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Learning to read japanese books?

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Learning to read japanese books?

Postby kentaku_sama » Mon 04.06.2009 12:50 am

This would be my goal if I can't speak it. How awesome it would be to be able to buy a book online from japan with no english and understand it!! I'm way off from that point but I guess in a couple of years. I want to learn shamisen, I already know stuff about music so I think I can self teach my self it. But I;m not going to until a year or two. May'be by then I could read part of it, enough to understand what to do. What level of jlpt do you need to be able to pass to read most books from japan? I'm guessing at least 2.
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Re: Learning to read japanese books?

Postby keatonatron » Mon 04.06.2009 1:10 am

kentaku_sama wrote:What level of jlpt do you need to be able to pass to read most books from japan? I'm guessing at least 2.


Depends on the book.

With level 2 you could probably pick through a simple instructional book, if you constantly look up words in a dictionary.

For any kind of novel or literary work, though, you'd definately need level 1 (or better!)
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Re: Learning to read japanese books?

Postby Mike Cash » Mon 04.06.2009 8:36 am

I couldn't pass Level 1 if my life depended on it. It has never stopped me from reading novels and nonfiction....without a dictionary.
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Re: Learning to read japanese books?

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 04.06.2009 9:11 am

Mike Cash wrote:I couldn't pass Level 1 if my life depended on it. It has never stopped me from reading novels and nonfiction....without a dictionary.


Very nicely put Mike.
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Re: Learning to read japanese books?

Postby kentaku_sama » Mon 04.06.2009 10:10 am

Why would you need a dictionary? Can't you just know all the words?
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Re: Learning to read japanese books?

Postby becki_kanou » Mon 04.06.2009 11:04 am

Know all the words?

If that's your goal, you're going to be at it a loooooooooooong time, my friend. I'd wager reading a good novel in your native tongue you still probably come across the occasional new word, no? (I was thrown for a loop by the word "pleaching" not too long ago.) And you've been speaking and reading your native language since you were a child, so to expect in a few short years of study to "know all the words" in a foreign language is not really a reasonable goal.
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Re: Learning to read japanese books?

Postby clay » Mon 04.06.2009 11:34 am

After you have learned basic grammar and have a beginner's vocabulary, you may want to start with some manga (especially short stories or 4 koma comics). There's usually a lot of slang, but with the visual clues, it can be a good way for even the beginner to learn spoken Japanese while reading!
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Re: Learning to read japanese books?

Postby yukamina » Mon 04.06.2009 11:45 am

I don't think JLPT is a good measure for reading novels. At JLPT2, you won't have enough kanji, but both level 2 and 1 are full of vocab I don't think will be used in novels. For example, I can read simple novels, and I can understand most of Soseki's Kokoro, but there are words and grammar on JLPT2 I haven't studied at all. On the other hand, there's a ton of words I've learned from reading that aren't on any JLPT level.

If you want to read books, I recommend being at an intermediate level in terms of grammar and vocab, and 1500-2000 kanji. Then you can learn the rest as you come across it.
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Re: Learning to read japanese books?

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 04.06.2009 11:54 am

kentaku_sama wrote:Why would you need a dictionary? Can't you just know all the words?


I don't think it's possible to know all the words in your native tongue let alone in another tongue, even if you applied yourself for 100 years..
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Re: Learning to read japanese books?

Postby astaroth » Mon 04.06.2009 12:25 pm

kentaku_sama wrote:Why would you need a dictionary? Can't you just know all the words?

Eventually. I guess. But I'm a physicist and eventually for us means after an infinite amount of time.
So I guess one never knows all the words. After living in US for 6+ more years I can read novels, newspaper, and watch a movie without help of a dictionary (or subtitles), though I still encounter a word I don't know from time to time but I can usually infer the meaning from the context.
I think two years to be able to read novels and newspapers in a language you just started studying is a bit on the short side.
Obviously that shouldn't discourage you from your studies, but just simply put that in a perspective.

clay wrote:manga (especially short stories or 4 koma comics).

Sorry, clay. What's 4koma?
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Re: Learning to read japanese books?

Postby richvh » Mon 04.06.2009 12:56 pm

4 koma manga = 4 panel comic strips. Essentially newspaper comic strip format. (They're laid out vertically, so the panel size is less flexible than in American comic strips.)
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Re: Learning to read japanese books?

Postby astaroth » Mon 04.06.2009 1:07 pm

I see. Something like Calvin and Hobbes (I love Calvin and Hobbes).
Is it possible to find 4 koma manga not in newspapers? On the internet or in manga?
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Re: Learning to read japanese books?

Postby clay » Mon 04.06.2009 1:20 pm

Is it possible to find 4 koma manga not in newspapers?


Absolutely. Look for ギャグ漫画 gyagu manga. I was thinking about Crayon Shinchan when I wrote that above. (for example here) I guess it isn't technically a 4 koma comic since it has more than 4 panels, but it is in the same spirit and short enough. :)
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Re: Learning to read japanese books?

Postby Hyperworm » Mon 04.06.2009 1:22 pm

あずまんが大王 and らき☆すた are two other notable examples.

I read Japanese novels and I don't think I could pass JLPT1 yet. I can follow along all right without a dictionary, but I feel like I'm missing out on a lot if I don't keep looking up words. I still have a way to go yet. >_>
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Re: Learning to read japanese books?

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 04.06.2009 1:40 pm

clay wrote:
Is it possible to find 4 koma manga not in newspapers?


Absolutely. Look for ギャグ漫画 gyagu manga. I was thinking about Crayon Shinchan when I wrote that above. (for example here) I guess it isn't technically a 4 koma comic since it has more than 4 panels, but it is in the same spirit and short enough. :)


I still have a hard time figureing out which way to read those.. right to left? left to right? top to bottom etc.. usually, after 2 or 3 starts, I get it right.. lol

traditionally it's top to bottom, right to left correct?
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