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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: 13 4  Next >>
Juаn
Senior Member
Colombia
Joined 2752 days ago

727 posts - 1120 votes 
Speaks: Spanish*

 
 Message 9 of 25
18 August 2011 at 7:57pm | IP Logged 
Arekkusu wrote:
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.



I disagree with this. I'm certainly not an advocate for becoming "obsessed", but I do recommend studying kanji as early and as well as possible. Kanji are the basic lexical building blocks of the Japanese language. Neglecting the kanji will have you grappling in the dark. And if you do privilege speaking over the written language, there will come a point where you hit a brick wall as you reach the low-level plateau provided by the spoken, everyday language, yet can't move further uphill because you're semi-illiterate.

What I suggest is to proceed in a balanced fashion. In my case I divide my study time into three segments: one for my main textbook, one for a kanji book and the remaining one for multimedia instruction (iKnow!, Livemocha, Rosetta Stone). That way I work on all skills simultaneously so that each one reinforces the others and I don't fall behind in any of them.
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 10 of 25
10 September 2011 at 12:07am | IP Logged 
Well it has been almost a month since I last wrote in my log. I have been really busy with many things, but I did my schedule and reorganized a lot of things (and now I also have new material!).


Arekkusu wrote:
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?


I want to achieve a high-intermediate level for december next year (I would like to take the JLPT 2 next year, but that will not be my main focus in my learning proccess). Anyway, I am thinking about taking the JLPT4 this year, in order to measure my current progress.

My goal is to study 3 hours a day, but it has proven to be difficult to achieve (some days I can only study half an hour, but other days I can really achieve my 3 hours goal)

Here is my Schedule:

Monday:
- Pimsleur Course (1 lesson)
- Mangajin (1 chapter)
- Anki smart.fm Core 2000 (12 minutes)
- Japanese course with my teacher.
- One note of “Nihongo Notes” (two pages)
Tuesday:
- Pimsleur Course (1 lesson)
- *Japanese Menu (30 minutes)
- Doing my japanese course´s homework
- Anki smart.fm Core 2000 (12 minutes)
- Japanese course with my teacher.
- One note of “Nihongo Notes” (two pages)
Wednesday:
- Pimsleur Course (1 lesson)
- Mangajin (1 chapter)
- Anki tofugu´s Nouns (12 minutes)
- Genki I (4 pomodoros: 2 hours).
- One note of “Nihongo Notes” (two pages)
Thursday:
- Pimsleur Course (1 lesson)
- Let´s Learn Kanji (2 pomodoros: 1 hour)
- Anki smart.fm Core 2000 (12 minutes)
- Genki I (4 pomodoros: 2 hours).
- One note of “Nihongo Notes” (two pages)
Friday:
- Pimsleur Course (1 lesson)
- *Japanese Menu (30 minutes)
- Anki smart.fm Core 2000 (12 minutes)
- Genki I (4 pomodoros: 2 hours).
- One note of “Nihongo Notes” (two pages)
Saturday:
- Pimsleur Course (1 lesson)
- Japanese the Manga Way (1 lesson)
- Anki smart.fm Core 2000 (12 minutes)
- Doing my japanese course´s homework
- One note of “Nihongo Notes” (two pages)

Now I will explain a little more about the *Japanese Menu. In my fist post I gave you some idea of what this is:

AndyMeg wrote:
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.


Now I want to show you some of the items/activities listed in my *Japanese Menu, so you can get a better idea of it:

- Tae Kim´s Grammar (3 pages)--> I take the time
- Erin´s Challenge (Japan Foundation´s Website)--> 7 minutes
- Write as many japanese sentences as I can --> 1 minute
- Sing no more than 6 japanese songs in a karaoke program --> I take the time
- Japanese of anime and manga (Japan Foundation´s Website) --> 11 minutes
- Japanese in Mangaland (Japonés en Viñetas) Vol 1.--> 15 minutes

Well, the Menu list is really long, so the above is just an example. I choose activities I want to do and take the time until I reach the 30 minutes limit.

About my goal of being able to understand anime and manga, I found some excellent materials I am enjoying a lot: Mangajin and Japanese The Manga Way. And also for having a better understanding of the daily use of japanese language, reading “Nihongo Notes” from The Japan Times, has become one of my favorite activities to do.

I am also doing some unofficial japanese study by watching anime and doramas (most of them with subs), and I feel really happy and excited when I hear something I have recently studied and thus I can understand it and see it used in context. It is great!

Now I also have the first two japanese volumes of a manga (and anime) I love a lot: Hikaru no go. I have read it in its English and Spanish versions, and I have watched the anime at least three times. I am planing to read this whole manga in japanese in order to improve in my target language, but I am not yet sure about what strategy to use.

Arekkusu wrote:
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.


Trying Japanesepod101.com out is still on my "To do list". My japanese teacher helps us a lot to improve our pronunciation in class, and I pay special attention of how she speaks as well as her intonation ^_^!

Juаn wrote:
Arekkusu wrote:
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.



I disagree with this. I'm certainly not an advocate for becoming "obsessed", but I do recommend studying kanji as early and as well as possible. Kanji are the basic lexical building blocks of the Japanese language. Neglecting the kanji will have you grappling in the dark. And if you do privilege speaking over the written language, there will come a point where you hit a brick wall as you reach the low-level plateau provided by the spoken, everyday language, yet can't move further uphill because you're semi-illiterate.

What I suggest is to proceed in a balanced fashion. In my case I divide my study time into three segments: one for my main textbook, one for a kanji book and the remaining one for multimedia instruction (iKnow!, Livemocha, Rosetta Stone). That way I work on all skills simultaneously so that each one reinforces the others and I don't fall behind in any of them.


With kanji I am trying to study at least one hour per week. I want to improve my kanji knowledge but without getting obssesed about it.


So far I have seen some progress: now I can understand a little more of the doramas and anime I watch without needing to read the subs, though I am still very far away from fully understanding them without the subtitles aid.

Thanks a lot for all your advices and recommendations. ^_^!



Edited by AndyMeg on 10 September 2011 at 12:21am

1 person has voted this message useful



AndyMeg
Diglot
Groupie
Colombia
Joined 2333 days ago

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

 
 Message 11 of 25
12 October 2011 at 7:06pm | IP Logged 
I had some problems because of a virus that was in my computer, but now the virus has been eliminated and the computer is working relatively OK.

It was really frustrating that I could not achieve my goal of studying japanese 3 hours per day, so after I read this post:
http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?T ID=17888&PN=1, I decided to change my goal and be a little more flexible.

Now my goal is to study at least 30 minutes of japanese per day (every single day), but if I can study more than 30 minutes per day, it is always welcomed.

I also changed the way I am using my study`s materials. I was using so many materials at the same time that even though I could notice my progress, sometimes it got confusing and I felt unfocused and thus I was having some difficulties for keeping my concentration levels while studying japanese (I am better at focusing at only one or two things for longer periods of time than trying to do more things for shorter periods of time). So, I decided to change my schedule and focus on less materials. So for the past two weeks my schedule has been more or less like this:

Monday --> Mangajin (1 lesson)
Monday to Thursday --> Michel Thomas`s course.
Friday --> Let`s Learn Kanji (but the last two fridays I couldn`t study at all T__T)
Saturday --> Japanese The Manga Way (1 lesson).
Sunday --> Free study.
Monday to Sunday --> Nihongo notes (1 note per day).

I already finished the Michel Thomas` Foundation Course (it was a happy surprise that I already knew most of the grammar covered in this course, but it helped me to make connections I had never thought of, and it teached me to make longer and more complex sentences. I loved this course, but sometimes the "other students" got on my nerves, specially the woman).

I hope by tomorrow I will finish the Michel Thomas` Advanced course.

This month we are taking a break from the japanese class because sensei is very busy with other things.

When I finish the Michel Thomas`s course I am planing to do a "two weeks kanji focus study", because I have not studied kanji for almost a month.



fortheo
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2443 days ago

187 posts - 35 votes
Studies: French

 
 Message 12 of 25
12 October 2011 at 9:15pm | IP Logged 
How did you like Michel Thomas?? I found that even though it didn't have as much spoken Japanese as pimsleur, that I learned more from it. In my experience pimsleur gave me some basic speaking, listening, and drilled sentences into me. While Michel Thomas gave me the understanding of how these sentences worked and how to change things around to make new coherent sentences.

I like both courses, but Michel thomas method is definitely my favorite. Whats your opinion on these two courses?
1 person has voted this message useful



AndyMeg
Diglot
Groupie
Colombia
Joined 2333 days ago

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

 
 Message 13 of 25
13 October 2011 at 6:15pm | IP Logged 
fortheo wrote:
How did you like Michel Thomas?? I found that even though it didn't have as much spoken Japanese as pimsleur, that I learned more from it. In my experience pimsleur gave me some basic speaking, listening, and drilled sentences into me. While Michel Thomas gave me the understanding of how these sentences worked and how to change things around to make new coherent sentences.

