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Learning Japanese Stage I

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 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
25 messages over 4 pages: 1 2 3 4  Next >>
AndyMeg
Diglot
Groupie
Colombia
Joined 2333 days ago

47 posts - 14 votes
Speaks: Spanish*, English
Studies: Japanese, Korean

 
 Message 1 of 25
04 August 2011 at 12:09am | IP Logged 
My native language is Spanish but I thought it could help me to improve my English skills if I write this log in English. My goal is to learn japanese and get fluent at it (as nearer to a native as possible).

Right now I can write and read all the kanas (hiragana and katakana) and know some grammar and expressions (and some basic kanjis too), but my level is pretty much of a beginner.

I have been taking japanese clases with a native japanese teacher for some months now, but I think the progress is so slow with only the japanese clases, that I decided to complement by studying on my own.

I have divided my self study into different stages, in my aim to get fluent at japanese. For now this log will be about the first stage.

My main resources for my self study in the first stage will be the following:

- Genki I
- Let`s Learn Kanji (to me this book is like a little tresaure because it explains things I haven`t found in other texts).
- Anki (with the old smart.fm phrases and words)
- Pimsleur audio course.
- Michel Thomas audio course.

With Pimsleur I am almost done with the first level, and I am getting a little bored of it (even tough Pimsleur has helped me to improve my conversation skills). A friend recommended me the Michel Thomas course, so when I finsish the first level of Pimsleur I will give it a try.

I have also found some other interesting resources which will not be my main, but will be in a "Daily Menu" I have prepared, and I will be free to choose as many of them as I want to practice each day with the condition of not repeating a resource of the "Daily Menu" in the same day. The items of the "Daily menu" list have a maximum time and I can`t keep working on them when that time is over. That time limit I have set is in order to help me feel like I am in a competition with myself or something of the sort, and thus help me to concentrate more on the activities and put all my effort into them. The time limits are different for each activity, with the shortest being 1 minute and the longest being 15 minutes.

My intention is to update this log at least once a week.
There are two sites from which I have gotten some ideas to make my self-study plan. Those websites are the following:

http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/all-japanese-all-t he-time-ajatt-how-to-learn-japanese-on-your-own-having-fun-a nd-to-fluency

http://www.tofugu.com/

Now I will start my japanese self study plan! ^_^!

Edited by AndyMeg on 04 August 2011 at 12:38am



AndyMeg
Diglot
Groupie
Colombia
Joined 2333 days ago

47 posts - 14 votes
Speaks: Spanish*, English
Studies: Japanese, Korean

 
 Message 2 of 25
11 August 2011 at 3:25am | IP Logged 
¡Hello!

Well... I have changed many things about my japanese study plan. I read what Timothy Ferriss wrote about "How to learn any language in three months" and now I am trying to do some of the things he says. Basicallly he talks about a system based on three main and equally important aspects: Effectiveness (Priority), Adherence (Interest) and Efficiency (Process).

Now I will describe some of my personal implementation of the system:

Effectiveness (Priority): Choosing the best material... First question: "¿What will I be doing with the language , with whom, and in what context?" Well... I want to learn japanese because I am very interested in japanese culture, but in the near future what I want the most to be able to do with japanese language is the following: 1) Be able to read manga. 2) Be able to watch anime without subs. 3) Be able to watch doramas without subs 4) Be able to have an informal conversation with japanese people (I want to make japanese friends and being able to speak with them in their native language). And now it comes the other question: "Will the chosen material get me to where I want to go in the least amount of time?" My answer to this question with my first study strategy and my main material was an absolutely NOT (at least not in the near future and not with the least amount of time). So I decided to change my study plan focusing on material that could help me more with my answers to the first question.

Adherence (Interest): Here comes another important question "Can I study this material everyday and adhere until I reach my fluency goals? Again, the answer was NOT (at least not with the plan I had when I started this log).

"Oftentimes, it is best to select content that matches your interests in your native language" I really enjoy watching anime and doramas, and I also enjoy reading mangas, but the material I had chosen didn´t seem to help me to be able to enjoy these strong interests in japanese in the near future. So I decided to review the material and choose material that really could help me to be closer to enjoy my interests (manga, anime and doramas)in my target language.

For doramas (and also for making japanese friends) I needed "real japanese" not the formal japanese most of the main texts teaches but also the japanese spoken in the streets, at school, with the family, with friends...

For manga I also needed to improve my kanji knowledge, but more importantly, my recognition of them. So in this first phase it is more important for me to be able to read the kanjis more than being able of writting them (even tough I also want to learn to write all the joujyou kanji).

I also came to realize that I don´t really like to learn lists and lists of words without context. Without context it is reaaaaally boring to learn words. So I decided to select the words used more frecuently, and those words related to my interests and to learn them in context.

Efficiency (Process): Main question: "Will this method allow me to reach accurate recognition and recall with the fewest number of exposures, within the shortest period of time?" And the answer was... NOT (again T_T)... So I also had to change my study method.

