The Language Journal of Jinx

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Jinx
Yellow Belt
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Thu May 06, 2021 9:43 pm

6 May 2021

German:
- helped some colleagues understand a few German expressions (one example was the phrase "Das wird noch" – they were like "das wird WAS?" and I did my best to explain why there is no "was").

Japanese:
- did Pimsleur lesson 1.
- did tracks 1 and 2 of disc 1 of MT (Michel Thomas Japanese Foundation Course).
- did unit 0 (introduction, pronunciation) of Colloquial Japanese (Clarke/Hanamura 2003).

Italian:
- read chapter 4 of “Sette Robinson” on OPLingo (1490 words known).
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User avatar
Jinx
Yellow Belt
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Sat May 08, 2021 9:32 pm

7 May 2021

Italian:
- read chapter 5 of “Sette Robinson” on OPLingo (1700 words known).

German:
- read an article about jobs related to psychology on OPLingo (291 words known).


8 May 2021

Japanese:
- reviewed lessons 1 and 2 of Assimil, did lesson 3.
- rewrote all the exercises for TY Japanese lesson 1, but in “full” Japanese this time (i.e. not just hiragana, but kanji and katakana where appropriate as well).
- did tracks 3 and 4 of disc 1 of MT.

Mandarin:
- read three short texts on OPLingo (51 words known).
Last edited by Jinx on Sat May 08, 2021 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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User avatar
Jinx
Yellow Belt
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Sat May 08, 2021 9:58 pm

Yes, you read that right. I finally started writing kanji today, and it immediately made me miss Chinese, so... I returned to Mandarin, for the first time in ages. Gosh, I forgot how much I love that language. If there were a heart-eyes emoji in this forum, I'd put it here. And I was so happy to see that I still remembered all the hanzi I learned, however many years ago that was! What a relief. I lost a lot of memories due to my depression-induced amnesia (I can't recommend getting depression, folks; it's a hell of a disease), but luckily the hanzi don't seem to have been among them.

But back to Japanese. I'm going to put a bunch of rambling thoughts below about several of the Japanese resources I've been using so far. Fair warning: I'm a bit of a grump. But this is my log, I think I'm allowed ;)

ASSIMIL LE JAPONAIS

The Assimil audio is sooooo sloooowwwww! It’s rather annoying. But I skipped ahead to check when it speeds up, and by lesson 10 it’s already a bit less excruciating. Lesson 20 is better, and 30 still better. So I just need to stick with it.

I glanced ahead to the end of the Assimil book and was quite disappointed to discover that it uses rōmaji in addition to the characters all the way to the end. I was hoping it would switch over to purely kana and kanji+furigana at some point.

MICHEL THOMAS JAPANESE FOUNDATION

I strongly dislike the “dumbing-down” of the grammatical explanations in this course. I understand that the point is not to overwhelm beginners with details and exceptions to rules and so on, but what I can say? It bothers me. For example, at one point the teacher said “All verbs end in -masu.” No qualification of that statement. Okay… so that means the words that end in “-mashita” are supposedly NOT verbs?
(In case it’s not clear, that’s a sarcastic rhetorical question; I know very well that they are verbs. Verbs in the past tense are still verbs.)

And then she explains the concept of a verb as “something you can put after the words ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘they’ or ‘it’.” The messiness and inaccuracy of this explanation sets my teeth on edge. But I’m trying to put on my aural blinders, ignore the oversimplified explanations and bad pronunciations, and focus on just the good stuff that’s helping me (and there certainly is some of that).

Update, after listening to one more track: Who is this teacher? I am NOT impressed by her. When the male student pronounced コーヒー as “kohi”, she stopped him and corrected him, telling him to pronounce the first syllable longer. Just the first syllable. She even demonstrated it herself, and she clearly pronounced the first syllable twice as long as the second. Is that right?!? From everything I’ve seen and heard so far, I thought the second syllable was supposed to be held exactly as long as the first one. Hence the two chōonpu in the kana, not one. And when the native speaker repeated it afterwards, she definitely held it that long.

