日本語 + Русский + norsk

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brilliantyears
Green Belt
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Netherlands
Languages: Dutch, English
Active: Russian (A2)
Maintaining: Japanese (JLPT N2~N1), German
Low-key: Ainu, Arabic (A1), Mandarin (A?)
Probably lost: Korean, French, Latin, classical Manchu
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1104
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日本語 + Русский + norsk

Postby brilliantyears » Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:34 pm

I signed up to the old forum but a) broke my account within two days, b) it seems more active here and c) this forum is actually loading...

So here is the start of my language log as a self-introduction of sorts :D

Update November 2018:
Native language: Dutch
Fluent: English
Maintaining: Japanese (JLPT N2~N1), German (no idea)
Currently actively studying: Russian (A1.2), Ainu
On hold: Mandarin, Korean
At some point dabbled in: French, Latin, Manchu


English
My second language. I am no longer studying this – at least no more than I would ‘study’ my native language. I have an accent when speaking, which I’m unhappy about but am starting to embrace, but besides that my English is as good as my Dutch. And in some areas it’s even better than my Dutch, such as academic writing.
I picked up English mostly on my own through the internet, television and video games. I can’t pinpoint an exact time when I started learning it, but I think I actively began learning it when I was about 10 years old (thank you, Pokémon and the Internet). I learned very little in school that I didn’t figure out on my own yet. Learning English felt completely natural and besides the obligatory English classes in school, I never sat down to learn it formally. I really wish I could replicate this type of language learning, but alas, grown up brains, I guess...

German
My German is mostly passive. I can understand almost everything I read, and my listening comprehension is quite good too. However, I think because my passive understanding of German sort of grew on its own without me having to work for it, I’ve become lazy. While I have no problem getting people to understand me, my grammar is atrocious. I learned German formally in middle and high school, and of course we studied grammar intensively, but after high school I never bothered again. My weak points are the cases and gendered nouns.
I am currently not actively working on my German. I do consume some German media, such as books and musicals, and sometimes I do a little Duolingo. Hopefully I’ll find some time in the future to spend on German (and mastering the grammar, properly this time).

Japanese
I started learning Japanese formally in 2007. I’ve taken a few breaks during my studies so my Japanese isn’t as good as it could have been. I have a BA in Japan Studies and spent a year living in Nagasaki. Halfway the year everything suddenly clicked and while I wasn’t fluent, my Japanese was pretty good (especially conversationally). By the end of that year I also passed JLPT N2. However, after I got back to the Netherlands and finished my BA, I started an unrelated MA degree, and didn’t spend much time on Japanese (despite being surrounded by Japanese at work).
In 2015 (after a 3 year ‘break’) I seriously started studying again by aiming for the JLPT exams. In December I took JLPT N2 again and passed, and after that started studying to take N1 in December of 2016. JLPT isn’t the be-all and end-all, but at least it gives me structure for my studies. I failed hopelessly though and have since given up on formal testing.
Right now I'm mostly maintaining by doing 多読 (extensive reading) and watching drama series and movies. Like I said, considering it's been 11 years since I started learning Japanese, my Japanese really should be much better than it is. But on the other hand, my Japanese is quite stable and I've noticed I am not really losing much of what I learned. Whenever I have the opportunity to speak it again, I'm a little rusty for half an hour maybe and then go back to being able to talk casually. I'll take that as a victory.

Mandarin, Korean
In 2012 we figured among colleagues that doing a language exchange would be a good idea, since in our job it was convenient to know (that is, be able to read) both Japanese and Chinese (and ideally Korean, but alas). I started taking a summer course in Mandarin, and after that I continued with evening courses. My last course took me to CEFR level A2.2. I haven’t studied it at all since, because I noticed it was interfering with my Japanese. Also, pronunciation and tones were frustrating to me. For now Mandarin is on hold. I'd love to go back to it at some point, but I'd need to put in serious hours.
A few years later, in 2016, I started a Korean course. I got to level A1 and passed the TOPIK 1, level 1 exam (but only just). I lost interest, and also realised Korean is yet another language that was interfering with my Japanese. I also didn't have much incentive besides the language itself to learn it (not that into Korean culture). So farewell, Korean...

