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jwkelley
July 13th, 2013, 01:36
So where did you start from and where are you at Japanese wise since starting Jet?

mothy
July 13th, 2013, 10:58
It progressed up to the point where I could understand Japanese people aren't worth getting to know.

word
July 13th, 2013, 12:38
I spoke no Japanese at all when I arrived. Nowadays, I can carry on extremely simple conversations, express basic thoughts, and function passably in Japan. My comprehension is far lower than I'd like, but I've made progress and continue to improve.

Unfortunately, in a manner somewhat similar to mothy, I have come to realize that the amount of effort it would take to acquire a level of Japanese that one might consider "fluent" is not justifiable at all. There are no career options that would make such an effort worthwhile; there are no people with whom I desperately long to communicate in Japanese. It might be cool to be able to read some Japanese literature or something, or bang a hot J-girl, but cost-benefit analysis of these payoffs is rather revealing. To be honest, the only reason I'm still working at it is learning for learning's sake, at this point--which is fine.

If I manage to bang a hot J-girl in the process, I guess that would be nice.

lilyanphino
July 13th, 2013, 13:04
I came with 4 years of Japanese at college under my belt (but with a skill that looked like I only had one semester of study), and I'm leaving with a higher listening and speaking ability, but I'm nowhere near fluent. My kanji reading skill is pretty much the same as when I came here. I've been too busy to do any serious studying, and I lack motivation.

RomulusLupin
July 13th, 2013, 13:18
My comprehension has increased exponentially. I can understand 80-100% of the conversation around me, depending on the context and whether or not I'm actually meant to be included. My speaking, while now littered with local pronunciation, is much more fluent than when I arrived. I am able to do business dealings in Japanese, and get much less tired when I have to spend hours (or days) only speaking Japanese. Writing pretty much eludes me these days, though; I have to double-check kanji on my phone/computer before I feel confident handwriting them now. On the other hand, my reading is much improved. Even when I don't know the pronunciation of a particular kanji I've now have three years of input to help me decipher meaning in context. I'm also a bajillion times more confident in my ability to use Japanese to communicate meaning, even when I make mistakes.

To clarify, I studied Japanese for four years in college and did one semester of study abroad in Japan before JET.

Gizmotech
July 13th, 2013, 21:33
It progressed up to the point where I could understand Japanese people aren't worth getting to know.



Unfortunately, in a manner somewhat similar to mothy, I have come to realize that the amount of effort it would take to acquire a level of Japanese that one might consider "fluent" is not justifiable at all. There are no career options that would make such an effort worthwhile; there are no people with whom I desperately long to communicate in Japanese. It might be cool to be able to read some Japanese literature or something, or bang a hot J-girl, but cost-benefit analysis of these payoffs is rather revealing. To be honest, the only reason I'm still working at it is learning for learning's sake, at this point--which is fine.

If I manage to bang a hot J-girl in the process, I guess that would be nice.

Pretty much this. I have a friend who has his pre 1 kanji kantei, jlpt 1, and will be studying at kyoudai next april, and he came with very minimal Japanese. The amount of time he put in over 3 years to get to that level just isn't worth it to me.

I came w/ 4 years of uni, which was basically nothing when I got here (given how useless it was). I can now understand most conversations going on around me, and can hold sufficiently complex conversations to accomplish pretty much any task I actually need to do.
If it puts it in perspective, I have taught an entire hour long class entirely in Japanese, rather effectively as far as the student was concerned, and have drank with parents entirely in Japanese for well over 6 hours straight w/o any serious communication problems.

zero
July 13th, 2013, 21:37
My comprehension has increased exponentially. I can understand 80-100% of the conversation around me, depending on the context and whether or not I'm actually meant to be included. My speaking, while now littered with local pronunciation, is much more fluent than when I arrived. I am able to do business dealings in Japanese, and get much less tired when I have to spend hours (or days) only speaking Japanese. Writing pretty much eludes me these days, though; I have to double-check kanji on my phone/computer before I feel confident handwriting them now. On the other hand, my reading is much improved. Even when I don't know the pronunciation of a particular kanji I've now have three years of input to help me decipher meaning in context. I'm also a bajillion times more confident in my ability to use Japanese to communicate meaning, even when I make mistakes.

