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Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

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

Re: Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

Postby Infidel » Tue 11.04.2008 6:10 pm

I don't recommend getting JfE unless you can also acquire the audio component. I also don't recommend getting any supplements until you're well dug into your primary textbook. You can use flash cards and whatnot, but kana are used constantly, so they will be reinforced as you study, so unless you're in a classroom and expecting a pop-quiz for the s- kana this Monday, I don't think you need to stress over memorizing lists of kana. Just learn the words in your textbook as they are taught and you'll do fine. It's easier to learn words in kana than kana separately, so it's a more efficient use of your time. Again, unless you're expecting some kind of pop-quiz on kana soon.

I know everyone recommends learning kana first, but I think kana should be learned with the same philosophy we recommend for kanji. Learn words not kanji; learn words, not kana. The difference being: at least the number of kana is small enough that memorizing a table is possible for a normal person with a bit of effort.

There's all kinds of lists you're just going to have to grit your teeth and memorize, but kana doesn't need to be one of them.
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Re: Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

Postby Athefre » Tue 11.04.2008 6:30 pm

Is that how JFE teaches? If I understood right what you were trying to tell me, does it teach you words and sentences instead of having lessons where you memorize each kana?

Are you saying I should just get JFE (and the CDs [or tapes?]), read (and understand) enough of it until I know all Kana, THEN get MJC and whatever else?

EDIT: I'm new obviously, and most of the time when you are new to something you need to know exactly where to start so I ask a lot of questions.
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Re: Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

Postby ニッキー » Tue 11.04.2008 7:47 pm

Athefre wrote:I have My Japanese Coach on the list because I would need some way of easily and quickly practicing writing the Kana. Another reason is I might need some kind of fun way of practicing, I am enjoying learning Kana without it and can't wait to get to Kanji but just in case. I read that it teaches Romaji right in the beginning and I'm not interested in learning that yet, also I don't now if the Kana are grouped the way I want to learn them. I want to learn them the way they are shown on this site "a,e,i,o,u" being one group, "sa, se, si, so, su" being another, THEN teaching that "za, ze, zi, zo, zu" are the same as "sa, se, si, so, su" just with ten-ten. If they aren't grouped in MJC wouldn't it be hard for me to practice the current group I'm learning?

I would probably first buy Japanese For Everyone, then MJC. How much Kanji does JFE cover? How much Kanji does MJC cover (I read that it doesn't group them as similar characters/meanings per lesson)?


I really don't recommend My Japanese Coach for practising writing kana.
It has a number of stroke order mistakes (6 of the hiragana, 7 of the katakana) and it usually won't accept the correct stroke order, so you're putting yourself at risk of learning them wrong (even if you know they're wrong, writing them the wrong way to please the program could easily become the more familiar way if you've not already got them firmly stuck in your head/hand the right way).
It's much better with kanji, out of the 110 it's taught so far, I've only noticed the wrong orders for 九 and 山, and the wrong number of strokes for 山, 子, 字 and 学 (子 is technically 3 strokes, but it's not really that important, it's not like anyone is going to be able to tell when you write it).

It does start off with romaji. It uses it extensively for the first 30 or so lessons while it teaches kana, but then it starts to use it less (but it hasn't quit using it completely as of lesson 80).

Anyway, here's how it splits them up:
lesson 6: hiragana a-, k- (g-) lines
lesson 8: s- (z-), t- (d-)
lesson 10: n-, h- (b-, p-)
lesson 13: m-, r-
lesson 14: y-, w-, n, small y-, small tsu, katakana a-
lesson 20: k- (g-), s- (z-), m-
lesson 22: t- (d-), n-, y-
lesson 24: h- (b-, p-), r-, w-, n
So the hiragana are mostly in order, but the katakana are all over the place.

For kanji, it teaches by the school grades used in Japan (whether that's really the best order or not...)
lesson 44: 日月火水木金土大中小 
lesson 47: 一二三四五六七八九十
lesson 52: 山川林森竹草花田空雨
lesson 56: 手足目耳口人子女男本
lesson 60: 百千上下左右名年犬虫
lesson 65: 天気夕貝石王玉力車音
lesson 69: 学校先生字文村糸町立
lesson 73: 赤白青円正早入出休見
That's all of the first grade ones.

lesson 74: more about katakana (ー for long vowels, how foreign words are transcribed, new combinations like ファ, ディ, ウィ)
lesson 76: more about what katakana is used for

Then it's back to kanji:
lesson 77: 父母兄弟姉妹自友今分
lesson 81: 東西南北寺時食知用海
lesson 85: 体毛頭顔首声心思言話

Like I said, I'm on lesson 80 at the moment. There are 100 structured lessons and apparently 900 "open lessons". I don't know if the open lessons include kanji or not, I'd guess that the structured ones have around 200.

