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Old 2007-02-09, 10:35   Link #461
Spectacular_Insanity
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
Just for reference to aspiring Japanese learners, I'm in my third year of Japanese study and we never learned the classification terms (izenkei, renyoukei, etc.) so don't get too hung up over it. Do pay attention to what the rules are, however, as those are the very basics of Japanese grammar. Once you have those down, you start building on top of them.

For reference, the program here at the University of Southern California uses なかま1 for Japanese 1 and 2, and なかま2 for Japanese 3 and 4. For "Advanced Japanese 1" we use "An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese" from the Japan Times. Friends at other schools seem to use げんき or ようこそ!for their textbooks.
Huh, なかま2 is what we're using, but I'm a senior. In high school. We're a college prep school, so our classes are easily on the college level. The APs especially. I'm fairly certain that I'm going to fail this year.... that's gonna suck.

It's funny, because our Japanese III class only has 5 people in it. And all of them are asian.

Back on topic, I find it useful, but not all of the idioms and words can be found in the textbook's glossary. If you want to look up a word, you gotta go find a dictionary because the book is meant for upper-tier students, I suppose.
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Old 2007-02-09, 10:58   Link #462
Ledgem
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My classes (university) used なかま for the first four semesters: Nakama 1 for the first two, and Nakama 2 for the second two. After that, the classes are called "Advanced Japanese" and we use An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese from the Japan Times. Advanced Japanese 1 and 2 use this book. The next level up is called something weird, like "Japanese in Business Communication" or something to that extent. The book used is Aozora Intermediate-Advanced Japanese Communication, printed by the University of Hawaii (which has an exceptional Japanese program, I hear). It comes with three CDs (finally, someone who has moved beyond tapes!)

It may be redundant, but since I'm mentioning book series, the other two beginner-level books that I've heard of, aside from なかま (Nakama) are げんき (Genki) and ようこそ! (Youkoso!). I think it's important to follow through with many of the exercises - speaking is important, but writing doesn't hurt you, either. Write out as much as you can, and if possible, get a speaking buddy.
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Old 2007-02-11, 04:15   Link #463
Syaoran
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Anyone using A course in Modern Japanese edited by the Japanese Language Education Group of Nagoya University ?
At university they stick with that book. I used Genki when I did some selfstudying.
Between those two books there's a big difference in the level of grammar. The Nagoya one has more difficult grammer in the first volume than Genki has.
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Old 2007-02-14, 20:35   Link #464
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I've been studying Japanese for four years now.

I've been taking an actual private lesson with a native speaker teacher (who has since become a friend also) for the whole time. I took the JLPT 3 this December, and I'm sure I passed (the kanji portion was, of course, the most difficult).

I can now read about 500 kanji, all the hiragana and katakana, and can speak in polite, humble, and standard forms fairly well. I probably know about 10000 words. I can't pick up a book or newspaper and read it yet (at least not without looking up every other character in my kanji dictionary), but I am able to read signs, train timetables, and other practical stuff as well as many manga without much difficulty. I've just started taking an extra three hours of private lessons each week, and I hope to take (and pass) JLPT 2 this year.

At this point, the most difficult things for me are the kanji and keeping a conversation flowing at a normal pace. I can understand what people say to me, but I have to think for a few seconds about what to say in response, and it doesn't always flow as naturally as I'd like it to.

In my experience, there is no substitute for actually talking to people in Japanese and being exposed to the language on a daily basis. It is very easy to forget kanji and vocabulary if you aren't using and hearing it constantly. Unfortunately, the best way to do this is to actually be in Japan or otherwise surrounded by Japanese people, and this isn't practical for a lot of people.