I am still in an exploration phase of material and method. Some resources I have found really usefull in this task are the following:

http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/resources/pomodoro_cheat_sh eet.pdf

http://zenhabits.net/the-habit-change-cheatsheet-29-ways-to- successfully-ingrain-a-behavior/

http://www.fluentin3months.com/boost/#more-5408

Yes... I came to realize that in order to improve my japanese study method I needed to change some habits. The first habit I am changing is that related with my sleeping (I have terrible sleeping habits!) My goal for the next 30 days is to wake up early, to have a power nap in the afternoon (no more that 30 minutes long) and going to bed before 10 o´clock. I started this week and so far I have been successful, except in the part of going to bed before 10 p.m.

Now I am also using the pomodoro technique to improve my time management. And to my great surprise it is really working!!!!! ^_^!

Today I finished Pimsleur I and I want to have a little rest from Pimsleur course so I will take a week or so before starting Pimsleur II. Tomorrow I will start the Michel Thomas Japanese course and see if it is for me or not.

As I told you before I am in the middle of an exploration week and making a lot of adjustments. I hope I will have my new and shiny study plan by next week.
^_^!

Edited by AndyMeg on 11 August 2011 at 3:45am

1 person has voted this message useful



starrye
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2501 days ago

172 posts - 108 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese

 
 Message 3 of 25
11 August 2011 at 3:35pm | IP Logged 
If your goal is to read manga, then I recommend checking out the Japanese in Mangaland series (there are 3 volumes). It goes through all the usual basics, but also points out a lot of the casual speech you will find in anime and manga. It also explains how things like sound effects and onomatopoeia work.

I agree about making your own word lists based on native material you are reading and things that interest you. I don't know how many words you have learned so far, but at least in the very beginning (when you are learning your first few hundred words or so), I don't think it hurts to use the list your text book gives.

Usually (not always, but usually) these are basic common words, greetings, numbers, etc. I personally found that it took me a while to get comfortable reading Japanese characters, which made it difficult to understand the grammar at first (it was hard enough to read example sentences and recognize word boundaries, let alone learn vocabulary in context from them). But when I already knew some basic vocab and kanji, the grammar explanations become that much clearer and easier to understand...

P.S. Good luck! I will follow your log.



TrentBooks
Triglot
Groupie
United States
TrentBooks.com
Joined 2261 days ago

43 posts - 55 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Guarani
Studies: Biblical Hebrew, Japanese

 
 Message 4 of 25
11 August 2011 at 10:37pm | IP Logged 
I'm also studying Japanese, and found japanesepod101.com to be a good audio source. They give you a free short term trial, so I downloaded several lessons and listen to them in the car. They're at least enjoyable to listen to (two people talking together in a semi-scripted lesson), which makes learning a little easier. I'm going to have to supplement these lessons though, as they're not nearly enough on their own.
2 persons have voted this message useful



AndyMeg
Diglot
Groupie
Colombia
Joined 2333 days ago

47 posts - 14 votes
Speaks: Spanish*, English
Studies: Japanese, Korean

 
 Message 5 of 25
17 August 2011 at 6:21pm | IP Logged 
starrye, thankyou for your recommendation. I had forgotten about the "Japanese in Mangaland" series. I have the first book and I read most of it when I was just starting to learn japanese (around two or three months before starting to take classes with the japanese teacher). At that time I didn´t even know the kanas, so even though I read all the first book, I could hardly remember only a few things. Thanks to that book I decided my first goal was going to be to learn hiragana and katakana. So when I started my japanese classes I already could recognize most of the hiragana. And I don´t remember why, but in the middle of all that I ended up forgetting about the "Japanese in Mangaland" series. I´ll give another look to the first book, I think now I will be able to learn or review a lot more from that book.

I don´t know how many words I have learned so far. I know basic greetings, numbers, counters (but I still get confused with which of them I should use for some objects), some basic expressions (tadaima, okaerinasai, itterasshai, itekimasu, itadakimasu), basic questions with doko, itsu, nani, dare, ikura, and other things. If I should say what is my current japanese level I would say I am kind of a middle beginner because I am not a complete beginner (for example, I can read the kanas to a decent pace, but I need furigana in order to read most of the kanjis in a text), but I am not an advanced beginner either. I am not yet at the right point to start crossing the bridge to and intemediate japanese level.

About my own words list it is because even though I have found really useful and basic words in textbooks, I have also found words in the vocabulary list that I don´t think I will be using in the near future, so I thought trying to learn those kind of words would delay my learning pace (for example in Genki I vocabulary list I have found words like:senmon-major, ajiakenkyuu-AsianStudies, kokusaikankee-InternationalRelations, jinruigaku-Antrophology, etc.) so I just want to be more selective with the words I learn at the beginning, and after that then start to learn more specific vocabulary about certain topics.

I understand what you say about the boundaries of the words in a sentence. I also get confused sometimes, but knowing some basic particles, adjectives and verbs , and some times reading the romaji transcriptions and comparing them with the japanese writing help me to clarify a little more those boundaries.

starrye, thanks for following my log. I am also following yours ^_^!

