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

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kraemder
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1497 posts - 1648 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Spanish, Japanese

 
 Message 57 of 158
07 April 2014 at 12:12am | IP Logged 
I wanna sign up for a lecture like what you're doing. It's sounds fun for a Japanese language nerd. I thought it
would be like a one time thing or one weekend thing where you exchanged some ideas and then did some
networking but this sounds like a course in its own right.
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vonPeterhof
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Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 58 of 158
12 April 2014 at 6:14am | IP Logged 
I guess it sort of is. They're even going to hand out certificates at the end! Those don't count as proper qualifications, but still. If I had to complain about something about this lecture series, it's that whenever we get to try out the classroom activities for ourselves most of the time we play the role of students rather than teachers, essentially just doing what one would normally do in an ordinary language class. I've never taken Japanese classes, but I've done pretty similar exercises in English, Kazakh, German and Norwegian classes I've taken before, so I'm hardly practising anything new. There are mock classes scheduled later in the course though, so I will probably get the chance to try out the techniques we're learning about. I'm also looking forward to next Monday's lecture, where we'll be talking about teaching the kana and kanji. As someone who started out with the Heisig method I'm genuinely curious about the "conventional" methods of non-native kanji instruction. Our lecturer should also provide an interesting perspective, since he's currently teaching Japanese at Russian universities, but has previously taught Japanese in Hong Kong and South Korea, where students of Japanese don't need to be taught the basics of Chinese characters. He should know a lot about the differences between teaching the Japanese writing system to students with and without a Sinospheric background (the differences that Heisig's books aim to minimize).

I managed to write one lang-8 entry during the week. I wonder if the lack of corrections means that there are no noticeable mistakes, or just that I posted it at such an inconvenient time (around 5 AM in Japan Standard Time) that no one who'd bother to correct it managed to notice it.

Another thing I did this week is register for July's N1. I had all the documents except for the application form ready on Monday, but only managed to hand everything in on Friday, since Monday is the Japan Foundation's Moscow office's day off and on Wednesday there were some traffic delays, so I barely even made it in time for the lecture. Now I guess the game is truly on..
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kraemder
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Studies: German, Spanish, Japanese

 
 Message 59 of 158
12 April 2014 at 6:25am | IP Logged 
I post in your log almost as much as you do =p. Well, the conventional method for learning kanji at my local community college is really a joke but seems to work miraculously. To an extent. My teacher gives out a "kanji packet" for the semester. I kind of like it actually but it's no substitute for doing RTK. I'll send you an email with a link if you want to download it to take a look for yourself. We pretty much learn 10 kanji per week or so throughout the semester. He doesn't really teach it - he just has it on that weeks kanji list and we're supposed to learn it. In whatever way works for us. For that day's lesson, at the beginning of class, he calls on someone to read a sentence from the kanji packet with that day's kanji. So you look pretty dumb if you can't read it. That's about it.

RTK is a godsend. I'm not sure if they teach kanji radicals or anything in 3rd year Japanese at a University but 1st and 2nd year Japanese they barely touch on it. They might point out some easy stuff like water primitive on the left and the 心 primitives but that's about it.
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vonPeterhof
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Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 60 of 158
20 April 2014 at 9:34am | IP Logged 
I'm finally back here, thanks to emk's latest update. My Mac OS X 10.9.2 has resisted all my attempts to fix the problem - not only did I have to learn about how to find the hosts file, I actually finally learned where the Terminal is, and all for nothing! Even following the tips here did nothing - even after saving the changes in the Terminal the actual hosts file stays exactly the same as before, reboot or no reboot. Well regardless, at least I can read other people's posts now, so it's cool (the ability to make posts of my own is secondary, since I wouldn't have had much time to write updates this week anyway).

Anyway, thanks for the file, kraemder. In my own musings on ways of teaching Japanese in a classroom setting I have actually thought about taking such a laissez-faire approach to "teaching" kanji as possibly the most efficient (or at least the least inefficient) method. Unfortunately, we had to breeze through the kanji teaching lecture really quickly, since we were a bit behind on our curriculum and the teacher really wanted to start the topic of teaching strategies for specific textbooks. He basically just had us discuss the various difficulties learners encounter when learning kanji and listed a number of exercises for specific difficulties without going into detail about the overall strategy.

