Learning Japanese from zero by listening: 2020 Log

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devilyoudont
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Re: Learning Japanese from zero by listening: 2020 Log

Postby devilyoudont » Sun Sep 27, 2020 3:47 pm

It used to be that Japanese school children went six days a week. This was phased down to 5 days a week a while ago, but some children do still optionally go on Saturday, or they go certain Saturdays each month. I believe Cardcaptor Sakura is old enough that it would take place during the time period where all children went to school 6 days a week.
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DaveAgain
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Re: Japanese listening from nothing: 2020 Log

Postby DaveAgain » Sun Sep 27, 2020 5:20 pm

golyplot wrote:
Over in Sakura-land, ep67 features a montage of Sakura sleeping in class on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, ... Saturday? Do Japanese kids really have to go to school on Saturdays too?
The British secondary school I went to used to have classes on Saturday morning too.
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golyplot
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Re: Learning Japanese from zero by listening: 2020 Log

Postby golyplot » Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:13 pm

I decided to take the N4 practice test yesterday. If I thought the N5 test was mind melting, the N4 test was utterly brutal.

The vocab section was tough and I wasn't able to finish it in time, but I did pretty well in the end. The grammar+reading section on the other hand was pure torture. I basically kept waiting for the alarm to sound time's up to put me out of my misery. As for listening, I wasn't expecting much since I failed even the N5 test. I counted it as a success that there were a few questions I wasn't completely guessing on.

My overall scores on the N4 were vocab: 29.7/35, grammar+reading: 17.2/35, listening: 13.4/28 (as usual, I gave myself partial credit for questions left blank - on the actual test I'd obviously fill in the blanks with random answers but there's no point in testing that now).

Anyway, the fact that even after nine months of study, I still can't even pass a N5 listening test or a N4 grammar test has really made me question what I'm doing. I feel like I may be doing everything wrong and wasting my time.

P.S. I've been thinking recently of buying Genki just to see what it's like, since it's so commonly recommended. But I'm not sure whether it will be of much use to me since I've already been studying Japanese for so long through other means, and I don't want to buy something I'm not going to use. Any suggestions?
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genini1
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Re: Learning Japanese from zero by listening: 2020 Log

Postby genini1 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:28 pm

golyplot wrote:I decided to take the N4 practice test yesterday. If I thought the N5 test was mind melting, the N4 test was utterly brutal.

The vocab section was tough and I wasn't able to finish it in time, but I did pretty well in the end. The grammar+reading section on the other hand was pure torture. I basically kept waiting for the alarm to sound time's up to put me out of my misery. As for listening, I wasn't expecting much since I failed even the N5 test. I counted it as a success that there were a few questions I wasn't completely guessing on.

My overall scores on the N4 were vocab: 29.7/35, grammar+reading: 17.2/35, listening: 13.4/28 (as usual, I gave myself partial credit for questions left blank - on the actual test I'd obviously fill in the blanks with random answers but there's no point in testing that now).

Anyway, the fact that even after nine months of study, I still can't even pass a N5 listening test or a N4 grammar test has really made me question what I'm doing. I feel like I may be doing everything wrong and wasting my time.

P.S. I've been thinking recently of buying Genki just to see what it's like, since it's so commonly recommended. But I'm not sure whether it will be of much use to me since I've already been studying Japanese for so long through other means, and I don't want to buy something I'm not going to use. Any suggestions?


Genki is a very good book that I always recommend although you are probably not going to benefit very much from it at your level. Here is a link to the table of contents of Genki where they lay out what they cover. http://genki.japantimes.co.jp/about_en/about06_en check it out and see if you need help with any of the topics. You could also try an integrated approach to intermediate Japanese (made by the same people who make Genki) or Tobira Gateway to Advanced Japanese. I'm about to finish Tobira myself and I found it super helpful in getting towhere I can more or less read actual books. The vocabulary is still a problem, but most of the grammar is there. There's also the Kanzen Master or Saomatome series of JLPT books if you want something more specifically geared towards the tests.
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kelvin921019
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Re: Learning Japanese from zero by listening: 2020 Log

Postby kelvin921019 » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:10 pm

golyplot wrote:I decided to take the N4 practice test yesterday. If I thought the N5 test was mind melting, the N4 test was utterly brutal.

The vocab section was tough and I wasn't able to finish it in time, but I did pretty well in the end. The grammar+reading section on the other hand was pure torture. I basically kept waiting for the alarm to sound time's up to put me out of my misery. As for listening, I wasn't expecting much since I failed even the N5 test. I counted it as a success that there were a few questions I wasn't completely guessing on.