Russian
Russian is my current focus language. I started learning it in 2017 with no prior knowledge of the Russian language or culture, with just one purpose: get to a level that is sufficient for (comfortable) travelling. I'm taking evening classes with a little self-study on the side. I'm really enjoying it and so far *knocks on wood* find it easier than I was expecting. I have had good results while travelling to the Ukraine and Moldova, and I have good hopes of taking Russian to a properly functional level eventually :)


Other language learning experience & tidbits:
- French – I learned French in high school. 6 years, and I hated it. I didn’t like the teachers and the method was terrible. I remember some things, but on the whole I don’t count this among languages I ‘know’.
- Latin – I took Latin for 2 years in high school. Was so bad at it that I gave up (and had to take P.E. instead, woe is me.) I’d like to give Latin another try though, one day.
- Classical Manchu – I started a course, loved it, then got burned out and quit. Sadly :(
- For a few years I worked in an environment where I was constantly surrounded by Japanese, Chinese and Korean books, as well as working with students from a variety of different backgrounds.
- During my studies I focused partly on Japanese SLA and sociolinguistics, although I don’t feel I have in-depth knowledge.

I think most of my previous language!fail (French and Latin especially, but also early Japanese and German) was because I am terrible (terrrrrible!) at studying vocabulary. Back then (I'm almost 30 now), we didn’t have SRS (or at least I didn't know about it), so all studying was done from vocabulary lists. That just didn’t work for me at all (I’d remember where on the page the word was, but not the actual meaning...). This problem sort of continued even when I was studying Japanese, until I started using Anki in 2010. Even so, Anki doesn’t work great for me either. A few years ago I started using Memrise and finally I am finally able to retain vocabulary (my Japanese has improved tons thanks to it, and it also greatly helped my Korean when I was still learning that, and my Russian).
Last edited by brilliantyears on Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:54 pm, edited 19 times in total.
3 x
Russian ½ SC Movies: 50 / 50 Books: 2 / 50
Japanese ½ SC Movies: 50 / 50 Books: 11 / 50
Ainu STV Radio course: 8 / 52

User avatar
brilliantyears
Green Belt
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Netherlands
Languages: Dutch, English
Active: Russian (A2)
Maintaining: Japanese (JLPT N2~N1), German
Low-key: Ainu, Arabic (A1), Mandarin (A?)
Probably lost: Korean, French, Latin, classical Manchu
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1104
x 605
Contact:

Re: brilliantyears' language log: Japanese, German, Mandarin

Postby brilliantyears » Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:16 am

Japanese
Earlier this week I officially signed up to take the JLPT N1 exam in London this year. I’ve actually been preparing for this for a while (sort of ever since I took N2 in December last year). Up until May I focused on reviewing JLPT N2 materials and studying日本語総まとめ N2 語彙 on Memrise. Then in June I started studying for the N1, and at the start of July I made my current schedule.

Studying materials:
日本語総まとめ N1 読解
日本語総まとめ N1 語彙
Try! 文法から伸ばす日本語 N1
Memrise courses:
- N1: http://www.memrise.com/course/740805/jlpt-n1-vocabulary-en-kj/
- N2: http://www.memrise.com/course/374966/jlpt-n2-vocabulary-5/
Literature (currently reading: 気まぐれロボット (Kimagure Robotto) by 星 親一 (Hoshi Shin'ichi))

I have decided not to use the総まとめ grammar book because nothing stuck. Someone advised me to try Try! and it’s much more effective. As for vocabulary, I am technically using the総まとめ book but honestly I am just studying the vocabulary from the book on Memrise, and after I finish a week I review the book to see if there’s any subtleties I missed. I must say the総まとめ N1 vocabulary book is a lot less useful than the N2 book, where context was given for every chapter/day.

I have a tight studying schedule, which currently looks like this:
Every day: One日本語総まとめ N1 語彙 day on Memrise, plus Memrise reviews (N1 + N2), and if I have time I read literature and watch drama series
Monday and Tuesday: 2 days of日本語総まとめ N1 読解 (or the exam)
Wednesday: Approximately 5 grammar items from Try!
Thursday: Reviewing vocabulary with the日本語総まとめ book
Friday: Approximately 5 grammar items from Try!
Weekend: Whatever I feel like. I usually end up reviewing anything I didn’t feel confident about and rereading some texts from the日本語総まとめ N1 読解 book, and reading some chapters from whatever book I am currently reading.