TEACH YOURSELF JAPANESE

Rewriting the first TY lesson in “proper Japanese” was my favorite thing I did today – a very rewarding exercise. Writing by hand in my target languages is my favorite part of language learning. I used jisho.org to look up the correct characters (including stroke order) for each vocab word, be it kanji or katakana or hiragana; wrote out each vocab word using those characters; and then did both the exercises.

Exercise 1 shows Japanese sentences in rōmaji and asks you to translate them to English. I never do the “translate to English” exercises, because they’re too easy – as soon as I’ve read the sentences, I’ve already understood them, and writing in English is a waste of my study time. So instead I just transliterated from rōmaji to “real Japanese”, writing every sentence out in the correct characters by hand.

Exercise 2 shows English sentences and asks you to translate them to Japanese. The book expects you to write your answers in rōmaji, but obviously I didn’t do that; I wrote real Japanese instead. That was so peaceful and enjoyable, even though the squares on my paper are absurdly small and therefore the kanji ended up being pretty cramped, haha.

Here's my Exercise 2, my first ever time writing "real Japanese"! Please excuse my awful handwriting; remember, the picture is somewhat larger than life – in reality, my thumbnail is bigger than four of those squares put together.
TY-L1-ex2.jpg
TY-L1-ex2.jpg (121.06 KiB) Viewed 569 times


I love being reunited with my beloved Chinese characters in a new language! The kana are nice and all, but the process of “character > syllable > put syllables together into a word > understand meaning” takes a minute for me. It’s much easier and quicker to see 本 and instantly think “book”. Even though it’s not the same character as in Chinese. It just… makes sense, somehow, to my brain.
(I do realize this feeling probably won’t last. I can’t remember how many hanzi I learned back when I was dabbling in Chinese, but it certainly wasn’t 2000!)
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User avatar
Jinx
Yellow Belt
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Sun May 09, 2021 10:16 pm

9 May 2021

German:
- wrote in German in my journal for a bit, while sitting on a bench next to the river and soaking up the sun. It felt like summer today! I wore a sundress for the first time in eight months!

Italian:
- eavesdropped on some Italian guys sitting near me for about ten minutes. Unfortunately they were speaking rather quietly, but I picked up on several phrases, including a mildly flattering comment about me that made me have to bite back a smirk.

Japanese:
- did Pimsleur lesson 2. (opinion so far: it’s fine)
- did tracks 5 and 6 of disc 1 of MT. (opinion so far: hate it)
- reviewed lesson 3 of Assimil, did lesson 4. (opinion so far: love it, even with the slow audio)

I was unfair to Assimil in my last entry, and I need to correct myself. I complained that they transcribe the characters into rōmaji all the way to the end of the book. But I had totally forgotten there are two books: Tome 1 and Tome 2! I just checked Tome 2, and about halfway though, they rearrange each page so that the rōmaji is at the bottom of each page, rather than directly under the Japanese text, line-by-line. This is a great improvement and will make it much easier for me to block out the rōmaji completely if I want to. I should have trusted Assimil to anticipate my needs, as always :)

I also realized I forgot to explicitly mention my podcasts as study time yesterday. Most days, this past week, I've been listening to 20–30 minutes of Japanese podcast per day. I do this purely to pick up on the pronunciation/rhythm/prosody of the language, with the added benefit of regularly recognizing words or expressions I've learned recently, so I prefer 100% target language podcasts. I have no use for the kind where it's 90% English explanations and 10% target language audio. (Not to point any fingers, coughMTcough)

(Do I complain about a learning resource while continuing to use it? Very well then I complain about a learning resource while continuing to use it. I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Last edited by Jinx on Wed May 12, 2021 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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User avatar
Jinx
Yellow Belt
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Sun May 09, 2021 10:28 pm

Ooh, I just noticed the 6WC thread. I guess the current round started at the beginning of May? I'm a bit late to join, and in any case I loathe Twitter and I never keep track of my time spent studying anymore, so I'm not exactly the 6WC's target audience. That said, the coincidence of me starting to play with Japanese as a total beginner on April 30 is too perfect, so I suppose I could declare my current Japanese studies to be an "unofficial 6WC".

