Japanese Rewrite

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Woodsei
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Japanese Rewrite

Postby Woodsei » Sat Oct 10, 2015 8:46 pm

I'm setting up a log here as I'm not sure what will be happening with the other site. Hopefully nothing beyond the continuous crashing, which is annoying, tbh. It's a bit sad that a lot of people are not posting anymore, Back when I first registered at HTLAL in 2011, the site was very active, lots of people were still on there, and it was such a motivating place to be. It still is, but it feels like it's slowly dying out. I don't know. I hope things get better.

Anyway, a quick update, and I will probably copy/paste that over at HTLAL. I haven't done much at all in the way of languages since back in March, pretty much the entire TAC year. Between exam anxiety, switching jobs (and not being happy with either), and all the other life issues that keep popping up, I have been feeling very underwhelmed and motivated, and somehow my desire to do anything fizzled and died. But I'm missing Japanese, and Russian, and wonder whatever happened to that. I feel so tired all the time. The only thing I can manage is listening to a Japanese song every now and then.

Anyway, I'm starting to feel like I can do a bit more in terms of language study, mostly because a favorite manga of mine, Noragami ノラガミ, has got a second anime adaptation. :) I watched the first few minutes of the first episode, and between my enjoyment of a story line I really love, and feeling great about easily following along without any crutches or difficulty, I realized sitting down for a few minutes everyday and doing anything in Japanese isn't as hard as I had previously felt. However, I have completely neglected kanji for some time, and now I feel every time I look at a text full of kanji, I feel like I hit a wall, and just call it a day. I think I'll try to work on some kanji (probably look quickly over at the radicals, then just focus on familiar words with readings) until I start getting a grip on reading again, and then go from there. I'm not really looking at any goals or plans, I never stick with them, but I'll work on exposing myself to something new each day, until I get back in the rhythm of studying, or something changes.

I also have made a really great friend who lives in Japan, and we have been emailing each other regularly. Haven't yet talked face to face, but all that writing and thinking is help bring what I know forward. It's a workout, but once I know how to write or say something correctly, it sticks, mostly because, since I already understand the vocabulary, I can just focus on the sentence construction part, and that tends to stick immediately, once i know or feel that something is incorrect and I get the corrected version. The feedback that I have also been getting on the level of Japanese used depending on the situation and person, has been very valuable. Even though I knew in theory, tweaking it in practice and following along with the level my friend uses when writing to me has been very good practice. I'm also learning a whole lot of new phrases and things to say that you would normally get through actual communication, and not just through scripts or variety shows. I really should write more.

Apart from that, nothing really has changed. I am trying to listen to a few Russian pod lessons, and will probably take out Assimil (again), but the pace I'm on right now has been working fine, so I'll keep it that way until I feel ready to do more.
Last edited by Woodsei on Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Woodsei
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Re: Japanese Rewrite 東亜 TAC 2015

Postby Woodsei » Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:16 am

So I decided to put a goal ahead of me, namely the JLPT. I have been slacking off for a few years now, and because there's so much going on, it's been easy to procrastinate. I figure if I have some sort of solid deadline, and an exam to pay for, I'll have to be a bit more structured, and really put in the effort. It's also a nice thing to have on your resume. One of the reasons I think I had a good interview experience for my new job is because the director who interviewed me had a son who is married to a Japanese woman, and currently lives in Japan, so I think he took notice of it right away hen he saw it on my resume. I think, too, because a bunch of research papers that function as background for new studies are in Japanese, so doing a bit of translation would come in handy. This is all very motivating, and I want to take advantage of the situation and improve my level, finally, to where I can list it in my profile as "speaks," and not just "studies."

I've started looking at Nihongo Sou Matome and Kanzen master workbooks for N3, as well as lists for vocab, grammar, kanji, etc. So far, I feel my grip on the N3 grammar is pretty solid, as well as most of the vocab, but not all of it. I'm trying to evaluate my level and see exactly where I am so that I can make a wise decision regarding what level to sit for. Since I missed the JLPT cut-off date, that should give me plenty of time to work out whatever gaps I have concerning the various levels, and aim for the one I'll sit for.

Of course, I'll still continue to read, watch and, listen, but I will have to try and work with the material more actively, like put constructions to use more often when emailing my friend, or on Lang-8, etc. as well as do a lot of googling "how to say x." I've been doing that for sometime and it's been very useful to me, mainly because I always come up with various ways and various politeness levels of how to say something, and it also acts like a sort of SRS in the sense that things I know that are not out there in my active memory are being activated. It also sticks easily because these are not random phrases or sentences that I'm remembering and learning, but things that I actually want to say. I have one huge word document where I put all the things that I come across in, and review that regularly. I feel better about using Word because after a few times looking at it, I know what to delete, and what to keep, and that's easier for me than having to go into Anki and keep deleting a set of cards. I don't know, I'm just not able to get into Anki, or any SRS system. It may click one of those days.

