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Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

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Re: Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

Postby becki_kanou » Thu 10.23.2008 10:22 am

Small world. What year was your brother? I might know him!
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Re: Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 10.23.2008 1:21 pm

becki_kanou wrote:Small world. What year was your brother? I might know him!


He was there from 2002-2006, I believe. His major was computer science.
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Re: Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

Postby furrykef » Thu 10.23.2008 6:53 pm

JaySee wrote:But speaking is very different from reading and writing, because for the latter two you can usually take as much time as you want, while (as Yudan said) for speaking you need to be able to instantly create responses in your head without having to think about it.


This is true, and speaking/listening are my one major weakness with the Spanish language. I still cannot watch TV in Spanish without closed captioning (the closed captioning is, naturally, also in Spanish), although I find that if I have closed captioning on, I can usually understand the audio as I read along. I guess the problem is not with hearing the words but rather hearing the spaces between them, so to speak, and the written words tell my brain where they are.

Still, even this can be practiced with a computer. Many people use the 'shadowing' technique (reading along with a native speaker) to improve their accent, and you can use services such as Skype to talk to native speakers online to practice your conversational skills.

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Re: Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

Postby nukemarine » Fri 10.24.2008 1:23 pm

I've only had negative experiences with language classes. Before the internet, I can see that language classes helped fill a void, but now that void doesn't exist.

Grammar - Quite a few books on the matter, but you have a free resource at www.guidetojapanese.org (Tae Kim's site). Heck, even TJP has free resources.

Vocabulary - Over time you'll want to build words. Sure, college text books give you vocabulary, but why not use a free resource that teaches and reviews - www.iknow.co.jp

Review - As Yudan mentioned, it's not so much learning as remembering. You have expensive items (pre-made flash cards), but why not use a free resource like Anki (ichi2.net/Anki)

Listening - perhaps the most important skill you'll never train. Before, you're limited to the insanely slow group talking (early classes). Now, you have torrents and dvds (via Amazon) of almost anything Japan has produced. Get lots of movies and TV shows and music and LISTEN to them. Don't worry about understanding it, just listen to it.

Talking - if you feel this burning to desire to talk, probably at a time you still wouldn't understand the answer, use the free resource called Skype and talk to native Japanese. As warned above, you're not likely to have your mistakes corrected.

Reading - As Furrykey mentions, he understands Spanish shows better with the Closed Captioning on. Similarly, I can follow Japanese shows better with closed captioning (Japanese) turned on. Now, unless you learned Kanji (maybe the Onyomi too), Japanese Closed Captioning won't do you a lick of good. Plus, Japan is a hyper literate culture. So, use yet another free resource kanji.koohii.com to get Kanji under control and learning reading, writing and rithmetic ... uh, I mean listening and speaking.

If you need the class as the "motivation" for learning Japanese, you need to rethink your priorities. Japanese is not a grade, not JLPT, not a book. That said, if a class is what is needed for that initial hurdle, go for it. I experienced how useless they were for my needs. Granted, I wasn't using a university (well, it was University of Maryland, but it's splitting hairs as it was an annex). Just heed the warnings above that even with 3 or 4 years of classes, you can find yourself stammering when you're tossed to the wolves (well, native speakers).
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Re: Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 10.24.2008 1:54 pm

Before, you're limited to the insanely slow group talking (early classes).


Don't make the mistake of judging all classes by bad examples. Going by that logic, you should not use any Internet resources because bad ones exist. You shouldn't use any textbooks, because there are bad textbooks. You shouldn't visit language message boards like this one because some of them are bad and you get wrong answers.

If you need the class as the "motivation" for learning Japanese, you need to rethink your priorities.


If that were true, I would have never learned the language.
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Re: Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

Postby nukemarine » Sat 10.25.2008 12:18 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
Before, you're limited to the insanely slow group talking (early classes).


Don't make the mistake of judging all classes by bad examples. Going by that logic, you should not use any Internet resources because bad ones exist. You shouldn't use any textbooks, because there are bad textbooks. You shouldn't visit language message boards like this one because some of them are bad and you get wrong answers.

If you need the class as the "motivation" for learning Japanese, you need to rethink your priorities.


If that were true, I would have never learned the language.


However, I don't pay 75 or 200 or 500 dollars for an internet site. I can "preview" many books before I buy them. With a Japanese class, if it bites, it's a big drain on your time. Now, are good Japanese classes the rule or the exception? More to the point, what are the qualifications for "good". Plus, with the early classes (which I pointed out in the parenthesis), you're going to have classes with people that don't want to be there. That brings the spirit of the class down. It makes the problem of do you teach to the lowest common denominator. So many early classes, where you learn just as much as you can on your own with the above free resources, can be a worse experience. I don't know about later classes, so guys like you (Yudan) are better prepped to answer for that.

Now as to motivation, you wanted to learn Japanese to take the classes? Now if it's taking the classes to expedite learning Japanese, that's different. With the former, outside of class related actions (homework, studying), what is your motivation for getting Japanese into your life? You have Anime, Dramas, Manga, Music, News, Newspapers, Book,s Websites, Culture, etc that all deal with Japanese in one form or another. Any of that entering your life outside the classroom related time?

