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Let's Learn Japanese Basic

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Let's Learn Japanese Basic

Postby piepiepie75 » Mon 05.19.2008 1:48 am

For those that don't know...

Let's Learn Japanese basic is a video series created by the Japan Foundation to help English Speakers learn Japanese.

Series I is hosted by Mary Althaus, an English professor at Tsuda College in Tokyo. She is helped by three native Japanese speakers: Mine-san, Sugihara-san, and Kaihou-san. The series uses a drama called "ヤンさんと日本の人々” (Yan and the Japanese People) to help its viewers. The viewer is shown a short (Usually 5-10 minutes) episode of the drama, which is completely in Japanese with no subtitles, at the beginning of each episode. The drama is specifically made so that viewers can still understand what's going on, even if they don't speak Japanese. After the episode is shown, Mary takes a specific scene and takes a phrase from it there. For example, in one episode, Yan is being shown a house and his friend yells "いけがありますよ!”. She explains how it is used, and then the three native Japanese speakers perform several skits using this phrase. The series also teaches Hiragana.

Series II was made nearly 10 years after Series I, and is meant to build upon what students learned in Series I. The second series is hosted by Tae Umino and follows the same basic premise of the first series. The viewer is shown a short episode of the Yan drama and the lesson of the day is taken from there. There are also three different Japanese actors who perform skits on this series. Unfortunately, series II lacks any sort of continuance on the writing system. In fact, everything in Series II is shown in Romanji only.

Personally, I think Let's Learn Japanese Basic I is a great learning tool for anyone starting out. The twenty-six episodes teach you some bare essentials of the Japanese language, and it presents it in an entertaining way. Unfortunately, the second series does not provide the same quality as the first, in my opinion. Sure, the second series is just as entertaining as the first (Perhaps more so, since the Yan drama takes a more interesting turn in the second series) but it doesn't seem to take any sort of 'path' with it's learning. Every episode seems to be "Well, here's another random phrase for you to learn". The phrases they teach range in length and difficulty, and don't seem to be really connected.

Nevertheless, I think both series provide a nice entertaining way to learn some Japanese. What are your impressions of it?
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Re: Let's Learn Japanese Basic

Postby sushi4ever » Mon 05.19.2008 4:20 am

i have both series and the supplemental texts and i agree that it's quite fun to learn from them.

BUT

first off, i also think that the series I is way better than series II but both teach in romaji which can be quite counterproductive on the longer run. yes, the first series introduces hiragana but they're never used actively!
the episodes are really well-made but they only "teach" you phrases with blanks to put random words in, that's a downside.

a few years ago i actually wanted to learn japanese only using those videos but that's not going to work imo.

over all, i think it's a good supplement to any other course you're taking but it's not going to be very beneficial being used alone.

(which reminds me of this new tv course called "Erin ga choosen - Nihongo dekimasu", i think clay even sells it but i will make a new thread for that...)

i hope i could bring my point across, my english is horrid today and i don't know why... O.o)
my japanese learning blog: http://pimpmysushi.livejournal.com
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Re: Let's Learn Japanese Basic

Postby piepiepie75 » Mon 05.19.2008 10:29 am

sushi4ever wrote:i have both series and the supplemental texts and i agree that it's quite fun to learn from them.

BUT

first off, i also think that the series I is way better than series II but both teach in romaji which can be quite counterproductive on the longer run. yes, the first series introduces hiragana but they're never used actively!


True, but at least Series I actually teaches them. Seriously, you shouldn't be learning some of the sentence structures used in Series II if you don't know hiragana yet.

sushi4ever wrote:the episodes are really well-made but they only "teach" you phrases with blanks to put random words in, that's a downside.

I found that Series II does this a lot more than Series I. I mean, at least Series I will tell teach you something that isn't just a sentence structure once in a while.


sushi4ever wrote:over all, i think it's a good supplement to any other course you're taking but it's not going to be very beneficial being used alone.


Agreed. Neither of these series will get you very far alone. Still, I think Series I is a great place to start for beginners who may want something a little more entertaining then being in the classroom.
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Re: Let's Learn Japanese Basic

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 05.19.2008 1:16 pm

piepiepie75 wrote:
sushi4ever wrote:i have both series and the supplemental texts and i agree that it's quite fun to learn from them.

BUT

first off, i also think that the series I is way better than series II but both teach in romaji which can be quite counterproductive on the longer run. yes, the first series introduces hiragana but they're never used actively!


True, but at least Series I actually teaches them. Seriously, you shouldn't be learning some of the sentence structures used in Series II if you don't know hiragana yet.


The rate of kana introduction is really based on the language program. Using romaji or delaying kana isn't right or wrong, it can only be judged right or wrong in the context of what the learner is trying to do and what else is being covered in the course. While it's true that most language programs now follow the "learn kana before anything else" idea, this isn't the only way to do things, nor is it objectively "correct".
-Chris Kern
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Re: Let's Learn Japanese Basic

Postby sushi4ever » Mon 05.19.2008 4:52 pm

you're right yudan but i never said that teaching with romaji is incorrect, it's good for those who mainly focus on speaking abilities but it can get quite bothersome when you also want to be able to write japanese as well... imho.

of course it's up to the individual.
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