At this rate I should be finished with most of the core JLPT N1 material in October. That leaves me with a little over a month to review.

I also aim to finish at least one book in Japanese every month (I want to keep doing this even after the exam).
0 x
Russian ½ SC Movies: 50 / 50 Books: 2 / 50
Japanese ½ SC Movies: 50 / 50 Books: 11 / 50
Ainu STV Radio course: 8 / 52

User avatar
Elisac
White Belt
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:31 pm
Location: Italy
Languages: Italian (native)
English (C1)
Japanese (intermediate)
Hebrew (beginner)
Greek (beginner)
Language Log: http://how-to-learn-any-language.org/vi ... =15&t=1103
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Re: brilliantyears' language log: Japanese, German, Mandarin

Postby Elisac » Fri Aug 21, 2015 1:48 pm

Hi, I'm also learning Japanese but I'm reviewing N2 level material...what did you use for grammar? :)
Memrise is really useful, I'm studying some vocabulary course too :geek:
1 x
Kodansha: 788 / 2300
ShinNihongoNoChukyu: 11 / 20
AssimilGreek: 21 / 92
AssimilHebrew: 35 / 85

User avatar
brilliantyears
Green Belt
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Netherlands
Languages: Dutch, English
Active: Russian (A2)
Maintaining: Japanese (JLPT N2~N1), German
Low-key: Ainu, Arabic (A1), Mandarin (A?)
Probably lost: Korean, French, Latin, classical Manchu
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1104
x 605
Contact:

Re: brilliantyears' language log: Japanese, German, Mandarin

Postby brilliantyears » Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:34 pm

Hi! For N2 I can highly recommend the 日本語総まとめ N2 文法 book. I used it last year to get some structure in my studies and it worked very well, and I've heard similar stories from fellow students. (Unfortunately the N1 book doesn't have the same effect for me)

You might also want to try out this relatively new series called Try! 文法から伸ばす日本語. I am using the N1 book now and it's probably one of the best grammar books I have ever encountered. You get different types of texts (speeches, short stories, news articles, advertisements etc) with grammar points in them, and then the grammar points are explained with a lot of examples and some exercises so you can practice. I also bought the N2 one to use for reviews later on. I haven't opened that one yet, but can check it out for you later when I get home, if you like.

What I can also recommend if you're serious about studying Japanese (and clearly you are), is the Dictionary of Japanese Grammar series. Tofugu posted an article about that here: http://www.tofugu.com/reviews/a-diction ... e-grammar/
They are absolutely a must-have, and they contain so much information that you literally cannot find online or in other books. They are quite pricey, often listed for € 70-80 (or more) per volume, but if you search well you should be able to find them new for € 40 each. They are worth every penny.

I have another grammar book that I used to study for N2 five+ years ago and that I loved, but it doesn't seem to be on sale anywhere any more. The whole book was in Japanese, even the grammar explanations, and it worked oddly well (the explanations were really good).
1 x
Russian ½ SC Movies: 50 / 50 Books: 2 / 50
Japanese ½ SC Movies: 50 / 50 Books: 11 / 50
Ainu STV Radio course: 8 / 52

User avatar
tarvos
Black Belt - 2nd Dan
Posts: 2478
Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2015 11:13 am
Location: Dark paradise
Languages: Native: NL, EN
Speak well: ES, DE, RU, FR, RO, EO, SV
Speak reasonably: IT, ZH, PT, NO, EL, CZ
Need improvement: PO, IS, HE, JP, KO, HU
Passive: AF, DK, LAT
Dabbled in: BRT, ZH (SH), FI, BG, EUS
Dabbling in: Malay
Language Log: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/fo ... PN=1&TPN=1
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Re: brilliantyears' language log: Japanese, German, Mandarin

Postby tarvos » Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:38 pm

Hah, your language description of the school languages sounds exactly like my experience in the Netherlands.
0 x
Ich stehe zwischen zwei Welten, bin in keiner daheim und habe es infolgedessen ein wenig schwer.
Preferred pronouns: feminine.

