Nihongo: listening and reading

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tungemål
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Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby tungemål » Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:32 pm

brilliantyears wrote:...
The point is that learning characters separately and without any indication of their pronunciation is just a huge waste of time. I must say that site looks at least a little better since it does address pronunciation/readings, but the original Heisig method doesn't (and therefore, plainly said, it's a terrible method). But even if you do study them with pronunciation/readings, characters are rarely stand-alone and meanings vary depending on the compounds and/or grammatical endings. So you do get a basic idea of the meaning/reading of the kanji, but I still feel like you're doing double work by learning all the kanji separately first before you touch on compounds/actual vocabulary.
...


Yes, the point of the Heisig method is to learn the inner logic of the graphic aspect of the characters first, and learn pronunciations and words later. It is double work, but by dividing up a complex task (learning the writing system) into separate smaller tasks it is supposed to become more surmountable. Actually I don't understand how it could be learned efficiently in any other way.

But I admit it is a drawback not to know the pronunciation of the characters, I see that now. The problem is that a character doesn't have only "one" pronunciation.

The paradox of japanese characters is, that if you see one outside of any context, you can't be sure of either the pronunciation or the meaning. That can only be determined from context. So in a way you can not learn a character properly before you already know all of them. Well, not all of them, but they are all connected in a huge web.
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Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby tungemål » Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:47 pm

I originally planned to spend most of my time on reading and listening, but...

This core 2000 anki deck is taking a lot of energy. There are many words that I didn't know (I do it random order). Some compound words, that is, two-character words, are almost self evident and easy to remember, others make no sense. When I see a compound, since I don't know the reading of the characters, my thought process goes like this:
meaning of individual kanji -> meaning of compound word -> trying to remember the japanese word as spoken. While ideally reading should be like this:
individual characters -> pronunciation of word

But this deck will definitely teach me to read.
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Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby brilliantyears » Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:29 am

tungemål wrote:Yes, the point of the Heisig method is to learn the inner logic of the graphic aspect of the characters first, and learn pronunciations and words later. It is double work, but by dividing up a complex task (learning the writing system) into separate smaller tasks it is supposed to become more surmountable. Actually I don't understand how it could be learned efficiently in any other way.
I see what you're saying, and I absolutely agree it's important to learn to understand how characters work and to learn it well (many people don't). My doubt is this: do you really need the entire Heisig method with its 2200 characters for that? I would think the point was evident after a few hundred at most...

And this is why I think the way I think:
tungemål wrote:The paradox of japanese characters is, that if you see one outside of any context, you can't be sure of either the pronunciation or the meaning. That can only be determined from context. So in a way you can not learn a character properly before you already know all of them. Well, not all of them, but they are all connected in a huge web.

tungemål wrote:Some compound words, that is, two-character words, are almost self evident and easy to remember, others make no sense. When I see a compound, since I don't know the reading of the characters, my thought process goes like this:
meaning of individual kanji -> meaning of compound word -> trying to remember the japanese word as spoken. While ideally reading should be like this:
individual characters -> pronunciation of word


In another topic I recommended the 漢字マスター series. They require a lot of your own input (i.e. looking up words), but are so very very useful. You learn kanji by themes, compounds made up of the kanji you just learned, and sentences where the vocabulary appears in context. Basically they address your concerns, of both pronunciation, inner logic, and the 'huge web' you mentioned. You can view the inside of the N3 level book on Amazon.

Anyway, of course, whatever works for you in the end :) I guess I'll leave your topic now since I feel I annoy you, but if you have any questions or need tips for material etc, feel free to ask whenever!
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Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby tungemål » Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:29 am

Don't worry, I appreciate your input.

Here is a question: Did you learn to read by learning readings of individual characters, or by associating vocabulary with kanji / kanji compounds? I am trying the latter now. It would seem that it is logical to learn how a kanji is pronounced, but as you know that is very complicated. One kanji can have many readings, and conversely, one reading is usually shared by many kanji.
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Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby brilliantyears » Sat Oct 26, 2019 10:59 am

My main method that I've had success with is always to learn with vocabulary as a basis. So learn a piece of vocabulary (kanji or kanji compound), then learn the reading and its meaning along with it. This hasn't been the most successful method though - that has definitely been using books/methods such as the 漢字マスター series I mentioned, because it helps making links between vocabulary and kanji readings and meanings.
I never did this for Japanese, but that's because I wasn't efficient at learning languages yet when I started but: maybe try a word frequency list that gives you all these components? (kanji, hiragana reading, meaning) I think that's probably the fastest way to make progress.

