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What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

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

What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

Postby adriannrod » Sun 01.11.2009 11:41 pm

I've got Hiragana down, and Katakana is tolerable. I've got over 200 kanji under my belt, and a massive list of vocabulary, and a decent mount of grammar, but I'm stuck. What next? I mean, I've run out of ideas. I was in a Japanese class at school, but due to circumstances, that is no longer possible. I've been self teaching, but I've hit a wall. What can I do now? I'm using the "Kimono II" book right now, because that's what my Japanese teacher had available. I have a limited amount of online time available to me. What sort of tips do you have for learning nouns and verbs? Also, I need a better explination on verb conjugation. My teacher didn't tell us many set rules, we had to figure them out, and they didn't always apply... I do watch anime, although it doean't define who I am. I have relative fluency in that I can hold a basic conversation, and talk about a bit more than the weather... Help?

Thank you everyone!
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Re: What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

Postby richvh » Mon 01.12.2009 12:06 am

The main thing is continue using your textbook.

About verb conjugation - what things are confusing you?

You might try reading my story, ゆきの物語 (which I just finished writing, after more than 2 1/2 years and 93 chapters.) There's a lot of chapters, but they are mostly short, especially the first one. If that's too hard for you, try Frank and the Obaasan (which is somewhere on the main site, not the forum.)
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Re: What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

Postby Sairana » Mon 01.12.2009 12:19 am

Consider 'My Japanese Coach' for the Nintendo DS if you have one. It may have some flaws, but none of them are insurmountable. The selling factor, especially for someone in your situation, is the sheer number of vocabulary words it purports to teach. The jacket claims more than 1000 lessons. The first 100 include grammar lessons, the rest are vocab @ 10 words (or more) each. That's over 10K vocabulary words, plus several minigame type things to practice them in (including several that use full sentences, so you're not just drilling words in isolation).

If you don't have a DS, (get one? hehehe) maybe try some readers. Clay sells some in TheJapanShop.com
Also, there's a few good books out there for it, like "Breaking into Japanese Literature" (search for it on Amazon).

There's probably a lot of other options, but these came to me off the top of my head.

Re: verb conjugation -- /agree rich. You'll need to be a little more specific for us to help you. Though, if you're in the second book of a series that teaches Japanese, there must be SOME comprehensive explanations in the first book or the one you're using now. Maybe go revisit those chapters?
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Re: What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

Postby adriannrod » Mon 01.12.2009 12:55 pm

Eeh, my Japanese teacher didn't give me the 1st one... She only gave me the 2nd and 3rd. I seriously considering the "Remembering the Kanji" Series by Heseig. I want the 1st, 2nd and 3rd, but not Learning the Kana. I'm saving up for DS, in a way. However, I only expect to get 1 gift this upcoming holiday season, and if I get more, I'll be super surprised. Another thing is I want to get an actual book in Japanese, to own. Not a manga, a novel. I'm sacrificing getting Rosetta Stone so that I can get the Heseig books. I want to be literate, and proficient. I want to be able to read Japanese within a year... Sad, isn't it? I'm willing to put the wrok in though. I've already started Remembering the Kanji 1, because I convinced my librarian to get it. I was the only one to check it out for an entire year. I can't check it out right now, because I have an overdue book.. :? Anyway, any tips on learning vocab? I don't like the flashcard methos, and I don't have a DS, although I have a PS2 and a Wii.
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Re: What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

Postby Azure » Mon 01.12.2009 1:37 pm

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Re: What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

Postby kilometers » Mon 01.12.2009 2:37 pm

Sairana wrote:Consider 'My Japanese Coach' for the Nintendo DS if you have one. It may have some flaws, but none of them are insurmountable. The selling factor, especially for someone in your situation, is the sheer number of vocabulary words it purports to teach. The jacket claims more than 1000 lessons. The first 100 include grammar lessons, the rest are vocab @ 10 words (or more) each. That's over 10K vocabulary words, plus several minigame type things to practice them in (including several that use full sentences, so you're not just drilling words in isolation).


