Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Japanese, general discussion on the language

Re: My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Postby becki_kanou » Sat 08.22.2009 8:05 pm

furrykef wrote:EDIT: By the way, one thing that I find does help with learning vocabulary is to put the same word in multiple sentences. The trouble is in finding multiple sentences that have the word in it! (I generally refuse to put sentences I've made myself into my flash cards, so I can't just make 'em up. I also strongly prefer sentences that have audio samples. Moreover, ideally the second sentence would be interesting in some way beyond merely having the new word in it -- perhaps it'd have another new word, or some new bit of grammar.)


They won't have audio samples, but just googling a word should give you some good examples of it in context in sentences written by native speakers.
そうだ、嬉しいんだ、生きる喜び!
例え胸の傷が痛んでも。
User avatar
becki_kanou
 
Posts: 3402
Joined: Sat 04.19.2008 10:09 pm
Location: Hyogo, Japan
Skype chat: yes_becki
Native language: U.S. English, 米語
Gender: Female

Re: My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Postby furrykef » Sat 08.22.2009 8:15 pm

becki - You greatly overestimate my ability to make sense of random Japanese sentences on the internet. :lol:

Usually what I do if I can't find the word in a good sentence at smart.fm is consult the Tanaka Corpus (which kinda goes hand-in-hand with EDICT; it's what WWWJDIC uses for example sentences) or the Pocket Kenkyusha dictionary. Often enough I just don't bother and hope I can memorize it well, though.

- Kef
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Postby CajunCoder » Sun 08.23.2009 4:03 am

www.alc.co.jp is also has a good database for finding example sentences.

But as for the original topic -- I find the same. However, I think there's a tad more to it than just that Japanese is unlike the Romance languages. Japanese really does have far fewer sounds, and most words contain very similar syllables. Kanji make this even worse, as all on-yomi are very similar. Just try and count how many common Kanji have the on-yomi シ、シュ、シュー、ショ and ショー! Or, take it a step further, and just count the ones ending in ュ、ョ、ュウ and ョウ. I find "native" Japanese words (words using kun-yomi, not including Japanese-invented 漢語・用語) much easier to remember.
CajunCoder
 
Posts: 403
Joined: Tue 09.27.2005 4:08 am

Re: My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Postby Mr.Paper » Sat 08.29.2009 1:23 pm

I never have problems with memory.
Mr.Paper
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed 07.29.2009 9:46 pm
Location: Illinois
Native language: Spanish
Gender: Male

Re: My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Postby furrykef » Sat 08.29.2009 1:46 pm

Well congratulations. You want a cookie? :P
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Postby Mr.Paper » Sat 08.29.2009 1:48 pm

furrykef wrote:Well congratulations. You want a cookie? :P


What? You don't believe me? I can remeber vocabulary because I train my brain.
Mr.Paper
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed 07.29.2009 9:46 pm
Location: Illinois
Native language: Spanish
Gender: Male

Re: My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Postby furrykef » Sat 08.29.2009 2:13 pm

To be honest, I think it's much too early in your Japanese studies for you to be able to judge. ^^;
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Postby nukemarine » Sun 08.30.2009 6:56 am

Not sure if it'll help, but I seem to have a 90% recall on my vocabulary "tests" on Anki on initial, young, and mature cards for 2500 vocabulary words so far on over 15,000 reviews. By test, I'm given the sentence in kana and must write out the main word in kanji or I'm given the kanji sentence, and must read out the sentence and the main word.

Main method is when I add a new word, I write out the word, the kana pronunciation, then the sentence that uses the word. Pretty much it. Anki takes care of the rest.

The sentences I use are from Smart.fm's Core 2000 and 6000 series and the Tanuki list (7000 words, definitions and sentences for the joyo kanji in the Kanji in Context order).
nukemarine
 
Posts: 200
Joined: Wed 10.10.2007 5:33 am

Re: My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Postby furrykef » Sun 08.30.2009 7:25 am

I've decided to try changing my approach a little. As I go through the Core 2000 list, instead of putting sentences from smart.fm straight into Anki, I'm going to use the iKnow app to drill the words first, and then put them into Anki. The idea is to get the vocabulary firmly embedded in my short-term memory before trying to put it into my long-term memory.

Let's hope this works out well. It sounds like it'd be extra work, but it might actually not be... and if it makes it less frustrating, then I think extra work would be worth it anyway.

nukemarine wrote:Main method is when I add a new word, I write out the word, the kana pronunciation, then the sentence that uses the word. Pretty much it. Anki takes care of the rest.


My method is more comprehensive. I drill complete sentences and I test English->Kana, Kana -> Kanji, and finally Kanji->English. Yep, that's up to three cards per sentence. It sounds like a lot of work, but it does help make sure that I have comprehensive understanding of the words, and I suspect it's really not as much extra work as it sounds.

- Kef
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Postby phreadom » Sun 08.30.2009 7:32 am

It sounds pretty intimidating to me. :(

Can you point me to where I would get those decks? I don't think I'm up to nearly that level yet... but for when I am. :?
猿も木から落ちる
User avatar
phreadom
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1761
Joined: Sun 01.29.2006 8:43 pm
Location: Michigan, USA
Native language: U.S. English (米語)
Gender: Male

Re: My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Postby nukemarine » Sun 08.30.2009 8:01 am

phreadom wrote:It sounds pretty intimidating to me. :(

Can you point me to where I would get those decks? I don't think I'm up to nearly that level yet... but for when I am. :?


If you're using Anki, there's a download option in the main menu. It gives you options for downloading shared decks or plug-ins. You'll see a couple of the decks I posted: Core 2000 words, Tae Kim Grammar sentences. For video and audio for Core 2000, well, you'll probably have to get the "import Smart.Fm" plug-in for Anki, then download them that way.