In the end, the more vocabulary you learn, the easier reading will become. You will eventually learn to guess readings for new words you encounter, and even meanings. You'll be wrong sometimes, or miss nuances, but characters will start becoming less opaque.
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Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby tungemål » Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:25 pm

Secrets of japanese pronunciation

Here are the secrets that they don't tell you about in the beginner books. The first book I went through I mostly did by reading and without audio, which was a mistake. It meant that this has been confusing for me.

The し is transcribed as "shi", but usually it will be pronounced as "sh" (or rather [ɕ]). So して is pronounced like "shte", as one syllable. "Seven o'clock" - しちじ - becomes a consonant cluster like the ones you find in Polish: shchi-ji.

Similarily, "i" and "u" can disappear in for example き - ki, and す - su.

ひ - hi - is pronounced more like [ç], so ひと is something like "hto".

Another strange thing: the "g"-syllables are sometimes pronounced with ng [ŋ].
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Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby devilyoudont » Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:50 pm

Here's a trick for understanding vowel devoicing for you :)

Consonants come in voiced and unvoiced pairs (t vs d)

Vowels would basically always voiced...

High vowels (u,i) in Japanese, tend to get devoiced between unvoiced consonants.

However, you often hear them reappear in situations where a voiced consonant follows... ですが etc

Hope this helps

Rules around g sounds are kind of complicated... rules will vary by region, and younger generation seems to be preferring "g" over "ng" to me... One thing to know is that at the start of a word, it will always be "g" however, in other places in a word there are several possibilities for pronunciation, including "g" by some speakers.
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Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby tungemål » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:59 pm

So far I have stuck to the plan and I trudge through 20 new cards of the core 2000 anki deck every day. And 50 reviews on top of that. 320 words learned so far, so just 1680 to go. Even if I knew most (maybe 60%) of the words already, 20 a day is hard work but I learn a lot. I notice that I start to make connections and learn readings of some kanjis just from the vocabulary.

Some things I have noticed regarding Heisig method:
- positive: It is very satisfying to recognize all the characters as familiar (but already a couple have appeared that are outside of the Jouyou-list)
- negative: Inevitably I have formed certain ideas and perceptions about the meanings of the individual kanjis, and I have to adjust and sometimes change them, now when I learn vocabulary.
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Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby kraemder » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:33 pm

I can’t tell if you’re in Japan or not. If you’re in Japan and wanting to speak Japanese to people but getting discouraged when they reply in English I would say just keep speaking Japanese and don’t worry at all about what language they’re speaking. It doesn’t really matter.

I totally recommend the core 2k/6k/10k deck that is not quite as easy to find as before but still not too hard. I’d recommend familiarizing yourself with Anki enough that you can modify how the deck presents and tests your Japanese in a way that you find appealing. I liked using it as a listening sentence deck so I would listen to the native Japanese speaker saying the sentences. I love how the sentences are short enough that you don’t get too bogged down with a difficult sentence distracting you from learning the vocabulary once you hit a low intermediate level anyway

I guess I don’t know your level but or if you are an anime fan but if you are I recommend turning off subtitles while watching Japanese anime. It took a while for me to get used to this but it helped my listening a lot more than having English subs. I also recommend getting an audio book and listening to it for an extended period of time once a week or whatever works for you. It will be very difficult but it makes your brain work only with the sounds of the language with any visual aids and I found this surprisingly helpful. I can probably listen to an audio book every day but not intensely for an extended period of time. I found this better than shadowing. You should also try listening to an audio book while reading along with the actual text and text to speech is helpful for reading as well.

And lastly.. talk to people. Even with the time zone difference I can usually find someone to chat with on tandem or HelloTalk.
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Re: Nihongo: listening and reading

Postby tungemål » Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:53 pm

Reading

Core2000 deck: I have now learned 500 words, so I am a quarter into the deck.
So far I have pruned the deck down to 1993 words - because there were some words I don't want to learn (not useful).

If you don't know japanese and think the writing system looks complicated: Yes, I can confirm it is difficult, but maybe for another reason than you would expect. I can see now how hard it really is if you can't be sure of how a character is pronounced. If each character had exactly one pronunciation it wouldn't be so hard "just" to learn a few thousand characters.

That reminds me that when I finish this deck I will study more closely the phonetic components of the characters, and specifically those that works as a phonetic hint. More about that in this blog post:
https://namakajiri.net/nikki/testing-th ... ese-kanji/
and in this:
http://learnjapaneseonline.info/2014/12 ... sterhoods/
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