To clarify, I studied Japanese for four years in college and did one semester of study abroad in Japan before JET.

Sometimes I think you are me.
Except I did a year study abroad and you seem much tidier than me in a household-way.

mothy
July 13th, 2013, 22:17
I think all the women on this site are the same. Except stanmarsh. Because she couldn't even make it to Japan.

jwkelley
July 14th, 2013, 01:54
People discount their years in Uni a lot, but most of the people I see with Uni experience progress a lot faster here than people studying from the ground up.

Gizmotech
July 14th, 2013, 07:45
I discount my uni years because I have people who live near me who have progressed to a better level of Japanese than me in the same or less time than I have been here.

lilyanphino
July 14th, 2013, 10:31
I discount my uni years because I have people who live near me who have progressed to a better level of Japanese than me in the same or less time than I have been here.

This times 1000.

Gizmotech
July 14th, 2013, 11:59
Sorry, I also discount it because it did nothing to help me get better at Japanese. It's the skills I've learned here for self-study and how to study the language which have created actual progress both inmyself and those individuals who have achieved a drastic increase in performance. Including those who self study.

jwkelley
July 14th, 2013, 12:16
What self study techniques have you seen to be most effective?

For me it seems mostly to keep the SRS rolling and experiencing and using the language as much as possible.

word
July 14th, 2013, 12:57
For me it seems mostly to keep the SRS rolling and experiencing and using the language as much as possible.

Same here. Also, it helps to have a general willingness to attempt conversation even though you're quite aware that you sound significantly less intelligent than a semi-conscious Japanese person with severe mental retardation and Down Syndrome who was also just hit in the head with a brick.

stanmarsh
July 15th, 2013, 07:37
I think all the women on this site are the same. Except stanmarsh. Because she couldn't even make it to Japan.

Based on what people say here about ALT incompetence, I am still not sure whether to be offended or proud that JET rejected me. BUT HEY GUESS WHAT? Most companies around here also have offices in Tokyo. I will go live there and come to Saitama and we can hang out and be BFFs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :redface:

I've managed to forget all of the Japanese I learned. Oops.

therealwindycity
July 15th, 2013, 12:10
Ditto what RL said for me. I need more work if I were to do something relating to customer service in Japanese, and I still have a hard time understanding old people and high school boys, but in everyday life I don't often have communication problems. I'm sure I still make plenty of mistakes when I speak but it doesn't feel exhausting like it did when I first got here.

coop52
July 16th, 2013, 08:49
I came with only a very basic knowledge (could read hiragana and katakana and a few kanji, could do a self-intro and ask where the bathroom was), and have gotten to the point where I mostly understand what's going on. I've never done a formal class, only self study. I study a lot in my downtime and have picked up a lot just from reading and chatting with people. I still have problems writing, though, usually have to double check kanji on my phone. I don't really feel like I have communication problems anymore and can do most things by myself. For example, I didn't have any real problem signing up for an apartment by myself. Considering that, when I first got here, I didn't know how to refuse the disposable chopsticks at a combini, I think I've made a ton of progress. I'm still going to continue to study mostly because I want to work here and not sound completely retarded. I don't really care about tests other than passing JLPT N1 for resume reasons, and even then as long as it's a passing score I don't care. I'm not taking the test again to just get a better score.

Jiggit
July 16th, 2013, 10:06
Most people I've met here who have decent Japanese studied it in some capacity before they came or have been here for 3+ years. I definitely should have learned more by now but I kind of get irritated at people who say "studying it at university didn't help". Sure it might not have given you fluency but it gave you a lot more than nothing.

