My journey into Japanese and Russian

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indeclinable
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Languages: Spanish (N), English (C2), German (C1), Latin (C1), French (B2), Ancient Greek (B1), Italian (A2).

Want to study: Japanese & Russian
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8803
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My journey into Japanese and Russian

Postby indeclinable » Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:41 pm

Hi there!

I've been off-line as of lately... You may or may not have seen my French log which I've neglected because I was preparing for my DELF B2, I can now announce that I have successfully passed it, so I guess I can now add French to the list of languages I fluently speak. I still want to reach C1 eventually so I'll keep going with Jensen's Le Français par la «méthode nature», I worked my way up until chapter 24 (that means I pretty much memorised the vocabulary and grammar and can now actively use them), but I still have a long way to go to reach the final chapter (50). I guess it's nice to know that reaching chapter 24 of Jensen's method is an equivalent to a B2, that information should be helpful for other people going solo with that method.

Of course I didn't just study Jensen, but I literally drowned myself in French debate and news podcasts (I'm interested in politcs and literature anyway, so I really enjoyed the time invested in acquiring audio input), everyday I heard C dans l'air, the debate sections of FRANCE 24 and the International News section of Europe 1, also I began following the channels of Sur le champ, Nota Bene, Questions d'Histoire, Linguisticae and the podcast of Blog Histoire.

The two or three times I had some sort of grammar-related doubt that was not solved by Jensen himself I consulted Français avec Pierre, Français Authentique or Grammaire Française and everything got solved.

I also got myself the audiobooks of Maurice Druon's Les rois maudits and Yourcenar's Mémoires d'Hadrien and heard them over and over and over until I finally understood what it was all about. Then I watched the Netflix series Call my agent! and Marseille, I had no problem whatsoever understanding them. I can now understand perfectly any spoken French even if 5% to 10% of the vocabulary remains obscure to me, but I've thankfully learned not to stress over it and either infer from context or learn the phrases as they are in the hope of one day knowing all the specifics.

The same can be said about my reading abilities, I've begun reading Glotz & Cohen's Histoire Grecque II. La Grèce au Ve siècle, I have some difficulties because of the time tenses I've not yet mastered, mainly Passé antérieur, Passé simple, Futur Anteriéur, Subjonctif imparfait, Subjonctif perfect, Conditional passé 1 and Conditional passé 2, but that will solve itself as I advance with Jensen. Since I've pretty much reached the level I wanted (and needed) to read things such as that book of Greek history or a novel I will be dedicating considerable less time to French, much to my pain since I wish my written skills could have gotten better than they are.

Now, since I finally got French of my chest I can finally begin to study Japanese (my childhood dream) and Russian. Over the next weeks I'll begin learning the alphabets. I'll focus mainly on Japanese and stop myself from getting beyond the alphabet and a few simple phrases in Russian for three reasons: 1) Thanks to my misspent childhood watching anime I already have a very good idea of Japanese and could probably understand about 6% to 8% of a conversation even if I can't read a word. 2) Russian does not have such a great appeal to me right now, and 3) I'm still naively hoping to find Oleg Objedof-Koefoed's Русский язык по методу Натура so that I can teach myself with a method I've used (with enormous success) before and that adjusts to my learning style.

So for Russian I'll limit myself to learning the alphabet with the videos of Learn Russian - Russian Alphabet Made Easy and occasionally watching some videos of Le Russe avec une Russe and Apprendre le russe avec Ania.

With Japanese I'll first slowly teach myself Hiragana and Katakana with the videos of Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com and I'll begin to follow Cours de japonais!

I'm in no hurry so I can do those things with all the care in the world. Since the closest thing of a "Japanese by the nature method" is Assimil's Le japonais sans peine, I went ahead and ordered the three volumes, yes in French, so as to force myself to keep at it. And I guess I'll begin with that as soon as I learn Hiragana and Katakana.

I'd be thrilled if you could recommend me apps to practice written Japanese (or the alphabets at least), not Anki-style mind you, but something that actually allows you to write the characters and corrects you, even in the order of strokes. Any other tips would be very appreciated.

I heard there's a number of "Teach yourself Japanese with manga" courses and material. Does any of you have any experience with them? Which one (if any) would you recommend? In your experience, is there any sense in combining them with the Assimil? I ask because despite my occasional claims to the contrary, if I do successfully teach myself Japanese I'd probably just use it to read raw manga and watch raw anime instead of reading Genji Monogatari or something like that.

Which Japanese-English dictionary app would you recommend? This guy seems to offer excellent advice but I'd like second opinions.