My overall scores on the N4 were vocab: 29.7/35, grammar+reading: 17.2/35, listening: 13.4/28 (as usual, I gave myself partial credit for questions left blank - on the actual test I'd obviously fill in the blanks with random answers but there's no point in testing that now).

Anyway, the fact that even after nine months of study, I still can't even pass a N5 listening test or a N4 grammar test has really made me question what I'm doing. I feel like I may be doing everything wrong and wasting my time.

P.S. I've been thinking recently of buying Genki just to see what it's like, since it's so commonly recommended. But I'm not sure whether it will be of much use to me since I've already been studying Japanese for so long through other means, and I don't want to buy something I'm not going to use. Any suggestions?


Your performance of N4 is already very impressive. I have also switched to use Genki II to revise on the upper beginner contents. I think Genki is very systematic and provide you with plenty of exercises which makes you understand all those grammatical items and structures better (in particularly translation quiz).

Given that listening is the area where you may wish to improve, there are plenty of listening exercise in Genki and all its text has corresponding audio which may help you train up your listening. If you want to know how the book is like, I think you can google it and you may accidentally bump into the book on reddit.
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golyplot
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Re: Learning Japanese from zero by listening: 2020 Log

Postby golyplot » Fri Oct 02, 2020 5:15 am

Nine month update

Well, I'm officially three quarters of the way through my originally planned year of Japanese study, so time for a mega update post. Of course, it has become increasingly clear that I'll be studying Japanese for longer than that, but 75% is still a shiny nice round number. It's also amazing to think how much everything has changed in the last nine months. 2020 has certainly been a year to live in infamy.

JLPT

I recently took the JLPT practice tests here to gauge my progress. Of course, the real JLPT is graded on a curve and there's no weighting information available for the practice exams, so there's no way to tell whether I would have passed or not, but I figured that at least taking them provides a quantifiable measure of my progress.

Raw scores (including partial credit for questions left blank):
N5: vocab 32/35, grammar+reading 28.2/32, listening 13.7/24
N4: vocab 28.7/35, grammar+reading 17.2/35, listening 13.4/28
N3: vocab 22/35

On the N5, I aced vocab and did well on the grammar and reading section. Unfortunately, I bombed listening. I got every question in the first listening section (task based comprehension), but did barely better than chance on the rest. Pretty frustrating after all this time, especially since listening has been my main focus!

To be honest, I still can't really believe that I'm not yet at N5 in listening. I feel like I'm past that if anything. I suspect that I'm just missing some crucial aspect that passively listening to podcasts and anime constantly for months hasn't given me. Maybe I need to specifically practice trying to retrieve information from short dialogues.

Next, I took the N4 practice exam. I still did pretty well on kanji and vocab, though it was a lot harder than N5. The grammar and reading section on the other hand was pure torture. I basically spent the whole time just waiting for time's up to put me out of my misery. And of course, I barely did better than chance on listening, but that wasn't surprising after I failed the N5 listening test.

Lastly, I took the vocab section of the N3 to see how much Wanikani had helped me with advanced kanji (I didn't bother with the grammar and reading or listening sections of N3 for obvious reasons). The N3 test was definitely a lot harder.

I found that I was often able to guess the readings for kanji thanks to Wanikani even when I didn't know and/or couldn't remember what the words actually meant. I had to guess on a bunch, but I ended up getting all but one of the questions on the kanji sections. Unfortunately (but unsurprisingly) I did much worse on the vocab sections, having to guess on most of the questions.

Anime

I watched the last episode of Cardcaptor Sakura today. It felt like the end of an era. Coincidently, I started watching the show exactly four months ago. I'm not actually sure whether I'd recommend it or not. The episodes were often boring and I frequently found myself mentally tuning out despite my best efforts to pay attention. On the other hand, they showed a lot of interesting aspects about life in Japan that I never knew about before. Also, there's a lot of episodes, so that's a plus, and there's accurate Japanese subtitles on Netflix though I didn't bother with them.

Anyway, it looks like I watched a total of 34 anime episodes last month, up from 28 in August.

Shows watched:
Complete:
Cardcaptor Sakura (70 eps)
BNA: Brand New Animal (12 eps)
The Dragon Prince (27 eps)
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online (12 eps)
Hilda (10 eps)
Carmen Sandiego (19 eps)

Ongoing:
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. (15 eps)
K-On! (2 eps)

Abandoned:
One Piece (4 eps)
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure (1 ep)

Wanikani
Level 41
Items Learned (Guru+): 444部首 1347漢字 4335単語

Wanikani continues as always, though sometimes the later levels feel futile since they're both harder and less useful. And in two weeks, I'll be starting the "fast levels", where the maximum speed is twice as fast as normal, meaning it is theoretically possible to complete two levels a week instead of one.