Tyr
July 16th, 2013, 10:20
When I came I kinda knew kana and had heisig'ed a bunch of a kanji.
Spoken Japanese was the first 5 chapters of minna no nihongo or thereabouts, I did one semester of introduction to Japanese many years ago, most of which was fogotten.

Now...nowhere near as good as I should be after two years. I just failed JLPT N3 though I think I could have passed N4.
All Japanese girlfriends do is leech your English. Maybe its transmitted through the winky hence a Japanese boyfriend would be a better choice language wise? :hmm:
I think much of the problem was getting to a basic foundation level from where I could begin to seriously learn, my first year was a bit of a write off for visible signs of improvement.

RomulusLupin
July 16th, 2013, 10:22
It definitely helped me a ton to have studied before coming here–I don't want to try to discount that at all–but unsurprisingly living here for three years has done way more for my ability than just studying ever did. Anyone who arrives with Japanese has an automatic leg up, but the frustrating part is how unhelpful it seems when you first arrive. You may have studied for four years, but you still feel barely able to communicate at first. It's a better position to be in than being exposed to Japanese for the very first time upon arrival, but there's something about knowing how much you don't know that's really scary when you've studied a lot and still don't know how you could possibly learn enough to live.

Jiggit
July 16th, 2013, 10:29
All Japanese girlfriends do is leech your English.

Only if you have a girlfriend who is basically trading vagina for kaiwa. My friend who had a non-English speaking girlfriend for a year and a half's Japanese level went up massively, simply because he would spend hours on end with her and absolutely HAD to use Japanese. If your girlfriend has better English than you do Japanese then yeah, I imagine it'd just be too awkward to try and use Japanese most of the time unless you really committed to it.

Gizmotech
July 16th, 2013, 11:23
It definitely helped me a ton to have studied before coming here–I don't want to try to discount that at all–but unsurprisingly living here for three years has done way more for my ability than just studying ever did. Anyone who arrives with Japanese has an automatic leg up, but the frustrating part is how unhelpful it seems when you first arrive. You may have studied for four years, but you still feel barely able to communicate at first. It's a better position to be in than being exposed to Japanese for the very first time upon arrival, but there's something about knowing how much you don't know that's really scary when you've studied a lot and still don't know how you could possibly learn enough to live.

I found that after I came here I basically spent the first 6 months almost, just sitting around unlearning all the Japanese I had ever learned at uni and re-assembled the parts that were relevant back into something useful. Frankly, I could've just skipped that part, come here with nothing, and just fought my way up to the same level in the 6 months anyways. I'm pretty sure it's my linguistic syntactic knowledge that has helped me more than most things at understanding it.

hunterofpeace
July 16th, 2013, 13:18
I feel like I didn't come in with much more vocabulary than my self-study friends but everyone I know that has self-studied has the most atrocious accent.

Tyr
July 16th, 2013, 13:31
Only if you have a girlfriend who is basically trading vagina for kaiwa. My friend who had a non-English speaking girlfriend for a year and a half's Japanese level went up massively, simply because he would spend hours on end with her and absolutely HAD to use Japanese. If your girlfriend has better English than you do Japanese then yeah, I imagine it'd just be too awkward to try and use Japanese most of the time unless you really committed to it.

That was my ideal. Sadly my Japanese wasn't up to getting such a girl.
And of course I happened to meet a girl I like but had the small disadvantage of speaking English.

isitatomic
April 4th, 2014, 14:57
After 3 years of sorta half-assing it, from zero to registering for the N2 this summer. If I had to guess I'd say right now I'm bottom rung N2. Arrived with high Mandarin proficiency and have pretty much just taught myself with those crappy CLAIR books and other random supplementary materials.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
April 8th, 2014, 16:33
Arrived with two months of frantic cramming and nothing else, then promptly forgot almost everything to do with writing in the first few months here whilst learning a lot more ways to apologise for messing things up. Now I'm, what, seven months in? Or something? I'm now at the level where I can complain that my strawberries are expensive, but can't answer why I bothered buying them.