Also I'd be interested in any resources in French for learning Japanese and Russian.
14 x
Omnis lingua usu potius discitur quam praeceptis, id est audiendo, legendo, relegendo, imitationem manu et lingua temptando quam creberrime. – Iohannes Amos Comenius

Ezra
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Re: My journey into Japanese and Russian

Postby Ezra » Thu Aug 02, 2018 6:15 pm

indeclinable wrote:Which Japanese-English dictionary app would you recommend?
I am using Tagaini Jisho.
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Cavesa
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Re: My journey into Japanese and Russian

Postby Cavesa » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:10 pm

Congratulations to your DELF!!!

And this looks like the beginning of a great log. I am looking forward to following your Japanese and Russian adventures here!
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brilliantyears
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Re: My journey into Japanese and Russian

Postby brilliantyears » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:28 pm

indeclinable wrote:Which Japanese-English dictionary app would you recommend? This guy seems to offer excellent advice but I'd like second opinions.

I'm a big fan of Midori (only for iPhone and iPad, I believe..). Don't regret spending money on it for a second. It's the closest thing to my old 電子辞書.
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Russian ½ SC Movies: 50 / 50 Books: 2 / 50
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Lawyer&Mom
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Re: My journey into Japanese and Russian

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Thu Aug 02, 2018 9:12 pm

Thanks for the link to the Jensen book in your old log. The pronunciation under *every* word will help me iron out a few wrinkles I have when I read French... Just what I need at the moment!
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eido
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Re: My journey into Japanese and Russian

Postby eido » Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:06 pm

There's a clunky app I use when I decide to dabble in Japanese called Kana Bimoji. I'm not sure if it's available for iOS. You can write hiragana and katakana with it, I believe. If you get the stroke order wrong it gets mad at you, but it also shows you the right way to do it. It assigns points based on how well you drew the character. Like I said, though, it could use an update. There's probably better apps.

I know Minato from the Japan Foundation has several manga-related courses, though I don't know if you learn through true manga, rather just manga-like illustrations. They just released a new A2 course.
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indeclinable
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Languages: Spanish (N), English (C2), German (C1), Latin (C1), French (B2), Ancient Greek (B1), Italian (A2).

Want to study: Japanese & Russian
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8803
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Re: My journey into Japanese and Russian

Postby indeclinable » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:17 am

Thanks for the encouragement and the suggestions.

To work along with the explanation videos of Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com I ended up downloading the following free apps:

  • imiwa?: This will be my main dictionary, since all the internet seems to agree on its positive reviews, it's free and doesn't require an internet connection.
  • Japanese: This appears to be a dictionary, I'm not sure how to use it but it comes with a reference section with the alphabets, clicking on each character you're presented with an animation of the strokes. Apparently you can make study lists. Since it had very positive reviews I'll keep it for reference and for later.
  • Learning Japanese (available on Android): This is an app of Tae Kim's Guide to Japanese Grammar (also free on his webpage format), it's basically a very big and user-friendly book, it evidently contains the alphabets, if you click on a character you get a video with the pronunciation and the strokes. Since this basically contains all the Japanese Grammar I'll keep it for reference until I find something better (and free) or I reach a level where a paid resource is necessary.
  • Kana Bimoji (available on Android): This app does allow you to practice the strokes, it'll be my battle horse for the time being, unless I find something better (suggestions are always welcome). The only downside is that it's not very user-friendly since it's all in Japanese, so you need to guess around a bit before finding what you're looking for.
  • Pastel Kana: While this app does not allow you to practice the strokes it does work well for association phoneme=character, I will be using it to familiarize myself with the characters before going into practice with the Kana Bimoji.

I also found the following PDF work-sheets to print and practice writing Hiragana (one from Japanese-Lesson.com another from Tae Kim), I'll use them after I have gone a few rounds with Kana Bimoji and Pastel Kana.

I've begun practicing the first line of Hiragana: あ, い, え, お, う.

Also, I tried to figure out how to write in Japanese on my Mac and iPad, I installed the language but I only get the following keyboard layouts: Hiragana, Katakana and Romaji, I suppose that the Kanji comes in one of those, I'll probably figure it out when I reach that level but any help from more advanced students will be welcome.
0 x
Omnis lingua usu potius discitur quam praeceptis, id est audiendo, legendo, relegendo, imitationem manu et lingua temptando quam creberrime. – Iohannes Amos Comenius

Arnaud
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Re: My journey into Japanese and Russian

Postby Arnaud » Fri Aug 03, 2018 5:49 am

To learn russian in french, there is almost nothing interesting on YouTube (YouTube is just a way to sell their magical courses)
Nonetheless, I've used a few videos of Anna Packat (look for the vocabulary playlist if you're a beginner), especially to imitate her accent, while I was studying Assimil. I told myself, man I want to have the same russian accent as her (well I don't have it, but it was a good model for me)
In english, I can recommand: Russian grammar, ru-land club and amazing russian to acquire vocab and understand the basic grammar (when it's not clear in the textbook, look for a video, don't watch all, otherwise it'll be too boring)
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brilliantyears
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Re: My journey into Japanese and Russian

Postby brilliantyears » Fri Aug 03, 2018 7:05 am

indeclinable wrote:Also, I tried to figure out how to write in Japanese on my Mac and iPad, I installed the language but I only get the following keyboard layouts: Hiragana, Katakana and Romaji, I suppose that the Kanji comes in one of those, I'll probably figure it out when I reach that level but any help from more advanced students will be welcome.

