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Old 2007-03-31, 20:58   Link #561
raikage
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Herring View Post
I have to take a language in college in order to get my BA. 4 semesters...I'm thinking Japanese but can anyone tell me what University Japanese is like? I mean I'm thinking they probably move at too fast a pace in order to learn anything...its probably more like "just learn what you need to know to pass the test."
There's really no proper "test" (unless you mean the Japanese government-sponsored JLPT) but I doubt any college program would require you to take it.

I don't think it's possible, really, to learn a language "for the test" -- that is, to memorize without understanding it.

EDIT: Maybe words, but likely not grammar structure or the basic kanji.
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Old 2007-04-02, 15:05   Link #562
Crovax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raikage View Post
[...]

I don't think it's possible, really, to learn a language "for the test" -- that is, to memorize without understanding it.

EDIT: Maybe words, but likely not grammar structure or the basic kanji.
I so not study Japanese in any formal course or w/e, but it doesn't seem that farfetched to me. Language courses tend to be cumulative, so one would be likely to cram 'newly learned vocab and kanji' for any specific test. You are of course right that if you did not Master all the previous subject material properly (e.g. by only cramming before tests and never properly giving new material the time to sink in) cramming would quickly become impossible as the matter encompassed by accumulation rapidly grows.

On another note: I have heard from a friend in university who takes Japanese that he feels the different levels of politeness are not properly taught. That is, that the student is not properly familiarized with actually using them in conversation etc. Anyone sharing that sentiment?
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Old 2007-04-02, 15:17   Link #563
WanderingKnight
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Quote:
On another note: I have heard from a friend in university who takes Japanese that he feels the different levels of politeness are not properly taught. That is, that the student is not properly familiarized with actually using them in conversation etc. Anyone sharing that sentiment?
I don't know about university classes because I take independent classes, but at the beginning you're normally stuck with the default polite level, that is, a lingo you'd use to talk to strangers that are located more or less at your same level. It's commonly set like that because of the gaijin-in-Japan kind-of oriented teaching system, which is supposed to give a foreign resident basic tools for handling everyday dialog with other people he or she is not intimate with. I guess the number of politeness levels the lessons cover depends on the depth of the lessons themselves, and the time you spend studying the language.
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Old 2007-04-02, 15:59   Link #564
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Well, the thing is, this guy is taking like 3rd or 4th year Japanese now. And he still has this complaint.

How suitable is classroom teaching for learning conversational Japanese anyway? I have always been a fan of learning languages through simple exposure to them. It's how I picked up English, though admittedly, I was younger when I learned English than I am now. It is becoming apparent that without anyone to actively speak/practice Japanese with, progress is slow indeed.

Lack of interaction is the Achilles' heel for anyone trying to learn a language on his or her own. It is easy to land in situations where you are forced to communicate in English, especially when on vacation, however this is obviously not the case for Japanese. =)
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Old 2007-04-02, 16:06   Link #565
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Quote:
How suitable is classroom teaching for learning conversational Japanese anyway? I have always been a fan of learning languages through simple exposure to them. It's how I picked up English, though admittedly, I was younger when I learned English than I am now. It is becoming apparent that without anyone to actively speak/practice Japanese with, progress is slow indeed.
Well, I've picked up English on my own and most of my Japanese comes from contact with the language, but the thing with Japanese is, that if your only contact is anime and manga, you're bound to have a very, very limited approach to it. That's because of the overly-informal level of speech characters use in it. I've actually been scolded by my sensei a few times for replying in phrases too short and simplistic, something I can't help to do as I'm already used to it because of anime

But of course, if you have zero contact (as some people of my Japanese class have), you're bound to stay very, very limited in your learning. The moral of the story is, that anime and manga help a lot in picking up a good part of the language, but don't go around figuring that it represents the totality of it. That's why classes are necessary for Japanese, if your source of contact with it is solely anime and manga.
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Old 2007-04-02, 23:45   Link #566
raikage
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crovax View Post
On another note: I have heard from a friend in university who takes Japanese that he feels the different levels of politeness are not properly taught. That is, that the student is not properly familiarized with actually using them in conversation etc. Anyone sharing that sentiment?
My experiences are different from your friend's, in that I'm studying the language under a different curriculum on a different continent (or so I assume).