The first lecture on teaching with みんなの日本語 was pretty interesting though. The teacher actually expressed quite a few disagreements with the book's approach (e.g. that it uses kanji from day one, but never drops the furigana, or that it sometimes gives examples of alternative usage without really explaining what the difference between the two variants is) and how to work around its weaknesses. But the part of the lecture that really stuck with me is when the discussion somehow veered into the subject of pitch accent. I actually got to witness the amazed reactions of Japanese people who found out about the concept of pitch accent and Japanese pitch patterns for the first time. And then the teacher asked if anyone knew about the common pitch patten in the construction "[country name]+人", and I restated my observation that I once mentioned on Josquin's log, that regardless of where the accent is in the country name it always shifts to the mora right before the "人", except for 日本人 where it falls on じ (I should have asked him if it works the same with other placenames ending in ん - 朝鮮, 香港, ベナン, etc.).

In lang-8 news, I've written two new entries since the last time. I also finally got a very detailed correction on entry 4, where the person correcting asked me to explain what I meant in a couple of places. Explaining my word choice actually turned out to be a challenging exercise in and of itself, but I think I got him to see what I was trying to say.

Today I'm planning to write the final entry in my "first impressions" series with just two series left. I ended up watching fewer first episodes than last season, but once I write that last entry I will have written about everything I've watched, which I didn't manage to do last time. I've also dropped more series than last time, so now I'm following "only" 14 new series, in addition to two ongoing ones. The situation with Japanese subs is much better than last season, with the following new shows having subs up on kitsunekko: 悪魔のリドル, 僕らはみんな河合荘, 魔法科高校の劣等生, 一週間フレンズ。, 龍ヶ嬢七々々の埋蔵金, シドニアの騎士, マジンボーン, ブレイドアンドソウル, 蟲師 続章, 金田一少年の事件簿R, ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 スターダストクルセイダース, ハイキュー!!, ベイビーステップ, ピンポン THE ANIMATION, オレカバトル&ドラゴンコレクション, ヒーローバンク, カードファイト!! ヴァンガード レギオンメイト編, デュエル・マスターズ VS, レディ ジュエルペット, プリティーリズム・オールスターセレクショ ン and 遊☆戯☆王ARC-V. Ugh, all that katakana makes my eyes hurt :)

I've also purchased a new learning resource - a book called 歌から学ぶ日本語. In this book various grammar points are illustrated via song lyrics. Naturally, the book comes with a CD with 21 songs. I actually bought it primarily in order to learn the songs rather than the grammar points - you never know when you end up in a situation where you have to sing along to a song everyone in Japan knows, or when you need to impress some Japanese people at a karaoke night :)

Edited by vonPeterhof on 20 April 2014 at 5:47pm

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dampingwire
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 Message 61 of 158
20 April 2014 at 12:35pm | IP Logged 
vonPeterhof wrote:
The first lecture on teaching with みんなの日本語 was pretty
interesting though. The teacher actually expressed quite a few disagreements with the
book's approach (e.g. that it uses kanji from day one, but never drops the furigana, or
that it sometimes gives examples of alternative usage without really explaining what
the difference between the two variants is) and how to work around its
weaknesses.


I presume his objection is that they don't drop the furigana later on, not that they
introduce kanji from the off? I did find the kanji quite daunting at first, but now I
wouldn't have it any other way.

I'd agree that it doesn't do a good job of explaining the nuances and the different
usages. However, at the time that I was working through みんなの日本語初級 there was enough
to learn and it was all quite overwhelming. Throwing in various similar phrases and
expressions and trying to teach the differences when I hadn't properly understood the
basics would have been overpowering, for me at least.

My fix for this is to work through other books too: 新完全マスター N3 文法, for example.
That's very much more exam-focussed (rather than "everyday language" focussed) but it
does gather together similar points and try to tease out the differences. It's not
always successful, but even when all I get out of it is that A and B are similar but
different, then I know I need to go and look elsewhere for further elucidation.

I'd be interested to know what your lecturer's suggestions are for shoring up the
shortcomings of みんなの日本.

