OK, I need some help from people who speak Japanese.
This post is about folksonomies (tagging), and how it might be really hard in Japanese. This is mostly speculation at this point, please comment or email me if you speak Japanese.
On the Sigia-L list, Fiona Bradley writes: “I don’t know Cantonese, but I have just started to learn Japanese and it’s not necessarily that the definitions of emotions are different, just that they are a lot more complex than in English once you factor in politeness levels and directness. And then there’s all the complications that arise from having many Kanji to choose from and many readings for each. If you’re just assigning a single word to a photo for instance, with no other words to define context, that may make the system quite difficult to search.
Bear in mind I’m a total beginner and others may know a lot more about this sort of thing, and I could be completely wrong!
I do know a guy that has written a book on English idioms for Cantonese speakers because those parts of language are almost impossible to translate. I don’t know if many folksonomy sites are using idiomatic tags but if they are, it’s another level of difficulty.”