If I remember, I'll make a "Where are we now" post on June 15 and discuss how my rudimentary Japanese is doing at that point. It's nice to have a concrete date to work towards. (Especially because I never intended to learn this language at all, so I'm sure I'll lose interest at some point. This will hopefully ensure that I stick with it for at least the six weeks.)
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User avatar
Jinx
Yellow Belt
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Mon May 10, 2021 8:06 pm

It's official: I've just quit the Michel Thomas course for Japanese. It's too awful.

The final straw was two blatant errors in one lesson.

1. All along, the instructor has been pronouncing the Japanese word for "sandwich" this way: "sand-wee-chee". Even when the native speaker says, every single time, "san-doi-chee". (Not official transcription, just my impression.) This happened yet again in track 8, and the poor gullible students on the recording faithfully imitated the wrong pronunciation. And not only them; I did too, in a moment of sloppiness, until I heard the native speaker pronounce it and was reminded of the fact that the instructor's pronunciation has been wrong all along.

2. A minute or so later, the instructor prompted the students to make a sentence using "That [...]" ("kore" = "this", "sore" = "that"), and one of the students said "Kore [...]" and the instructor said "That's right."

If they couldn't be bothered to get an instructor with decent pronunciation or even to double-check their own course material, then I can't be bothered to keep using it. I've got plenty of other material for Japanese.
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User avatar
Jinx
Yellow Belt
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Wed May 12, 2021 8:53 pm

10 May 2021

Japanese:
- listened to about 40 minutes of podcasts while in the bath.
- reviewed Assimil lesson 4, did lesson 5.
- did tracks 7 and half of track 8 of disc 1 of MT before quitting it for good.


11 May 2021

Japanese:
- reviewed Assimil lesson 5, did lesson 6.
- read 2 small texts on OPLingo (53 words known).
- skimmed pp. 1–53 of TY Beginner’s Japanese Script.

Italian:
- read chapter 6 of “Sette Robinson” on OPLingo (1931 words known).

French:
- read three texts on OPLingo (660 words known).
4 x
Feel free to add me on Goodreads.
Pronouns: she/her.
Corrections welcome!

User avatar
Jinx
Yellow Belt
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Thu May 13, 2021 8:51 pm

12 May 2021

I just realized I have been forgetting to track “Le Japonais sans peine” as French study too, even though it usually involves reading a small page’s worth of French in each lesson. Oh well, I won’t bother for the normal lessons. It’s not much text. But I’ll count it for the revision lessons.

Japanese:
- did Assimil lesson 7 (revision lesson), reviewed lessons 1–6.

French:
- read about four pages (Le Japonais revision lesson).
- read two texts (about 12 pages) on OPLingo (1439 words known).


13 May 2021

Japanese:
- did Assimil lesson 8, reviewed lesson 7.
- rewrote by hand all vocab from TY lesson 1: kanji ( 鉛筆、紙、本、東京 ) katakana ( ノート、インク、ペン、ピン ), and hiragana ( あります、あそこ、ここ、そこ ).
- looked up and learned to write all vocab from Cortina lesson 1 (too many to list here; a total of 37 words).

Esperanto:
- read two texts on OPLingo (306 words known).

French:
- read two texts on OPLingo (1956 words known).

And in between all of this I baked a loaf of mustard-cheese bread. It came out very well :)

I noticed something strange today. The Cortina textbook (which uses only rōmaji) lists the word for “afternoon” as being both “gogo” and “nichigogo”. “Gogo” seems to be correct ( 午後 ), but I can’t find a mention of “nichigogo” anywhere on the internet. Is this a mistake? Or an outdated usage, perhaps?
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User avatar
Jinx
Yellow Belt
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Sat May 15, 2021 9:13 pm

14 May 2021

Japanese:
- reviewed Assimil lesson 8, did lesson 9.
- listened to about 20 minutes of podcasts.