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vonPeterhof
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Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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715 posts - 1527 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 62 of 158
20 April 2014 at 6:21pm | IP Logged 
dampingwire wrote:
I presume his objection is that they don't drop the furigana later on, not that they introduce kanji from the off?
Both actually, although he didn't go into detail why he considered the former a bad thing. He didn't suggest a workaround for that one either, but for the furigana on words that are already supposed to be familiar he suggested giving students additional reading materials without them, so that they can learn not to depend on that crutch. He also said that sometimes he actually goes to the trouble of whiting out the furigana on the handouts he gives to his students.

As for the nuances in alternative phrases, he simply recommended being prepared for questions from the students. Before starting each new module the teacher needs to look through all the material in it, take note of points that might be explained insufficiently in the book and might prompt questions, then do some research if you don't already know how to respond to them. This doesn't only apply to grammar points, since there are some cultural references, both all-Japanese (歌舞伎, パチンコ) and Kansai-specific (伏見, 甲子園), that some students might be unfamiliar with. He also warned about the overall structure of the grammatical topics, since many early dialogues make use of grammatical structures that are only explained in detail much later. He especially recommended introducing the -ました earlier than the book does, since that makes it much easier to engage students in small talk (昨日は何をしましたか。; 朝ご飯に何を食べましたか。, etc.).

Anyway, I've completed that lang-8 entry. Now I can finally stop writing about anime and actually watch some :) I'm also thinking of taking a short break from writing in Japanese by starting to write in Greek and resuming writing in German.

Edited by vonPeterhof on 20 April 2014 at 6:22pm

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vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3010 days ago

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

 
 Message 63 of 158
27 April 2014 at 9:21pm | IP Logged 
I'm finally up to speed with the ongoing anime series, in spite of both Crunchyroll and Daisuki throwing out extra new series unexpectedly, after I had written the "final" entry in my first impression series. I'll probably write about those two series next weekend, which will be long on account of May Day being a public holiday in Russia.

In reading news, I'm finally done with the novel 時をかける少女. I found the 2006 anime movie (which is more of a retelling/stealth sequel than an adaptation) more interesting, but the book was pretty easy to follow, with some more challenging scientific vocabulary scattered here and there. Now I thought I'd challenge myself with some grown-up literature, and what better place to start than Tatsuo Hori's 風立ちぬ, the novel that Miyazaki's last movie is (rather loosely) based on?

A couple of weeks ago I figured out a way to tackle my politeness level dropping problem. I often think in Japanese, and whenever I'm alone in my room I sometimes think out loud for additional speaking practice. I've decided that while I'll still think in plain Japanese inside my head, whenever I think out loud it'll be in 丁寧語. Judging from my performance in recent lectures I think it's already bearing fruit, in that I've become better at controlling my output and thinking about how I'll end the sentence in advance. Maybe at some later point I'll try to do the same exercise with 尊敬語 and 謙譲語 (the tricky bit will be deciding where to draw the line between 外 and 内 when I'm talking to myself).

In addition to catching up on anime, reading and FSI Greek, this week I've been busy preparing the documents for my Greek visa application, which I'll try to submit next week. Because of this, as well as my workload (which didn't seem to diminish much even during my boss's vacation), I'm a bit behind on the JLPT preparation exercises. I've scheduled them with a few spare weeks to account for this possibility, and I've already scheduled my vacation for the last two weeks before the test, but still, I've always been rather uncomfortable with schedule slippage. I think I'll try to get some easier stuff done before going to bed tonight.
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vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3010 days ago

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

 
 Message 64 of 158
11 May 2014 at 9:41am | IP Logged 
In spite of all the extra days off work these past two weeks I still didn't find the time to write anything, either here or on lang-8. The workload on the days when I did have to go work was so severe I had to spend much of my days off catching up on my slipping studying schedule, in addition to the requisite visits to relatives. In the end I decided not to write that anime entry on lang-8 - there isn't much to write about in those two anime I mentioned above anyway. I will probably start working on that Greek entry next week, since I did get my visa, so the trip is now all set.

Not much else to write about, other than stuff coming up in my lectures. On May 19 I'll be observing an actual Japanese language class, and on June 06 I'll be giving a 20 minute mock class on the topic of the "~を(数量)ください" structure. Everyone is going to write up a lesson plan and then "teach" the class with our fellow lecture attendees acting out the role of students.


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