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  • 1 Post By Mike Cash

Thread: Beginners: Discuss your study habits with me!

  1. #1
    Œã”y Female
    Join Date Oct 25, 2011
    Location Elkton
    Posts 15
    USA - Maryland

    Beginners: Discuss your study habits with me!


    ‘ÛŒð—¬ƒp[ƒeƒB[
    Tokyo International Party

    How do you like to study Japanese?
    I usually jump back and forth from practicing Kanji and watching Japanese TV (game shows (which I recommend for entertainment as much as study), news, movies and a few anime). Eventually I get tiered of listening/speaking exercises so I move onto writing-- then go back to listening again--to keep my interest up.
    As for Kanji, currently I'm cementing my knowledge of characters taught to first graders. I make flash cards that include the character (as it is hand written and printed), the on and kun readings, and three or four examples of it as it's used in combination with another character. Underneath the kanji I write the word in hiragana as well, and make a few notations to remind me of the pronunciation.
    I find that looking through the flashcards isn't enough though; I try sit down for a half an hour everyday to write out characters I remember and re-learn ones that I forgot.
    I'm also in the middle of learning and translating a few Japanese songs I like.
    If you have a fun studying technique please share! I'd like to get a Japanese pen pal but I think I'm too much of a beginner for that.
  2. #2
    Delusions of Adequacy Male
    Join Date Mar 15, 2002
    Location Japan
    Posts 9,667
    Japan-Gunma
    Does the use of a structured textbook fit into that hodgepodge anywhere?
  3. #3
    Œã”y Female
    Join Date Oct 25, 2011
    Location Elkton
    Posts 15
    USA - Maryland

    Nope

    I can't really afford a textbook at the moment--mostly I use online resources--but I like to pick my own direction (willy-nilly as it may be), otherwise I have a hard time staying interested enough to keep going. I'm sure I'm missing out on some things that I should have learned a while ago, but I've also made a lot of progress for only having studied the language seriously for a few months.

    Perhaps some intermediate/advanced students can tip me off as to things I may be missing out on by not studying in a more structured way?
    Obviously grammar is one of those things, but I think it can be helpful to pick up grammar and sentence structure in a more organic way as opposed to learning one rule after another.
  4. #4
    Œã”y Female
    Join Date May 4, 2012
    Location Taichung
    Posts 7
    Taiwan
    I have a textbook with a CD, so I'm learning from that. I'm also watching some Japanese shows and clips of a fashion model, with Japanese and English subtitles, so now I know some fashion words in Japanese. XD
  5. #5
    ewww...ewww...ewww...ewww Male
    Join Date Apr 5, 2012
    Location Rockville
    Posts 423
    USA - Maryland
    I can't really afford a textbook at the moment--mostly I use online resources
    P2P could help You with text books. There are many as scanned books as electronic books and flash cards.

    However, looks like You are from MD, and there is good school at JASWDC. Classes are cheap enought (about $180 if You are a member of JASW), and there are several levels of japanese. You may choose one. They are giving some textbook "Genki" too.

    > There is link to JASWDC <

    Good luck

    <<EDIT
    O-ops! You are from Elkton. It is too far from DC. BTW, P2P is still an option.
    ‚šZzZzZz...
  6. #6
    æ”y Male
    Join Date Jan 3, 2012
    Location Ha Noi
    Posts 357
    Vietnam
    I rely on dictionary a lot, especially Kanji. I sometimes, or frankly rarely check Minna no Nihongo. Sadly to say, I haven't finished volume II for 4 years. Rely only on textbook is boring as hell.
  7. #7
    Delusions of Adequacy Male
    Join Date Mar 15, 2002
    Location Japan
    Posts 9,667
    Japan-Gunma
    Relying on a dictionary is ineffective as hell.
  8. #8
    æ”y Male
    Join Date Jul 17, 2007
    Location Sendai
    Posts 913
    Japan-Miyagi
    In my opinion and experience the best approach is not to rely solely or too heavily on anything.

