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Japanese in 4 years

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Japanese in 4 years

Postby sick_puppy882 » Mon 09.12.2005 11:25 am

After two years of HS I'm planing to go to university to study Japanese.
(NOTE: I'm a complete beginner, never seriously studied Japanese in my life, I only know the two alphabets and some little of kanji as a product of self-studying).

I'm very sceptical about the whole situation as I'm not sure whether my reading, writing, speaking and listening skills will be any good after only four years of studying.

Basically, what I'm asking is:
Will I be able to speak Japanese to a good level? what kind of stuff will I be able to read? A Japanese newspaper? or is that too much? Is there any chance for me to understand an actual Japanese conversation? What kind of Japanese language related job I could possibly do?

I guess I'm asking for some experience, advice, opinioun ... I'm aware that the questions are subjective but in most of cases, is a 4 year studying enough? Is it worth it?

I wouldn't want to end the programe and realize I've trown 4 years of my life away because my knowledge of the language is no good for a decent job.
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RE: Japanese in 4 years

Postby Spaztick » Mon 09.12.2005 12:13 pm

Yes, 4 years should be good, but only when the following applies:

1) You are not taking a high school class for it.
2) You are either self studying or taking it in college, in which you will end up self-studying anyway.

You should be able to become fluent in Japanese in less than 4 years, provided that you keep learning it, which should help you with everything but the accent. The accent and listening comprehension you can fix by finding someone fluent in Japanese to speak with. Good luck if you choose to begin!
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RE: Japanese in 4 years

Postby Harisenbon » Mon 09.12.2005 7:42 pm

I disagree. 4 years studying Japanese at a college, even supplemented by self study, will not make you fluent. A number of my foreign friends wereJapanese majors in college, and are still only barely at a 2-kyuu level. Having never lived in Japan, their speaking is also particularily slow.

I don't want to dissuade you. In 4 years, you will have a great foundation of the language, and be able to go from then on with your own studies as well. However, I don't want you to think that in 4 years you will be at fluent (1-kyuu) level.

A translator friend I know told me this story from his own life:

When he started college, he majored in Japanese at the same time that his friend started majoring in German. In 4 years, his friend was giving talks to visiting professors about environmental research in German. He was reading childrens books. This is a man who has a real knack for languages, has studied Japanese for 11 years, lived in Japan for 5, and been married to a Japanese woman for 7. He is the first to admit that his Japanese is not great, and he hasn't yet passed the 1-kyuu test.

Like I said before, Japanese is a great language. It is interesting, deep, and a great challenge. But don't think that like most European langauges, that you will be fluent in 4 years.

Good luck!
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RE: Japanese in 4 years

Postby Kates » Mon 09.12.2005 8:24 pm

I agree with Hari-san. Mostly because *I* have studied Japanese for four years, earning a minor at a university and studying abroad for a summer, and *I* am not fluent. ^^; But yes, I believe I have a decent grasp on Japanese and can get by in Japan. What is going to help you most is actually LIVING there and USING Japanese with real Japanese people. ^_^

With some hard work and a lot of love for Japanese, sick_puppy, you could become fluent in a few years... but what would be most helpful is actually living there.

Yes, yes, good luck!! ^_^
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RE: Japanese in 4 years

Postby raevin » Mon 09.12.2005 9:36 pm

I disagree with everyone...because there's no set # of years, months, days, etc...on how long it takes to learn...it depends on who the person is, how much effort they put into it, and how well they succeed in the education.
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RE: Japanese in 4 years

Postby appleraja » Mon 09.12.2005 9:45 pm

i would like to belive with raevin that it depends on the person,my guess is if u live in japan for say 2-3 yrs u will probably learn the langauge of understanding and maybe speaking decent, but probabbly not fluet in reading kanji and stuff, like a baby, u learn to speak before read, it seems the best way to learn japanese
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RE: Japanese in 4 years

Postby magic » Mon 09.12.2005 11:03 pm

I'd like to thank u all for the encouragement :-S... I was really enthusiastic about the idea of studying japanese while i'm studying for two universities (english literature and marketing) working for nine hours a day.... i really want to get a masters degree in marketing from a japanese university and live in japan... that'd be the dream of my life...
I don't care about what anyone else thinks. I'll start on my own and I will succeed
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RE: Japanese in 4 years

