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Thread: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

  1. #1

    Default Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    So by the time I reach 1 year Japanese study (basically at the same day I opened this thread), I'll be in New Zealand for a mini holiday. I'll try to make a post around then on the below.

    I'll write all the resources I've used in my first year along with links of what I downloaded and tried. Timelines as accurate as I can get them of when I started doing X.

    Things I haven't yet done and/or implemented as a routine study method.

    Goals of the second year.

    I'll post it as a normal post and then add it in my first post for everyone to see.

    Please suggest anything you may want to know that I may have possible missed out on in the above.




    Original Thread Opening Message
    Spoiler:
    Hello all, I'm your Suburban Errorist and thought it was a great idea (honestly) to post a log of myself learning Japanese.

    Normally.. people tend to talk about learning a language with their sage advice.. however..
    I on the other hand want to track my progress publicly and possibly help others by letting them see how someone from scratch goes about learning Japanese (I'm still a little clueless but I'm on the right track.. I think ). I am committing myself to intense study the next few years, then the rest will be a lifelong commitment (Kanji).

    This thread will include interesting facts or rules I have personally never seen before and just learnt. A small example, in Hiragana, (ha) can be pronounced as (wa). Still need to get a hang of the particles and reading in general.

    I'm 2 weeks in and have memorised Hiragana and Katakana (ひらがなのカタカナ) . My Japanese teacher, the one I will be having private lessons starting 4th February this year told me that Hiragana/Katakana was just a matter of memorising what sound each character is (e.g. な = NA), so you know, I took the initiative and memorised them and can read the text slowly (and I mean slowly).

    I've also got one day a week at a not too far college doing the Japanese language course. Yes I am going HAM with this.

    Feel free to ask any questions even if it is "How many cats do you have?".
    Spoiler:
    I have two, although one is a kitten so I'd say one.


    In case you are wondering how I memorised Hiragana and Katakana, the spoiler will show how I went about doing it.
    Spoiler:
    Step 1:
    Download charts (I personally used these two) note that hu is actually not pronounced hu:
    Spoiler:










    Step 2:
    Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write! Here is a link to my scan of my writing and how I memorised them.

    https://play.google.com/books/reader...AJ&pg=GBS.PA15
    Last edited by SuburbanErrorist; December 27th, 2016 at 05:23 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    This will be interesting... I'm also still learning and building myself in the Japanese language. I have a few friends who's background is Japanese I ask there parents for help cause they don't really care about the language. Never the less good luck on your studies.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    Ohh, cool.
    Maybe this will incentivize a lazy ass like me to pick another language.

    Good luck and keep your progress updated.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    Quote Originally Posted by Rukusho View Post
    This will be interesting... I'm also still learning and building myself in the Japanese language. I have a few friends who's background is Japanese I ask there parents for help cause they don't really care about the language. Never the less good luck on your studies.
    Quote Originally Posted by SpaceCowboy View Post
    Ohh, cool.
    Maybe this will incentivize a lazy ass like me to pick another language.

    Good luck and keep your progress updated.
    Thanks guys, I'll be posting an update later of some things I have figured out and something I am doing for reading practice.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    So I had my first 1 on 1 lesson on the Friday. It was good, 1.5 hours long. I got a page of useful expressions. Things like how to ask if someone speaks English, or where is the bathroom. Also had a whole section on interrogatives. E g. Who, what, when, where, why, which questions.

    There a couple ways for saying "where" for example, Doko and Dochira. Dochira is more polite than Doko. Ill be memorising these

    Even though I mentioned via Email I memorised Hiragana and Katakana, my teacher was impressed and I could read all the flashcards of different words, write my name and write words I thought of.
    She says this will be a huge advantage.

    Right now I'm a bit scared of learning Kanji but I will start with basic ones, so i think I'll be getting a text book for that. Also a text book for Grammar. I mentioned that yes I can memorise lines and how to speak, but I'm really interested in the grammar and sentence structure. I feel it will help me out a lot!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    I've been thinking about something recently and thought I'd put this in here for people who are learning alphabets such as Kanji or Katakana/Hiragana.

    My analogy, the way I think of it is this. I can read Hiragana and Katakana nicely, however, if I were to look at a sentence like the below at first, I wouldn't be able to pronounce what it says unless I concentrated.

    わたしはにほんごがわかりません (Watashi wa nihongo ga wakarimasen). It translates to;

    "I don't understand Japanese".

    If you look at the English sentence, it would probably take me or you a second or two to read it. To the Japanese, they would read the Hiragana instantly like we do with English. The difference is they're used to it and they use their writing everyday like we do with English.

    Put this out there to keep myself confident that with time this will come naturally and so it will to you!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    Currently trying to get the hang of basic grammar. My last lesson on Friday was on how to ask questions and make comments.

    E.g.

    こちらはスミスさんです。(Kochira wa Sumisu-San desu). Literally saying: "This is Mr Smith". If translated word by word it would be "This Mr Smith is".

