Hello, bonjour, konbanwa

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Joined: Fri 07.08.2011 5:22 pm
Native language: French

Hello, bonjour, konbanwa

Post by Asterix » Fri 07.08.2011 5:50 pm

Hello, I teach French online to people around the world including 2 Japanese students so I decided to learn Japanese in order to teach a Japanese young lady from Tokyo as she doesn't speak English and she is (was) a total beginner at French. It's been a lot of fun for 4 months but I want to know more Japanese to teach her more French as she enjoys what we do and I don't want to disappoint her. The other Japanese student speaks English and already knows some French so it is easier.
Any advice is very welcome.
I feel that I can never learn Japanese signs :( but I will try.

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Re: Hello, bonjour, konbanwa

Post by micahcowan » Fri 07.08.2011 6:39 pm

Welcome to TJP!

It sounds to me like you might be best served by focusing especially on grammar, and learning vocabulary to match the lessons you give in French.

I'd recommend Samuel Martin's "Essential Japanese", as it is heavy on grammar and light on vocab. It is very complete in its treatment on grammar, more so than any other textbook I've found yet. And, it does not use Japanese writing systems at all, so you'd only have to study that if you want to (separately). Its descriptions tend to be some of the clearest and yet concise, that I've seen. For me, this small booklet was worth several volumes of textbooks in other series; though for most new Japanese learners I'd recommend getting the book only after going through a volume or two of something more modern and general (see below).

It has a few downsides, though. One, it's out of print, so you may have a little difficulty finding it (well, just look in online used-book sources rather than stores that sell only new books). Two, it was written more than half a century ago, and was intended for English-speakers living in Japan during the post-war occupation, so some of what it teaches is outdated, and the vocabulary is heavy on military and missionary concepts (since that was the target market). Still, the outdated stuff is mostly extremely minor things, such as things that are "correct", but might sound a bit old-fashioned. And I think the benefits will far outweigh any shortcomings for your situation.

Good luck! You may find Japanese to be a more alien language than you may have anticipated... but for my part I hope that its unique beauty will draw you in, to become interested in the language just for its own sake (at which point, I'd strongly recommend you start learning its writing systems as well).

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