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starting serious study

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starting serious study

Postby Leeroy » Fri 03.25.2005 1:19 pm

Hi everyone!

I'm new to this forum. I'm wondering if anyone could offer any advice on a problem I have with studying Japanese.

I have been living in Japan for almost two years now. I came here with very little Japanese at all. Last year I decided to start studying Japanese more seriously. My girlfriend's mum here is a Japanese teacher and offered to do an exchange lesson once a week with me. We studied together almost every week but due to busy schedules and such, there were sometimes long breaks between our lessons. We've resumed regular lessons this year as I've decided to actually have a crack at JLPT.

I was recommended to take the 3 kyu test as I've been studying on and off for about a year now and there's still the best part of this year to go before the test in December. My gf's mum gave me the 3 kyu practice questions and grammar book by boshinsha in February. I've been struggling through it so far as almost all the grammar is new to me. I can't really study it by myself without a lot of explanation and work because it's all in Japanese and is nearly impossible for me to figure out from scratch when I'm studying at home. So far I've done well in the listening exercises, but due to the fact that I have to study alone most of the time, it's very hard to decipher just exactly what grammar is being explained. Not to mention slipping up on kanji often too! I've got 4 kyu level kanji down to a tee though.

I've only just started so I know it's going to be hard but because I'm usually studying by myself, the initial barriers seem huge. I've just spent an hour wrestling with kanji in "300 Kanji, Fun and Easy" and am exhausted despite only going through one exercise. Actually, I know a lot of the kanji in this book already but readings and the frequency of new vocabulary is really tough sometimes. I constantly find myself referring to my dictionaries and grammar books. As a result, my motivation and energy levels suffer. It just seems so damn hard when you have to keep flicking through the dictionary all the time.

So, I ask any of you how you overcame the initial barriers? I really want to improve my Japanese in a big way this year, but I feel so frustrated when I have a crack at my 3kyu level grammar and kanji books sometimes. I'd love to take more lessons but all the classes here are during my working hours ( I work from the afternoon til night at an eikaiwa school). I'd also love to have some Japanese friends to practice with but apart from my gf (speaks excellent English and we often fall back ito English when I try to use Japanese) I have no Japanese friends here to speak of. It's proven very difficult to get to know the locals here. Maybe due to my working hours and other reasons too.

Anyway, don't want to get into a rant. I'm sure there are others who have been in a similar predicament and mood as me. I'd appreciate any advice or words of encouragement. I don't quit things easily but I guess we all need some advice from time to time. I'd appreciate any right now.
Leeroy
 
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RE: starting serious study

Postby clay » Fri 03.25.2005 1:37 pm

Good news about kanji: the more advanced kanji have many fewer readings. Bad news is they are also more complex in formation. :D

I have started a 3 kyuu grammar section here:
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/grammar/list_grammar.php

I hope to have most 3 kyuu grammar words/phrases in there soon.

Clay
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RE: starting serious study

Postby KRed » Sat 03.26.2005 3:11 pm

When I had to live away from Kyoto for a while I tried to study randomly using a Grammar Dictionary the 1st time I studied for the level 3 test and failed for doing so. When I went back to Kyoto and started taking lessons with my old teacher he gave me a textbook to study with seperate lessons in each section, which certainly made the difference the second time around.

All the grammar for the level 4 and 3 tests is covered in "Minna no nihongo 2" that`s what I found useful, there are probably other textbooks you can use but you need a Japanese person to check how much level 3 grammar they cover. Don`t try and study everything at once it will just get you in a muddle. Find a textbook which covers all the grammar, see how long you have until the test, study a certain number of lessons a week, and leave yourself about 1 or 2 months before the test to just do reviews and past papers.
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