15 May 2021

Japanese:
- reviewed Assimil lesson 9, did lesson 10.
- did lessons 1 and 2 of the katakana course from japanese-lesson.com.

French:
- wrote a page in French in my journal.

Yes, I realized I should finally bite the bullet and actually learn the katakana instead of just "picking them up as I go". So I'll be using japanese-lesson.com again, the same site where I learned the hiragana.

Also, I learned something in Assimil lesson 9 that I love!

o-hashi.png
o-hashi.png (42.09 KiB) Viewed 384 times

o-hashi-explanation.png
o-hashi-explanation.png (177.67 KiB) Viewed 384 times

This "o" prefix for familiar, everyday things. That is so charming, for some reason :)

Earlier today I also sat on a bench and wrote in my journal for a little while, until a storm rolled in and chased me home. I usually only write in English or German these days, but for some reason French came out when I started writing today. I'll copy it in here in case anyone has any corrections to offer me.

Hier soir, je suis descendue très tard pour aller regarder dans la boîte aux lettres, et je suis sortie pour un moment dans la cour pour ressentir la nuit. Il faisait à peu près une heure du matin et l'air était lourd, chargé. Il me rappelait tout d'un coup le livre Der Mensch erscheint im Holozän de Max Frisch. Je l'ai lu il y a longtemps, peut-être plus de quinze ans. Et je ne sais plus point comment s'est déroulée l'histoire, mais je me souviens vaguement de l'atmosphère que le livre a créée – un sentiment de pesanteur et d'épaisseur, une sorte d'humidité menaçant, la sensation que l'on attend l’approche d’une catastrophe naturelle inévitable. Il faut vraiment que je relise ce livre; je trouve Frisch absolument génial.
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User avatar
Jinx
Yellow Belt
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:56 pm
Location: Germany
Languages: English (N), German (adv), varying levels of French, Esperanto, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Croatian, Catalan, Mandarin, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=16835
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Re: The Language Journal of Jinx

Postby Jinx » Tue May 18, 2021 8:53 pm

16 May 2021

Japanese:
- listened to about 90 minutes of podcasts.
- reviewed Assimil lesson 10, did lesson 11.

Whoops, I meant to do the next two lessons of the katakana course this evening. But suddenly it was past 11 p.m. and I still hadn’t done any Japanese yet today. Sometimes Sundays just slip away like that…

German:
- wrote a page in my journal in German. I forgot to mention that I did the same thing yesterday as well.

Esperanto:
- read a text on OPLingo (456 words known).


17 May 2021

Japanese:
- reviewed Assimil lesson 11, did lesson 12.
- did half of lesson 3 of the katakana course from japanese-lesson.com (up through first writing quiz, of three).

So far, everything about Japanese makes sense to me except some of the particles. I’ve still got a very weak grasp on them at present – for instance, when to use は vs. が, and the various uses of に. But I trust the Assimil method and will just keep moving steadily through it day by day, letting myself develop a certain familiarity of sight and sound. My current prediction is that the particles will be the thing I’ll have the most trouble getting right when it comes to the active wave. I’ll be interested to see if my guess proves correct.

Update: I just googled は vs. が and was relieved to discover that I am definitely not alone! I found two fantastic, detailed articles talking about the distinction between them. After reading through both, I think I understand it in theory, but internalizing the knowledge and manifesting it in practice will clearly take a looooong time.

Article 1: https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/wa-and-ga/
Article 2 (I particularly like this one): https://8020japanese.com/wa-vs-ga/

EDIT: P.S. I updated my user avatar... I'm normally pretty leery of putting recognizable photos of myself on the Public Internet, but for some reason I feel very safe and tucked-away in this forum. Perhaps because the avatars are so small :lol: Anyway... it me.
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