Edited by AndyMeg on 17 August 2011 at 6:40pm



AndyMeg
Diglot
Groupie
Colombia
Joined 2333 days ago

47 posts - 14 votes
Speaks: Spanish*, English
Studies: Japanese, Korean

 
 Message 6 of 25
17 August 2011 at 6:34pm | IP Logged 
TrentBooks, it is always a pleasure to know about more people who are studying the same.

I´ll try the free japanesepod101 term and see how it works for me. Thanks for your recommendation ^_^!



Arekkusu
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Canada
bit.ly/qc_10_lec
Joined 2788 days ago

3971 posts - 3828 votes 
Speaks: English, French*, GermanC1, Spanish, Japanese, Esperanto
Studies: Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Estonian

 
 Message 7 of 25
17 August 2011 at 8:09pm | IP Logged 
AndyMeg wrote:
My goal is to learn japanese and get fluent at it (as nearer to a native as possible).

Do you a time frame in mind?

AndyMeg wrote:
I have been taking japanese clases with a native japanese teacher for some months now, but I think the progress is so slow with only the japanese clases, that I decided to complement by studying on my own.

Classes alone very rarely suffice. Since your aim is to be fluent, use the resources you have listed for self-study, and take advantage of your teacher to practice your speaking skills. Insist that he put emphasis on that.

AndyMeg wrote:
Effectiveness (Priority):
1)     Be able to read manga. 2) Be able to watch anime without subs. 3) Be able to watch doramas without subs 4) Be able to have an informal conversation with japanese people (I want to make japanese friends and being able to speak with them in their native language).


In my experience -- apart from anime, which I don’t watch --, informal conversations was the first of these skills I could achieve. At this point, I can chat and only miss the odd word here and there. However, I do watch doramas without subtitles, but I miss a lot more, and same goes for manga.

AndyMeg wrote:
For doramas (and also for making japanese friends) I needed "real japanese" not the formal japanese most of the main texts teaches but also the japanese spoken in the streets, at school, with the family, with friends...

You’re right. Doramas are pretty natural and will certainly help you as a source of input. I really enjoyed japanesepod101.com for great natural input. Make sure you also copy your tutor.

AndyMeg wrote:
For manga I also needed to improve my kanji knowledge, but more importantly, my recognition of them. So in this first phase it is more important for me to be able to read the kanjis more than being able of writting them (even tough I also want to learn to write all the joujyou kanji).

If you can, avoid the temptation of getting obsessed with kanji. It may be because there appears to be a finite list of characters, which makes it seem like an easy goal to reach, but in reality, kanjis have various readings that depend on context, and it means that 2000 kanji may well represent 10,000 words (wild estimate).

Many – if not all -- of the fluent speakers I know will readily admit to having a limited knowledge of kanji. Maybe they’re all just being modest, but they certainly don’t know all kanji, don’t fret over it, don’t mind it, and it never stopped them from reaching fluency. On the other hand, you’ll find lots of learners who claim to know all kanji, but who can’t speak. Learn kanji as they come up, and you’ll be fine.

AndyMeg wrote:
I also came to realize that I don´t really like to learn lists and lists of words without context. Without context it is reaaaaally boring to learn words. So I decided to select the words used more frecuently, and those words related to my interests and to learn them in context.

Amen to that, and the same goes for kanji.

AndyMeg wrote:
Efficiency (Process): Main question: "Will this method allow me to reach accurate recognition and recall with the fewest number of exposures, within the shortest period of time?" And the answer was... NOT (again T_T)... So I also had to change my study method.

The most efficient way to learn, retain and acquire, is speaking in a real-life context. Nothing tells the brain that something is important quite as well as when you actually need to use it to communicate something.

AndyMeg wrote:
I had forgotten about the "Japanese in Mangaland" series.

I’ve been told that there is weird and unnatural language used in the book, but I don’t know if it’s true. As long as it’s not your only source of info, it should be fine.

AndyMeg wrote:
I don´t know how many words I have learned so far. I know basic greetings, numbers, counters (but I still get confused with which of them I should use for some objects), …

I certainly wouldn’t worry too much about counters – they actually come up surprisingly rarely.


3 persons have voted this message useful



starrye
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2501 days ago

172 posts - 108 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Japanese

 
 Message 8 of 25
17 August 2011 at 9:35pm | IP Logged 
Arekkusu wrote:
I’ve been told that there is weird and unnatural language used in the book, but I don’t know if it’s true. As long as it’s not your only source of info, it should be fine.


Well it has stilted "textbook" style example sentences, which many textbooks do. But the manga examples come from real manga (though the illustrations were done specifically for the book, for legal reasons). The thing to be aware of though is that manga at times does use weird speech you would not normally use yourself. Literary forms, language meant to address royalty, archaic pronouns, etc. Of course I wouldn't suggest it as a sole learning resource, but if one of your goals is to enjoy manga, it's one of the few textbooks that addresses those kinds of quirks alongside the usual stuff.



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