I don't know about Macs, but it sounds like the lay-out doesn't differ much from Windows. In Windows, you select hiragana, then when you have finished typing a word (in hiragana) you press the space bar. It will automatically select the most likely kanji, and by pressing the space bar one more time you get a drop-down menu of other kanji choices:

じしょ -> space bar -> 辞書 -> space bar ->
kanji.png
kanji.png (4.82 KiB) Viewed 706 times


You can use the number in front of the kanji you need, or the space bar again, to select another option.
2 x
Russian ½ SC Movies: 50 / 50 Books: 2 / 50
Japanese ½ SC Movies: 50 / 50 Books: 11 / 50
Norwegian Duolingo: 19 / 117

indeclinable
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Languages: Spanish (N), English (C2), German (C1), Latin (C1), French (B2), Ancient Greek (B1), Italian (A2).

Want to study: Japanese & Russian
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=8803
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Re: My journey into Japanese and Russian

Postby indeclinable » Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:52 pm

So... here's the first update.

I now can identify all the first five characters あ, い, え, お, う, but I still cannot "read them" fluently, that is, if I see them when they're forming a word (like あい or いえ) I cannot automatically pronounce them and identify the word they're forming, I still see them as only separate individual characters standing together, so I have to take a few seconds to reflect and search in my mind to "discover" the word. I suppose that time and practice will sort this out, for the moment I am content with identifying them individually but I'd be thrilled if someone knew a list of basic everyday words formed with the firsts rows of Hiragana. If such a list exists and I could memorise it then I'd be killing two birds with one stone.

I began to study the second column. So far I think I only have the first three characters identified (か, き, く). While doing so I discovered that to type them in a mac and iPad you literally have to type them out: "ka", "ki" and "ku" to get them. So if you type "gi" you get ぎ and so on. I find this system fantastic, because instead of assigning random/inaccurate associations of letter for letter plus more random associations of keystrokes with diacritics you literally associate the phoneme (this only works because unlike most Indoeuropean languages, each Japanese character in Hiragana always sound the same). I wonder what other secrets does the Japanese keyboard hides. Is it the same in native Japanese keyboards or are we just lucky to have a gigantic oligopolistic conglomerate looking out for Western Japanese learners?

Also, I noticed that some write the full き but some exercise sheets and some apps kind of separate the last stroke (the bulgy thing at the bottom) is it merely a convention or has there been a reform in the written standard or something?

Anyway, my learning process has been the following: First watch the video of Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com, imitate the strokes in the air with my hand while repeating the sound like a monkey. Repeat. Play some 30min with the Pastel Kana to visually associate the character with the sound. Watch the video again. Then practice the strokes with Kana Bimoji.

I suppose I'll keep at it until I have the the entire alphabet more or less memorized, then I'll turn to the practice sheets, just to cover the handwritten phase, which I doubt I'll ever use, but I'd rather know it.

Just out of curiosity how long did it take you to fully master the Hiragana? And the Katakana?

Anyway I thought it wise to set up challenges. So far I had divided them into: 1) Learning Hiragana 2) Learning Katakana 3) Read the first 5 lessons of Assimil and/or memorise the 10 most common words. 4) Memorize 10 Kanji. And so on. But just to give me an idea of what the future will one day look like. What's the JLPT equivalent of a B2? Or more accurately: Which is the first Japanese certificate that would be actually useful in doing things like getting a job or entering a university or something like that?

Not that I plan on doing this, like I said I probably will just end up reading raw manga and watching raw anime but I'd like to have it for reference.

As for practice I plan on just watching some anime once in a while until I get some foothold on the Assimil and memorize a few dozen Kanjis, then I could try to really get on to it and begin following some podcasts or YouTube channels, maybe even a blog or two about anime, I don't know. Does anyone know any good stuff like that? A good anime forum in Japanese or a blog about manga or anything of the sort?

Like I said I have the advantage of having an entire childhood full of useless memories about anime so that I can identify a word when I hear it, like for example the か to mark a question, I'm sure that in the back of my mind there's a hidden treasure of passive knowledge waiting to be rescued.
2 x
Omnis lingua usu potius discitur quam praeceptis, id est audiendo, legendo, relegendo, imitationem manu et lingua temptando quam creberrime. – Iohannes Amos Comenius


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