Edit: added the kanji from lessons 81 and 85. Also noting that it has an error in the stroke orders of 用, 体 and 声.
Last edited by ニッキー on Wed 11.05.2008 1:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

Postby Dustin » Wed 11.05.2008 12:50 am

Infidel wrote:I don't recommend getting JfE unless you can also acquire the audio component. I also don't recommend getting any supplements until you're well dug into your primary textbook. You can use flash cards and whatnot, but kana are used constantly, so they will be reinforced as you study, so unless you're in a classroom and expecting a pop-quiz for the s- kana this Monday, I don't think you need to stress over memorizing lists of kana. Just learn the words in your textbook as they are taught and you'll do fine. It's easier to learn words in kana than kana separately, so it's a more efficient use of your time. Again, unless you're expecting some kind of pop-quiz on kana soon.

I know everyone recommends learning kana first, but I think kana should be learned with the same philosophy we recommend for kanji. Learn words not kanji; learn words, not kana. The difference being: at least the number of kana is small enough that memorizing a table is possible for a normal person with a bit of effort.

There's all kinds of lists you're just going to have to grit your teeth and memorize, but kana doesn't need to be one of them.


I found it was a LOT easier to learn the kana and then words, I knew some basic phrases etc. before learning the kana, but learning the kana took only a little effort.
The difference between the "learn words, not kanji" and "learn words, not kana" is huge in my opinion.
Learning kanji thet you do not know the vocab for is useless, but learning the phonetic system is extremely important for looking up basic words, and most phonetics I find are in hiragana.

JFE does not teach this way, it just tells you to learn it, and has limited romaji as a crutch for the first few chapters.

JFE was the best money I ever spent on Japanese language material, and learning the kana took some home made flashcards and some free time. Not much effort was needed. I do all of my flashcards in kana for the phonetic opposite of the english side, and it works very well for practice to write them out a lot like that.

*EDIT

JFE Also covers over twice the Vocab, introduces you to about 50% more Kanji ( though neither really "teach it" and about the same grammar as Genki, which a friend of mine has.
We are studying alongside each other and will both work on Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese next.
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Re: Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

Postby Sairana » Wed 11.05.2008 1:59 am

I'm middle ground on kana. I think you should give it a serious look and become marginally familiar with them, then start writing your vocabulary and sentences with them.

I do think a lot of students (self-study) tend to agonize over "mastering" them before moving on to grammar... IE having a high recognition rate and the ability to read them almost as quickly as they can read the English Alphabet, or be able to recall a majority of them.

I think if you can recognize several and write one or two from memory, you're ready to move on to vocabulary. Sure, you're going to read worse than a kindergardener, and it will be slow and halting... but no amount of hiragana study in list format is going to alleviate the problem. Only muddling through it will increase the speed you read at, and up your recognition on the fly.

So yeah... I support both learning the kana and not OMG BBQ LEARNING the kana. ^_^
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Re: Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

Postby Dustin » Wed 11.05.2008 2:08 am

Sairana wrote:I'm middle ground on kana. I think you should give it a serious look and become marginally familiar with them, then start writing your vocabulary and sentences with them.

I do think a lot of students (self-study) tend to agonize over "mastering" them before moving on to grammar... IE having a high recognition rate and the ability to read them almost as quickly as they can read the English Alphabet, or be able to recall a majority of them.

I think if you can recognize several and write one or two from memory, you're ready to move on to vocabulary. Sure, you're going to read worse than a kindergardener, and it will be slow and halting... but no amount of hiragana study in list format is going to alleviate the problem. Only muddling through it will increase the speed you read at, and up your recognition on the fly.

So yeah... I support both learning the kana and not OMG BBQ LEARNING the kana. ^_^



This is the way I see it too, though I was able to get quite a few from memory in a short time, or be able to randomize my flashcards and lay them out in the order of the kanji chart, which I thought was a great exercise, but Like Sairana said, once you are familiar with them to a certain point, just using it, writing the kana etc. is how you get it to really stick.

I am not saying to learn a word and the funny shapes that go with it, JFE lists the vocab with both kana AND romaji for the first few chapters making it easy to practice writing the kana while working on the vocab and having a reminder of what the kana means while doing it.

I still may not read hiragana AS FAST as english, but I also can't recall vocab AS FAST as english or construct random sentences as fast, it all comes with a LOT of practice.
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Re: Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

Postby furrykef » Wed 11.05.2008 6:25 am

Infidel wrote:I don't recommend getting JfE unless you can also acquire the audio component.


I got my audio component from the, er, Great Library of the Internet... >.>

I know I shouldn't condone breaking the law or anything, but I think there are times it's just not worth it. If they don't want to make the thing available to the point that you have to pay ten times what it's actually worth, well, what do they expect to happen?

I did pay for the book, of course, because it's quite easy to get a copy of it. (Also, nothing beats paper for reading.)

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Re: Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

Postby Athefre » Wed 11.05.2008 4:45 pm

ニッキー wrote:I really don't recommend My Japanese Coach for practising writing kana.
It's much better with kanji


Do you think it would be useful once I get to Kanji? I am also considering getting Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten.

Dustin_Calgary wrote:I found it was a LOT easier to learn the kana and then words, I knew some basic phrases etc. before learning the kana, but learning the kana took only a little effort.


That's the way it is for me right now, learning the Kana and their meaning is very easy (and fun :))

When I was taking Spanish classes, flash cards were an amazing way of learning. Like the way you described, I would shuffle them to study, flip them over, organize them, etc.

Sairana wrote:I think if you can recognize several and write one or two from memory, you're ready to move on to vocabulary.

Dustin_Calgary wrote:I am not saying to learn a word and the funny shapes that go with it, JFE lists the vocab with both kana AND romaji for the first few chapters making it easy to practice writing the kana while working on the vocab and having a reminder of what the kana means while doing it.


How much vocabulary does JFE cover?

I'm about to order JFE, so if there is any final "No, don't get it", let me know.

furrykef wrote:I got my audio component from the, er, Great Library of the Internet... >.>


Yeah, I'm not paying $100 for the tapes. I'll see what I can find...
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Re: Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

Postby Dustin » Wed 11.05.2008 4:52 pm

Genki to my understanding covers 1100-1300 vocab, but JFE in the introduction says that it covers around 2500 VERY good meat for an introductory course.

Yes, grab JFE I feel it is very worth it, and the audio is easy to acquire through *other* methods, I do not condone this, though when it simply is not available, and easy to find otherwise, and you have paid for the main text there is nothing else you can do about it unless you are very lucky and can find something.

If the Audio is released through CD or otherwise I will go ahead and pay for it for my own peace of mind as well as having a hard original copy with better Quality.

*EDIT

There are also scripts of ALL the audio in the book as well as answers to the questions.
You could always get a native speaker to read it if you are that lucky ^^
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Re: Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

Postby somenube » Sun 11.09.2008 1:16 am

Those vocabulary lists are unreliable. Things like suffixes and prefixes don't count as words. (Genki)
But I don't think Vocabulary is the most important thing in an introductory course. I think the kana, basic kanji and basic grammar because with those you can teach yourself, to an extent, some Japanese.
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Re: Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

Postby Dustin » Sun 11.09.2008 2:17 am

somenube wrote:Those vocabulary lists are unreliable. Things like suffixes and prefixes don't count as words. (Genki)
But I don't think Vocabulary is the most important thing in an introductory course. I think the kana, basic kanji and basic grammar because with those you can teach yourself, to an extent, some Japanese.


Of course Vocab is not the most important thing, neither is grammar, or Kanji.

Everything must be progressed in Balance to be most effective.
Most good textbooks will help provide this balance although some you may need outside assistance for the Kanji it presents. JFE constantly adds Kanji in place of vocab you have already learnt so you learn to read them at least.

There is nothing wrong in my opinion in adding Extra Vocab or Kanji ( preferably both ) to your studies as long as you are learning the basic grammar to be able to properly utilize them :D
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Re: Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

Postby ニッキー » Sun 11.09.2008 2:41 am

Athefre wrote:Do you think it would be useful once I get to Kanji? I am also considering getting Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten.


Sorry for the slow response, I forgot I hadn't yet replied.

It's a good question. It makes a lot fewer mistakes with the kanji, but it still has problems, so I'm not sure. Also, you have get through the first 43 lessons before it will introduce kanji (well, you can skip the first 10 if you get all the questions right at the beginning).

When it teaches kanji, it writes them rather fast and I don't think it's ideal if you're trying to learn the stroke order. Plus, since there are so many mistakes with stroke order throughout the game, it's made me suspicious of pretty much every kanji it teaches. Also, the stroke order recognition is poor, most of the time it doesn't care about the order of strokes as long as you get the bits it does care about right. I've even managed to write things that don't even look like the character I'm meant to write but it's accepted it anyway.

