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Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?

RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby yukamina » Sat 02.09.2008 3:16 pm

It looks more like 6 kanji than 1 >_>

Anyway, my current way of learning vocab is a mix of context and simple memorization. I read something in Japanese and look up all the words I don't know. Then I cram the ones that might give me more trouble and reread the text. Cramming the words is quicker than reading the sentences over and over, but I still have the benefit of context.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 02.09.2008 4:48 pm

That's pretty much what I did a while back, often with a video game or the Tensei Jingo column in the newspaper.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Cratz » Sun 02.10.2008 12:42 am

My problem with learning purely in context (i.e., picking up words from reading novels or newspapers) is that the approach lacks structure.

I've always had the goal of being equal (or even better than) your average Japanese when it comes to literacy. But by studying only those words I stumble across when reading Japanese texts, I'm left with a great many words (and kanji) that don't get touched upon. Just because they don't appear in newspapers or mass market novels doesn't mean it isn't worth learning (in my view).

This is why I've always preferred an approach that is more structured.

So I guess my question for those of you who are proponents of context learning - what do yo do to be sure that you are learning kanji/vocabulary systematically enough?

Don't take this as an endorsement of Heisig or a refutation of context-learning - it is neither. I'm simply curious to hear how others have dealt with this issue.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby HarakoMeshi » Sun 02.10.2008 4:16 am

Have a look at the book "Kanji in Context". That will go through all the Jouyou kanji anyway, but not up to educated native level.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby arbalest71 » Sun 02.10.2008 4:37 am

Cratz wrote:
My problem with learning purely in context (i.e., picking up words from reading novels or newspapers) is that the approach lacks structure.

I've always had the goal of being equal (or even better than) your average Japanese when it comes to literacy. But by studying only those words I stumble across when reading Japanese texts, I'm left with a great many words (and kanji) that don't get touched upon. Just because they don't appear in newspapers or mass market novels doesn't mean it isn't worth learning (in my view).


I think you have this entirely backwards. You won't achieve the kind of literacy you're talking about without reading. No textbook is going to cover the tens of thousands of words you're talking about. That's not what they are designed to do- at some point you are assumed to read well enough that you can learn on your own. How many English textbooks define words like "s'eyes"?
--

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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Cratz » Sun 02.10.2008 8:36 am

arbalest71,

I'm not necessarily talking about a textbook. In fact, if you look at my last post again, you'll notice I never once mentioned or even alluded to the idea of a textbook. In fact, the last time I used a textbook to study Japanese was over 8 years ago.

Instead, I'm talking about a systematized approach to tackling the (as you pointed out) many, many words that you need to learn to become truly fluent in a language.

If you read a newspaper today, a mystery novel tomorrow, a website the day after - then you'll be exposed to the types of language often used in those mediums. Great. But what about philosophical terms? Religious terms? Legal-ese? Etc., etc. My original point was that simply picking up new words as you read seemed to be a very unreliable method of approaching a language. There are plenty of words that you may just not run into in the course of reading that are nonetheless necessary words for a fluent speaker.

So that brought me to my question of how others who use the context approach deal with this problem.

Although for some people just being in Japan hearing and speaking and reading Japanese is enough for them to become fluent, I'm not one of those people. I need to study words and grammar and kanji to remember them. Since I'm always interested to hear what worked for other people, I was keen on hearing what you guys did to ensure that there were no gaps in your language acquisition.

Do you make out lists of sentences using all sorts of different words? Do you vary the types of material you read? Do you make mind maps? Do you pray at the shrines and temples? Do you just bide your time until the arrival of the Photon Belt? What?
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby nukemarine » Sun 02.10.2008 8:55 am

Cratz, I think you're being a bit to strict on what counts as literate. I may not know many of the terms in a Tom Clancy novel, but I'm literate enough to make the connections without having to dive toward a dictionary. Yeah, I know, it's the old read alot to get alot theory.

As for a structured approach, perhaps you can try your hand at the Japanese version of Wikipedia. I know I go link happy on the English variant, so I'm sure the Japanese version will be just as fun for getting a knowledge binge going.

At the DEEP side of insanity, you could just go term by term in the dictionary.

Anyway, can't help you with Japanese as I'm only fluent in English. You sound far ahead of me in both aspects though.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 02.10.2008 10:22 am

Personally at this point I no longer study words or kanji in a structured manner; I just learn whatever I need when it comes along. I guess I don't see the need to try to systematically learn vocabulary that I might come across later.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Gundaetiapo » Sun 02.10.2008 2:26 pm

This is why I've always preferred an approach that is more structured.


Which is?

Just because they don't appear in newspapers or mass market novels doesn't mean it isn't worth learning (in my view).


Well, they have to appear in some medium. So your task is finding that medium.