I only took the language for four semesters (roughly two years) but I feel like I learned a decent understanding of the hows and whens to use it.

Forgot a bit of the son'keigo (尊敬語) and the ken'jougo (謙譲語) but I don't think I'll run into very many situations where I, as a non-native speaker, would be expected to use it.

As a non-native, I think you'd only need to learn teineigo (丁寧語; ~masu/desu form) and kudaketago (砕けた語; informal ~u/da form). The usage is simple -- when in doubt, be polite.
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Old 2007-04-03, 01:51   Link #567
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WanderingKnight: I have heard others mention that as well, hehe. Ppl watching too much anime addressing the teacher with 'omae', rofl.

raikage: He's actually an American, so judging by your location that assumption would be at least partially incorrect. =)

His complaint is that it's hard to learn what is appropriate where 'properly' in the classroom because the teacher will always insist on you being polite to him etc. Even if some practice routines try to force you to 'practice' it, it still ends up awkward since you don't generally use it. And there really isn't any properly involving, meaningful roleplay to try and fill this gap.
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Old 2007-04-03, 07:42   Link #568
poptart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Well, I've picked up English on my own and most of my Japanese comes from contact with the language, but the thing with Japanese is, that if your only contact is anime and manga, you're bound to have a very, very limited approach to it. That's because of the overly-informal level of speech characters use in it. I've actually been scolded by my sensei a few times for replying in phrases too short and simplistic, something I can't help to do as I'm already used to it because of anime

But of course, if you have zero contact (as some people of my Japanese class have), you're bound to stay very, very limited in your learning. The moral of the story is, that anime and manga help a lot in picking up a good part of the language, but don't go around figuring that it represents the totality of it. That's why classes are necessary for Japanese, if your source of contact with it is solely anime and manga.
i think that anime and manga are really good tools to help learn japanese.

not to try and copy the way they speak, but soley for word and speech recognition.

most people don't live in a place where they can listen to native speakers or read in japanese. being able to hear native speakers (who speak much faster than most learning level japanese audio help) and read read japanse in non-textbook form, to me is a good learning tool.

but as you said should not be used as the basis for learning the language.

but if you combine what you learn at school with it and use it to enforce vocabulary, use context clues to figure out what is being said, sentence structre, voice tone and patterns, and work at trying to understand the normal native speakers pace then it should be ok.

just dont use it as a gauge for how all japanese people speak. that will get you some stares
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Old 2007-04-03, 12:04   Link #569
Vexx
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Whether classes are useful or not depends on:
1) How you best *learn* (not just memorize and forget).
2) How the class is taught (interactive, lecture, groupwork, immersive, etc).

I'm taking conversational japanese classes (lots of interactive and roleplay scenarios), that teacher is giving me sidework in kana, and combining that with some separate classes on kanji. For me, getting the information lodged in "permament" "accessible" memory is the toughest. I "know" a good deal - but it often isn't accessible when I'm put on the spot. That's the hump I'm trying to get over now.

And yes... unless you want to talk like an ill-mannered japanese teen (and probably feminine-speak as well) --- don't use what you learn in anime in real life
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Old 2007-04-03, 13:46   Link #570
FatPianoBoy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
And yes... unless you want to talk like an ill-mannered japanese teen (and probably feminine-speak as well) --- don't use what you learn in anime in real life
Heh... I remember a while ago that I utilized Haruhi's いいわね! in a conversation without realizing how feminine and rude it is. Got me a couple of looks and a short explanation of why I shouldn't say that ever again, but gaijin can get away with just about anything once, so I don't let fear of weird speech prevent me from trying out what I pick up. Just make sure you're in the company of friends when you try it

I seem to be able to get away with using slightly feminine speech patterns like の instead of か and feminine conjugation - possibly because I'm a bit feminine myself
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Old 2007-04-03, 22:16   Link #571
WanderingKnight
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Yeah, the bad part about learning from anime is that, since most characters are female, the female way of speaking gets stuck in your head. I had that problem at the beginning but it seems to be fading with time.
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Old 2007-04-04, 14:06   Link #572
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Yeah, the bad part about learning from anime is that, since most characters are female, the female way of speaking gets stuck in your head. I had that problem at the beginning but it seems to be fading with time.
My problem is that I really want to use more masculine speech because it sounds so much cooler but I can't... bah.