Just using a textbook, though, isn't going to make you a fluent speaker. Nobody follows those nice little scripts for ordering food, meeting someone, mailing a package, etc. that they put in the beginner textbooks. If all you ever do is memorize these things and practice saying them to yourself, you won't be at all prepared to actually respond when holding a real conversation with someone.
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Old 2007-02-14, 23:06   Link #465
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scifience View Post
I've been studying Japanese for four years now.
Just using a textbook, though, isn't going to make you a fluent speaker. Nobody follows those nice little scripts for ordering food, meeting someone, mailing a package, etc. that they put in the beginner textbooks. If all you ever do is memorize these things and practice saying them to yourself, you won't be at all prepared to actually respond when holding a real conversation with someone.
Exactly what i mean. Henceforth why i pointed out, how the hell do you converse in japanese without any japanese group(s) around?
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Old 2007-02-14, 23:24   Link #466
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Checking a local university for a conversational parter program is the best bet. Aside from that, the internet offers some great opportunities with using nothing more than teamspeak to verbally chat with friends from forums or video games.
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Old 2007-02-15, 01:12   Link #467
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scifience View Post
I've just started taking an extra three hours of private lessons each week, and I hope to take (and pass) JLPT 2 this year.
JLPT 3 -> 2 is a huge jump, get your hands on several past exams and use em 3months and a month before the exam so you know where to focus. The killer is of course kanji, but in real life the key is to know your verbs. Conjugation is easy once you have a grasp on it, having enough words to be able to converse is where the fun comes in.
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Old 2007-02-15, 09:06   Link #468
WanderingKnight
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ewok View Post
JLPT 3 -> 2 is a huge jump, get your hands on several past exams and use em 3months and a month before the exam so you know where to focus.
Yeah, if I'm not mistaken, JLPT 2 requires you to know 1000 kanji, while JLPT 3 requires only 300.

I've been learning for a year now, but if you add all the previous contact I had via anime, this past year hasn't taught me anything new, other than new vocabulary, which is a welcome addition. I'm able now to translate raw manga (in fact, I'm doing it right now), and though I still lack a bit of kanji, after seeing the JLPT 3 a friend of mine took some years ago, I know I have enough grammatical knowledge to aim for it at the end of this year. It'd be a big jump, though, considering most people in my class will be taking the level 4 exam. In fact, I talked to my teacher about it and she agreed, since she saw pretty clearly during class that I didn't have much difficulty with what she taught so far.

Anyways, I've always had a knack for learning languages. In fact, I learned English entirely on myself between ages 8-12, based merely on pure contact (and no, I've never lived in an English-speaking country).

Last edited by WanderingKnight; 2007-02-15 at 09:08. Reason: typo
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Old 2007-02-15, 14:48   Link #469
Scifience
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ewok View Post
JLPT 3 -> 2 is a huge jump, get your hands on several past exams and use em 3months and a month before the exam so you know where to focus. The killer is of course kanji, but in real life the key is to know your verbs. Conjugation is easy once you have a grasp on it, having enough words to be able to converse is where the fun comes in.
Well, I actually found 3級 to be fairly easy for the most part, and I can *read* about 500 kanji, so my teacher/friend and I think I have a good shot at it at any rate. I also have covered a majority of the grammatical structure (尊敬語, etc.) for 2級. It's always those damned kanji that are the problem, though.
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Old 2007-02-17, 11:32   Link #470
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scifience View Post
Well, I actually found 3級 to be fairly easy for the most part, and I can *read* about 500 kanji, so my teacher/friend and I think I have a good shot at it at any rate. I also have covered a majority of the grammatical structure (尊敬語, etc.) for 2級. It's always those damned kanji that are the problem, though.
Probably the nastiest part of the kanji section is the "pick which compound is correct" and your brain stops...

(I'll dig up my practice exam and post examples, image 4 compounds with kanji that are almost exactly the same, or 4 kanji that have the same reading but completely different meanings - real brain strain material )
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Old 2007-02-18, 01:02   Link #471
Doraneko
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ewok View Post
JLPT 3 -> 2 is a huge jump, get your hands on several past exams and use em 3months and a month before the exam so you know where to focus. The killer is of course kanji, but in real life the key is to know your verbs. Conjugation is easy once you have a grasp on it, having enough words to be able to converse is where the fun comes in.
It is not as difficult as it seems to be. I started to learn the language in June 05 and took the level 4 exam in December of the same year. Then I started to prepare for level 2 during the last summer vacation by self-studying and sat for it in December. I found the paper very easy, and the passages were much simpler in structure than those editorials or interviews in the anime magazines.

Actually scoring 240 points out of 400 is already enough get a pass. An average learner with level 3 knowledge may not know every single word and can answer every single question to score over 380, but getting 240 should be well within their capability, as long as they have been maintaining a daily exposure to the language through anime, manga or anything in Japanese.

Forcing yourself to prepare an exam is a really helpful way in broadening your vocabulary and grammar knowledge in a short time, as you will end up doing tonnes of exercises again and again until you have totally get used of recognizing the words, and can read a long passage in less than a minute (reading speed is quite crucial for JLPT2). The listening part can be practised by watching at least 1 hour of Japanese programme every day (which should be easy thanks to the internet :P).

