I wrote to the Japanese instructor at a local college asking for advice on improving my Japanese. My greatest frustration between level 3 and 2 is that the path is murky and I'm drowning trying to find my way to the surface.
Some people can open a book and learn everything on their own. I guess I need a guide. I am motivated enough to bust open whatever resources are necessary to gain the knowledge that I require, but I need a guide to tell me which resources to seek and in what order.
She replied to me kindly today, and one of her expressions was new. My wife explained it really means "I'm really happy to hear that."
The teacher said:
何よりです？ I looked it up - it means 'best, above all'. Ok, so my interpretation is:
Above all, continuing to do your best studying Japanese [is important].
Apparently I'm way off - my wife says 何より _really_ means 何より嬉しいです。
Whoa - whoa - where did this 嬉しい curve ball come from? So in Japanese, a contraction (for lack of a better term) means you can just LEAVE OUT AN ENTIRE WORD?! Well ok - pardon me for thinking that is complete and utter bollocks.
So instead of MY original understanding, the sentence really means:
I'm so happy to hear that you're still studying Japanese diligently.
I use 'diligent' for がんばる when the action is tedious and time consuming. So sue me.