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Need help with list. compr.

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

Need help with list. compr.

Postby Spaztick » Sun 05.29.2005 6:38 pm

I think I'm doing decent with my reading and writing skills, but what I'm lacking is listening and speaking comprehension. I can read Japanese ok (I can't zip through it like English just yet but almost), but when I hear Japanese it sounds like a jumble of sounds, and I'm sure my gaijin accent is terrible. :)

So, any advice on what listening comprehension I should buy?
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RE: Need help with list. compr.

Postby InsanityRanch » Sun 05.29.2005 7:26 pm

Good question! <g>

I have much the same problem but... it IS getting better. Just slowly.

I have found that reading helps with vocabulary acquisition, which is the main problem. Until recently, I just didn't recognize enough words to pick out even the basics of a flow of conversation. But now that I can read I find that a lot of holes are filling in. Not that I necessarily can THINK of the word when I need to produce it, but my passive recognition in spoken and written form is improving noticeably. I do note words down if I think I might want to use them and periodically review that list, but I am no longer making flashcards.

Generally, I get to have about 1/2 hour of free-flowing conversation with my teacher each week -- by which I mean that the subject matter varies from what happened this week to each of us to differences between the two cultures to philosophy, education, etc. And I follow most of it. Of course, she does have some idea of the limitations of my vocabulary and is quick to pick up when I don't catch a word...and usually can supply me with a synonym in Japanese rather than having to resort to English. (I love this!)

I also now understand about 80% of the Japanese I hear in animes, movies, etc... unfortunately, what I DON'T understand is invariably the most important stuff. I mean, a lot of stuff in drama of whatever form is sort of standard, but the plot is often advanced by the more difficult bits and that is what I miss... so I am definitely NOT beyond the need for subtitles, sadly!

The only suggestion I can offer is to find a conversational partner and actually schedule talking time. As much as possible. Which isn't so easy if you live outside Japan, since Japanese visitors usually want to practice their English... so a bit of trading is usually in order. I know, not a particularly original suggestion!

Oh, and keep reading. I know that the basics of Japanese have sunk in through reading much more thoroughly than they would have if I'd restricted myself to grammar study. I get a lot fewer corrections from my teacher about passive verbs, 'te-iru formations and the like since I've been reading easily and regularly. And collocutions also seem to fall into place without my effort because I see them used correctly often enough to make a difference.

That said, spoken Japanese is not quite the same as written. This is one of the things I listen for in movies and such, to see how patterns vary in speech vs. writing. Oh, and I recently found a kind of good book called _Beyond Polite Japanese_. It's a vocabulary of slang, of which there are far too many. But its good point is the extensive reibun, which I try to mine not only for vocabulary but even more for form...

I hope some of this is helpful. I have simply resigned myself to the fact that as long as I cannot visit Japan, spoken comprehension and production are simply going to lag behind written skills. Sad but true.

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RE: Need help with list. compr.

Postby Wolfie » Sun 05.29.2005 7:39 pm

Ah, if you are a fan of anime, fansubs will be godsend. They helped me in being able to pick out words from regular speakers, as well as pronounciation. Another thing to do is to listen to japanese music while reading the Romanji lyrics. Though, I wouldn't choose a band where it is hard to hear them. I suggest Chihiro Onitsuka and Shiina Ringo. They don't sing that fast and it is very easy to hear them.

Also, talk to yourself in japanese. =P It's odd, but hey, it helps.

I hope I helped. ^^
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RE: Need help with list. compr.

Postby Qbe » Sun 05.29.2005 9:25 pm

I'll second the advice on finding a conversation partner. Check out this thread for one possibility.
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RE: Need help with list. compr.

Postby Mukade » Mon 05.30.2005 1:17 am

If you don't have access to a conversation partner, you can listen to Japanese music or watch Japanese movies. Rent movies on DVD and shut off the subtitles so you can force yourself to pay attention to the sounds. It may be tempting to turn on the subtitles, but then you'll be splitting your attention between two different skill sets - vocab acquisition and listening comprehension. Focus on one skill at a time!

If your reading is okay then you should search the internet for radio stations that broadcast in Japanese. A couple places I found with a quick, simple websearch:
http://www.nhk.or.jp/rj/index_e.html
http://www.jam-st.ne.jp/

There's many more where these came from, all at Yahoo! Japan.
http://dir.yahoo.co.jp/news/internet_broadcasts/radio/

Focusing on talk shows will probably be more productive than news or music. And remember that even if you don't understand everything that's being said, you'll be 1) exposing yourself to the sound of natural, spoken Japanese and 2) practicing your ear's ability to tune-in to non-English sounds.
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RE: Need help with list. compr.

Postby Spaztick » Mon 05.30.2005 11:04 am

ありがとうみんなさん!
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