webstaa
April 9th, 2014, 08:28
Studied in college/studied abroad in Japan, pretty conversational. I graduated a year before I started JET and didn't do much studying. Since I arrived, I'm back to about where I was in college for conversational ability, plus a bit more keigo. For reading, much better than I was in college. I still suck at writing Japanese.

ihatefall
April 30th, 2014, 15:21
I think its all what you make of it.
Good Learner, Bad Learner - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MqIVkUHt20)
Is a good example of two approaches.

Apparently, the 'good learner' came to Japan with no Japanese at all, that is a little less than one year later. While you don't have to be as much of a 'gaijin entertainment clown' as he is; I think being outgoing, involving others with your studies, asking lots of questions, and being proactive are best ways to improve your J-go skillz.

This is another dude who came in with no J-go and made this after 2 years I think. (He has a blog post about it.)
100,000 Kanji - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wN6RwGq9LrM)

Gizmotech
April 30th, 2014, 16:20
I used to do something similar to the 100,000 kanji guy. I used to write out on an A4 page, 29x24 (696 kanji) and would use about 1/2-3/4 a page a day. When I was done I had this nice ritual of just putting it in the shredder because once the page was done I knew I had just done over 600 kanji in the previous 2 days. I kept that up for about 6 months. Probably shredded a good 30-40 pages at least, which if I did just 40 (pretty sure I did more, but the whole point was not to keep track of how much) I would've easily passed the 25k written mark.

My friend used to do it in those little B4 notebooks that the kids use. He had 7 books for his pre 1 kanji test.

coop52
April 30th, 2014, 18:59
I need to do that myself. Writing kanji by hand is definitely my weakest point. I got one of those fancy tilted line notebooks to practice with too, but I just haven't had the time or motivation to actually sit down and do it. That mosaic idea is pretty cool though. It'd be good for a birthday present or something.

yingyangryder
May 1st, 2014, 08:41
Arrived with rudimentary skills, my listening has sky rocketed in the last 9 or so months. My speaking has gotten much better but hasn`t progressed nowhere near as much as my listening, but that`s my own fault, I should speak more.

EDIT: My writing is atrocious, but that is because I don`t practice at all, I type everything either on my laptop or on my phone. Very rarely am I required to write anything other than my address.

Lianwen
May 2nd, 2014, 10:13
Hmmm. I did undergrad Japanese classes for all of college, but since coming to Japan, what level I was on has dropped. My listening and speaking have improved, but I never write anymore (I blanked on ね the other day, that's how bad). Reading hasn't really improved or gotten worse...even though my writing's gone down, it's because I type everything, but I still have to be able to figure out what kanji, etc to use. I don't even need to write my address. If I need to have it written, I just ask the person at the counter if they can write it for me (I show them my gaijin card) because I might make a mistake (it's happened, and when you're writing in pen and you have to hanko all your mistakes, it's fcking annoying) and it'll take them 2 seconds compared to my 4minutes of child handwriting.

My accent is still terrible. I try. I try soooooo hard. My Japanese friends say it's cute, but won't bother correcting me, even though I tell them it's okay and I want to learn.

Although I don't know why I care some days. It doesn't matter how well I can order in Japanese at McDonalds, when I'm still going to get "You eat here? Here is your change."

Jiggit
May 2nd, 2014, 10:23
I don't even need to write my address. If I need to have it written, I just ask the person at the counter if they can write it for me (I show them my gaijin card) because I might make a mistake (it's happened, and when you're writing in pen and you have to hanko all your mistakes, it's fcking annoying) and it'll take them 2 seconds compared to my 4minutes of child handwriting.


Dude, seriously? I feel like I'm just bullying you now but... that's pretty pathetic. I didn't study Japanese at all in college and I started writing my own address within a few months and without looking at my card for at least a year.

