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VonPeterhof’s log - 旅立ち’14, Yürükler’15+

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vonPeterhof
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715 posts - 1527 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 73 of 158
26 June 2014 at 7:11pm | IP Logged 
An update from sunny Crete! Having a great vacation so far. I did manage to make a short trip to Düsseldorf during my stay in Essen. Turns out that there's a whole street, if not neighbourhood, filled with shops, cafés and other establishments servicing the local Japanese expat community. I visited a small bookstore hoping to buy a novel. Unfortunately, they didn't have light novels in stock, and the Haruki Murakami novels were all sold in volumes rather than single books (1Q84 was divided into six volumes), which made me feel stingy about buying them. I didn't want to leave empty-handed, so I picked up volume 8 of 進撃の巨人 and completed it on the plane to Crete. I also bought Sophocles' Electra in Ancient Greek during an excursion to Santorini. Not sure if Sophocles is the best author to start reading Ancient Greek, but the selection of Ancient books in the store wasn't that great and again, I didn't want to leave empty-handed (while I'm more of an e-book person, I do think that paper books are the best souvenirs).

Regarding my JLPT preparations, I've finished the revision tests in the grammar book, so now all I'm doing for grammar study is looking through A Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar and mining it for sentences illustrating grammar points not covered by Core 6k and the JLPT1 grammar study guide. As for vocabulary, until today I haven't been reading any new pages or doing any new exercises, but instead I've been adding sentences to Anki. In the weeks preceding my vacation on most days I didn't have the time to add all new words I encountered in the vocabulary book to Anki, so I just wrote them down and added them whenever I had some free time. Now that I've caught up I've decided to complete one sub-module per day, doing all exercises and adding all words into Anki on the same day. Today I've finished reading the second sub-module on オノマトペ and now I'm adding the new words (almost thirty of them; hopefully the other sub-modules will have fewer words unfamiliar to me). If everything goes according to plan I'll be done with the study material in the book by next Wednesday, right on time to start writing about my first impressions of the Summer season anime.

And finally, about the results of my Greek studies. Perhaps if I weren't studying for the JLPT I might have been able to reach a more comfortable level where I'm confident enough to proceed with basic conversations in Greek rather than defaulting to English most of the time. But even with my meagre skills I have been able to have a few enjoyable conversations and impress a couple of locals. The guy running a public restroom on Santorini even let me use it for free just for asking him "Πόσο κάνει;" and responding with "Λίγο" to his "Μιλάς Ελληνικά;" - my Greek saved me 50 cents :D
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vonPeterhof
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715 posts - 1527 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 74 of 158
03 July 2014 at 10:59pm | IP Logged 
Having finished cramming the N1 vocabulary I have started the Summer season with two new anime. When writing this entry I started thinking that I might be overusing the conjunctive が (...ですが、..., ...ますが、..., etc.), and somewhat randomly replaced two of them with けど. Two people changed them back to が, so I guess けど really won't fly in written language. I remember in an earlier entry I did something similar by changing one of the verbs' て-form to a ます-stem, while leaving the て-form in all other continuing/sequential action verbs intact. Back then nobody called me out on this inconsistency. The ます-stem is supposedly more formal, but maybe the difference doesn't have as much to do with the written-spoken language divide in this case. I distinctly remember hearing this kind of form-mixing in songs - off the top of my head, in Queen's Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) :

手を取り合っ このまま行こう
愛する人よ
静かな宵に 光を灯
愛しき教えを抱

But then, in songs and poems meter and rhythm often take precedence over grammatical consistency, so maybe it would be less acceptable in a piece of prose.
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vonPeterhof
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Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 75 of 158
06 July 2014 at 1:58pm | IP Logged 
Finished N1 about an hour ago. I feel like I did better than last time on the fist part (vocab+grammar+reading)
- at least I didn't leave any questions unanswered this time round. The vocabulary was still my weakest bit,
with plenty of words that the preparation book didn't cover. Of course, since there is no exhaustive N1 word
list under the current system, that was to be expected. The grammar bit went surprisingly smoothly though,
reading the old JLPT1 grammar guide and skimming the Advanced Dictionary certainly paid off. Thanks to
speeding through grammar and finishing reading when there was about 10 minutes left I had enough time to
fill in some blanks and rethink a couple problematic answers in the vocab section.

The listening part didn't feel much more difficult than last time. However, the fifth part (long talks) was
disappointing - I did take notes, but all that did for me was help rule out one or two wrong answers in each
question, leaving me with no clue as to which of the remaining answers to choose from. Still, I'm somewhat
confident in the section, and cautiously optimistic about the test as a whole. Now all that's left is to wait until
September for the results.

