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Attempting a novel..

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Attempting a novel..

Postby mjmsisco » Fri 09.07.2007 5:56 pm

Hello everyone.

I recently bought 2 of the 1リットルの涙 books, by kitou aya and shioka aya. I have book 2 and three, and number one is on order expected to arrive this coming week.

How can I attempt to start reading them? The part that is most difficult is the kanji. I really want to read these books, because i love the story (from the Drama).

Thanks
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RE: Attempting a novel..

Postby richvh » Fri 09.07.2007 7:02 pm

Start reading. Look up what you don't know in the dictionary, then move on. (Personally, I copy the novels I read into a text file, which means I have to look up everything I don't know or can guess the reading of. This does, however, slow the reading down quite a bit.) As you read, the kanji that are used often by the author will get drilled into your long-term memory.
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RE: Attempting a novel..

Postby prep_girl_Nessa » Fri 09.07.2007 7:17 pm

richvh wrote:
Start reading. Look up what you don't know in the dictionary, then move on. (Personally, I copy the novels I read into a text file, which means I have to look up everything I don't know or can guess the reading of.


I had a question about that...

I've been typing up this novel I'm reading, and I'm wondering if maybe I should give up and try something easier. The thing is, I feel like I'm at the point that it's hard to just read textbooks and that kind of thing and I need to move to 'real' Japanese, but I'm not sure I can understand this book.

So, basically... Since my grammar knowledge might be able to get me through this book, should I read it? Or should i try to get better with other things first and try this some other time?

I realize this is hard to judge as not even I know my level of understanding, but is there any general rules for this kind of stuff?
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RE: Attempting a novel..

Postby Gundaetiapo » Fri 09.07.2007 9:18 pm

I've been typing up this novel I'm reading, and I'm wondering if maybe I should give up and try something easier. The thing is, I feel like I'm at the point that it's hard to just read textbooks and that kind of thing and I need to move to 'real' Japanese, but I'm not sure I can understand this book.

So, basically... Since my grammar knowledge might be able to get me through this book, should I read it? Or should i try to get better with other things first and try this some other time?

I realize this is hard to judge as not even I know my level of understanding, but is there any general rules for this kind of stuff?


Perhaps the [wiki]Reading manga[/wiki] article helps.
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RE: Attempting a novel..

Postby richvh » Fri 09.07.2007 10:19 pm

Well, manga is a quicker reward - less text - or you could try that book of Murasaki short-short stories the reading club was attempting last year (I got through over half of them before I set it aside.) It's taken me since January to get through 2 novels (just finished the second, except for the afterword - yay!), transcribing the whole thing, so doing it that way is definitely slow (one time I was with my wife at a trade show, and the battery on my Palm died, so I read ahead for a couple of hours - took my most of a week to catch up to where I read. But when I did do the look up and transcription, I found out some stuff I didn't know because I'd skipped over unfamiliar kanji.)
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RE: Attempting a novel..

Postby Shirasagi » Fri 09.07.2007 10:39 pm

It really depends on your level (some people just start far too early), but I recommend first just plowing through. Don't look anything up, or look up something only when you have a good idea what the sentence is saying, and if you look up this one thing you'll have total understanding. Get the gist of the story. Then, the second time around, start looking things up.

Another good thing to do is rather than original Japanese novels, start off with the Japanese translations of things you've already read in English.

In any book there are sections of exposition or description that are not really necessary for the story, but are there to add atmosphere, background and (at worst) filler to the book. When we read in our native language we can easily recognize these passages and then skim them, or even if we read them carefully, it's easy because it's our native language. But these are often the breakdown points for reading in a foreign language. Dialogue is a breeze. But paragraphs of exposition are a momentum killer. So the suggestions above are ways to avoid it. If you read a translation of something you've read before, you have a good idea of what you can just skim and pass over. If you just plow through, you keep up momentum until you finish the book, and then you can go back and get more information without breaking down.
Last edited by Shirasagi on Fri 09.07.2007 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Attempting a novel..

Postby mjmsisco » Sat 09.08.2007 12:54 pm

Another good thing to do is rather than original Japanese novels, start off with the Japanese translations of things you've already read in English


I would, but I only have these novels for now, and they take a while to order for now, and they take a while to order, although it is possible for me to order them.

I also really want to read these books specifically. 