I suppose this gives some more insight into why things always go horribly wrong for you even when you "explained it in Japanese".

Lianwen
May 2nd, 2014, 12:06
I can write my address without my card, but I can't get it to fit in most cases. I probably could if I practiced more, but I can count the times I've needed to write my address on one hand in the past 3 years. Just didn't seem worth it to practice writing it when I'm only going to need to write it once or twice more.

Jiggit
May 2nd, 2014, 12:28
What do you want me to say?

It's just... you know, pride? Dignity? Having an iota of self-respect? If I'd studied Japanese at college or lived in Japan for any length of time I'd be disgusted at myself if I ever had to ask someone to write my address for me.

I feel like an ass saying this but really, it seems like a lot of the shit that happened to you could be avoided if you had a bit more self-respect and stood up for yourself.

Ebi
May 2nd, 2014, 17:06
I'm one of those annoying people who discounts my college Japanese. But that's because the program was simply awful. Our teacher laughed in our faces if we made any mistakes when speaking, so I never spoke at all. The textbook was written before I was born, so we were studying about the work ethic in East Germany and reading conversations between oji-san about how "junior high schools seem to have a lot of pools these days, don't they?" And of course all of the English translations were awkward as hell. I gaman-ed through it since it would have cost too much to switch schools again (I came in with an associates, so I only needed 2 years at a "real" university).

Anyway, I came to Japan with a smattering of high-level vocab I'd never need to use and no practical knowledge of how to hold a daily conversation. Through self-study and persistent usage, I've improved so much that my minor in Japanese finally sounds believable. I get the opposite reaction now: people who won't believe me when I tell them I nearly failed my classes since I didn't understand the content and couldn't speak a proper Japanese sentence to save my life. I feel like I have a long way to go, especially with reading and writing, but I'm working on it.

Jiggit
May 2nd, 2014, 18:17
I don't think Lianwen went to university in Latvia though.

Ebi
May 2nd, 2014, 19:03
The good news about university in Latvia is that tuition costs as much as a bag of potatoes.

Ha, just kidding. No one has that many potatoes. Is only dream.

Corvus
May 7th, 2014, 07:07
College Japanese courses are pretty variable.

I don't think people who discount minors, even majors, are just being annoying because the truth is the curriculum takes an academic approach to everything. It'd be nice to hear how other Japanese programs are. Reputable colleges in the US range from those that offer a BA in Japanese and those that only offer it as a minor, or focus as part of an East Asian studies major of some sort.

In general, the format is a beginner/intermediate/advanced level course line, each of which runs the length of 1 academic year. These are the only actual language courses required. The rest of the required course curriculum, if you are looking to gain language proficiency, consists of electives that will range from generally completely worthless (literature in translation, culture, theatre, film) to challenging (reading actual novels and translating them).

Jiggit
May 7th, 2014, 08:37
There were people taking JLPT N3 with me last time that had studied Japanese in college and lived here the same amount of time as me. Obviously a class is better than no class but I seriously think language study is something that needs to be a mostly personal effort and you won't progress unless you make a serious effort to. Frankly, most JETs, myself included, have pretty abyssmal Japanese but it's entirely possible to get N1 (or whatever equivalent level of fluency) in 2 years with a moderate amount of regular study and forced immersion, even with no previous Japanese language education.

Edit: That's going to sound like bs and some people who've failed N1 or N2 might disagree with me but seriously if you actually studied for 1-2 hours every day instead of making up bullsh1t excuses and living in a little gaijin expat bubble of western friends and western media like most of us do then I think it would be possible. And if you think otherwise, tell me truthfully that you actually managed that.

therealwindycity
May 7th, 2014, 09:41
Yeah, I think two years for N2 is perfectly doable - there is a lot of excuse-making about language study. It does take a willingness to make a fool of yourself in conversation for quite a while, but once you get over that and are able to find a study method that works for you (i.e. not just buying a bunch of textbooks, looking at them once, and then berating yourself for not studying) it's easy to feel yourself progressing.