I came across this site when I was searching for JLPT info, and so far I like it a lot. Yes, it's definitely geared toward JLPT study, and I don't now how comprehensive it is, but they have tons of videos, entertaining instructors, and they really do a great job covering many points. I think what drew me to it, though, was that they explain the Japanese in Japanese, which is invaluable to me. And they're completely free. I'm impressed they are spending so much time producing these lessons and yet charge nothing. Here's a link to the website http://nihongonomori.com/ and the Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/freejapaneselessons3. I'll post this over at the East Asian team thread, in case anyone finds it useful.

In other language-related news, I've decided to pick up Spanish, but nothing hardcore. The amount of patients, and physicians, who speak Spanish that I come across on any given day is staggering. I was with a Japanese interpreter and an English-speaking physician one of those days, who were explaining to a patient his treatment plan, and it was very interesting listening to the lady translate every word into Spanish to the patient. It's also so much easier to catch on quickly, much faster than it was in Japanese, and I thought I was doing okay with Japanese. I've been wanting to start Spanish for quite some time now, so I'll just go ahead and give it a go.
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AiyaLianxi
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Re: Japanese Rewrite TAC 2016

Postby AiyaLianxi » Tue Jan 05, 2016 12:48 am

So I'm curious, did you take the JLPT in December, or is that a goal for this year? Or both?
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Re: Japanese Rewrite TAC 2016

Postby Woodsei » Tue Jan 05, 2016 2:05 am

AiyaLianxi wrote:So I'm curious, did you take the JLPT in December, or is that a goal for this year? Or both?


Well come to my humble abode, captain! :D I haven't yet, this is a goal for me for 2016. It's not set in stone, but I have been slacking off big time over the past few years, so, with a test looming in the not-so-distant-future, I'll probably be more motivated to do the work. Granted, a lot has changed, especially last year, and that is a reason why I have been letting things fizzle out a bit. But I have been watching drama/variety shows/news/anime and listening to music, as well as reading various articles and twitter posts, so it's not like I have been neglecting the language. But I haven't been doing any deliberate practice. I'm not sure if that would make much difference, as the whole point of anything is using the language, getting used to it and making it a part of your life, but there is MUCH room for improvement, and I can definitely do what I do for longer stretches of time.


Thanks for bringing us all together for the TAC 2016, and I look forward to a great year on the team.
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Re: Japanese Rewrite TAC 2016

Postby Bao » Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:48 am

Woodsei wrote:However, I have completely neglected kanji for some time, and now I feel every time I look at a text full of kanji, I feel like I hit a wall, and just call it a day.

I don't know if this helps because I'm a perpetual maybe-around-N3, but whenever I look at a full screen of Japanese text my mind blanks out and I don't recognize kanji I can quite certainly read. So, you're certainly not alone there.
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Re: Japanese Rewrite TAC 2016

Postby vonPeterhof » Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:14 am

Bao wrote:
Woodsei wrote:However, I have completely neglected kanji for some time, and now I feel every time I look at a text full of kanji, I feel like I hit a wall, and just call it a day.

I don't know if this helps because I'm a perpetual maybe-around-N3, but whenever I look at a full screen of Japanese text my mind blanks out and I don't recognize kanji I can quite certainly read. So, you're certainly not alone there.

Heck, I passed N1 more than a year ago and now write texts in Japanese as part of my job, and I still get the temptation to switch to the English Wikipedia when I come across a really big article on the Japanese one, or to scroll past large tweets in Japanese without reading them (doesn't help that Japanese can fit a lot more info into 140 characters than pretty much all alphabetically written languages).
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Re: Japanese Rewrite TAC 2016

Postby Woodsei » Tue Jan 05, 2016 2:33 pm

@Bao and @vonPeterhof: Thanks for the encouragement, and yes, I can definitely relate. I honestly think, regardless of JLPT level, that I really have to bump up my reading. I was reading steadily for some time, then 2-3 years ago life caught up and all I was really doing is listening and aurally interacting with the language. As a result, my listening kept on steadily improving, while my reading lagged. One of the goals this year is to read a lot while maintaining listening activities, and review the kanji, which has also been neglected. I have been learning the kanji readings as I read, and it worked well, until I stopped reading, lol. Common kanji is hard to forget, but maybe taking a more active approach to learning the readings through a book or Anki is a good idea. I'm not much of an Anki user, but something's gotta give.