    The easy concept for me to understand is adding "ka" to the end of a statement like the above こちらはスミスさんです. Adding Ka to the end of the sentence now changes it to "Is this Mr smith?". "Desu" basically meaning "is" and Desuka meaning "is it?"

    I am trying to get the hang of it and understanding the concept of topic marker "wa" and placing of nouns in the sentences also the sentence structure still confuses me a little.

    Also trying to get the hang of "belonging" as in, "Michael is from X company" and "this manga volume is mine".

    Sumisu-San wa (Mr Smith is the topic), ABC FUUZU (ABC is the company) no bengoshi desu (no indicating he is from ABC, bengoshi desu indicating he is the attorney).

    I'll figure this one out, probably some confusion people have :)

  8. #8

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    So I've been looking at Kanji recently and how to go about studying it.

    There are many methods out there, some will just burn you out. E.g. drilling every Kanji with Onyomi/Kunyomi meanings into your mind.

    I am currently doing Nihongo Sharks method. He's got a 12000 word explanation and his own personal experience with learning Kanji . Keep in mind he gave up a few times in between.

    It involves a program called Anki in which he explains. In 97 days you will go through 2200 Kanji learning the English meanings only. Learning this with the help of Anki program will make it many many times easier to learn the Japanese vocabulary later on.

    Learning Kanji one by one, learning the meanings and the many many different ways of reading and understanding it x2000+ can be overwhelming and make people give up. I'm glad I'm making it easier for myself learning through other peoples mistakes.

    I'll see how I go. I've bought a laptop just for this, 43 Kanji in.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    If you're going to do the "learn the meaning but not the reading" route, I highly suggest you go wtih Remembering the Kanji by Heisig.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    Quote Originally Posted by Foolio View Post
    If you're going to do the "learn the meaning but not the reading" route, I highly suggest you go wtih Remembering the Kanji by Heisig.

    Thanks! Luckily the author of the 97 days has all the Heisig notes and comments for each of the 2200 Kanji in the Anki deck, so I'm reading them all :)

    I am also creating my own mnemonics which is working quite well, but I'll see where I'm at 500 Kanji in and in the end and advise where I'm at and my experience.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    Here is a rather basic Kanji: 冒 .

    They are in a way two Kanji together (I believe they call these radicals??).

    The top part 日 (hard to see I know) means "Sun/Day"
    The bottom part
    目 means eye.

    I know that
    冒 means RISK.

    So if I look at the sun with my eyes, it's a risk. Just a basic idea, i hope this helps. This one is a more easy one.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    You have to be a bit careful with terminology. Some kanji are formed of multiple parts and/or other kanji. Sometimes the parts are radicals, sometimes entire other kanji are radicals. But not always. It's not a super important conceptual distinction, but it IS a super important practical distinction if you use a traditional kanji dictionary and want to look characters up by radical (and in the case of multiple radicals, you need to know the dominant one).

    Also. That type of mnemonic you described is very much the right idea. Only suggestion is, after you go through hundreds you will start forgetting stray little bits or maybe the order of the parts. Try as much as possible to solidly include every part in your story and maybe incorporate position. For example, "if you look directly up at the sun in the sky with my eyes, you're putting yourself at risk." This story writes itself but trust me after 1000 you might start to wonder if sun goes on top, or if eye goes on top.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    Quote Originally Posted by Foolio View Post
    You have to be a bit careful with terminology. Some kanji are formed of multiple parts and/or other kanji. Sometimes the parts are radicals, sometimes entire other kanji are radicals. But not always. It's not a super important conceptual distinction, but it IS a super important practical distinction if you use a traditional kanji dictionary and want to look characters up by radical (and in the case of multiple radicals, you need to know the dominant one).

    Also. That type of mnemonic you described is very much the right idea. Only suggestion is, after you go through hundreds you will start forgetting stray little bits or maybe the order of the parts. Try as much as possible to solidly include every part in your story and maybe incorporate position. For example, "if you look directly up at the sun in the sky with my eyes, you're putting yourself at risk." This story writes itself but trust me after 1000 you might start to wonder if sun goes on top, or if eye goes on top.
    Thanks for the comment !

    I'd very much like to see where I am at after 1,000. After all, it is a mass amount of information and you seem to have experienced forgetting small details like you mentioned above. I really like the story structure idea as well, I'll ensure that I'm using that from now on.

    It can be hard to make a story for a specific Kanji, sometimes I'm stuck looking at Heisig's comment and thinking how I can possibly relate that Kanji to what it means in my mind.
    But i guess in the long run I might see things differently and I will start changing and adjusting stories I've initially made into something I more feel natural to remember.

    What I like to do outside the story creating and study is trying to spot the Kanji I have learnt whether it be in a Japanese book novel I pick up or in china-town as it is Kanji Galore.
    Today I was out in the city, around chinatown and a few different Japanese restaurants and I was constantly looking for Kanji. I'd quickly be able to spot ones I have learnt and tell my friends the meaning, also what the radicals on their own meant.
    What's also really useful is Chinese people at work (they understand all the Kanji I've been chucking at them so far), I'd randomly ask them, so this (頑) means stubborn? How the hell does beginning and page mean stubborn?
    I guess that for me sort of creates an interesting memory in my mind because I'm in a way using it and relating to it in real life.