Back when I started Wanikani, I vowed to complete it as fast as possible. I was eager and bored by the slow early levels and met the warnings from experienced users about review load with an attitude of "come at me WK, I can take it." Of course, now I'm in the opposite position, although occasionally feeling burned out and apprehensive about the review load doubling if I speedrun the fast levels as planned.

I've been pretty conflicted lately and considered abandoning the speedrun, but I've come so far and invested so much time and effort in it, and I just can't give it up now out of pride. Besides, the streak and the plan is a large part of what kept me coming back to Wanikani every morning and evening and night, day after day, through thick and thin. I feel like if I slack off even once and break the streak, I'll have less motivation and start skipping it more and more often.

So I recognize that speedrunning the fast levels may not be optimal from a learning perspective, but plan to do it anyway just for the challenge. I'll probably have a pretty miserable two months ahead of me, but I think I can manage it. I do expect that I may not have much time for alternate study methods during that period though, like Bunpro. Which brings me to...

Bunpro
Over the last month, I did the free trial of Bunpro again, which ended today. I got much farther this time than before (finished N5 and did 73/178 N4 points). Of course, I won't remember it all, but I figure every time I try to learn grammar it sinks in a little bit more. Over the course of the last month, I also read through the majority of Tae Kim's grammar guide, which helped reinforce things a bit as well.

I do plan to actually pay money for Bunpro at some point, since much as I'm annoyed by their terrible web design, I do feel like I've abused their hospitality a bit and it does seem to be helpful for learning grammar. However, I don't think I'll have enough time for both Bunpro and Wanikani, so I plan to start that only in late December after I finish level 60 on Wanikani.
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tangleweeds
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Re: Learning Japanese from zero by listening: 2020 Log

Postby tangleweeds » Fri Oct 02, 2020 7:41 pm

golyplot wrote:Well, I'm officially three quarters of the way through my originally planned year of Japanese study
Congratulations!!

golyplot wrote:Bunpro <snip> annoyed by their terrible web design.
Agh, tell me about it!! It would have been pretty cool in, say, 2005?
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Re: Learning Japanese from zero by listening: 2020 Log

Postby golyplot » Sat Oct 03, 2020 12:10 am

tangleweeds wrote:
golyplot wrote:Bunpro <snip> annoyed by their terrible web design.
Agh, tell me about it!! It would have been pretty cool in, say, 2005?


I'm mostly just upset with how slow it is. It often randomly freezes for several seconds between questions, especially if you try to look at the grammar notes.
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golyplot
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Re: Learning Japanese from zero by listening: 2020 Log

Postby golyplot » Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:31 pm

Yesterday morning while reading NHK News Easy, I noticed the word 相手. I learned it on WK as "partner", but I'd always assumed that it meant the romantic kind of partner (after all, it has あい in it, even if it doesn't use the kanji). However, the article used it to mean "person you are talking to online", so obviously the meaning is broader than I thought.

Likewise, while watching Saiki K yesterday morning, I noticed the word tonari (隣) in the dialogue twice, which I'd previously learned on WK as "neighbor" the day before. I assumed it was like the core English meaning of neighbor, a person who lives next door to you. However, in the episode they used it when saying something along the lines of "who's that guy standing next to her?", so its meaning is more general than I thought. (You can use neighbor figuratively like this in English as well, it's just not what you think of when you hear the word "neighbor" in isolation.)

Here's a screenshot of the line in question. Note: I normally watch with subtitles off, but I turned on the Japanese subtitles for this screenshot so you can see what they were saying.

Image
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Re: Learning Japanese from zero by listening: 2020 Log

Postby vonPeterhof » Sat Oct 03, 2020 2:08 pm

golyplot wrote:Yesterday morning while reading NHK News Easy, I noticed the word 相手. I learned it on WK as "partner", but I'd always assumed that it meant the romantic kind of partner (after all, it has あい in it, even if it doesn't use the kanji). However, the article used it to mean "person you are talking to online", so obviously the meaning is broader than I thought.

I think 相手 is closest in meaning to "counterpart", so it can denote the other person in any sort of interaction, be it a romantic relationship, a business negotiation or a fight to the death. And yeah あい as the on'yomi of 愛 and あい as a form of the native verb あう (to come together, to fit, to do something together/to each other) do create a few false cognates - I was surprised when I first learned that 相合傘 (sharing one umbrella) wasn't written 愛々傘, especially since it's such a common romance trope :lol:
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