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Learning Speed

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Learning Speed

Postby NeoUmbra » Fri 01.18.2008 12:36 pm

I am just starting Japanese, i have the hiragana, katakana and numbers 1 - 99 all learnt (and very basic grammer) but i feel as though i am not learning my vocab very fast. I am only learn 1 -4ish words a day right at the start of vocab. I am talking about the easy ones like おはよう and さようなら.

Is this normal or should i push for more?
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RE: Learning Speed

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 01.18.2008 2:38 pm

How are you learning these words? Do you have a textbook?

If you are just learning English definitions and no usages of the words, or if you have "learned" a lot of words but have no functional ability using them, you're going to fast because you're just skimming the surface. It's not about the number of words you are learning, but what you're learning to do with the language.
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RE: Learning Speed

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 01.18.2008 3:39 pm

also keep in mind that some people learn quickly and others don't. some can shove their head so full of crap it isn't funny and others are not quite able to do that.

comparisons are so hard to do as it all depends on indivdual ability, environment, talent, finances, and many other things.

but as a basis, to start of on the correct foot, Chris is correct. don't just memorize a word for the sake of memorizing it. memorize it while learning grammar principles and then slowly you can learn to plug in new words for that grammar principle. etc.. soon enough you will be chatting away and won't look back.
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RE: Learning Speed

Postby NeoUmbra » Fri 01.18.2008 11:35 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
How are you learning these words? Do you have a textbook?

If you are just learning English definitions and no usages of the words, or if you have "learned" a lot of words but have no functional ability using them, you're going to fast because you're just skimming the surface. It's not about the number of words you are learning, but what you're learning to do with the language.


Yes i have a text book. "A first course in Japanese, 2007 edition".

Are you saying i should starting learning sentences over words?

This book goes through the vocab of that section then explains the vocab and how it can be used. Then lastly dialogs.


Also i feel as though i NEED to learn all the vocab on that page before moving on which could be slowing me down?
Last edited by NeoUmbra on Fri 01.18.2008 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Learning Speed

Postby NZJutsu » Sat 01.19.2008 2:02 am

NeoUmbra wrote:
Are you saying i should starting learning sentences over words?


I think what they are trying to say is, it's all well and good if you learn words, but you should learn how to use them in the correct way as well, hence you should learn the grammar simultaneously. So you shouldn't necessarily learn sentence or words, but rather how to implement what you learn in the correct way.

Also i feel as though i NEED to learn all the vocab on that page before moving on which could be slowing me down?


Not really -- I like to do that as well, but I don't think learning a language should be judged on how fast you learn, but how well you learn it. So don't worry if you are slow. If someone learns faster than you, but you have a better grasp on the language, then that's obviously better, isn't it? ;)
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RE: Learning Speed

Postby NeoUmbra » Sat 01.19.2008 2:37 am

Ah i see, ive been learn just the basics of grammar as i work through this book so i can understand the dialog sections and the reading practice bits.

Anyway, thank for all your help everyone.
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RE: Learning Speed

Postby Ken Pro » Sat 01.19.2008 2:50 am

I agree with the above. I've been trying different methods and am having good success (so far) being introduced to new words as they are used in simple sentences. This goes for grammar as well. It seems to be even easier to remember in context, because there is intent, not just definitions, involved.
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RE: Learning Speed

Postby arbalest71 » Sat 01.19.2008 5:09 am

Depends a bit on your priorities. If you are planning to learn a language well, I wouldn't worry too much about your rate of vocabulary acquisition at the beginning. There are enough other things involved to keep you busy, and it is hard to get the basics later, particularly if you half-posteriored them early on. If you have to go to a country where few people speak English (I suppose there must be a few left) in the near future then vocab should be your priority. To paraphrase Freewheelin' Franklin, vocab will get you through times of no grammar better than grammar will get you through times of no vocab.