Somewhere, a few months into the TAC, I will also start focusing on speaking a lot as well. This all just tells me that regardless of how or what you choose to study, consistency is what really improves the language area you work on, and in my case, listening.
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Re: Japanese Rewrite TAC 2016

Postby Woodsei » Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:10 am

This is my long overdue TAC 2016 update, and I'll simply list what I am currently doing and my goals for this year.

My main focus, as usual, is Japanese. I have, for the most part, been spending my time passively with the language, and any active or deliberate study (mostly listening and reading) took place during the the early phases of my Japanese journey. I still am listening to music, podcasts, watching drama and anime, listening to some news, but reading fell through the cracks, as well as kanji revision, and any attempt at active output. I continue to improve listening-wise, however, given that no deliberate learning is taking place, but I believe this is due to reaching a point of understanding where I can infer meaning from context. This does reinforce my belief that input does improve ability, whether or not any deliberate study is actually taking place. I understand almost everything I hear. I understand almost everything I read, too, given that I have the on- and kunyomi are in front of me (the more common kanji I get right away), and this is problematic, as written and spoken language are stylistically different, and written language is heavy in vocabulary and descriptive instances. My reading skills are seriously lagging behind.

To rectify this, I have, for the billionth time, started reviewing the kanji (I did Heisig, so I'm just reviewing this now), and will probably be taking notes or making flashcards to drill the readings. I also am planning on reading, LOTS. I have a spectacularly terrible track record at sticking with SRS, and even though I know I'll keep improving anyway if I keep reading, I am not really looking forward to struggling with kanji readings and Rikaisama for help all the time, and really want to see a breakthrough in my reading ability.

Output. Neglected as well. What I have started doing:

Listen on repeat and try to shadow as I go to the point that phrases are memorized. Then I try to use said phrases spontaneously when the context arises. I look up phrases I don't know on google or Hinative, put said phrases in lists or Anki, then try to use these as much as possible. I am actively trying to nail pronunciation by mimicking until I get it exactly right. I write to my friend in Japan and have her correct my writing and be brutally honest with me, even if it means being laughed at (which does happen at times :) )

I ordered Lexicarry, a picture book specifically for language learning purposes that was mentioned in the Growing participator approach website, as I feel discussing pictures in the target language, coming up with different versions of the story and different levels of language, helps me like no other. Most of the time, my friend agrees to make recordings, and I add those to my growing audio list and put them on loop. What I'm going to increase, though, is reading the script along with the listening, for the obvious reasons of literacy.

I have honestly tried to start studying grammar actively before. I have a bunch of reference grammars (DBJG, DIJG, DAJG), Nihongo Soumatome, Kanzen Master, etc., but I just.....I don't know. I feel that when I actively read a sentence, try to work out it's meaning from context, discuss it with my friend, use Goo, Weblio, ALC etc, if it's repeatedly showing up, and put that in my non-SRS collection, I retain the grammar better. I just zone out as soon as I start reading rules and inputting example sentences. I guess using Anki will probably be more efficient, but then again, I never stick with it. I'll seriously try to do more of this, though.

Of course, input activities will continue.

Subs2SRS may be my Anki breakthrough. I genuinely enjoy reading and listening to lines from a favorite drama/movie/anime over and over again. And I did notice a spike in my ability to reproduce sentences and phrases faster than just through listening solely. So there maybe something in there for me. I may just Anki subs2SRS, and continue with the other above activities as usual. I'm a hopeless notetaker, but I never open my notes later, and sometimes wonder why I even bothered to save anything. Again, will try to break the sentence-hoarding habit and actually open that Word doc and read through it.

I also recently fished out my Jpod dialogues (the Japanese-only ones without all the explanations) and added that to my listening repertoire. Now that I'm enjoying understanding native content, I find Jpod audio excellent and pretty closer to native than almost anything else. Yes, it's scripted, but that's pretty similar to a slice-of-life anime, and the stories are amusing. The main reason was to use that as shadowing and pronunciation practice, but it also has this uncanny ability to develop earworms that stick for months. I have the full lesson podcasts, but I've never listened to those, or attempted to study using Jpod. It'l be interesting to see how well I'll stick with it, and the effect it has on my language ability overall.

Most of the time though, I'm spending time with the following:

1. 一リットルの涙. Heartbreaking story, but but a wonderful drama. I won't spoil. I'm just finished episode 2. Will probably be subs2srsing it (I'm not using translations, just looking up as I go the first time round, and then trying to remember through context and repetition. Usually the second or third time a round the meaning sticks forever, sometime more for more obscure or less common words.)
2. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Who doesn't love FMA:B :D?
3. ゴストライター. Love the dynamics between the two women, the mystery/thriller but-at-the-same-time-drama/emotional premise, and that BREATHTAKING music. Also just finished episode 2.
4. ノラガミ. An anime adaptation of a favorite manga of mine. Will probably be ordering the manga soon as well.

