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Thread: Japanese before applying

  1. #81

    Default Re: Japanese before applying

    OP stated he already knew basic Japanese. Question is about overall level of Japanese knowledge for incoming ALTs, which, unless we're talking about literature/culture type "knowledge", probably isn't going to be as practical as language skill. I think it's reasonable for people to assume JP degrees give equal parts attention to language skill, but the reality is most focus on literature/cultural courses and graduates are largely lacking in fluency. The grads I saw with functional language skillls generally were self-motivated and did a lot of studying on the side and/or abroad experiences.

  2. #82
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    The Chicago of Japan

    Default Re: Japanese before applying

    Quote Originally Posted by ishawwite74 View Post
    I just want to use Genki to look over stuff I missed the first time. I wasn't sure if it was the best resource or if there were other books people who were familiar to Japanese would recommend.
    I can understand this feeling - no matter how much you paid attention in class there are a few "basic" things that make more sense after you've been studying for a few years.

  3. #83
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014

    Default Re: Japanese before applying

    And let's not forget the regional hougen (dialect) variations. Kirei ka. (Kirei da.)

    Academic versus real life Japanese language experience can sometimes highlight the academic shortcomings, as I'm sure you well know.

    Things that come to mind are: learning how to order an item not part of a set meal at a Japanese fast food restaurant; knowing how to reply correctly when asked if I wanted to use a store's plastic bag or not; and knowing how to reply at a Combini when asked if I wanted my food heated up. Fun stuff.

  4. #84
    Crustacean Sensation Ebi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default Re: Japanese before applying

    Quote Originally Posted by osakavamp View Post
    Basic. Japanese. No one talked about fluency. My understanding of Japanese is te-form, desu/masu form, your hiragana and katakana.

    My university might have spoiled me. My Japanese education was pretty good in the states. In Japan they taught nothing. I learned more from karaoke than I did in the classroom.
    My experience was the opposite: I minored in Japanese and graduated with decent grades but couldn't hold a simple conversation about the weather to save my life. I've ranted about my school's Japanese program elsewhere, but in short: it was awful. We used a super old, outdated textbook and zero speaking practice.

    In contrast, I've done two short study courses at Japanese schools since I arrived here and although the one was "meh", the second was fantastic. It was taught entirely in Japanese, but targeted to my level so I could understand. I came away with a much better understanding of how native speakers use a variety of grammar forms and I learned them while using the target language. If my university experience had been like that, I'm sure I'd be much better at Japanese than I am now.

    Some schools have better programs than others, regardless of country. I'm really not surprised that people graduate with majors/minors in a language and can't speak it fluently since that was my experience as well.

  5. #85
    Member namara.rora's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014

    Default Re: Japanese before applying

    I graduated with a Japanese degree so I definitely studied it. It would be a lot harder for me living here without it because my supervisor doesn't speak English and neither do a lot of the people at my schools. I teach in elementary schools and there are no English speakers, so I have to use my Japanese to plan lessons and run activities with the students.

    That being said, the ALTs in the town over came here with no Japanese language training and they are completely fine. I have met people with Japanese levels beyond amazing, with zero Japanese, and everything in between. If you decide to start learning it when you're here and come with zero, I think you'll surprise yourself and pick it up a lot faster than you think you would.

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