User avatar
Elisac
White Belt
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:31 pm
Location: Italy
Languages: Italian (native)
English (C1)
Japanese (intermediate)
Hebrew (beginner)
Greek (beginner)
Language Log: http://how-to-learn-any-language.org/vi ... =15&t=1103
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Re: brilliantyears' language log: Japanese, German, Mandarin

Postby Elisac » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:05 pm

@brilliantyears, thanks! Yes, if you could take a look also at the N2 book it would be great :)
I own the whole dictionary of Japanese series and it is really really the best series I know of. But I'd like to find a book with some exercise, because I found out the otherwise it doesn't stick :oops:
I'm going through shin Nihongo no chukyu now, for this reason...and I finally understood that doing grammar drills helps in my output too.
0 x
Kodansha: 788 / 2300
ShinNihongoNoChukyu: 11 / 20
AssimilGreek: 21 / 92
AssimilHebrew: 35 / 85

User avatar
brilliantyears
Green Belt
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Netherlands
Languages: Dutch, English
Active: Russian (A2)
Maintaining: Japanese (JLPT N2~N1), German
Low-key: Ainu, Arabic (A1), Mandarin (A?)
Probably lost: Korean, French, Latin, classical Manchu
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1104
x 605
Contact:

Re: brilliantyears' language log: Japanese, German, Mandarin

Postby brilliantyears » Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:02 pm

You're welcome! It seems we have the same problem, with grammar not sticking ;)

I checked the Try! N2 book and it looks just as good as the N1 one. I am definitely going to use it for reviewing later. I can absolutely recommend it. If you end up getting it, make sure to get the edition with English text (ISBN 9784872179033).

Again, I do also recommend the 日本語総まとめ books, but for grammar Try! is superior ;)

I also looked up the other method I used over 5 years ago, it's this one: http://www.amazon.co.jp/日本語能力試験-N2-N3文法 ... 798025534/
Even browsing the book now, I must say I still absolutely adore it. It's a pity it doesn't seem to be available anymore anywhere.

How do you feel about the drill book you're using? I could probably use (even more) drills too...
0 x
Russian ½ SC Movies: 50 / 50 Books: 2 / 50
Japanese ½ SC Movies: 50 / 50 Books: 11 / 50
Ainu STV Radio course: 8 / 52

User avatar
Elisac
White Belt
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:31 pm
Location: Italy
Languages: Italian (native)
English (C1)
Japanese (intermediate)
Hebrew (beginner)
Greek (beginner)
Language Log: http://how-to-learn-any-language.org/vi ... =15&t=1103
x 19

Re: brilliantyears' language log: Japanese, German, Mandarin

Postby Elisac » Sat Aug 22, 2015 7:19 am

Thanks for checking it :) I'm going to order it in some days :geek:
I'm using this one for vocabulary and I found it really useful: https://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/aw/d/4789013294/ref=ya_aw_oh_pii?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I planned to start studying this one: https://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/aw/d/4789015106/ref=ya_aw_oh_pii?ie=UTF8&psc=1 but it seems a bit dry, I don't know. Not a lot of drills...I was hoping in more :|
I have the matome series but as usual, I read grammar points and I get them...then I can't use them :oops:
I was thinking about buying something the Japanese children use for grammar but I didn't find anything till now.
Anyway at the moment I'm halfway through this one https://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/aw/d/4883191613/ref=mp_s_a_1_fkmr0_2?qid=1440227415&sr=8-2-fkmr0&pi=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70&keywords=新中級日本語 and it's good. It has a grammar book in English and a textbook with a lot of drills and short texts. I didn't buy the cd though, they say it's good for listening too. Anyway, it is a textbook designed for classroom use so I do some guesswork when doing kaiwa activities, but I like it anyway. It is not boring. It makes my brain use the grammar while other books just make me understand the examples.
1 x
Kodansha: 788 / 2300
ShinNihongoNoChukyu: 11 / 20
AssimilGreek: 21 / 92
AssimilHebrew: 35 / 85

User avatar
brilliantyears
Green Belt
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Netherlands
Languages: Dutch, English
Active: Russian (A2)
Maintaining: Japanese (JLPT N2~N1), German
Low-key: Ainu, Arabic (A1), Mandarin (A?)
Probably lost: Korean, French, Latin, classical Manchu
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1104
x 605
Contact:

Re: brilliantyears' language log: Japanese, German, Mandarin

Postby brilliantyears » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:11 pm

Thanks for the recommendations Elisac!