* 「Well」というものはTHTさんのために
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby yukamina » Mon 02.11.2008 12:12 am

Cratz wrote:

If you read a newspaper today, a mystery novel tomorrow, a website the day after - then you'll be exposed to the types of language often used in those mediums. Great. But what about philosophical terms? Religious terms? Legal-ese? Etc., etc. My original point was that simply picking up new words as you read seemed to be a very unreliable method of approaching a language. There are plenty of words that you may just not run into in the course of reading that are nonetheless necessary words for a fluent speaker.


Read many books on different subjects? Mystery novels won't fill you in on religious terms, so read some books on religion. Or you could find a dictionary that has sentence examples. I found a J>E one that had sentences or phrases for almost all the words, more for more common words. It was called Proceed... I wish I could buy it somewhere.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Pkmn Trainer Abram » Mon 02.11.2008 3:08 am

Wow, my topic exploded.

Anyway, I've been spending the past few days going over numbers and dates, trying to apply them towards daily life. So far I seem to be able to count and translate numbers from Japanese to English and vice versa, but I can't do math problems with them(ofcourse, math isn't my strongest point and I merely want to read them anyway)

I looked at the verbs section on the Vocab link here and thought about making little notes to stick on things using them, and write a description of an action associated with it.

As in using sticky notes to write out that something is, and leave a short description on what each item serves.

Example: Daidokoro

Kore wa daidokoro desu.

Action: Watashi wa teberu ringo!(or should it have "suru" at the end?)
*Kanji for "teberu written above sample sentence*

Kill 3 birds with one stone or am I setting myself up for trouble on this method? Personally I love the method of learning through context as I used that alot in school to learn how to read, but I can't do that with Japanese until I have a firm base to work on first. Can't wait till I get to that point.

Speaking of which, I ordered that Intro to Modern Japanese textbook and should have it by next week. According to what I've heard, it has been able to give people a firm base in written Japanese in a year's time. Anyone here can testify to that?
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby furrykef » Mon 02.11.2008 3:50 am

Action: Watashi wa teberu ringo!(or should it have "suru" at the end?)


You mean, "私はりんごを食べる" (Watashi wa ringo wo taberu)? Remember that Japanese has completely different rules for marking the object in a sentence than English, and word order is often very different. :)

In particular, it is impossible to put anything after the main verb in a sentence (other than certain particles like "ne" or "ka"). So, everything else has to come before it.

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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby NZJutsu » Mon 02.11.2008 5:25 am

Another "particle" which confused me for a while was "kedo" :D

Eg
そうですけど

But what?! BUT WHAT?!

:P
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Cratz » Mon 02.11.2008 8:28 am

nukemarine wrote:
Cratz, I think you're being a bit to strict on what counts as literate.


Well, I've always been an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction both. I studied literature in undergraduate school and philosophy/literature in graduate school. The end result is that I know a whole lot of 10-cent words and terms only useful in trivia contests. I'm cognizant of the fact that this may color my view of what vocabulary I should know in Japanese.

At the same time, I don't see why trying to become at least as well-spoken (or better) than the average Japanese is such an over-reaching goal. My mantra has always been "If I know it in English, why shouldn't I know it in Japanese?"

I think anything less is selling yourself short. I can't be satisfied with "just enough to get by."

nukemarine wrote:
As for a structured approach, perhaps you can try your hand at the Japanese version of Wikipedia. I know I go link happy on the English variant, so I'm sure the Japanese version will be just as fun for getting a knowledge binge going.


Yeah, I've done this before. My problem is that I get carried away and end up with a 4-page (typed!) list of new words to learn. Of course, even after studying that 4-page list, I only ever walk away really remembering a few of those words. But that reminds me of the teaching philosophy of my first Japanese department director. He told me "We want to fill you up with Japanese until you are overflowing. You won't remember everything we teach you, but whatever doesn't spill out the sides will eventually get absorbed, leaving more space in your cup to fill."

I don't know, as young as I was and with his Romanian accent it sounded really profound at the time...

nukemarine wrote:
At the DEEP side of insanity, you could just go term by term in the dictionary.


I'm not sure I'm that hard-core.

But now that you bring it up, that might be an interesting approach... ;)
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 02.11.2008 9:14 am

Pkmn Trainer Abram wrote:
Action: Watashi wa teberu ringo!(or should it have "suru" at the end?)
*Kanji for "teberu written above sample sentence*


You should start with your textbook; you're way before the point where you should be learning random vocabulary and kanji. Wait until you have a basis in the language then you can use this method.


(Also, try to use sentences that are a little more interesting than "kore wa daidokoro" -- the best sentences to use are those in which no other word can be substituted but the word you want to study. These are hard to find, but the fewer words that can be substituted the better.)
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