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Old 2013-03-31, 22:52   Link #1
ikusfan
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
How many here know Japanese?

I'm interested to know how many of us here know enough Japanese to play text heavy games like visual novels.

As for me, I'm far from that level and I don't know how long it will take me to get there.
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Old 2013-03-31, 22:56   Link #2
LeoXiao
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Vereinigte Staaten
Age: 22
If my English reading ability is a broadband connection, my Chinese/Japanese is like dial-up with frequent time-outs, crashes, and mis-rendering of the page.

So not very good basically.
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Old 2013-03-31, 23:24   Link #3
Hemisphere
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: 大陸の片隅
If you're interested in learning Japanese, don't think about it and just do it. By that I mean, find something that you're passionate about/can get passionate over that's JP related, then slowly work your way up in learning the language.

Start with hiragana, katakana, then watch some anime (if anime's your thing) or read some books and try to familiarize yourself with some basic terms and expressions, then learn the sentence structures, verb usage, etc. Go download some JP dictionaries, look up basic terms and expressions, and try to remember them. You can move on to kanji once you feel like you're able to familiarize stroke radicals and the like. You can start off learning by yourself on your own pace, then progress to formal learning once you think you need some formal guidance in order to progress further.

It's not as impossible as some people make it out to be, and fearing kanjis is akin to fearing an unabriged English dictionary. Once you get over this mental conditioning/block that learning JP is so difficult, you'll find it can be quite entertaining as long as you approach it with the right mindset that suits your learning style/curve. After all, translators don't pop out of thin air.
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Old 2013-03-31, 23:34   Link #4
Duo Maxwell
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Join Date: Dec 2006
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I mostly am having problem with the Kanji, and looking up the dictionary takes a lot of time compares to when I was learning English, so my Japanese learning progress is really slow.
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Old 2013-03-31, 23:37   Link #5
ikusfan
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Hemisphere, great advice but I have been learning Japanese on and off for a long time.
I actually love kanji, knowing kanji actually improves your reading speed. These days I am investing a lot more time to study the language. The other day I got a new visual novel and aside from some basic things I don't really understand the specifics of what is written.
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Old 2013-03-31, 23:44   Link #6
Hemisphere
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Same here, but I find that there's this sort of irritation that you get when you think that you're not learning kanji fast enough, and that's actually quite demotivating. I find that it's way more helpful to not just take it at your own pace, but make sure that you're learning it at a pace that you're comfortable with.

For me, I tend to try and break down the radicals of the kanji I find myself having trouble with, so I can remember it easier. Yeah, it takes a while whenever I do so for EACH kanji that I'm unfamiliar with, but it basically boils down to: do I REALLY want to understand what it is that I am reading, or do I just want to fool myself into thinking that I'm actually understanding what I'm reading?

In my case, I find that taking it slow and steady helps out a lot, since it gives your brain more time to really comprehend the information and for it to sink in. I can't say that works for everyone, but if it does, then I'm glad to be of help despite how little it might be. Every bit of help counts when learning JP, I'm sure.

I don't know if it'll work, but if you have the resources for a tablet (whether it be Android or iOS or Win8), you could probably buy one then install a JP dictionary with kanji stroke radicals for reference. It sounds over-the-top, but that's what I did, and it's quite helpful. There's Aedict and JED for Android, Kotoba for iOS (I don't know if there's a JP dictionary for Win8, sorry).
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Old 2013-03-31, 23:46   Link #7
ikusfan
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I'm kinda jealous of those who can read Japanese, lol.
I can't wait for I/O, 12Riven, Root Double, Majikoi, Baldr Sky and some other visual novels will be translated.
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Old 2013-04-01, 00:18   Link #8
Dagger
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Hyogo
I started playing visual novels heavily when I was in college (majoring in Japanese, as a matter of fact). My formal studies gave me a strong grammatical framework and pushed me to improve in areas not needed for getting through a game--i.e. writing/composition, conversational skills, translation, etc.

But honestly, playing games actually did more to expand my vocabulary and my reading ability than anything else. I used AGTH initially, and it made a huge difference. My advice to anyone starting off with a text hooker is to force yourself to look up individual words. Don't rig it so that it spits out machine translations, and don't copy-paste entire sentences. Just keep looking up the compounds you don't understand, so you have to think for yourself about how those units of meaning fit within the overall context of the story/dialogue/sentence. I would say that you need to have at least an intermediate understanding of grammar for this method to be relatively frustration-free, though.

Everyone learns differently and is motivated by different compulsions--in my case, I have always been a huge bookworm, and that simply carried over into being super motivated to read Japanese novels and visual novels, even when I had to look up tons of words and the going was slow.

I do think that visual novels + AGTH are an amazing learning tool! You can start off with stories that are closer to your level of vocab/grammatical ability (not to mention your supply of patience), and gradually work your way to more esoteric fare. Attractive CGs and great music keep things interesting even when your reading pace is slow. Voice acting + accompanying text really helps build up listening and reading comprehension skills at the same time. Text generally appears a few lines at a time, which is less overwhelming to beginners than giant paragraphs or full pages. And it gives you a minor sense of accomplishment each time you click to the next section of text.