Books: Even though I said I'll be reading, I haven't started on any books yet. I will probably start the first volume of Sakurada Resetto, the aforementioned manga, and the Milky Way by Miyazawa Kenji. I have the audio for that as well.

And Lang-8. Lots of Lang-8.

Hopefully will write about my opinions of what I'm currently reading or listening to/watching, and generally just keep an update of all my language-related activities.

I plan to start Spanish and/or Korean this year, too, but nothing serious, and I'm also not sure when. My priority is Japanese. And I so want to learn Ainu.
:D

頑張りましょうね!
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Re: Japanese Rewrite TAC 2016

Postby aloysius » Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:50 pm

Hi Woodsei!

Glad to see you´re back on track with Japanese. Looks like you´re progressing slowly but surely and with quiet optimism. Although my acquaintance with this language is rather limited, your strategy for future success sounds wise enough to me.

I believe extensive listening and reading is a key in developing language skills in general, so finding the right resources that you can spend a lot of time with - without it being a chore - is probably essential. Parallel texts with audio have really done a lot for me and I can see you thinking along the same lines, bearing in mind that the Japanese writing system definitely adds a layer of complexity.

Regarding grammar and SRS, yes I tend to think it´s a great idea but somehow it never works out in the long run for me. I can get really obsessive about it once I sit down with it, but the difficulty (for me) is making it a daily routine. I read in my reference grammars now and then (and enjoy doing so!) with a rather relaxed approach. Some of it tends to stick nevertheless (especially when returning to the same chapters repeatedly) and the rules come back to you when similar constructions pop up in native contexts. But in order to transfer this knowledge into written output something more might be needed. Well, there are other options of course, like scriptorium and exercise books.

I´m sure you would find spending some time with Spanish a relaxing activity (as it is comparatively easy to learn), as for Korean I don’t know … ;-)

Just curious by the way, how much do you read in Arabic?

As usual, I will follow your log with interest.

//aloysius
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Re: Japanese Rewrite TAC 2016

Postby Woodsei » Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:45 am

@aloysius:

So great to see you back!!! And welcome to my humble abode :)

Honestly, my progress has been very depressing. And it's because I know, for the past 4 years, I haven't been putting down anytime seriously studying. I had a period starting out when I really put in the work and the hours, then somewhat 6 months in, I just stopped doing anything serious, and basically watched and listened for leisure. I did have a period where I read voraciously for a few months, but that died down too. Seeing that I have progressed despite all this, I feel that, if I had kept the momentum, I would have really gotten there much, much faster. So, like you, my problem is not so much study technique (I've been able to figure that one out relatively early in the game and have been quite content with it since), it's the momentum and consistency that I'm struggling with. I know if I spend 30 minutes everyday, I'll be much better off than 3 hours one night, and then nothing for the rest of the week. I have been trying to work daily and consistently, and I've seen tangible improvements than when I try to work a lot with huge chunks of time, and then nothing. My log for the past few years has reflected the same kind of inconsistency as well. I'm trying my best to change that.

I've come to the conclusion that grammar and SRS aren't issues, and are just there for me to use if I need them. Reading, listening, and learning are all a form of grammar exercise, which isn't as regimented as you would find in books, and that's okay. I don't need to have a list that follows a textbook order. SRS, well, I like subs2SRS a lot, I find I stick with it when I do these types of cards. They're basically like watching a favorite movie and rewinding the sentence to understand it and train myself in pronunciation and speech, with the added benefit of also reading subs, so it's both kanji and reading practice. Also, during reviews, the sentences show up randomly, which is fun to work with if they are favorite lines. I just suspend anything to easy or too boring, and end up with a nice set of phrases that I find useful, amusing, and engaging.

This is far as Anki goes, however. I still prefer watching, listening and reading, and recreating scenes in my head and practicing some lines with them that way. I love, love, love extensive reading, and picture books, visual encyclopedias, documentaries, cooking shows, any type of "show-and-tell" show, etc., and I also enjoy radio shows and music. Hopefully I'll get around to sharing some of these things on my log throughout the year.

Arabic. I admit, I'm not reading as much as I like to these days. I don't have a problem with speech and understanding, but I want my MSA up to that level. I do have a set of novels that I want to read, but with school, work, and everything in between....

Please do pop in and stay in touch. I'll look for your log and hop over there soon enough :)
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