It just seems with all that's available either cheap or for free, you're going to have to provide a darn good example of an outstanding Japanese class that not the one you're teaching. At least at the early levels, one can achieve more given the they have the internal drive to gather what's needed and put in the time. If the motivation is lacking, even the class is a crap shoot as to if you'll continue actually getting fluent.
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Re: Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

Postby becki_kanou » Sat 10.25.2008 4:44 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
becki_kanou wrote:Small world. What year was your brother? I might know him!


He was there from 2002-2006, I believe. His major was computer science.


I graduated in 2000, so I guess not. :?
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Re: Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

Postby Harisenbon » Tue 10.28.2008 5:01 am

nukemarine wrote:It just seems with all that's available either cheap or for free, you're going to have to provide a darn good example of an outstanding Japanese class that not the one you're teaching.


I have had many amazing Japanese classes throughout my Japanese career.
I've had a lot of crappy ones too.

I am pretty much in agreement with what Chris is saying throughout this thread. Classes are indispensable as a learning tool, as they provide structure, feedback, questions (through other students) and can aid in motivation.

The internet has a lot of those things too, but the pure mass of information available to the beginner makes it much more difficult to weed out the chaff. And I still have not found a Japanese Site that can compare to a good textbook. (For study, not for reference -- which I assert are two different things).

Of all the people I know, I have met only one person who has achieved even basic abilities in Japanese on her own, without any classes. And even that person used dedicated textbooks instead of the internet. And even she eventually hit a wall where she realized that she needed a structured classroom setting and enlisted in some classes.
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Re: Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

Postby Infidel » Tue 10.28.2008 5:23 pm

The internet has a lot of those things too, but the pure mass of information available to the beginner makes it much more difficult to weed out the chaff. And I still have not found a Japanese Site that can compare to a good textbook. (For study, not for reference -- which I assert are two different things).


yesjapan.com?
なるほど。
さっぱりわからん。
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Re: Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

Postby Harisenbon » Tue 10.28.2008 9:30 pm

Infidel wrote:yesjapan.com?


Never used it, but it's pay-based, which goes against what nukemarine was saying. Namely, why pay for textbooks/classes when all that information is available free on the net.

is yesjapan.com any good?
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Re: Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

Postby ronaldo » Fri 11.07.2008 7:25 am

i would be doing this from next year, is anyone having any info about good institutions offering this in england
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Re: Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

Postby ニッキー » Fri 11.07.2008 8:01 am

ronaldo wrote:i would be doing this from next year, is anyone having any info about good institutions offering this in england


What exactly are you asking for? Good universities for doing a degree in Japanese? If so, with another subject or not? There are only a few universities in the UK offering a straight Japanese degree: Oxford, Cambridge, SOAS, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester. They're all supposed to be good.
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Re: Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

Postby leonl » Mon 11.10.2008 3:21 pm

This summer I took two beginner Japanese classes in an intensive format, four days a week 3.5 hours a day for eight weeks (JPN 101, JPN 102) We got up to chapter 3 in Yookoso But we didn't cover any kanji whatsoever. I recently talked with a student who is taking the 101 class right now and she says they still haven't started kanji even though they are 7 weeks into the quarter and towards the middle of chapter two, which is odd because there are twenty kanji in you're supposed to have learned by the end of chapter one.

I recently talked to the teacher about auditing the 102 class next quarter to prepare for 103, which in turn would prepare me for a second year summer intensive offered at the University of Washington. I asked her specifically are the any kanji I should know or review and she said " there are some at the end of chapter but you don't need to know how to write them just recognize a few of them. I say all this to say that this has been my experience with Japanese classes in general ever since middle school , no real focus on kanji and an over emphasis on speaking. According to the class description for 102 we are only going to learn about 30 kanji, which is why I'm going to be self studying for awhile.

tl/dr version. college and high school classes that I have taken focus too much on speaking and neglect kanji even well after hiragana and katakana have been mastered. We were never even tested on the kanji the book introduced.

P.S. Sorry to interrupt yet another thrilling debate on the merits of traditional textbook learning vs. the more unconventnial methods(i.e Heisig, sentence mining using grammar books and all that stuff). Coming from someone who is studying to be a teacher(me) not a Japanese one but a teacher none the less, these methods to me sound prone to fail. Simply because you will experience initial success with them but the lack of structure and feedback as well as knowing the proper context to use things in will eventually hit you like a wall of bricks.
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Re: Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

Postby Infidel » Mon 11.10.2008 4:31 pm

Harisenbon wrote:
Infidel wrote:yesjapan.com?


Never used it, but it's pay-based, which goes against what nukemarine was saying. Namely, why pay for textbooks/classes when all that information is available free on the net.

is yesjapan.com any good?


I've been impressed with everything I've seen.
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Re: Has anyone here studied Japanese at university?

Postby cocosushi » Fri 02.06.2009 10:08 am

Chikiya wrote:What were your experiences of it and was it worthwhile? I'm applying this year!


Yep, I'm currently studying at japanese and at a university in Japan. It's is very tough but if you really want to improve remember every grammar you used! If you need help PM me :P
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