    Just something I've been doing.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    Hi all,

    Just thought I'd give an update on learning the English meanings of Kanji. Currently tracking at 23 a day and memory retention seems great. I'm 300 Kanji in!

    Classes have been great, always learning something new about grammar and phrasing.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    About a week ago I had a question about this Kanji, Sandman helped me out so creds to him. Here is the Q&A.

    Hi Sandman,

    Having a bit of trouble understanding this Kanji 淡 . I'm learning the English meaning and what I got was "thin" or "dilute" but I am unsure if this is correct.

    I asked some Chinese guys at work they say it means light. How would you use 淡 ?
    Sandman-
    Hi, Suburban. It's a bit difficult Kanji. I think Japanese kids in elementary school can't read it. I would translate 淡 as pale, light or transient. For example, 淡い赤 means "pale red" and 淡い恋心 means "transient love". Basically 淡 is used to indicate some color
    One thing I also found was that it can also be used to express something as tasteless also what they call "thin". To make a drink thinner. E.g. Putting water in wine would make the wine taste much weaker.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    I'm at around 500 Kanji in. My memory is holding up pretty well. Things start to become much less of a blur now and Kanji seems oh so different.

    Signed up to Japanesepod101, I've heard so many good things about it. Having lessons on the go and it's good listening practice. Going to add this tool to my phone for on the go learning.

    Since I've been happy with Nihongosharks method for learning Kanji which he gave out for free and works like a charm, I bought his 500 page book on how to learn Japanese. Please note that it doesn't teach Japanese, but it teaches how I should go about learning and which resources to use. E.g. Internet websites and plug ins, book series and the sort.

    Once I complete the Kanji I will be going into vocabulary which is exciting. With consistent study I will gradually get used to different readings of Kanji which will be so much more easier once I can differentiate between 2200 Kanji!

  17. #17

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    Haven't made a post in a while, half a month ago was my last one.

    Currently not focussing on vocabulary and only picking up certain words and phrases along the way as I am putting my time towards Kanji. Almost at my first 1,000 doing Nihongosharks method which is a modified version of Heisig's Remembering the Kanji (RTK).

    Don't worry, once I memorise the listed 2,200, I am going into a full on vocabulary sprint mastering the Kanji (including additions) and vocabulary over the next hundreds of hours or maybe hours in the thousands with Nihongo sharks method, not quite sure how it's going to work as I don't know the exact routine but I'll find out soon (50 days from now when I finish the Kanji set so far).

    An interesting little fact I was told by a new Japanese friend from my area was that the adjectives all end in "I" (い), E.g. Atsui, Oishii, Kawaii (あつい、おいしい、 かわいい). I think he also said the verbs end in "U" (う). Some people might know this already but it was an interesting and useful fact that I recently discovered.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    Quote Originally Posted by SuburbanErrorist View Post
    An interesting little fact I was told by a new Japanese friend from my area was that the adjectives all end in "I" (い), E.g. Atsui, Oishii, Kawaii (あつい、おいしい、 かわいい). I think he also said the verbs end in "U" (う). Some people might know this already but it was an interesting and useful fact that I recently discovered.
    Well sadly this is just false. When teaching Japanese as a foreign language, you tend to divide adjectives into two categories. "i" adjectives" and "na" adjectives. The second category is so named not because of the words ending in "na" but because that is the particle used. For example "shizuka na heya" (a quiet room).

    Verbs do all end in "u" but again for foreign learning you divide them into two categories, "u" verbs and "ru" verbs. They have different properties.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    Quote Originally Posted by Foolio View Post
    Well sadly this is just false. When teaching Japanese as a foreign language, you tend to divide adjectives into two categories. "i" adjectives" and "na" adjectives. The second category is so named not because of the words ending in "na" but because that is the particle used. For example "shizuka na heya" (a quiet room).

    Verbs do all end in "u" but again for foreign learning you divide them into two categories, "u" verbs and "ru" verbs. They have different properties.
    Thanks for that information, I heard something the guy said about RU, but I couldn't recall correctly. I saw a list of words that ended in "Ru" and some didn't (this is the list I found quickly).

    So going by what you are saying, quiet as a stand alone word is "shizuka" and as you've mentioned does not end with an "I" and is a "Na" adjective, so..

    "Kiken na heya" (a dangerous room). The Na particle changes the word (kiken meaning danger) into an adjective so in English it would be be dangerous room not danger room?

  20. #20

    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    I wouldn't say it changes the word into an adjective, it just marks the adjective when modifying a noun. It's more like there are many words in Japanese that can be either nouns or adjectives. They also have tons of nouns that become verbs with "suru" etc. But anyway, I was trying to think of examples of adjectives that aren't really stand-alone nouns. One that comes to mind is kasuka (faint/dim). For example "kasuka na hikari." But I don't think you can use it on its own to mean "dimness" or something.

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