Postby raevin » Mon 09.12.2005 11:07 pm

magic wrote:
I'd like to thank u all for the encouragement :-S... I was really enthusiastic about the idea of studying japanese while i'm studying for two universities (english literature and marketing) working for nine hours a day.... i really want to get a masters degree in marketing from a japanese university and live in japan... that'd be the dream of my life...
I don't care about what anyone else thinks. I'll start on my own and I will succeed

Hey, more power to you...and to pull of any foreign language learning w/ that schedule...10 points for you!

Good luck!
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RE: Japanese in 4 years

Postby Justin » Mon 09.12.2005 11:10 pm

I would have to agree that you can't really put a time frame on learning something like Japanese. Every single person out there is completely different when it comes to learning, some don't try all that hard and do well, then on the other hand you've got those who try incredibly hard, but unfortunately don't get anywhere.

With that said, is four years of Japanese study at an American(?) university sufficient to get a Japanese related job? That's really hard to say, personally though, I would almost have to say no. If you only plan on studying Japanese when you head off to college, there's ummm...not a whole lot of jobs you can really do, well, other than translating that is. You've really got to have another skill set along with Japanese if truly want to find a Japanese related job.

If you're serious about learning Japanese, by all means get to Japan and do as much studying there you can. See if your college as an abroad program, and try to get into that, as from my personal experience, the two years worth of courses I took at college, all got covered in about six months at the language school I went to in Japan. Not to say the course I took back home were just a cake walk or anything, it’s just that being taught Japanese by having someone use strictly Japanese, then to be surrounded by Japanese 24/7, you’ll be learning faster than you ever could back home.
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RE: Japanese in 4 years

Postby Fred Watanabe » Tue 09.13.2005 12:29 am

Justin wrote:
If you're serious about learning Japanese, by all means get to Japan and do as much studying there you can. .


Someone pointed out that the best way to learn Japanese is to go to Japan, become immersed in the language and culture, and either sink or swim. Great idea...if you can do it. These tips are for the rest of us

LOL....i've always found this line to be very funny and ironic

anyway here are some tips for learning Japanese for those who want to learn the language outside of Japan.

http://www.joewright.org/writings/learnj.html

My opinion is like the guy above, you don't have to be in Japan to know the language although it would help. But it all depends on the individual and how dedicated they are to learning to grasp a certain language.

Different strokes, some people have been in Japan for many years and still don't have a clue and others have been there for less than a year and they speak fluently so it always comes down to the individual. My advice to you is to go for it. You can do it in 4 years.
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RE: Japanese in 4 years

Postby Justin » Tue 09.13.2005 3:29 am

Fred Watanabe wrote:
My opinion is like the guy above, you don't have to be in Japan to know the language although it would help. But it all depends on the individual and how dedicated they are to learning to grasp a certain language.

I defiantly agree to extent there, that you can have a fairly good understanding of the language without actually spending much time in said country. It's just that when it comes to actually finding a job in which you need to have business level Japanese, to me, it becomes a bit of a different story.

Not saying it can't be done the other way or anything, it's just that I think you'll have an easier time finding work if you've actually lived in Japan, have experienced what's what, maybe made some connections that could help you find a job, and know for sure if you're really even going to like this whole Japanese thing. It's a completely different style of life style, and to me it might be a good thing to experience a bit if you can before you commit yourself 100%.

All of that is of course if you could get in on some type of study abroad type program, and you’re actually looking about maybe living in Japan someday. If that’s the case though, I really think you should try to check things out for yourself, and see if it’s something you’ll actually like or not.
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RE: Japanese in 4 years

Postby sick_puppy882 » Tue 09.13.2005 9:26 am

Thank you very much for all the replies.

I know that some people learn faster and get fluent quicker than others but I guess I needed some basic idea of what a 4 year university programe can really offer you before getting into that.

Now, my intentions are not to work in Japan and have the best knowledge of Japanese in the world, that would be unrealistic. However, to find a pretty good job (preferibly as a translation) in my country would be ideal.
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