That said, at _some point_ you are going to have to step things up. Let's posit 10,000 words as the minimum you need to be truly conversational in Japanese. Do the math.
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RE: Learning Speed

Postby furrykef » Sat 01.19.2008 5:44 am

Let's posit 10,000 words as the minimum you need to be truly conversational in Japanese.


Too high, I think. I don't speak that many words of Spanish and I'm not all that far from "conversational" (other than my lack of listening/speaking practice), and I mean in real Spanish and not broken Spanish. Now, if we were talking about being native-like, that's another story...

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RE: Learning Speed

Postby arbalest71 » Sat 01.19.2008 5:54 am

furrykef wrote:
Let's posit 10,000 words as the minimum you need to be truly conversational in Japanese.


Too high, I think. I don't speak that many words of Spanish and I'm not all that far from "conversational" (other than my lack of listening/speaking practice), and I mean in real Spanish and not broken Spanish. Now, if we were talking about being native-like, that's another story...


Well, 'broken' is more about grammar and usage than about how many words you know. But, OK, posit 7,000, or 5,000. The math tells approximately the the same story.
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RE: Learning Speed

Postby everdream » Sat 01.19.2008 5:59 am

10 000 sounds about right to be able to converse in many subjects using most fitting vocab. considering Natives know at about least 80 000 words themselves.
We grow too soon old and too late smart. - Steve Wright

'Know thyself?' If I knew myself, I'd run away. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in fourteen days I had lost exactly two weeks.
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RE: Learning Speed

Postby furrykef » Sat 01.19.2008 7:43 am

everdream wrote:
considering Natives know at about least 80 000 words themselves.


I doubt it. My Webster's New World Dictionary claims to have "more than 72,000 entries"... I have an above-average (but certainly not huge) vocabulary and there's a ton of words in it that I don't know. This is an extremely rough estimate, but I think I might know (or at least be able to guess) maybe 80% of the words in it, which would put my vocabulary at some 57,000 words. But it's hard to really estimate such things without doing a scientific experiment. (I might end up doing one...) Of course, there are words that I know that aren't in it, but, realistically, that number is not very large.

With 10,000 words in a language, you should be well on your way to a native-like level, though you might still falter a bit in obscure subjects -- though your foundation should be strong enough that unfamiliar words should be easily explainable unless you're talking nuclear physics or something.

Of course, all this gets very complicated when you also consider how words often have multiple meanings. Even when two meanings are so similar that they fall under one definition, they may be represented with two completely distinct words in another language, with Japanese's aru/iru distinction being a prime example. So the meaning of a vocabulary size of X is very fuzzy anyway, but I do think 80,000 for an average native speaker is stretching it.

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Last edited by furrykef on Sat 01.19.2008 7:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Learning Speed

Postby everdream » Sat 01.19.2008 8:21 am

Hmm, I was confusing it with English it seems. (stupid thing to do, I know)
We grow too soon old and too late smart. - Steve Wright

'Know thyself?' If I knew myself, I'd run away. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in fourteen days I had lost exactly two weeks.
- Joe E. Lewis
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RE: Learning Speed

Postby furrykef » Sat 01.19.2008 7:03 pm

Hmm? I'd estimate that the number of words a native English speaker knows and the number of words a native Japanese speaker knows would be roughly the same. After all, I used an English dictionary for my numbers.

Now, one language may well have more or less words than the other in total, but I don't think that would affect how many an average speaker knows. Of course, there's also the fact that Japanese is agglutinative and English is not, but I don't think that really makes that big a difference as far as dictionaries are concerned.

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RE: Learning Speed

Postby everdream » Sat 01.19.2008 7:12 pm

^ Well, the average Native English speaking adult knows between 40 000 and 120 000 words.
At least from what my English teacher has told me.
Last edited by everdream on Sat 01.19.2008 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
We grow too soon old and too late smart. - Steve Wright

'Know thyself?' If I knew myself, I'd run away. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I went on a diet, swore off drinking and heavy eating, and in fourteen days I had lost exactly two weeks.
- Joe E. Lewis
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