people really talk that way!
Here's a fun game to play while watching your favorite anime. It's just like that "travel bingo" game where you spot various road objects and mark your board. This time, it's listening for common Japanese phrases and idioms. (Or seeing certain traditional foods!)
shikata ga nai
It can't be helped.
sou desu ka
is that so?
thin white noodles, usually in soup
yeah / okay / right
leg / foot
I'm glad / relieved!
thick white noodles (soup or not)
sore wa chotto muzukashii
That is a little difficult. (No way!)
I / me / myself
smiling face / smile
Please do me a favor.
thank you very much (quite polite)
fireworks ("flower fire")
Thanks for this feast.
This works better for subbed works, so you can hear the Japanese voice track. Even if you listen in English, you'll probably notice how certain phrases are much more common in Japanese culture than in American.
I am just an early student in Japanese language, so please send me comments or corrections on my study aids!
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