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Learning Japanese in Japan.

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RE: Learning Japanese in Japan.

Postby Gundaetiapo » Mon 10.01.2007 9:43 am

It is my opinion that scripts should be used as little as possible in listening exercises.


Using scripts is helpful to me so far, at my entry level of listening comprehension. What did you do when you started?
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RE: Learning Japanese in Japan.

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 10.01.2007 5:56 pm

It depends on how the script is being used. If the script is provided because the content of the listening exercise is so far above the student's level of listening proficiency that he has no chance to understand it without the script, that's bad. If you find scripts absolutely necessary for you to make any sense of a listening exercise, I would say that's symptomatic of either picking listening exercises that are too difficult, or just not practicing listening enough.

You have to remember that having a script is a fundamentally inauthentic and unrealistic thing -- there are almost no real-world situations in which you will be listening to something for which you have a written script beforehand. So practicing solely with scripts will not really build your listening proficiency that well.

(I'm a little suspicious of the idea of "listening exercises" as a whole, though. Listening cannot really be separated from speaking in the real world, so as much as possible a class should try to combine both. Although listening exercises can still be used.)
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RE: Learning Japanese in Japan.

Postby hungryhotei » Mon 10.01.2007 6:24 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
Listening cannot really be separated from speaking in the real world,


What about TV, radio, train announcements, lectures, movies, tour guides etc? These are all situations that require listening comprehension but not speaking ability. Why would an exercise in understanding a TV/radio news broadcast need a speaking component other than in a supplementary component?
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RE: Learning Japanese in Japan.

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 10.01.2007 7:30 pm

That wasn't what I meant to write, sorry. I meant to write that it's more common to include speaking but maybe it depends on your level and what you're actually doing. I think I was focusing my thoughts mostly on the "listening exercises" you sometimes see that involve listening to conversations.
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RE: Learning Japanese in Japan.

Postby Gundaetiapo » Mon 10.01.2007 8:34 pm

It depends on how the script is being used. If the script is provided because the content of the listening exercise is so far above the student's level of listening proficiency that he has no chance to understand it without the script, that's bad. If you find scripts absolutely necessary for you to make any sense of a listening exercise, I would say that's symptomatic of either picking listening exercises that are too difficult, or just not practicing listening enough.


In my case, the latter, though I'm giving more attention now to listening comprehension. Not using a script seems like a confusion between studying and testing to me. I don't learn as well from all testing and no studying.
Last edited by Gundaetiapo on Mon 10.01.2007 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Learning Japanese in Japan.

Postby dmizer » Mon 10.01.2007 9:27 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Absolutely. I would never recommend any program that honestly believed that listening exercises were unnecessary because the people were living in Japan. I still see no difference between that, and "Why do reading exercises? Just pick up a newspaper or a novel; they're all over the place." If the exercises are unnatural or overuse written material, that's a problem. But even an advanced student living in Japan can benefit from a structured listening exercise.

(Also, this is not an either/or situation; if you do structured listening exercises, you can also listen in real life as well.)


No, it is not my intention to suggest that listening exercises are unnecessary. In fact, I believe they're crucial.

My point is that I believe that (past a certain level of competency) if real life situations are immediately available, that real life situations are preferable to a tape where listening comprehension is concerned. Doubly so, if the tape is a result of actors following a script.

And yes, I also believe that crosses over into using news papers and other printed material as a source of reading comprehension. In fact, its quite a common practice at most of the schools and foreign ambassador sponsored language groups here to use newspapers as a kanji study tool as well as a reading comprehension exercise.

Gundaetiapo wrote:What did you do when you started?

My studies started in a foreign ambassador program once I arrived in Japan. I sat at a large table with a tutor and did intensive vocabulary, kanji, kana, and grammar exercises. There were lots of students and lots of tutors. Past a certain point of competency we all just practiced conversational exercises (introducing each other, ordering food, getting the right train ticket, telling the taxi driver how to get to our house ... etc).

Now keep in mind, this was a volunteer based, free to the public group, but they did not make use of any taped exercises. However, we did go out and sit in public places to improve our listening comprehension. As an example, at one point I was having trouble understanding the clerks at the take-out places. My tutor and I went to a Mos Burger and just sat there and listened to the interchange between the clerk and the customer. After every conversation, my tutor quizzed me. That has to have been the single best listening exercise I've ever encountered.

Later, when I started studying at GenkiJACS, I found that the GenkiJACS taped and scripted listening exercises were actually detrimental to my listening comprehension.

Also, I work in a Japanese office with only Japanese co-workers. I was/am totally immersed in Japanese. I have to listen, write, and speak it just to get by on a daily basis. I rarely hear spoken English in my daily life anymore, and as a result my listening comprehension is probably my biggest strength.

My English on the other hand ...
Last edited by dmizer on Mon 10.01.2007 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Learning Japanese in Japan.

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 10.02.2007 1:13 pm

I think that individually tailored lessons like your experience at Mos Burger are beyond the capabilities of the vast majority of language learning programs, including ones in Japan.
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RE: Clarification from GenkiJACS

Postby evankirby » Mon 11.12.2007 2:15 am

Hi, this is Evan, the director of GenkiJACS. Thank you to the two people recommending us earlier in the thread! We're always happy to hear of satisfied students. I wanted to clear up a couple of possible misconceptions, though:
dmizer said:
I studied for a year and a half at GenkiJACS, and it was instrumental in my learning. They wrote their own textbook which is used all over the world for teaching Japanese: http://www.tiny.cc/dLtAg [amazon.com]


While we do indeed use the Genki textbooks, we didn't write them! The similar names is just a happy coincidence. As the Amazon.com page shows, they are published by Japan Times. We've found them to be the best comprehensive textbook and materials set for lower-level learners.

Additionally, as someone else in the thread mentioned, we are basically a short-term intensive study school. I assume dmizer studied with us as a local student (i.e., once or twice a week, while living in Fukuoka), as even our longest-studying intensive (i.e. 20+ hours per week) students stay for a maximum of about 6 months. If you're looking for true long-term intensive study (1 or 2 years), the first place to look for comprehensive school information is the [url=murasakishikibu.co.jp/jls/]Japanese Language School Guide provided by the Murasaki Shikibu Company[/url].

Hope this information helps!
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RE: Learning Japanese in Japan.

Postby sugoiaisukurimu » Fri 12.21.2007 2:38 am

I agree with those who said that it would go over your head if you don't know enough Japanese.

I think it would be a good idea to study Japanese on your own (watch Japanese movies, read books in Japanese, listen to Japanese music and radio talk shows) it's easy as looking up Youtube on the internet and it costs nothing. I think it would be more rewarding to learn Japanese fluently with the resources you have available (limitless. You can even chat with native speakers online if you want) and then go see Japan on your own or with a friend. It's less expensive and you get to see the real Japan the entire time, not wasting time inside a classroom. If you immerse yourself with the resources you have here, it may be more beneficial and you may actually learn Japanese faster if you can focus on areas at a time. If you are into immersion, I strongly suggest you read this blog: http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/bl ... rview-page
(I hope this isn't against the rules to post) It's all about immersion at home, and it only took him 18 months to learn Japanese fluently. That's pretty fast. And I bet it rivals the real Japanese immersion experience, if not surpasses it.
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RE: Learning Japanese in Japan.

Postby Feba » Sat 12.22.2007 2:01 pm

Thanks for the honest opinions, Evan! The link would also be very helpful if I hadn't discovered it myself a short while ago.

And Sugo, going to Japan without going to a school is not an option, and would probably be a giant waste of time and money for me, for reasons mentioned earlier in the thread.
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