While I am still sticking to my schedule quite well, I realised I am not doing as much studying outside of it as I had planned. The idea was to immerse myself in my free time but instead I have grown addicted to watching Criminal Minds and CSI. Honestly I am itching to participate in some challenges..!

My listening comprehension and active use of Japanese are not getting as much attention. So I have decided to set a few extra goals for myself for 2015(also see my signature):

Reading: I want to read at least one book a month for the remainder of 2015 (that’s 5 books, my current book included). I am almost finished with the book I'm currently reading, 気まぐれロボット, and I plan to finish it this weekend. I am not sure what I’ll read next. Possibly さわらないで by Kiyomi Niitsu, or インストール by Risa Wataya. After my current book, I need something that isn't short stories. I also want to continue reading the first Harry Potter book in Japanese (finished one chapter a few months ago), but I think I'll save that for my Christmas break.

Movies: There are so many Japanese movies that I still want to watch. Let’s see if I can watch 10 before the year is over, for the sake of listening comprehension.

Drama: Same thing as movies. I'm about to finish a short drama, 猫侍 (which is oddly heartwarming). I've got a few lined up after this. I hope to finish 5 series this year, but am doubtful I’ll make it. Again, for the sake of listening comprehension.

Lang-8: I am not actively using my Japanese as much as I want to. I'm currently using HelloTalk to chat, but I also want to produce something a bit more substantial. I’ll try to write a short piece on Lang-8 hopefully once a week (but aiming at 15 for the remainder of 2015).
0 x
Russian ½ SC Movies: 50 / 50 Books: 2 / 50
Japanese ½ SC Movies: 50 / 50 Books: 11 / 50
Ainu STV Radio course: 8 / 52

User avatar
brilliantyears
Green Belt
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:52 am
Location: Netherlands
Languages: Dutch, English
Active: Russian (A2)
Maintaining: Japanese (JLPT N2~N1), German
Low-key: Ainu, Arabic (A1), Mandarin (A?)
Probably lost: Korean, French, Latin, classical Manchu
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1104
x 605
Contact:

Re: brilliantyears' language log: Japanese, German, Mandarin

Postby brilliantyears » Sat Sep 05, 2015 8:24 pm

Quick update: I'm slightly behind with my strict studying schedule because I got sick this week. However, it's not much so I should be able to catch up on that tomorrow. I have to say though that I am impressed with how much progress I am making these past months. The schedule is really helping, which I can tell from the native materials I'm consuming (especially reading material).

Anyway...

Reading: I finished 気まぐれロボット (and wrote a review on my blog for whoever's interested). It was a fun experience but I think I'll be staying away from short stories for a while. I started さわらないで last weekend and am halfway through already. Not sure what I think about it. It's a bit boring so far. It's supposed to be a horror novel but even halfway through not much has happened.

Movies: I've watched two movies so far, which is more than I had dared hope for. I'm happy about it though, since I have a long list of movies I have been meaning to watch and it's finally happening. I completely forgot how much I love movies!
I watched 御法度 (Taboo) last weekend and I absolutely loved it, it's gorgeous. Then tonight I watched 真夜中の弥次さん喜多さん (Yaji and Kita: the Midnight Pilgrims) and I have to admit I have a new favourite movie. It's a modern version of Tokaidochu Hizakurige. Even though I would be surprised if I understood even 10-15%(maybe?) of all the puns and pop culture references. I guess this is my new ultimate Japanese goal, hah.
御法度 trailer:

真夜中の弥次さん喜多さん trailer:


Drama: Finished 猫侍 (Nekozamurai). It was fun enough. Since I'm posting trailers anyway (although this is the opening theme, not a trailer):

I still haven't made up my mind on what to watch next. I watched a few episodes of First Class but eh, that story just made me nervous.

Lang-8: No progress :cry:
Last edited by brilliantyears on Sat Sep 12, 2015 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
0 x
Russian ½ SC Movies: 50 / 50 Books: 2 / 50
Japanese ½ SC Movies: 50 / 50 Books: 11 / 50
Ainu STV Radio course: 8 / 52


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