In addition, on this thread, I have posted links Google documents with full Core 2000, Core 6000, Tanuki and Tae Kim.

http://forum.koohii.com/viewtopic.php?id=2548

If you get comfortable with importing into Anki, these spreadsheets are useful since you can tailor what's going into your decks.

It is intimidating at first, plus they're based on the idea you know how to recognize most if not all jouyou kanji. Still, you can change up

@FurryKef,

Yeah, I used iKnow app at first to learn the vocabulary words. However, at 1500 words in, it just became apparent I was wasting a lot of time on reviewing and losing out on certain aspects due to limitations of iKnow. At that point I switched over completely to Anki, which is fortunate as now I'm not able to use Smart.FM much online.
nukemarine
 
Posts: 200
Joined: Wed 10.10.2007 5:33 am

Re: My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Postby furrykef » Fri 09.11.2009 3:00 pm

It's becoming apparent to me that iKnow isn't drilling the words well enough into my head, so I'm probably wasting too much time with it. There are too many problems with the interface that interfere with the learning process. In particular, the program makes it too easy for you to give the correct answer even when the word isn't firmly implanted in your memory, which harms more than it helps (since the program thinks you know the word better than you actually do).

Currently I'm pondering the idea of putting the sentences into Anki while I go through the course with iKnow instead of after. Normally I don't like the idea of putting the same information into two SRSes, because they can interfere with each other, but at least the iKnow SRS will be used only for about two weeks with the given items, and iKnow drills words, not sentences, so at least there is a different focus.

I also have a new pet theory as to why Japanese vocabulary is difficult for me. Luckily, it would be easy to test. My theory is that I have a harder time learning vocabulary in Anki because the readings are written in kana instead of romaji, and kana is a less-familiar writing system. (I find that I can read kana pretty fast when I'm familiar with the words, and at a snail's pace when I'm not familiar with them. Probably because we tend to read words based on their "shapes" and not their individual letters.) By contrast, when I learn words in Spanish and Italian, I'm obviously using romaji.

I do have audio samples for my Japanese sentences, and when I get a word wrong I usually read the correct word aloud. But maybe my mind still tends to rely on the written form of a word for memorization? It'd be kind of strange, but certainly possible. It's an easy theory to test, anyway: simply add a bunch of sentences with transcriptions in romaji instead of kana and see if my performance improves. (This is only to test the theory, of course; I wouldn't want to damage my ability to read kana over the long term, and I'd convert the flash cards to kana when the experiment is over, whatever the result is.)

EDIT: Actually, I'm even less certain about the kana/romaji thing now, because I remember I had similar difficulty when studying Latin with Anki, and of course Latin is written with romaji. Perhaps testing Japanese with romaji would be a waste of time. Hmm.

- Kef
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Postby Mike Cash » Sat 09.12.2009 7:23 am

If I may be forgiven a slight 大きなお世話 I would like to suggest that you eliminate the use of romaji whenever and wherever possible. If you ever expect to function in a Japanese language environment it will be of zero use to you and is little more than a crutch when learning anyway.

I'd like to add that I am constantly impressed by all the neato programs and databases folks have available to them these days for learning Japanese. The last time I studied Japanese was back before we had the internet, and even personal computers weren't yet common (or very advanced). My study materials contained sample sentences/conversations including references to listening to "records".
Never underestimate my capacity for pettiness.
User avatar
Mike Cash
 
Posts: 2737
Joined: Sun 08.20.2006 3:38 am
Native language: English

Re: My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Postby furrykef » Sat 09.12.2009 10:20 am

Mike Cash wrote:If I may be forgiven a slight 大きなお世話 I would like to suggest that you eliminate the use of romaji whenever and wherever possible. If you ever expect to function in a Japanese language environment it will be of zero use to you and is little more than a crutch when learning anyway.


Right. I was only planning on using romaji to test a hypothesis, not to directly aid my studies in any way. I just want to identify the source of the problem at this stage; figuring out a proper solution would come after that.

- Kef
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: My theory on why Japanese vocabulary is hard

Postby nukemarine » Sun 09.13.2009 5:35 am

Mike Cash wrote:I'd like to add that I am constantly impressed by all the neato programs and databases folks have available to them these days for learning Japanese. The last time I studied Japanese was back before we had the internet, and even personal computers weren't yet common (or very advanced). My study materials contained sample sentences/conversations including references to listening to "records".


Mike, you always make the best observations. I only started seriously approaching Japanese two years ago and there's been far more made available to serious learners even since then.

Skype - talk directly with native Japanese
Torrents - "acquire" native Japanese media
Amazon.jp - buy native Japanese media
SRS programs - remember native Japanese sentences
Database programs - have all Japanese material sorted for you in progressive fashion
Subs2srs - turn entertainment material into learning aids
Online/offline dictionaries - quickly find what a word means, usually with sample sentences
Japanese forums/blogs - quickly get an answer to your question (within reason) or find new fascinating ways to learn.

I don't even think I'm approaching all that's available to help learn Japanese to be literate and fluent at a functional adult level. Plus then there's the techniques to best use that material.

20 years ago, the saying 'You should move to the country to best learn that language' was true. Now, although it'd be nice, it's not a necessity nor is it necessarily the best. With the above material, I think I've become better in Japanese while in Africa the last six months than in the six months prior living in Japan (though I'd rather still be living in Japan).
nukemarine
 
Posts: 200
Joined: Wed 10.10.2007 5:33 am

Previous

Return to Japanese General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests