Nihongo wakaranai

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Ser
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Re: Nihongo wakaranai

Postby Ser » Mon May 06, 2019 2:05 pm

My girlfriend, who speaks advanced Japanese, is with her family in Taiwan right now, and she was showing me her Japanese textbooks in a video call.

Every single one of her textbooks in Chinese teaches pitch accent from lesson 1. She was surprised when I said Japanese textbooks and grammars for English speakers don't.

I guess Japanese textbook publishers consider Westerners too incompetent tone-wise to learn pitch accent. :evil: :cry:
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dampingwire
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Re: Nihongo wakaranai

Postby dampingwire » Mon May 06, 2019 6:05 pm

Ser wrote:I guess Japanese textbook publishers consider Westerners too incompetent tone-wise to learn pitch accent. :evil: :cry:


I would guess that coming from a tonal language either pitch accent is easy or pitch accent is so clearly heard that it needs an explanation.

Not that I'm ruling out your hypothesis though :-)
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Re: Nihongo wakaranai

Postby vonPeterhof » Mon May 06, 2019 8:54 pm

dampingwire wrote:
Ser wrote:I guess Japanese textbook publishers consider Westerners too incompetent tone-wise to learn pitch accent. :evil: :cry:


I would guess that coming from a tonal language either pitch accent is easy or pitch accent is so clearly heard that it needs an explanation.

FWIW from the admittedly small sample of students of various nationalities at the language school I went to in Japan, the Chinese (and Taiwanese) students were the best at approximating Japanese pitch, while the Vietnamese ones were the worst, even though Vietnamese is also a tonal language. It never occurred to me to ask them whether or not they were explicitly taught about pitch accent back home though.
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dampingwire
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Re: Nihongo wakaranai

Postby dampingwire » Mon May 06, 2019 10:12 pm

I did some quick googling and found this about Japanese speakers' perception of Mandarin tones (other way around, I know), which seems to claim that the unfamiliar tones are mapped to (similar) familiar pitch.

This is a slide set that compares various speakers' abilities in Thai. Slide 25 states:
Accuracy of perception of non-native phonological dimensions is shaped by the prominence of that dimension in the L1 phonological system


Interestingly the Japanese speakers did a better job with Thai tones than Korean speakers (if I read one of the slides properly). The Koreans
were no better than the English speakers. Yet both Korean and Japanese have pitch accents. In which case perhaps it's not too surprising that one tonal language gives a greater benefit than another one?

I didn't hunt for long enough to find anything that discusses Vietnamese.
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Re: Nihongo wakaranai

Postby vonPeterhof » Mon May 06, 2019 10:27 pm

dampingwire wrote:The Koreans were no better than the English speakers. Yet both Korean and Japanese have pitch accents.

Standard (Seoul) Korean doesn't, although some dialects do, most notably Gyeongsang. Although there is also the theory that initial consonant distinctions between plain, aspirated and tense in modern Seoul Korean are getting levelled out and replaced with tonal distinctions, but I'm not sure how accepted it is in linguistic circles and how much awareness that this might be happening there is in the general population.
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Jaleel10
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Re: Nihongo wakaranai

Postby Jaleel10 » Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:22 pm

I'm slowly making my way through RTK. Currently using memrise but I want to switch over to making my own cards on Anki soon. Quick question. Is it better to have the Kanji on the front or the back? Which one is more effective?
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devilyoudont
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Re: Nihongo wakaranai

Postby devilyoudont » Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:59 pm

Kanji on the front tests recognition, Kanji on the back tests production.

I personally prioritize production and figure that recognition will come along in its own time. But, I don't know if that's scientifically correct.

Luckily, Anki provides ways to automatically reverse cards, so if you don't buy my theory, you can just make your cards and have anki create reverse cards.
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Jaleel10
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Re: Nihongo wakaranai

Postby Jaleel10 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:09 am

devilyoudont wrote:Kanji on the front tests recognition, Kanji on the back tests production.

I personally prioritize production and figure that recognition will come along in its own time. But, I don't know if that's scientifically correct.

Luckily, Anki provides ways to automatically reverse cards, so if you don't buy my theory, you can just make your cards and have anki create reverse cards.


I'll buy your theory! Thanks for always looking out
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dicentra8
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Re: Nihongo wakaranai

Postby dicentra8 » Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:34 pm

Kanji on the front tests recognition, Kanji on the back tests production.
This. I actually used both ways with an anki deck I found, although I was putting more effort towards the "production card". Not sure if there's similar anki decks that follow the RTK content since I never used it. The one I used was based on the elementary school grades. I think it was a basic (with reverse card) type.

Card 1
Front - the kanji / Back - readings + meaning of the kanji (I ended up adding an extra field for compounds)
Card 2
Front - reading + meaning / Back - the kanji
For the card 2 I made a tiny change in the font for the kanji, instead of showing a normal one I changed it to the "kanji stroke order" font. I was using Ankidroid app, so I would use the Whiteboard feature (which allows to write on the screen) to write the kanji before I click the "show answer".

Advantage - You learn the readings and meaning of the kanji more thoroughly.
Disadvantage - Lack of a sentence's context. It's a little more dry.
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tuckamore
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Re: Nihongo wakaranai

Postby tuckamore » Mon Aug 19, 2019 4:33 pm

Jaleel10 wrote:I'm slowly making my way through RTK. Currently using memrise but I want to switch over to making my own cards on Anki soon. Quick question. Is it better to have the Kanji on the front or the back? Which one is more effective?

Both methods can be effective, at least they were for me. Specifically for RTK, I think it comes down to a balance between either progressing faster at being able to recognize all the 2000+ kanji or progressing slower in order to nail down subtle differences. At first, I prioritized the former. Years later, I went back and prioritized the later. But, the second wave went very quickly, despite being production, as I was already familiar with RTK and Japanese.

My personal history:
I started with recognition only using real-life flashcards as described in the book, and did nothing that resembled spaced-repetition (only constant repetition). This was pre-Anki and before I was aware of the concept of SRS. This recognition-only approach did serve me well. I also did this before I knew anything whatsoever about the actual language of Japanese, I mean nothing, (except the important vocabulary like udon, miso, onigiri, dango, okonomiyaki, goma, etc — priorities :lol: ). From the moment I stepped off the plane in Japan, I was able to make sense of a lot of the signs I saw around me, and as I started to actually learn Japanese, things continued to click.

Fast forward a couple years, Anki was now on the scene and I went through the entire book again but as production. I don’t remember exactly what prompted me to do this. I think maybe it was because I was often confusing similar looking kanji and I thought if I worked on writing them, I would be less confused. I was probably at the lower-intermediate level. I didn’t know how to approach this other than starting from the very beginning. So, that’s what I did. This also served me well. At this point, some of my stories had faded and I had lost the association between kanji and the specific English key word. But, otherwise, I was able to progress through all the kanji quite quickly. (In many cases, I replaced the English key word with the Japanese word.)

If I had to do it all again now with no immediate plans of going to Japan, I don’t know what approach I would take (or even if I would use RTK?). I see merits in them all. But, if I were in my exact same shoes as I was when I started (leaving for Japan in a few months with no knowledge of Japanese), I would probably do exactly as I did.
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