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Frustrated by a long-term plateau

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Re: Frustrated by a long-term plateau

Postby Fillanzea » Wed 09.23.2009 12:21 am

NileCat wrote:So, my suggestion/question is "isn't there any way for you to enjoy those pieces without 'studying' it?"


That's the question, isn't it?

I hope that there is! I think that you're right and if I can focus on the prose and the style of writing, instead of trying to get through a book as fast as I can, that might be a better experience for me. But I also wonder if it's always going to feel like work until my vocabulary is better, because really, my vocabulary is still not that great. Just looking at the first page of 「坊っちゃん」, I don't know:

親譲り
無鉄砲
腰を抜かす
無闇
囃す
翳す

I'd guess that only those last two are really old-fashioned, but when you add up the words that aren't commonly used any more plus the ones that I should know but don't, that's when it gets difficult.


I have editions of 「走れメロス」and 「坊っちゃん」that have furigana put in, and that might be a good place to start.
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Re: Frustrated by a long-term plateau

Postby spin13 » Wed 09.23.2009 3:17 am

NileCat wrote:No offence but, recommending to read short ones because "吾輩は猫である" is daunting because it is long to a person who can read 村上春樹 or 椎名誠 sounds just...ah...interesting to me.

I recommended it from person experience. I, too, have unfinished books sitting on my shelf. Contemporary author Yoshimoto Banana is among them because she sucks. Natsume Soseki is there because he's a tough, slow read. Though it's pure conjecture, I feel as if I could read 1000 pages of, say, Murakami Haruki in the same time it would take me to read 500 of the likes of Tanizaki. Between the unknown kanji, vocabulary, and cultural references (the last of which, judging by the number of footnotes in some of these books, I'm not alone on), these older authors are simply in a different category.

NileCat wrote:I read 吾輩は猫である for the first time when I was 11 I'm sure that I wasn't able to read all the kanji in it and it's doubtful if I could understand it. BUT, I remember I really enjoyed it. And I hated short stories because they ended so soon!

Likewise, I read Lord of the Rings around the same age but I knew a lot more English words then than I know Japanese words now.

While I do read full length novels (I'm reading 海辺のカフカ right now), I prefer short stories. That may also have influenced by previous suggestion. To each his own, but I do also feel there are some motivational benefits to working your way piece by piece into an author's works.
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Re: Frustrated by a long-term plateau

Postby NileCat » Wed 09.23.2009 8:04 am

Thank you for your reply, spin13.
It's good to hear opinions about Japanese novels from intelligent non-native people. BTW, I'm reading Quo Vadis in English at the moment. And, yeah, I admit it's quite long!

And Fillanzea, I suppose your Japanese is much better than you think.
It might look kind of geeky I'm afraid, but may I tell you what I thought about your examples?
Again, this is not necessary true. Only my prejudiced opinion.

親譲り---70% of 12-year-old can't read it. They only get it as something related to parent.
無鉄砲---60% can't read it.
腰を抜かす---It's a common phrase.
無闇---70% can't read it.
囃す---98% can't read it. And 80% of adult can't.
翳す---99.99% can't read it. And 99% of adult can't.

I suppose you would be surprised if you see how those kids who read those novels for the first time (including me) don't have enough vocabulary to read those pieces at their age. But we usually don't care. Why?
As I read in the other thread in this forum, Japanese is considerd to be one of the most difficult languages in the world. But do you think we are smarter than you? Haha, defenitely not! Which means we make grammatical mistakes much more frequently than you do in your mother tongue. And in terms of vocabulary and kanji, same things happen. Most of us don't have such wide vocabulary like you. We "guess" the meaning in the context. That's why context is important in Japanese.
So, what I wanted to say is "hey, take it easy! If you come across a difficult word, we natives find it difficult as same as you." The only defference would be that we don't care that much. :wink:
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Re: Frustrated by a long-term plateau

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 09.23.2009 8:25 am

NileCat wrote:親譲り---70% of 12-year-old can't read it. They only get it as something related to parent.
無鉄砲---60% can't read it.
腰を抜かす---It's a common phrase.
無闇---70% can't read it.
囃す---98% can't read it. And 80% of adult can't.
翳す---99.99% can't read it. And 99% of adult can't.


You are probably referring to the kanji, but I bet that nearly every native Japanese 12-year old knows all of those words in spoken language (maybe not おやゆずり? I don't know how rare that is). That's the usual problem we have in reading even when we know the kanji. Probably some of those will have furigana in the printed editions.
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Re: Frustrated by a long-term plateau

Postby NileCat » Wed 09.23.2009 9:57 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:You are probably referring to the kanji, but I bet that nearly every native Japanese 12-year old knows all of those words in spoken language (maybe not おやゆずり? I don't know how rare that is). That's the usual problem we have in reading even when we know the kanji. Probably some of those will have furigana in the printed editions.

Very interesting. Yeah, I understand what you mean. The existence of kanji makes everything complicated in Japanese language. For instance, although I don't think all the kids know the word "おやゆずり", it says "親"(parent) "譲"(give). So those who know the kanji can guess the meaning as "hereditary". But it can't happen when you read it only in hiragana.お-やずり? おやゆ-ずり?  
無鉄砲. I suppose kids find it funny. Because "無" means "nothing" and "鉄砲" is "gun".

「親譲りの無鉄砲で子供の時から損ばかりしている」
This is the famous very first sentence of Soseki's novel 坊ちゃん.
Japanese native kids would think like this:

"Soseki says something about parent, and he says he is something like a gun (but what the f*** this 無 means?), and he has been having disadvantage since his childhood...ok, I think I got it."