Right now I'm not entirely sure about how I will structure my studies between now and the result
announcement. Since I've added a very large amount of new cards in the past couple of weeks, and since the
first week at work after the vacation is probably going to be a busy time, even continuing the Anki reviews
feels like it will be too much of a chore. Because of this I'm going to suspend all of my (modern) Japanese-
related decks at least until next weekend, when I'll think more carefully about how to go about studying
Japanese in the meantime. I'm still going to keep watching the new anime premiers and trying to write about
them (here's the
latest entry
), as well as reading novels and manga.
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vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
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Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3170 days ago

715 posts - 1527 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 76 of 158
07 July 2014 at 8:38pm | IP Logged 
Wrote another entry last night. While reading the corrections made by the last user (as of now, that user is mix) I ended up slapping myself of the forehead twice. The first time was because I had spent something like twenty minutes trying to structure the first sentence with the word 初めて somewhere near the end, only to give up and replace it with 最初. For some reason it never occurred to me to use it to modify the verbal phrase 大人気となった instead of the noun phrase 日本のアニメ.

The second time was in the very next sentence, where I missed a perfect opportunity to use のです. I remember the teacher of the lectures I attended mention a couple of times, that there are three little things that, if used correctly, automatically make your Japanese sound much more fluent. Those are は, という and のだ/のです. Having read a lot about (and struggled with) the distinction between は and が and the usage of は with things other than the subject, I could see his point about the first one, but not the other two. Now I'm starting to see what he meant with respect to the third one. The extra nuance the explanatory の adds to the phrase 観なかったのですから feels inconsequential to me as a non-native speaker, but its addition makes the sentence that much more natural to a native speaker. I still don't get what's so special about という. I wish I had asked him to elaborate when I had the opportunity.

Speaking of which, I actually met him yesterday at the test - he was proctoring in the other N1 room. There were also at least two other attendees of the lectures taking the N1. I talked to one of them in the break between the sections and complained about my lack of opportunities to converse in Japanese. She told me that the Moscow State University's Japanese Centre hosts monthly all-Japanese meetups, where anyone can come to converse with the Japanese speakers living and studying here on various topics. Unfortunately, this month's meetup already happened this past Friday, but now I'm looking forward to the one in July (although I'm not sure if they'll still be doing in in July, since most Japanese exchange students will presumably be away on holiday). I hope the teacher attends those meetups as well; if he does I can ask him all about という :)
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kraemder
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 Message 77 of 158
08 July 2014 at 12:07am | IP Logged 
I was focusing on という a while back.. still haven't really gotten it. I ended up just saying it at every opportunity and that somehow made me feel more という knowledgeable. It makes what you're saying a little longer so that kind of translates into more polite is my guess and maybe you sound smarter too? I'll keep an eye out for a good explanation.

I feel smarter when I say it at least.
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kujichagulia
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Japan
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 Message 78 of 158
08 July 2014 at 2:38am | IP Logged 
I'm still not an expert on という, but I've learned a few uses of it.

For example, you use it to report news or facts.

私は ジョンさんが 明日ここに来るという知らせを 聞いた。
I heard that John is coming here tomorrow.

彼女は 結婚するという理由で 仕事を辞めました。
She quit her job because (of the fact that) she is getting married.

Also for feelings. I can't think of a good example sentence right now, but という is often used with 感じ.
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vonPeterhof
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715 posts - 1527 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 79 of 158
08 July 2014 at 5:09pm | IP Logged 
Oh, that's right! I guess I was only thinking of a very narrow usage of という, simply stating what something is called. The more abstract uses are indeed a tricky thing to grasp. I guess the fact that I couldn't even think of them off the top of my head shows how far I am from a native-like grasp of those nuances. And, to drive the point home, apparently my latest post has a few places that could have used an extra は. I guess I still need much more practice.

Edit: I have now responded to one of the editors of the Lang-8 post linked to above to clarify what I meant. In my response I tried to practice using という. I think I might have gone a little overboard by using it four times in two sentences :)

Edited by vonPeterhof on 08 July 2014 at 7:47pm

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kujichagulia
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Japan
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 Message 80 of 158
09 July 2014 at 4:06am | IP Logged 
vonPeterhof wrote:
Edit: I have now responded to one of the editors of the Lang-8 post linked to above to clarify what I meant. In my response I tried to practice using という. I think I might have gone a little overboard by using it four times in two sentences :)

Well, hey... practice makes perfect, right? :)


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