Conversation is a difficult part for self-study though. I can chat with online Japanese friends with no problem at all, but I seriously need a buddy to practise face-to-face conversations.

Last edited by Doraneko; 2007-02-18 at 01:17.
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Old 2007-02-18, 06:14   Link #472
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doraneko View Post
It is not as difficult as it seems to be.
I've done the test too, so I know how hard it is Its not what I would call "easy", and it brings up the question of if being able to pass an exam shows actual ability in Japanese, or just ability to pass the test.

(Btw, got your score yet? )
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Old 2007-02-18, 11:17   Link #473
Doraneko
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ewok View Post
I've done the test too, so I know how hard it is Its not what I would call "easy", and it brings up the question of if being able to pass an exam shows actual ability in Japanese, or just ability to pass the test.

(Btw, got your score yet? )
Actually I think the JLPT can only test one's reading skills. The listening tasks are not realistic enough, while there is absolutely nothing to test writing and speaking. But well, if the employers think that a JLPT level 1/2 cert is nice enough (since they probably can't interview you in Japanese), getting one is a must IMO.

The grammar, vocabulary and readings in 06 were not that different from the previous ones. Since I did countless numbers of exercises on those, they were pretty easy to me. The listening part was a bit painful though since the audio system in the exam centre was horrible . But well, if I have maintained my general performance on other sections, I can dump the listening paper and still easily get a pass . Anyway the results are scheduled to be released in March.
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Old 2007-02-21, 05:46   Link #474
Syaoran
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Anyone knows how this kanji is read? I tried to look it up, but I guess my mousewriting is bad ...
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Old 2007-02-21, 10:07   Link #475
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syaoran View Post

Anyone knows how this kanji is read? I tried to look it up, but I guess my mousewriting is bad ...
I'm... not sure what that's supposed to be.

You might be interested in http://www.jisho.org/ and its kanji lookup by radicals interface.
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Old 2007-02-21, 11:58   Link #476
Syaoran
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Found one on my prints... it's more clear than the handwritten one I based that kanjipad thing on.
It's the kanji with the arrow, on top of the page.


Cool website by the way
But I didn't find it in 弋 's kanji list.
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Old 2007-02-21, 13:13   Link #477
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syaoran View Post
Found one on my prints... it's more clear than the handwritten one I based that kanjipad thing on.
It's the kanji with the arrow, on top of the page.


Cool website by the way
But I didn't find it in ? 's kanji list.
The radical is actually 戈, which makes sense, but trying to find it with 弋 oddly doesn't return 成 in the results.

Welcome to the fun world of kanji radical classification! If you think this is fun, try doing what my next project is: Writing sorting scripts for the kanji. Scary stuff.

Linking doesn't work due to some technical details with kanji in the URL versus posting kanji on the board. Just look it up with the 戈 and you should find 成.
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Old 2007-02-21, 13:47   Link #478
Syaoran
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Found it
Thanks for your help Kyuusai!

The algorithm you're developing sounds very interesting. Any chance you're working on it with Linux/Unix ? Looks like Windows could make a mess out of it with its strange way to handle foreign code pages ^^'
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Old 2007-02-21, 14:32   Link #479
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syaoran View Post
Found it
Thanks for your help Kyuusai!

The algorithm you're developing sounds very interesting. Any chance you're working on it with Linux/Unix ? Looks like Windows could make a mess out of it with its strange way to handle foreign code pages ^^'
Glad I could help.

Incidentally, I'll be working Linux and OS X depending on which computer I'm sitting at, but I'm not doing anything at a level where the OS will matter. What I'm doing is really just some sorting, which just requires a decent interpreter. While I forsee it being very useful, it's very simple, and in the "why didn't some one already do this?" category.

All the real work was already done by the IT department at Monash University, which is responsible for KANJIDIC and EDICT, which I'll be taking raw information from (they are also the source for the data behind jisho.org).
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Old 2007-02-22, 07:27   Link #480
teachopvutru
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Wah, how many people in here take Japanese class? I'm currently in high school and my county doesn't have Japanese course, despite how much I wish it I can't take one.

Since I'm assuming Kanji and Hiragana are symbol letters like Chinese and Romaji and Katakana are like English alphabetic letters (cuz the first post didn't make any mention about what Hiragana and Katakana suppose to look like). What are the differences between Kanji x Hiragana and Romaji x Katakana?

And how 'ha' in Katakana can turn to 'wa' in Romaji? xD
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