Well...is it very far from your understanding? And the passage followed in the novel describes what Soseki wanted to say by using the uncommon word "親譲りの無鉄砲". It's not Dostoyevsky. It is intended for anyone to read.(hey, I include you!)
This is the reason why those novels are used in our textbooks at the compulsory schooling.

Ahh...sorry, I don't think this post is helpful for anyone but... :)  

EDIT:
Please don't get me wrong.
In my definition, 12-year old kid is a "fluent speaker".
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Re: Frustrated by a long-term plateau

Postby Endo » Wed 09.23.2009 10:55 am

OitaFish wrote:I am reading 走れメロス now (junior high school book). The grammar isn't hard at all. I picked up on the first page that ね = ない (ならね = ならない) and I haven't ran into anything else strange yet. The hard part about reading the book is the vocabulary. I think that is where the native Japanese school kids have the advantage -- they may not be able to pass 1 kyuu but I bet they know a lot more vocabulary than non-natives that can pass 1 kyuu.


I just read that book, but it was an easy version with audio CD included, I think its even more motivating to listen and read along. The story was ok though.
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Re: Frustrated by a long-term plateau

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 09.23.2009 11:43 am

NileCat wrote:無鉄砲. I suppose kids find it funny. Because "無" means "nothing" and "鉄砲" is "gun".


I knew 無鉄砲 when I read it because it's a very common word in video games, particularly to describe the 性格 of a character. I figured Japanese kids might know it from that also.
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Re: Frustrated by a long-term plateau

Postby NileCat » Wed 09.23.2009 12:08 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:I knew 無鉄砲 when I read it because it's a very common word in video games, particularly to describe the 性格 of a character. I figured Japanese kids might know it from that also.

Touche!  But, you know, there wasn't any video game when I was a kid. :lol:
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Re: Frustrated by a long-term plateau

Postby furrykef » Wed 09.23.2009 12:11 pm

spin13 wrote:Contemporary author Yoshimoto Banana is among them because she sucks.


Hmm, really? I think one of her stories is in Read Real Japanese Fiction, but I haven't really dived into it yet.
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Re: Frustrated by a long-term plateau

Postby spin13 » Wed 09.23.2009 8:35 pm

furrykef wrote:
spin13 wrote:Contemporary author Yoshimoto Banana is among them because she sucks.


Hmm, really? I think one of her stories is in Read Real Japanese Fiction, but I haven't really dived into it yet.

It was humorously but well stated in this post by forum member Cratz that "Banana Yoshimoto is all about the ephemeral, non-existant world that exists within naive, adolescent high-school girls' minds." Not my scene.

I've heard her essays, which to be fair I haven't read, are better, but I wouldn't read another one of her novels.
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Re: Frustrated by a long-term plateau

Postby NileCat » Thu 09.24.2009 12:32 am

spin13 wrote:
furrykef wrote:
spin13 wrote:Contemporary author Yoshimoto Banana is among them because she sucks.


Hmm, really? I think one of her stories is in Read Real Japanese Fiction, but I haven't really dived into it yet.

It was humorously but well stated in this post by forum member Cratz that "Banana Yoshimoto is all about the ephemeral, non-existant world that exists within naive, adolescent high-school girls' minds." Not my scene.

I've heard her essays, which to be fair I haven't read, are better, but I wouldn't read another one of her novels.

Ahh...can I point out just one thing?
When you say something about literature, it's ok to say "she sucks". Because that is your opinion. I respect it.
But you should avoid saying "she sucks because it's not my scene". It just sounds irrational and disrespectful.
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Re: Frustrated by a long-term plateau

Postby NileCat » Thu 09.24.2009 2:56 pm

I received a polite mail from spin13 asking my intention in my previous post.
And I read the posts in this thread over and over again. And I included it may be my personal problem, which is that I don't understand the nuance of "she sucks".
If it means "I don't like her", my previous message was only stupid. I barked up the wrong tree. I'm sorry.
If it means "she is awful", I think it at least makes sense. Or not?

My point was, the opinion in the link (by Cratz) was only telling the difference of Yoshimoto and Murakami. And it was written by one of the big fans of Murakami. In that respect, the opinion is humorous and interesting. But in fact, it's only partially true. Besides, the comparison wasn't even Cratz's original theory. It was originaly stated in another website in another context.
And here, the opinion was quoted by a person who said he hasn't even read Yoshimoto because "she sucks". I thought it was unfair for the forum members who might love to read Yoshimoto.

And, my intention in any discussion in this forum is not to "win". :) At my English level, fat chance.

Do you think I made myself clear? Or my understanding is totally wrong?
(I understand this is not a "English Practice Thread" though, can I ask a favor?)
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Re: Frustrated by a long-term plateau

Postby furrykef » Thu 09.24.2009 3:33 pm

I agree, NileCat: "she sucks" is closer in meaning to "she's a bad writer" than "she doesn't write about things that I can relate to". I have to say that it's a bit unusual to take a comment like that seriously, though.

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Re: Frustrated by a long-term plateau

Postby NileCat » Thu 09.24.2009 3:52 pm

Thanks furrykef! and sorry spin13!
Now I'll use this word for the first time in my life:
My English sucks!
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Re: Frustrated by a long-term plateau

Postby Darkseed74 » Thu 09.24.2009 4:43 pm

NileCat wrote:My English sucks!

I'm not a native English speaker anyway, for what is worth my opinion, I think your English is pretty good.
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