I saw this at gamestop the other day and was tempted to get it. I heard the game forces you to start at a fairly low level though even if you do really well on the test it gives you before hand. I heard it also uses romaji characters for a long time before switching to hiragana and kanji. This makes it harder for me since my brain tries to read them as English instead of Japanese. But from what you said it seems to have a large number of vacab words and at my point I want to expand my vocab and kanji knowledge now that I'm almost done with the Genki 2 textbook.
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Re: What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

Postby Sairana » Mon 01.12.2009 8:38 pm

adriannrod wrote:I'm sacrificing getting Rosetta Stone so that I can get the Heseig books. I want to be literate, and proficient. I want to be able to read Japanese within a year... Sad, isn't it?


Can I ask you exactly what you're expecting the RTK series to teach you, and what you think you'll be able to do with Japanese when you've finished the books?

kilometers wrote:I saw this at gamestop the other day and was tempted to get it. I heard the game forces you to start at a fairly low level though even if you do really well on the test it gives you before hand. I heard it also uses romaji characters for a long time before switching to hiragana and kanji. This makes it harder for me since my brain tries to read them as English instead of Japanese.


That's all true. Even if you get all the questions right in the beginning, you still start at lesson 11, with "desu". It uses romaji (and teaches you kana) right up through lesson 40, where it starts to teach Kanji and switches most of the minigames over to kana.

Like I said, there are flaws.. but when the grammar section is only 1/10 of the program, I thought it was worth persevering through despite them. I am, however, documenting a list of errors and nitpicks.... I'll probably post them here on TJP when I'm through for other people to reference.
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Re: What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

Postby Dustin » Mon 01.12.2009 8:56 pm

adriannrod wrote: I seriously considering the "Remembering the Kanji" Series by Heseig. I want the 1st, 2nd and 3rd, but not Learning the Kana. I'm saving up for DS, in a way. However, I only expect to get 1 gift this upcoming holiday season, and if I get more, I'll be super surprised. Another thing is I want to get an actual book in Japanese, to own. Not a manga, a novel. I'm sacrificing getting Rosetta Stone so that I can get the Heseig books. I want to be literate, and proficient. I want to be able to read Japanese within a year... Sad, isn't it? I'm willing to put the wrok in though. I've already started Remembering the Kanji 1, because I convinced my librarian to get it. I was the only one to check it out for an entire year. I can't check it out right now, because I have an overdue book.. :? Anyway, any tips on learning vocab? I don't like the flashcard methos, and I don't have a DS, although I have a PS2 and a Wii.



As someone that has been using Remembering the Kanji, I recommend the first book, but don't worry about 2 or 3 just yet. If you are working through RTK1 already then you know what to expect from it. You will be able to remember how to write the Kanji and have a ( sometimes random, otherwise vague ) word associated with it.

RTK2 only gives you an "on" reading for each of these, and I personally feel it is close to useless, however some people get use out of the book. RTK3 is for upper level Kanji, which for our purposes you can skip for now as well. Just be sure you start working on vocab with kanji to start putting your newfound kanji writings into "actual japanese"

You may not like flashcards, but computer flashcard programs are one of the best ways to retain new vocab, as well as test kanji, Reviewing the Kanji is an online community for Remembering the Kanji users, I recommend you check it out.
One problem with flashcards is they tend to test vocab in isolation, so many people will make a sentence rather than just a random piece of vocab on a card. Using this system on top of working through a proper textbook will probably give you your BEST chances of being able to read native material quickly.
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Re: What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

Postby adriannrod » Tue 01.13.2009 2:18 am

I have used the RTK1 up to nearly the 300th kanji I think. I know full well that the book does not teach you readings, but I'm a firm beleiver in what Heseig said. If you have the basic idea, then tacking on more ideas and stuff is a lot easier. I'm not expecting to be able to read Japanese immediately after finishing the course, and I beleive that I have set some realistic goals. Once the basics are there, building on them is simple, and the kanji I already know can be used already. I can read about 100 kanji with their kun readings, properly. Plus, I'm motivated!
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Re: What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

Postby nukemarine » Tue 01.13.2009 4:16 am

To tack on with what Dustin said, if you learn vocabulary (which you really, really, should), then don't learn it in isolation. Sources such as www.iknow.co.jp and Kanji.Odyssey.2001 book (www.coscom.co.jp) are great sources that give you vocabulary words and sentences that use them in context.

Don't forget, you need to be experiencing real Japanese at the same time. Find some movies and mangas from legit (amazon) or not so legit (wink, wink) ways and start having fun in Japanese. Heck, get skype and you should be able to talk to Japanese one on one.

Yet another free resource is Tae Kim's site if you want to round out your grammar.
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Re: What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

Postby adriannrod » Tue 01.13.2009 3:09 pm

I watch a fair amount of anime, and I have my 'sources' for manga. :wink: I have been working on vocabulary, and I also have learned a lot from my textbook. Words I've picked up from anime that I didn't know I knew! Crunchyroll has plenty of legit anime and dramas, because until it's licensed here, it's allowed. 8) I have myspace IM, but I don't really know anyone that would be willing to 'conversate' with me. Plus, the IM available on tJP won't run on the computer I use... :(

I just ran out of motivation to learn Japanese, although all you kind words and support are very refreshing. :D My mom thinks I'm nuts, although she once has the same aspirations as me. I think the only reason she didn't end up like I am is that she didn't have the vast network of resources available to me when she was my age. :|

*rant*
Everybody states that Japanese is a hard language. I can't agree. Maybe it's my perspective, or it's my age, but I figure that a language is a language, and that it's not really sane to assume it will be anything like the language that you are born into. I recently read that no language is any 'harder', it's just that different part may be more or less emphasized. It was said that the reason that Latin languages are usually so easy for a native English speaker is that they've already learned a good part of certain parts in their own language. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think so. :roll:
*End rant*
I hope nobody starts a fight... :lol:
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Re: What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

Postby richvh » Tue 01.13.2009 3:19 pm

For an infant, no language is any harder to learn than any other, but for an adult (or even an adolescent) there are definitely different degrees of difficulty (which are mutual, a Japanese has every bit as much trouble learning English as an Englishman, American, Australian etc. have learning Japanese, whereas Koreans and Japanese have relatively little difficulty learning each other's languages.)
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Re: What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

Postby adriannrod » Tue 01.13.2009 4:14 pm

I don't expect a language to be easy, and maybe that's why. I accept it as is, and plough on ahead. I guess that maybe my experience may be unique. I absorb grammar and basic rules about the sponge, and the hiragana and katakana were laughingly easy. It took me a lot longer to be able to properly pronounce English, for sure. I suppose I agree that I'm closer to the infant in that if it nis a brand new language, it's a peice of cake. I've found that latin languages are actually harder, because I make faulty word associations. i.e. 'empezar'-to begin, but for some reason, I associate it with empathy, and make it into 'to be happy'. Guh, latin languages are annoying.
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Re: What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

Postby furrykef » Tue 01.13.2009 8:35 pm

richvh wrote:For an infant, no language is any harder to learn than any other, but for an adult (or even an adolescent) there are definitely different degrees of difficulty (which are mutual [...].)


Just to make things perfectly clear, the mutuality isn't universal among language pairs. For instance, I believe that a Norwegian can understand Danish more easily than a Dane can understand Norwegian. (The languages are similar enough that a speaker of one can likely make himself understood when speaking to a speaker of the other, even if they've never studied each others' languages.) But both might be about equally difficult for an English speaker.

adriannrod wrote:I've found that latin languages are actually harder, because I make faulty word associations. i.e. 'empezar'-to begin, but for some reason, I associate it with empathy, and make it into 'to be happy'. Guh, latin languages are annoying.


Hmm. I haven't had this problem very much in studying Spanish.

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Re: What now? (Upper Beginner looking for ideas & help)

Postby adriannrod » Wed 01.14.2009 1:14 pm

I have been getting better about faulty word associations, it's just that maybe the similarities are what is getting me. I like languages that are so very distinctly different from English that they could never be mistaken. Makkudonorado is my favorite. It sounds nothing like English! And yet, it is how the Japanese pronounce it. All this, plus syllabary languages are the easiest when you want to spell something. Yay for easy-to-spell-ness!
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