On the other hand, I don't know of anything else that offers timed games where you have to write the kanji within a time limit, so if you want to practise producing the kanji from memory, it's rather good.

So I guess my conclusion would be: it's fine for practising, but make sure you get the stroke order correct from somewhere else. There are plenty of places to find the stroke order online, so you don't necessarily have to spend money. I've never spent money on something for stroke order and I've managed to pick out plenty of wrong ones so far. :)

Speaking of which, I'm now onto lesson 103. It was revealed near the end of the structured lessons that it will cover all of the Jōyō kanji, so that would be 1945 (IIRC). Here's the kanji since my last post (there are mistakes in 書, 地, 道, 馬 and 鳥):

lesson 89: 読聞書語失刀切引売買
lesson 93: 行来前後古何地湖道当
lesson 97: 内外牛馬魚鳥肉米麦茶

The open plan lessons are basically like the structured ones but without the dialogue, you're simply given about 10 words to read and listen to, to go away and learn and then play the games. For some reason there's also no way to go back and select a particular lesson like you can with the structured ones. Once you click on open plan lessons, you go straight the last incomplete lesson.

In general though, I probably would recommend MJC to people who aren't too advanced already for the practice (as long as they realise the writing sections do have flaws). There are 12 games in total, there's bound to be at least a few you enjoy and you can listen to all the words and even record yourself saying them to compare. Unfortunately it does use a lot of romaji, but it offers some features that are hard to find anywhere else. Also, not all of the games involve recognition, some involve having to actually produce the answer yourself. Those are the ones which will really help you learn.

Regarding Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten, go for it! I think it's ace. All the people in my class sit flicking through dictionaries looking things up and I just whip out my DS, write some kana and I've got the answer. Being able to look up kanji that you don't know is also great (as long as you understand how stroke order works, you shouldn't have much trouble, although some kanji are really difficult to get right).

It does have some downsides though. The interface is entirely Japanese, I've worked out some of the options by clicking them and seeing what they do, but otherwise it's all gibberish to me. The basics are pretty easy and you shouldn't have trouble just looking up words. Also, if you look up an English word, it generally gives the answer in kanji so you'll have to practice your kanji writing skills and look it up to get the pronunciation and check it's the right one. :) Also, because it's aimed at Japanese people, you have a limited amount of time between strokes before it thinks you've finished and looks it up, which is actually good practice for writing quickly. Mine's also developed a fascination with the character ゐ, I don't remember the way I write る changing, but half the time when I write it now, it's like "yay!! it's ゐ again! :D"... it's just odd.

If only I could write this much this easily for essays...
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Re: Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sun 11.09.2008 10:37 am

How are the stroke orders wrong? Are you absolutely sure they're wrong? Some characters have "official" stroke orders that nobody actually uses.
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Re: Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

Postby ニッキー » Sun 11.09.2008 12:38 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:How are the stroke orders wrong? Are you absolutely sure they're wrong? Some characters have "official" stroke orders that nobody actually uses.


I'll admit that some of them do seem like plausible ways to write the characters (and please tell me if any of the ones I've said are wrong aren't normally written the official way, I'd love to know) but I really wouldn't expect to find so many unofficial orders in something designed for complete beginners, not least because as soon as anyone picks up a textbook or goes to a real class, they're going to be told they're doing it wrong. I can just imagine teachers getting annoyed when people start saying "but that's how My Japanese Coach taught me to write it!" every time they start to try and teach writing.

I think I did say somewhere that I thought maybe I had got the orders wrong at first... but when I found 6 hiragana and 8 katakana which use orders different from the ones all the textbooks I've used, decent websites I've seen and teachers I've had, it didn't exactly inspire confidence in me about the quality of the kanji.

Anyway, for some of the hiragana: な has the upper right dash last, や has the left vertical stroke first and it absolutely refuses to accept き and さ written with a broken curve. Some of the katakana: ノ is written bottom to top, the top stroke of チ is written left to right and エ is written as two horizontal strokes followed by a vertical stroke. Some of the kanji: 山 is written as three vertical lines from left to right followed by a horizontal stroke, the radical at the left/bottom in 道 is written first, the vertical line in the centre of the right part of 地 is written last and the bottom left part of 声 is the 5th stroke and not the last.
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Re: Genki Vs Japanese for Everyone

Postby furrykef » Sun 11.09.2008 12:45 pm

Wow. Those are some pretty severe mistakes. Writing ノ from bottom to top in particular is shocking; maybe some natives do it, I certainly wouldn't know, but it defies all logic.
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