Jiggit
May 7th, 2014, 09:47
Right? Don't get me wrong, the reason I sound so harsh about it is that I judge myself the harshest. I've learned about as much Japanese as most JETs do in my situation and I know I could have done so much more without sacrificing anything worthwhile. Hell I'd probably be N2 by now if I had cut this site out of my life. Cut reddit and I could see myself at N1...

And yeah, being willing to just go for it in terms of speaking Japanese helps so much. I was incredible awkward about speaking to people and if I didn't know exactly how to say something in Japanese I would just not speak. Whereas people who are just gung-ho about it are so much better now than I am.

Gizmotech
May 7th, 2014, 13:19
Word to the speaking part. Before I was speaking regularly, I spent days.. weeks... MONTHS studying kanji (Heisig). I will say it was AMAZINGLY helpful, and really solidified what I had learned in school, but it was almost useless for production. Then I started just regularly using my Japanese, and in the last year (and a half ish) I have easily surpassed many people around me who also started studying at the same time. The big difference is they know WAY more vocabulary than I do, but I am much more fluid in my usage of what I actually know. Also, my listening is significantly better from having just practiced basic patterns over and over again, so that I might not know the meaning of a word but I have a VERY solid grasp of basics regarding modifiers, objects, and verbal structures.

ihatefall
May 7th, 2014, 14:01
I used genki Japanese in college, while it and the course was just OK, I saw the biggest difference when I got the audio tracks. I would listen to them while driving, and practice along with them. Another huge help was going to the Japanese tutors in the Academic center. We didn't talk about japan and Japanese we spoke in Japanese (as much as I could).
I would sit in on the lower level Japanese classes that helped cement previous lessons, exposed me to more Japanese and eventually I became a tutor.

As I have said before, it's really what you make of it. If you do just what's in the book then it won't be enough.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Ebi
May 7th, 2014, 19:26
My fiance is Japanese and doesn't speak English, so I have a daily practice partner built in, but that's no substitute for a tutor and/or proper language study. He struggles to explain Japanese grammar if I ask him about it. Plus, it's extremely easy to be lazy when speaking with him since he more or less gets the gist of what I mean even if my grammar is terrible.

My Japanese wasn't actually that bad before we met though since I spoke it nearly every day and regularly studied kanji. I think I was probably somewhere between JLPT 3 ~ 2 before we met. Now I'm not really sure. I think I'd really have to study my ass off to pass JLPT 1 simply because a lot of it is very formal and obscure.

ihatefall
May 8th, 2014, 02:34
I don't think your partner should be your language teacher. I never nitpick my GF's English and she does the same of my Japanese.


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Jiggit
May 8th, 2014, 08:34
I never nitpick my GF's English



she does the same of my Japanese.

Well I should think not.

ihatefall
May 8th, 2014, 09:41
Well I should think not.

If you're going to nitpick, then shouldn't it be:

Well, I should think not.

Additionally, that is not a complete sentence.
Save the grammar policing for your student please. I am writing this on my phone, grammar goes out the door. The whole grammar policing thing is getting old, it's not an academic essay, it's forum.



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Page
May 8th, 2014, 11:37
I don't think there's anything wrong with being your partner's language teacher, that's kind of silly--maybe early on in a relationship it could be detrimental. My husband's English is terrible and if I don't help him he has no idea what's going on, there are no schools or eikaiwa for him to attend so I'm pretty much his only source (we speak Japanese at home but he wants to learn English to be able to communicate with your family). As long as the teacher is willing I think it's fine (but it's important to keep in mind that it can be pretty exhausting to be "on" and teaching all the time).

As far as uni levels go, it definitely depends on the program your institution goes with. Mine was heavily conversation based, probably 4:1 for speaking and reading/writing. So my writing/reading is teeeeerrible. But like windy (or Jiggit.. or both) said, the burden also falls on the learners shoulders so I know it's my fault that I suck at kanji, not my school's. I should have amazing Japanese by this point on JET but I don't really care, tbh.