    Textbooks are good for giving you structure and a disciplined approach to learning the material in a (usually) logical sequence.
    On the other hand, you need real-world material to learn the vocab they don't teach you in textbooks and to train your ears to pick up the language. Personally I dislike dictionaries because they don't give you much context. I also feel you should learn new words in Japanese rather than your native tongue whenever possible.

    Out of curiosity, what would you rate your Japanese level, Andromeda?
    "If you wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix'd in your present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error."

    -Excerpt from The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  9. #9
    æ”y Male
    Join Date Jan 3, 2012
    Location Ha Noi
    Posts 357
    Vietnam
    ^ A little more advance than beginner I think. I know basic grammars and around 350 Kanjis.
  10. #10
    Perfume Love Female
    Join Date Nov 15, 2011
    Location Boston
    Posts 12
    USA - Massachusetts
    I think textbooks are a bad idea for beginners...the reliance on formal grammar is atrocious. You should learn both. They go horribly slow and most don't mention the base system for Japanese verbs (Base system=Tim's takamatsu) The bad system makes learning verb endings a piece of cake! Plus textbooks focus on vocab structured around a specific topic. Just because you want to know how to say English literature or biology doesn't mean you need or want to know 10 more subjects at the same time! Also where's the authentic content for reading? Stick with novels and blog posts etc for reading meaningful/ real life Japanese that will keep you engaged
  11. #11
    Perfume Love Female
    Join Date Nov 15, 2011
    Location Boston
    Posts 12
    USA - Massachusetts
    I think textbooks are a bad idea for beginners...the reliance on formal grammar is atrocious. You should learn both. They go horribly slow and most don't mention the base system for Japanese verbs (Base system=Tim's takamatsu) The bad system makes learning verb endings a piece of cake! Plus textbooks focus on vocab structured around a specific topic. Just because you want to know how to say English literature or biology doesn't mean you need or want to know 10 more subjects at the same time! Also where's the authentic content for reading? Stick with novels and blog posts etc for reading meaningful/ real life Japanese that will keep you engaged
    Oops the bad system lol I'm writing on a mobile phone and it corrected base to bad as I wrote fast.
  12. #12
    æ”y Male
    Join Date Jul 17, 2007
    Location Sendai
    Posts 913
    Japan-Miyagi
    I think textbooks are a bad idea for beginners...the reliance on formal grammar is atrocious. You should learn both. They go horribly slow and most don't mention the base system for Japanese verbs (Base system=Tim's takamatsu) The bad system makes learning verb endings a piece of cake! Plus textbooks focus on vocab structured around a specific topic. Just because you want to know how to say English literature or biology doesn't mean you need or want to know 10 more subjects at the same time! Also where's the authentic content for reading? Stick with novels and blog posts etc for reading meaningful/ real life Japanese that will keep you engaged
    If you study on your own you can typically set your own pace with textbooks if you find it too easy or too difficult. Some beginner textbooks are atrocious but there are good ones out there. I would agree with the point about learning dictionary form before -masu form and don't know of any textbooks off the top of my head that teach dictionary form first.

    Also, wouldn't novels/blog posts be a bit advanced for beginners who have a very limited vocab and knowledge of the grammar?
  13. #13
    JW Male
    Join Date Oct 9, 2011
    Location Kuala Lumpur
    Posts 33
    Malaysia
    Learn the basics through text books.
    Learn the practical usage through TV/anime/etc.
    Learn vocabs through dictionary. I read dictionaries...hahahaa.
    Learn by writing something....like an article/blog/etc.

    I also wrote an article in ezinearticle titled How to Learn Japanese in 3 baby steps. Perhaps you can check it out too!!
  14. #14
    æ”y Male
    Join Date May 19, 2006
    Location Sydney
    Posts 1,026
    Australia
    I read dictionaries...hahahaa.
    does that it really work?
    “ú–{Œê”\—ÍŽŽŒ±@@JLPT: N5, N4 & N3
    “ú–{Š¿ŽšŒŸ’è@@@Kanken: Lv. 10, 9, 8 & 7
    HSK: Lv. 1, 2 & 3
    ˜a°—mË
  15. #15
    JW Male
    Join Date Oct 9, 2011
    Location Kuala Lumpur
    Posts 33
    Malaysia
    does that it really work?
    I works for me.
    It is so much fun when you read the dictionary. There wont be any word you dont know. How can you not know any word when you are reading the dictionary.

