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Beginners: Discuss your study habits with me!

Discussion in 'Learning Japanese' started by Tsukemono San, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Tsukemono San

    Tsukemono San 後輩
    後輩

    Oct 25, 2011
    15
    0
    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.
     
    #1
  2. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash Delusions of Adequacy
    先輩 Donor

    Mar 15, 2002
    9,957
    866
    Does the use of a structured textbook fit into that hodgepodge anywhere?
     
    #2
  3. Tsukemono San

    Tsukemono San 後輩
    後輩

    Oct 25, 2011
    15
    0
    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.
     
    #3
  4. BreakingThrough

    後輩

    May 4, 2012
    7
    0
    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
     
    #4
  5. ewww

    ewww ewww...ewww...ewww...ewww
    先輩

    Apr 5, 2012
    423
    36
    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.
     
    #5
  6. Andromedashun

    Andromedashun 先輩
    先輩

    Jan 3, 2012
    362
    3
    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.
     
    #6
  7. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash Delusions of Adequacy
    先輩 Donor

    Mar 15, 2002
    9,957
    866
    Relying on a dictionary is ineffective as hell.
     
    #7
  8. Half-n-Half

    Half-n-Half 先輩
    先輩

    Jul 17, 2007
    913
    65
    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?
     
    #8
  9. Andromedashun

    Andromedashun 先輩
    先輩

    Jan 3, 2012
    362
    3
    ^ A little more advance than beginner I think. I know basic grammars and around 350 Kanjis.
     
    #9
  10. forgottenmems

    forgottenmems Perfume Love
    後輩

    Nov 15, 2011
    12
    0
    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 :)
     
    #10
  11. forgottenmems

    forgottenmems Perfume Love
    後輩

    Nov 15, 2011
    12
    0
    Oops the bad system lol I'm writing on a mobile phone and it corrected base to bad as I wrote fast.
     
    #11
  12. Half-n-Half

    Half-n-Half 先輩
    先輩

    Jul 17, 2007
    913
    65
    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?
     
    #12
  13. jonway

    jonway JW
    先輩

    Oct 9, 2011
    33
    0
    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!!
     
    #13
  14. FinancialWar

    FinancialWar 先輩
    先輩

    May 19, 2006
    1,069
    42
    does that it really work?
     
    #14
  15. jonway

    jonway JW
    先輩

    Oct 9, 2011
    33
    0
    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.
     
    #15
  16. Mike Cash

    Mike Cash Delusions of Adequacy
    先輩 Donor

    Mar 15, 2002
    9,957
    866
    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.
     
    #16
    1 person likes this.
  17. nekojita

    nekojita Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator

    Jan 14, 2009
    979
    255
    #17
  18. jonway

    jonway JW
    先輩

    Oct 9, 2011
    33
    0
    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.
     
    #18
  19. forgottenmems

    forgottenmems Perfume Love
    後輩

    Nov 15, 2011
    12
    0
    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.
     
    #19
  20. jonway

    jonway JW
    先輩

    Oct 9, 2011
    33
    0
    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.
     
    #20

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