Ebi
May 8th, 2014, 16:56
Ah, don't get me wrong. I don't try to force my fiance to be my language teacher, but sometimes through the course of conversation I'll ask him if he can explain something I didn't understand. He doesn't "nitpick" my Japanese either. Occasionally he'll point out a major mistake or something if I don't catch it myself, but that's about it.

On the flip side, I try not to pressure him to speak English, but at the same time I try to encourage him to use it as much as possible when he wants to practice. He's getting nervous since my family is coming to Japan for the wedding and he promised my dad he'd improve his English before they met again. His comprehension isn't that bad, but his speaking is still limited to broken sentences and Engrish catchphrases. He studied English grammar all the way up into college so the foundation is there, but I don't think he's ever had a serious need to speak English until now. And unfortunately he still doesn't need to since my Japanese okay.

Jiggit
May 8th, 2014, 18:22
Having a Japanese speaking partner will obviously help your Japanese but I think it'd be better to look at it just in terms of improving your conversation and occasionally asking "does this sound ok" or "can you say this" rather than asking them to explain the grammar. Either get a teacher or a textbook for when you're in "study mode" and trying to learn grammar.

I mean plenty of us can't explain English using grammatical terminology. I certainly have to look up terminology and rules quite often for lessons and my English language education is better than most people's.

word
May 8th, 2014, 18:34
Weirdly, since I first chimed in, I've found some new motivation somewhere and started studying again. Still not really sure why, but I'm hitting it pretty hard lately and have improved quite a bit.

Ebi
May 8th, 2014, 18:46
Having a Japanese speaking partner will obviously help your Japanese but I think it'd be better to look at it just in terms of improving your conversation and occasionally asking "does this sound ok" or "can you say this" rather than asking them to explain the grammar. Either get a teacher or a textbook for when you're in "study mode" and trying to learn grammar.

I mean plenty of us can't explain English using grammatical terminology. I certainly have to look up terminology and rules quite often for lessons and my English language education is better than most people's.
Agreed. That's why I often attend a language exchange group or study on my own with kanji apps, textbooks, and websites. Lately I've been focusing more on specialized topics to increase my vocabulary. I bought a few cookbooks in Japanese so I've been trying to learn the terminology and counters. I'm at the point where I can more or less understand everything without a dictionary, but my readings for kanji are still off unless I look them up.

@word: Good luck! I hope you can keep up the motivation.

Jiggit
May 8th, 2014, 19:15
Agreed. That's why I often attend a language exchange group or study on my own with kanji apps, textbooks, and websites. Lately I've been focusing more on specialized topics to increase my vocabulary. I bought a few cookbooks in Japanese so I've been trying to learn the terminology and counters. I'm at the point where I can more or less understand everything without a dictionary, but my readings for kanji are still off unless I look them up.

@word: Good luck! I hope you can keep up the motivation.

I'm sure your Japanese is much better than mine but really think about trying heisig. I find my kanji reading is really quite good after having done it.

Gizmotech
May 8th, 2014, 19:24
You guys might not be able to explain grammar but I'm great at it in English and I'm getting pretty damned good at it in japanese.

Jiggit
May 8th, 2014, 19:29
I'm probably about as good as you, I just have a more realistic viewpoint.

Explaining grammar doesn't teach people language anyway.

Gizmotech
May 8th, 2014, 20:06
No but it explains how it works when you combine it with meaning (which many teachers don't do)

Page
May 8th, 2014, 20:29
Sorry Ebi, that was directed towards ihatefall, not you!

Dittoing what Jiggit said about explaining grammar, I know it only works for us because I'm trained to teach English, hah.