I like both courses, but Michel thomas method is definitely my favorite. Whats your opinion on these two courses?


I agree with you.

I started with Pimsleur and completed level 1, but at level 2 I got bored of it, so I suspended it for a while and then replaced it with the Michel Thomas. I liked the Michel Thomas method a lot more. It gave me a better understanding of japanese and helped me to be able to make more complex sentences in a short period of time.

But there are also things I liked about Pimsleur. One of them is that with the level I did, I improved my speaking and thanks to this I started to feel more comfortable when I had to speak in japanese in my japanese class. As you said, Pimslur has more vocabulary, so that`s another thing I found really helpful about that course. But I am concerned about one thing regarding Pimsleur`s course: I read in another forum that some of the things teached by pimsleur japanese course are extremely formal, and certainly not appropiate in a daily conversation basis (except, maybe, if you are talking to bussines partners). For example, they told an anecdote about an expresion that Pimslur teaches as appropiate when leaving a place (without giving more information of the context in which would be right to use it), but the japanese friends of the person who actually used that expression, started to laugh because it sounded extremely polite and out of context in that situation.

In resume, I like Michel Thomas more, mainly because it allows me to get a better understanding of japanese grammar in a shorter space of time, which allows me to make more complex sentences. On the other hand, although I have not finished the complete Pimsleur course, there are some aspects of it that I really like: The way they present new words and/or expressions and put enfasis about how they should be spoken and that they make some "conversations" I have to participate in. I like those aspects a lot because they help me to develop my speaking confidence and to improve my pronunciation.



kraemder
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2591 days ago

1497 posts - 147 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Spanish, Japanese

 
 Message 14 of 25
14 October 2011 at 1:48am | IP Logged 
Nice to see another Japanese log. I feel like I'm spreading myself thin too but for Japanese I think it's sort of
unavoidable since kanji is like a whole new language unto itself. It sounds like you're further along than me
since you're already forming complex sentences. I'm curious how you do on the jlp test. I wish you luck on
achieving fluency, I'll settle for passive understanding.
1 person has voted this message useful



AndyMeg
Diglot
Groupie
Colombia
Joined 2333 days ago

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

 
 Message 15 of 25
04 November 2011 at 2:25am | IP Logged 
kraemder wrote:
kanji is like a whole new language unto itself.


I totally agree.

kraemder wrote:
I'm curious how you do on the jlp test. I wish you luck on
achieving fluency, I'll settle for passive understanding.


I was planing to take this year Noken 4, but I had to spend the money I had for this in some urgent matters, so I will have to wait for next year`s exam T_T... I would like to take Noken 2 next year, but I will have to work really hard for that because I am still at a beginner level.

Thanks for your "good luck wish" ^_^!



AndyMeg
Diglot
Groupie
Colombia
Joined 2333 days ago

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

 
 Message 16 of 25
04 November 2011 at 2:53am | IP Logged 
Well, I finished the Michel Thomas Advanced course around two weeks ago. I really liked it, and I am planning to review it in december.

My "two weeks kanji focus study" was not as I had planned because I had too much things to do and too little time to study japanese T_T.

Now I have settled new goals:
-Finish the Part 1 (Kanji Radicals) of Let`s Learn Kanji. And then take a break from the book.
-Change my study focus every week, like this: One week focusing on kanji and the next week focusing on grammar (until I achieve one of these goals: finish Genki I lessons or finish the Part 1 of Let`s Learn Kanji)

I have been using memrise from time to time in order to increase my kanji words vocabulary.

I also found a book that have lots of kanji practice excercises related to the vocabulary of Noken 5 and 4 and I am using it when I am in a "kanji focus week".

Tomorrow I plan to start using JapanesePod from the beginnig (Newbie lessons) and see how it works for me.

I am still doing one lesson of "Japanese The Manga Way" and "Mangajin" per week (I am around lesson 12 in both) and reading one note of "Nihongo Notes" everyday (I already finished Nihongo Notes 1 and now I am reading Nihongo Notes 2).

I am also watching a dorama with japanese subs and I have found the combination of japanese audio and transcript to be really good. I am still far from being able to completly understand a dorama only in japanese, but I really like watching doramas and I hope that watching them completly in japanese with japanese subs will help me to improve ^_^!

Edited by AndyMeg on 04 November 2011 at 3:07am




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