Recently I write journals on my weblog in both of English and Japanese. Although Japanese version of my journals isn’t a literal translation from English version, I try to make a close translation. It might be useful for learners of Japanese language.
Writings in classical Chinese "漢文(kanbun)" (http://goo.gl/a1ZOP), which are written by Japanese, are often described as smelling Japanese , "和臭がする(washu ga suru)". When I read Japanese version of my journals, I find it smelling English.
I wrote a sentence in my yesterday's journal (id:yagian:20110408) as follows.
I wrote this sentence in the first draft in this way.
I am not a big fan of his, but this cd made me realize that he was one of the most important rock musicians in the Japanese rock music history.
This sentence is grammatically correct and Japanese speakers can understand what I mean precisely, but it smells English very much.
This expression, "もっとも…の一人", "one of the most…", is quite English way of thinking. Inanimate subject, "このCDには…させられた", "this cd made me…", also smells very English.
I can rewrite this sentence to smell Japanese more, as follows.
Japanese language has been influenced by foreign languages, and expanding its variety of expressions through Japanese history.
Chinese characters, "漢字(kanji)" are used in Japanese, because Japanese writings are based on classical Chinese. If Japanese language doesn’t have rich expressions from classical Chinese, we can just express very limited ideas. (So I think it is lucky for us to have many kanji in Japanese, let’s learn kanji more!)
The very first modern Japanese prose was a Japanese translation of Turgenev by Shimei Futabatei (二葉亭四迷) ( http://goo.gl/1L71s) in the Meiji era. Modern Japanese is mixture of the traditional Japanese "やまとことば", classical Chinese, and European languages.
Haruki Murakami has read much American literature. About twenty years ago I used to feel his Japanese smelled very English, but now his Japanese sounds natural for me. Japanese language and my sense of Japanese have been changing.
I have read many journals smelling English, Chinese and Korean on Lang-8 (http://goo.gl/fuyN). I often think of them as very interesting. Non-native Japanese speakers might make Japanese language richer, and their expression will smell Japanese in the future.
My English might smell Japanese, but I hope I will add new expressions to English language.