The most important part is that you can hook key words/kanji, and look them up quickly enough that it doesn't interrupt the flow of your reading. Browser extensions like Chrome's rikaikun have a similar function and are great for trying to read online articles or stories (although this kind of material is less immersive than a game).

When I started playing games with vocabulary totally outside the realm of anything I'd learned in class (e.g. fantasy/sci-fi/historical stuff), I'd create lists of unfamiliar words/compounds/phrases, especially ones that came up repeatedly. This was an interesting exercise, but I never really studied from the lists. Instead, I found that I learned new vocabulary (and quirks of speech/grammar) without making any conscious effort. I didn't play games feeling like I was studying; I didn't try to memorize every new word I came across; I was simply obsessed with getting to the next part of the story. Along the way, because I looked them up over and over, I absorbed the meanings of frequently recurring words. It was a sort of learning by osmosis that felt virtually effortless, because it happened naturally in the process of devoting hours to one of my favorite hobbies (reading). I learned the most frequent--and therefore, the most arguably important--words the fastest.

Eventually, the passive, organic expansion of my vocabulary/comprehension enabled me to stop using text hookers and start reading print novels etc. without having to bother to look up words.

tl;dr--

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemisphere
If you're interested in learning Japanese, don't think about it and just do it. By that I mean, find something that you're passionate about/can get passionate over that's JP related, then slowly work your way up in learning the language.
Ding ding ding ding. My sister became amazingly proficient in Korean in a very short time span by obsessively watching K-dramas while starting to study Korean in a formal context at her university.
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Old 2013-04-01, 00:42   Link #9
Hemisphere
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: 大陸の片隅
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagger View Post
When I started playing games with vocabulary totally outside the realm of anything I'd learned in class (e.g. fantasy/sci-fi/historical stuff), I'd create lists of unfamiliar words/compounds/phrases, especially ones that came up repeatedly. This was an interesting exercise, but I never really studied from the lists. Instead, I found that I learned new vocabulary (and quirks of speech/grammar) without making any conscious effort. I didn't play games feeling like I was studying; I didn't try to memorize every new word I came across; I was simply obsessed with getting to the next part of the story. Along the way, because I looked them up over and over, I absorbed the meanings of frequently recurring words. It was a sort of learning by osmosis that felt virtually effortless, because it happened naturally in the process of devoting hours to one of my favorite hobbies (reading). I learned the most frequent--and therefore, the most arguably important--words the fastest.

Eventually, the passive, organic expansion of my vocabulary/comprehension enabled me to stop using text hookers and start reading print novels etc. without having to bother to look up words.
That's freaky, because I went through the exact same thing myself. I'd create lists of kanjis I had difficulty picking up but came up repeatedly, only to find myself days later having learned said kanjis without referencing to the list at all because I ended up learning them through sheer recurrence. It really is a very "learning-by-osmosis" experience, and was really...fun(?) once I realized it was happening.
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Old 2013-04-01, 01:30   Link #10
Cosmic Eagle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagger View Post

Ding ding ding ding. My sister became amazingly proficient in Korean in a very short time span by obsessively watching K-dramas while starting to study Korean in a formal context at her university.
Lol, I never even formally studied Japanese or even consciously made lists and stuff...I just read until I can understand what I want to understand...

And I actually thought you were Japanese ww
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Old 2013-04-01, 02:15   Link #11
DragoonKain3
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Mt. Ordeals
Unlike other people here, I actually made it a point to try and learn Japanese in uni... but man, Kanji is like super effective on me, as they all look the same.

Quite a humbling experience actually. Despite my enthusiasm to learn the language, tons of time watching anime and J-dramas, and even though everything academic was easy for me until trying to learn Japanese, there was no way for me to learn Kanji.

Partly the reason why if questioned, I am a Soryuu Asuka Langley fan over Ayanami. Kind of feel a connection to her because of the same learning deficiency, despite excelling in other areas. XD
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Old 2013-04-01, 02:46   Link #12
Kyral
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Germany
Age: 30
I can understand most common phrases and easy sentences (spoken, man I was once totaly happy when I understood "He! There's a house over there!" without reading the subtitles). I also can read hiragana and katakana. Sadly, that's it.

I only know a handfull of Kanji and I lack in grammatic and vocabulary.
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Old 2013-04-01, 03:26   Link #13
RedKey
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Join Date: Apr 2011
I'm so-so, I do some basic translation work on manga and visual novels too but I'm nowhere near native level, though I can read most visual and light novels just fine. It was mostly a process of learning by osmosis for me too, as I study grammar and stuff, sure, but I spend way more time actually reading the material. I don't think I ever had to learn kanji and vocabulary the "hard" way, that is to say with flashcards and whatnot.
Then again, I can write by hand like 1/100 of the kanji I can read (笑).
Oh, and I never took any classes, so doing that is very useful, but absolutely not necessary, as long as you're passionate about it.
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Old 2013-04-01, 10:12   Link #14
Daniel E.
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Monterrey N.L. Mexico
This is not the section for this sort of topic. General chat already has several threads on this and anyone wanting to know how is best to learn japanese (or how much others know) should check those instead.

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