    I do it when I learn English too.

    hahahaha...i just enjoy it.
  16. #16
    Delusions of Adequacy Male
    Join Date Mar 15, 2002
    Location Japan
    Posts 9,667
    Japan-Gunma
    From what I observed of people walking around chained to their dictionaries, I determined from the start that I would NOT carry one around, and I would avoid using one entirely, if at all possible.

    I also got sick of watching my English students stop me at every unfamiliar word while they looked it up.

    I preferred to teach them some tips for trying to figure out words (or at least make a good guess) "on the fly"....without stopping the conversation.

    Typically they would balk and I've tell them to go ahead and look up the word. Most often the word and definition were underlined, highlighted, or both, and the entry was grubby from where they had run their fingers over it do many times in the past.

    "How many times have you looked that word up before?"

    "A lot!"

    "And you forget it every time?"

    "Yes."

    "Then obviously that method isn't working for you. How about trying my way a few times?"

    I'm glad dictionaries work for some people. But I think if a person is going to be using the language as a second language instead of a foreign language (living and working in the environment of the language with a substantial daily need for it, rather than learning it as a hobby), I think they would be well advised to develop the skills to function without one, as they can be a crutch and a hindrance to progress instead of an aid if you're not careful. You can certainly become psychologically dependent on them.
    Reinie likes this.
  17. #17
    Tutor Female
    Join Date Jan 14, 2009
    Location Somerset
    Posts 929
    United Kingdom
    This is a very good little article on contextual reading:
    ESL Reading Lesson - Using Context for Reading Literacy

    It's written for ESL teaching but there's nothing there which couldn't be applied to Japanese.
  18. #18
    JW Male
    Join Date Oct 9, 2011
    Location Kuala Lumpur
    Posts 33
    Malaysia
    dear Nekojita,

    I read that link you pasted. It is a good article.

    I find that it is also applicable for Japanese.
    I do that too. I skip through words that I dont know. All you need to know is what it is trying to say. You dont have to know every word.

    However, we cannot ignore dictionary completely. I mean if you read over a whole paragraph. You dont know half the words, how could you guess what it is trying to say. At least, check out some words in the dictionary to get a better idea of what the paragraph says.

    My suggestion: Build up basic vocabs with dictionary. Use contextual reading to understand what it says.
  19. #19
    Perfume Love Female
    Join Date Nov 15, 2011
    Location Boston
    Posts 12
    USA - Massachusetts
    If you study on your own you can typically set your own pace with textbooks if you find it too easy or too difficult. Some beginner textbooks are atrocious but there are good ones out there. I would agree with the point about learning dictionary form before -masu form and don't know of any textbooks off the top of my head that teach dictionary form first.

    Also, wouldn't novels/blog posts be a bit advanced for beginners who have a very limited vocab and knowledge of the grammar?
    Nah blog posts aren't too complicated for grammar all you need is a basic grasp of ga, wa, wo, no, ni and de and the whole point of reading anyhow is to exams vocab so you don't need to know very much vocab to start reading things. Just re-read or srs the vocab to retain it.
  20. #20
    JW Male
    Join Date Oct 9, 2011
    Location Kuala Lumpur
    Posts 33
    Malaysia
    Agree with forgottenmems. Basic understanding of simple grammar will get you going.

    Not all blogs are complicated. You choose what you read. Why choose blogs that are complicated and not enjoyable?
    You dont learn if you dont enjoy. You dont enjoy if you dont understand. You dont understand when you choose complicated materials.

    So, just choose simple to understand contents.

    See How to learn Japanese Using Blogs.

    Remember, learning should be fun.

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