Word, please give me some of your motivation. There are so many things I want to give my time to but I usually end up watching hulu in my underwear.

therealwindycity
May 8th, 2014, 20:56
Having a Japanese speaking partner will obviously help your Japanese but I think it'd be better to look at it just in terms of improving your conversation and occasionally asking "does this sound ok" or "can you say this" rather than asking them to explain the grammar. Either get a teacher or a textbook for when you're in "study mode" and trying to learn grammar.


After a certain point, though, grammar doesn't really help improve your Japanese - it's more about exposure, context and imitation. Of course you still have to devote time to studying on your own, but I find a lot more interesting stuff in Japanese with my boyfriend than I would if I were just looking on my own.

Ebi
May 8th, 2014, 22:39
I'm sure your Japanese is much better than mine but really think about trying heisig. I find my kanji reading is really quite good after having done it.
I got a copy of Remembering the Kanji once years ago but I'd already started memorizing a decent amount with my own mnemonics/mental connections so it didn't really click with me. I think it would have been better had I started using it from square one.

Now I'm at the point where I'm about 90% "green" on KanjiBox for JLPT1, which sounds vaguely impressive but that really just means I can pick out the correct kanji when given multiple choice options. It's different when you're actually reading native text since there are no hints to lean on aside from general context clues. I often confuse onyomi and kunyomi or mix up the readings entirely for a similarly shaped kanji. Without any hints, my accuracy rate is still pretty low. All the more reason I need to read more, but it's hard to rustle up the motivation since I'm really slow at reading.

ihatefall
May 8th, 2014, 23:23
Having a Japanese speaking partner will obviously help your Japanese but I think it'd be better to look at it just in terms of improving your conversation and occasionally asking "does this sound ok" or "can you say this" rather than asking them to explain the grammar. Either get a teacher or a textbook for when you're in "study mode" and trying to learn grammar.

I mean plenty of us can't explain English using grammatical terminology. I certainly have to look up terminology and rules quite often for lessons and my English language education is better than most people's.

Page, this is basically what I was saying.
My GF and I have a Japanese outside of the house/ English at the house rule. Although we often break it. We totally understand the other one in our native tongues. She lived, with me, for 4.5 years in the states so her English is pretty good. I point out major mistakes but let the small ones slip. She does the same, especially with formal Japanese which I suck at.

But we rarely correct each other, I don't like to do it or receive it. I feel it breaks up the dynamic of the relationship. Plus natives don't usually explain grammar in terms the learners understand. I have learned about "Be動詞" and can explain it in those terms but internally, it's not how I think about grammar. Same goes for Japanese, she isn't thinking about "て-verbs" and "う-verbs" (not that I really am either at this point. )

To each their own but I don't like it.



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Page
May 9th, 2014, 08:28
I get where you're coming from, probably depends a lot on each relationship and situation, too. You guys can understand each other's language which probably helps! Plumber is on par with a 6th grade/1st grade JHS student (just some words) so we don't have much other choice, hah.

What do you guys do for kanji that isn't heisig? I tried it but I'm not the type who can do meaning and reading separate. I can understand newspapers but I can't write (or read aforementioned newspapers out loud).

ihatefall
May 9th, 2014, 09:02
Did you use it with the reviewing the kanji website?


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Jiggit
May 9th, 2014, 09:08
kanji.koohii.com

A lot of people do things like using flashcards or just writing them out continuously. My friend gave me these cards from white rabbit press that have like every possible single variation of a kanji on them. I don't understand how people can learn by staring at a list with 15-20 items on it trying to will it into their brain but each to their own.

coop52
May 9th, 2014, 11:12
I've used the White Rabbit cards and renshuu.org, but I feel I learned a lot more just by reading a lot. I learned a whole lot from little kid manga when I first came since the kanji have the furigana on them. I can't write for shit though.

Jiggit
May 9th, 2014, 11:27
Japanese people can't write for shit either to be fair, autokanji hass screwed everyone over. I've had teachers ask me whether kanji are correct or not.