Don't look anything up, or look up something only when you have a good idea what the sentence is saying, and if you look up this one thing you'll have total understanding. Get the gist of the story. Then, the second time around, start looking things up.


That is a good idea, but I dont know how to read most of the kanji. :o
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RE: Attempting a novel..

Postby Shirasagi » Sat 09.08.2007 10:46 pm

mjmsisco wrote:
I also really want to read these books specifically. 


I understand the feeling. But the books will still be there after you've bumped up your reading ability. Reading authentic Japanese is absolutely the best way to learn how to read Japanese, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be selective and consider your level.

Don't look anything up, or look up something only when you have a good idea what the sentence is saying, and if you look up this one thing you'll have total understanding. Get the gist of the story. Then, the second time around, start looking things up.


That is a good idea, but I dont know how to read most of the kanji. :o
[/quote]

Well, that's a problem, but not so nearly big as it might seem at first. Plough through, and look up kanji on the second time around.

IMO, a good reading progression is something like this:

1. Manga - short, sentences, and easy to follow context. Manga aimed at youth (e.g., Ranma 1/2, etc.) has furigana on all kanji, stuff aimed at jr. high school level or above has partial furigana, and then stuff aimed at adults, (e.g., Shima Kosaku, Master Keaton) is full-on regular Japanese

2. Magazines - I'm only half joking when I say my textbook when I first arrived in Japan was the TVガイド. Many magazines, particularly the various TV guides, are targeted at people with a jr. high school education. The style is pretty simple, with some helpful furigana. Because it deals with a wide, wide variety of shows, you can really increase your vocab. I also learned a lot reading sumo magazines. I don't recommend sumo magazines themselves, but if you have an interest in something, get a magazine about it. Along those lines...

3. Sports dailies - Some of these can be pretty sleazy. Others are okay. I particularly recommend http://www.nikkansports.com. While they are mainly sports tabloids, they also have various celebrity news. Like TV guides, they are intended for those with the minimum in education. If read with a giant grain of salt, they can provide new vocab, and a look at the slightly grimy side of Japan.

4. Novels - Actually, before jumping into a full-length novel, I also recommend short stories. The tough part about novels is, as I mentioned, that they are long, and have lots of breakdown points. Even novels in one's native tongue are like that. So jumping into novels before you are ready may not help, IMO.

5. Newspapers - To be honest, I don't really read newspapers, aside from the occasional sports daily to while away time on a train, or in CoCo Ichibanya Curry House. The major newspapers seem to target their newspapers at people with some college education, and are filled with lots of technical terms and tough vocabulary you will probably never use in daily life. IMO, newspapers are some of the toughest reading in Japan not aimed at a specialty audience.

This is one way of doing it. You have to learn to walk before you can learn to run. Have fun!
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RE: Attempting a novel..

Postby Harisenbon » Sun 09.09.2007 9:29 pm

Shirasagi wrote:
The major newspapers seem to target their newspapers at people with some college education, and are filled with lots of technical terms and tough vocabulary you will probably never use in daily life.


Just a slight note, Japanese newspapers are aimed at a (If I recall correctly) First Year HS Education level. If you can't read all the words in a Japanese Newspaper, there's no way you're passing the College entrance exam. ;)
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RE: Attempting a novel..

Postby AJBryant » Sun 09.09.2007 9:57 pm

Depends on the newspaper. Sports rags and typical kiosk fare, certainly -- but Mainichi, Asahi, Yomiuri, and so on -- you really need a higher level of literacy. Newspapers' lifeblood is article inches, and if a kanji compound (two characters) can serve instead of four or five kana, they'll use the jukugo.


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Re: Attempting a novel..

Postby hamsterfreak4evr » Thu 05.01.2008 8:29 pm

mjmsisco wrote:I recently bought 2 of the 1リットルの涙 books, by kitou aya and shioka aya. I have book 2 and three, and number one is on order expected to arrive this coming week.


there is more than one version of this book?? What are the others ones not written by Kitou Aya? I was only aware that they published her diary. (I also want to read this book at some point)
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Re: Attempting a novel..

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 05.01.2008 9:06 pm

Please stop necroposting.

Admins: I agree on the other thread that something needs to be done.
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Re: Attempting a novel..

Postby AJBryant » Fri 05.02.2008 3:47 pm

Well, at least *this* time it was somewhat relevant to the subject. ;)


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