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Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?

RE: elementary readings needed

Postby stannoone » Sat 02.16.2008 9:48 am

Konnichiwa! :)

I am a first-year student at a university in Hungary. My major is Japanese. :)

To improve my skills in reading, writing and vocabulary, I have been searching for some free on-line Japanese reading practice at elementary level for a long time. Unfortunately, I have not managed to found anything so far.. :(

I would like to ask You to be so kind to send me some links in case if You know any webpages offering basic readings (short stories, articles, tales etc.) in kana and kanji with furigana. :)

Thank You a lot in advance. :)

Regards,
p. be疸a
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Wakannai » Sat 02.16.2008 4:37 pm

Cratz wrote:
My problem with learning purely in context (i.e., picking up words from reading novels or newspapers) is that the approach lacks structure.

I've always had the goal of being equal (or even better than) your average Japanese when it comes to literacy. But by studying only those words I stumble across when reading Japanese texts, I'm left with a great many words (and kanji) that don't get touched upon. Just because they don't appear in newspapers or mass market novels doesn't mean it isn't worth learning (in my view).

This is why I've always preferred an approach that is more structured.

So I guess my question for those of you who are proponents of context learning - what do yo do to be sure that you are learning kanji/vocabulary systematically enough?


Based on your goals, I suggest Vocabulary builders written for Japanese. In other words, the Japanese equivilant to "Word Power" and other such books.

That way you have your systematic approach you covet; you have a list of words that will put a little ahead of the average Japanese person, but are still pertinant; exercises to test what you learned; and you get context too, since good vocabulary builder books usually not only have example sentences, but often example paragraphs as well.

All this assumes you are at the point where you would benefit from such. People with goals such as yours often forget they need to learn to walk before they can run.
Last edited by Wakannai on Sat 02.16.2008 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby arbalest71 » Wed 02.20.2008 2:03 am

[quote]Cratz wrote:

Well, I've always been an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction both. I studied literature in undergraduate school and philosophy/literature in graduate school. The end result is that I know a whole lot of 10-cent words and terms only useful in trivia contests. I'm cognizant of the fact that this may color my view of what vocabulary I should know in Japanese.

[quote]Cratz wrote:

That's a worthy goal. And it's realistic, or at least sort of realistic. You will never speak Japanese like a native speaker. But you could easily be more "literate" in Japanese than most Japanese are if you mean by that: size of vocabulary, and number of kanji you can read.

I'll stick by what I said- beyond a certain point you will have to pick up vocabulary from works in Japanese. There just isn't a course in English called "increase your Japanese vocabulary to 100,000 words in 60 days." And, for that matter, that size vocabulary implies a lot of technical terms. My vocab in English is.. well, I don't know how many words I know, but... the reason that it is larger than normal is that I have a large vocabulary in more than one technical field.

No one makes vocabularies that cover the really obscure stuff. Once you have the first 10,000 or so words you need to get the rest in the target language. So get some hard books and a multi-volume dictionary.
Last edited by arbalest71 on Wed 02.20.2008 3:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RE: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby furrykef » Thu 02.28.2008 7:58 pm

You will never speak Japanese like a native speaker.


It certainly can be done. Of course, it'll take more effort than most people, including those who reach fluency, would be willing to put in. But it can be done.
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Re: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 02.28.2008 9:39 pm

Realistically, it cannot be done. You can get very good, and some people can reach an excellent level, but you will never be as good as a native speaker. Even people like Nabokov who wrote literature in English were still not perfect in speaking it.
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Re: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby nukemarine » Fri 02.29.2008 2:33 pm

Where's this linguistic Star Chamber that decides when you qualify as sounding like a native? What's this gold standard by which you qualify as a native speaker in ability?

That said, I guess you could have a method similar to determining Artificial Intelligence. Ten "native" people hear a thirty to sixty second sound clip of a speaker and all determine if the speaker is "native". Majority rules. Not sure what the mix of "native" to "non-native" samples should be.

Actually, has there been a study on this concept of native level speaking ability?
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Re: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 02.29.2008 5:05 pm

The majority of second language learners will never get to a point where any sort of "native speaker test" would even be necessary. I am, of course, including myself in this majority. This is not a knock on anyone's learning ability or intelligence, it's just a fact of life.

I'm not sure what you mean by a study of native level speaking ability -- there is loads of research into language acquisition that indicates that once you pass the "critical period", you are no longer capable of learning a language like a native speaker. I imagine any introductory linguistics textbook or a beginning book on language acquisition would cover this.

But speaking practically, the issue of whether it's possible to gain the language ability of a native speaker is irrelevant, since most people will never come close.
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Re: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby furrykef » Fri 02.29.2008 6:21 pm

I don't want to derail this thread again, so I made a new thread for the "can a foreigner speak like a native?" question. Mods: you can merge the above few posts into that thread if you want. :)
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Re: Recommended study plan for my learning process?

Postby Pkmn Trainer Abram » Mon 03.24.2008 11:03 am

Been awhile since I was able to post, with the site debugging and all that. I was gonna make a new topic but what I have to say isn't that significant to do so.

Anyway, I've been using An Introduction to Modern Japanese as my textbook and am currently on lesson 5. I can remember about half of what I learned so far and plan on going back to review this week. I do not have the course workbook so I feel that is stopping my progress somewhat, so if possible, can someone give my examples of exercises from it that would benefit me? I'm not asking for scans of the pages as I know that would probably fall under some copyright infringement, but I see no harm in telling me what the lesson drills are.

Also, I decided to pick up one of my Japanese games(Pokemon Pearl) to play once a day for reading comprehension purposes, to "soak in the language in context" so to speak and learn vocabulary. So far, it has helped me learn what some counter and place markers are and I decided to translate a line or two of text a day. Is there a more efficient method to learning vocab or am I over doing it? I figure if I do this, repetitively, once a day, I'll start to accumulate vocab quickly while learning grammar points through the textbook and reaffirming what I've learned at the same time.
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