With three scripts - one of them being a fearsome beast of thousands of characters - Japanese arguably deserves the title of "the world's most written language". In no other place can you find a language that takes its writing system(s) that seriously.
Yet for a language that has so many ways to write any given word, Japanese can be awfully relaxed about spelling and writing conventions. Deep inside, Japanese - like most languages - still cares about how a word sounds at least as much as it cares about how it is written.
In the maze of Japanese texts, one thing that will often help you find your way is to give attention to the underlying sounds of words, without being too preoccupied with how they appear on the page.
Take, for example, the following phrase in Reajer book 41, The Voice (read the free samples on Amazon and iBooks):
The spelling here encourages most readers to think that によって is the familiar particle that means "by, according to". We are more or less programmed to think so by default whenever we see this string of sounds written in hiragana before a kanji word.
This particle, however, doesn't make any sense here. And indeed, a closer look reveals that this によって is something else entirely: it is actually the particle に + the te-form of the verb よる (寄る), "to lean", "to draw near"; meanwhile, 居る is part of the verb's continuous conjugation. And so, the bilingual version's translation becomes:
[...] constantly leaning against the same pillar on the veranda.
The potential confusion here is purely because of the written form of the words; if we heard someone say it instead of seeing it in writing, there would be no preconceived visual conventions to deceive us, because we would have to rely on the sound alone.
You can use these differences to your advantage: making sense of a difficult sentence often becomes much easier if you read it out loud and listen to the way it sounds as you pronounce it. This brings Japanese down to earth again as the spoken language it really is behind all those mischievous scripts.
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