At least if guys speak like girls they can blame it on the fact that their Japanese teacher was most likely female.
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Old 2007-04-04, 17:32   Link #573
Nagato
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Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
Yeah, the bad part about learning from anime is that, since most characters are female, the female way of speaking gets stuck in your head. I had that problem at the beginning but it seems to be fading with time.
I didn't know it before. Im also watching bishojo anime, but I think I never tried to say わ、の or else. Well, maybe because I always (if possible) watch anime from the male main character view.

Usually the chinpira (punk, hooligan?) way of speaking is the one that can influence your Japanese when you learn it from anime or manga. But, from the anime or manga itself you can learn how to use the expression you find there. In spite of it's bad influences, manga or anime is a good alternative to learn Japanese. From my experience, manga or anime is the fastest way to improve your vocabulary when you reach level 3 (or higher) of JLPT.

About way of speaking, I think as foreign, stick on desu/masu form is the most bunan (safe) and normal yet quite polite alternative. Because, even Japanese, often mistake the usage of polite expression. I only use that when I really need to use it (means I must master it first).
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Old 2007-04-07, 02:04   Link #574
lalala123
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how did you learn your japanese?

How long did it take for you to learn Japanese? what method did you use?

I would like to learn some Japanese so i don't have to read subtitles anymore. Subtitles are fine but you miss somethings when watching anime.

I would also like to read Japanese mangas.

thanks for the input
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Old 2007-04-07, 02:55   Link #575
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Haha, I've been watching anime heavily for over 10 years now and I still dont know much Japanese. Obviously I can understand a number of typical spoken phrases and words and such but thats about it. Its a very complicated language and I dont know how to read any of it and I wouldnt be much good in trying to speak it to anyone aside from very basic things.

2nd languages have never been a strong point for me. Never did well with french in school and couldnt be bothered to learn German which is my mother's parents first language. That being said, as far as languages go, I do really like Japanese and I'd love to be fluent with it, but thats likely never going to happen.
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Old 2007-04-07, 03:15   Link #576
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I recommend that you look at this guide: http://www.guidetojapanese.org/ (probably the best guide for Japanese on the net- and its also better than some books which you find these days). You can also go to the forums there to ask questions.

You may also like learning Japanese through podcasts: http://www.japanesepod101.com

Good luck with learning Japanese it gonna take a while- esp. kanji
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Old 2007-04-07, 03:17   Link #577
shiro83
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I picked it up through anime.
I have been watching anime like about 8 years.

Like Icehawk said, some of the phrases spoken I can recognize but me speaking proper Japanese is impossible.

I had also bought a book on Japanese basics. It helped me a little.

I think to pick the language up, a proper language course is needed.
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Old 2007-04-07, 04:04   Link #578
Gaiarth
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I went to lessons at a Japanese language school. 90 minutes, twice a week, for about 1 1/2 years. That got me to what they called a Higher Intermediate stage, which was basically a good general conversational level. This is enough to get the general gist of what's going on in most shows, so long as they don't get too technical or existential (which rules out GitS on both counts! ) Unfortunately, the school shut down a few years back, so I couldn't get any further.

Basically, if you want to learn the language properly, enough to watch a show without subtitles and understand most of whats going on, or read manga without going to a kanji dictionary every other character, you need to take proper classes.
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Old 2007-04-07, 19:44   Link #579
Red Herring
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Thanks for the advice fellas. I'm gonna enroll in Japanese 101 next semester nad hopefully I'll have at least a rudimentary command of it when I graduate heh.
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Old 2007-04-07, 19:46   Link #580
Islaya
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I got A's all through Japanese my junior year but failed the mid-term and final. I barely managed to pass Japanese 2 my senior year. The basics were simple, but katakana and most of the kanji beat me senseless.
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