Dear fellow forum members, I would like to remind you about the confidential nature of the documents the Centre made available for us, thus I ask of you to refrain from posting links to the documents provided, especially the SHORTLIST and the list of HOST COMPANIES on the public part of the forums.

Thank you

––– Airdawg

Learning the Japanese language

Vulcanus in Japan 2017-2018 Forum.
The Programme's main forum.
Here you will find pretty much everything related to Vulcanus in Japan. Information about this session and also previous sessions - applications, shortlisting, selection, etc.

English is mandatory.

Moderators: yez, Ktrn

User avatar
feanor347
Posts: 2
Joined: 20 Jan 2016, 17:35
Contact:
Status: Offline

Learning the Japanese language

Postby feanor347 » 21 Jan 2016, 13:12

Hi everyone

i thought a topic about how to correctly study the language with the advices of those there already participated could be useful!

I read various info how it would be good if we started learning the language right now to how we would be completely fine with what we learn during the course.

I thought to start studying with michael thomas method (there are full cd-s on youtube) as i can do it while walking through town (as i don't mind talking to myself while walking through town) or in public transport so its quite convenient as i got quite a hard schedule regarding faculty.

I plan to start studying, if accepted (but why not even if i don't get in. There's always next year), kanji, katakana, hiragana during the summer and with quite a basic method that was used in elementary school. Few notebooks and alot of writing. Depending on the amount of symbols to be learned and the time i would have, i would write and pronounce a certain amount of symbols. It is a crude method but i think it works.
Also learning the sentence structure is important as it's different than in english. In english we use subject-verb-object and in japanese its verb at the end of the sentence much like passive form in my mother tongue (croatian). So having basic vocabulary and understanding where to put each word in sentence are first the few steps to learning japanese language.

A question to those that have already participated; how does the language course look like?n Are we in the course during the morning and then we are free or something else? How many hours per day does the course take?

I see myself wandering around town and just trying to communicate with anyone willing each day as i feel that is the best way to learn, simple trying to converse as much as you can. Are people willing to do that? Maybe even find someone via couchsurfing willing to be a buddy.

What about the rest of You guys? Any ideas on how to learn it efficiently?
Once we overcome our fear of being tiny, we find ourselves on the threshold of a vast and awesome Universe that utterly dwarfs — in time, in space, and in potential — the tidy anthropocentric proscenium of our ancestors. - C. Sagan
User avatar
reteka
Admin back from Japan
Posts: 210
Joined: 17 May 2013, 19:12
Has thanked: 38 times
Been thanked: 29 times
Status: Offline

Re: Learning the Japanese language

Postby reteka » 21 Jan 2016, 14:17

Have been studying Japanese by myself for 8 years, through manga in original version and my dear dictionary. Just printed the hiragana/katakana, and the list of kanjis, and trained the hearing with anime. Of course just retained in my memory the kanjis and words that usually come up in manga, but that helps me now with my coworkers conversation topics (there are normal people, but everyone knows about manga and anime), but in my first two weeks of work, I have learn more Japanese than in the 4 past months in the Japanese School, nothing better than the real deal.

The school is from 9 to 15~, depends on the classes that day, then you are free, of course, free to do the homework and half hour or two hours of train until your home after a day of school hahaha. I was one of the 2 hours train people, so, 4 sleepless months, that did not help.

Of course there are people that caught some japanese or other japanese language students to practice, is a city of 40 million people, sure you can find someone.

Now Im making a verb list with all the forms, helps a lot, so I recommend you something along those lines, not very helpful as all my study material is in Spanish. You need a lot of sheer willpower to not fail on your quest, good luck.
User avatar
emlopez
Posts: 19
Joined: 19 Jan 2016, 14:05
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 8 times
Status: Offline

Re: Learning the Japanese language

Postby emlopez » 21 Jan 2016, 15:38

reteka wrote:in my first two weeks of work, I have learn more Japanese than in the 4 past months in the Japanese School, nothing better than the real deal.


Oh, man, I was hoping that the course would at least be enough to get the JLPT5...

I was actually considering to start a blog/vlog about resources to learn Japanase when I finished my Master's (aka, when I'll have more free time). Originally I thought about making it for Spanish learners but since most of the resources I use are in English I was considering to make it bilingual.

I started learning Japanese by myself last year (around April). A friend of mine tried years ago while we were still in high-school and she ended up disregarding it because she found learning the Kana/Kanji impossible. In less than a year I beleive I've learned much more than she did because, unlike her, I've decided not to concentrate all my efforts in learning the symbols and instead advance in several areas at the same time to stay interested. So far it seems to be working.

Here is a summary of how I started:

  1. I searched online for which were the best textbooks out there to learn Japanese. Old-style textbooks, with their exercises, listenings, vocabulary lists, etc. I found 'Genki an integrated course in elementary japanese' and started working with it. I am so happy with that choice, the lessons are short and there's a lot of useful grammar. I used to do the exercises on the train while I was on my way to work and afterwards on the way back. At some point though, carrying the books + my computer + other stuff I needed for the University started to become unbearable. So I decided to leave the books at home and search for other ways to keep on going.
  2. There were two things that I found would be the most desirable: learning more vocabulary and still learn more grammar even though I could not keep on doing the exercises in Genki. Each of them had several options:
    1. Vocabulary: there are quite a few mobile apps out there for this very purpose. A very popular one for Japanese is Anki but I haven't managed to get accustomed to it (you have to import your own vocabulary lists). For me the best is Memrise: just introduce that you want to learn Japanese and tons of vocabulary lists will pop-up. Including lists to learn Kana and Kanji!! Just select a list that you like and the app will do the rest (including reminding you which words you need to review!).
    2. Grammar: PODCASTS!! Not only useful for grammar but for also vocabulary and listening comprehension! I haven't managed to find one that I really liked on youtube but there are other sources. The NHK has a nice one but by far the best one that I have found is Japanesepod101!! I listen to their Beginner lessons daily!! I take the car now instead of public transport which makes podcasts a must and theirs is the chose one!
  3. What about writing? At first I forced myself to write in paper the kana but as it turns out... you'll be waisting so much paper!! And guess what? There's also mobile apps for that! Every now and then I practice drawing the Kana and the basic kanji (those in the JLPT5) using my tablet. ;)

reteka wrote:Now Im making a verb list with all the forms, helps a lot, so I recommend you something along those lines, not very helpful as all my study material is in Spanish. You need a lot of sheer willpower to not fail on your quest, good luck.


I need to do something along those lines as well. Or at least find a webpage that covers all the verb forms!
User avatar
Ktrn
Vulcanus alumnus (15-16)
Posts: 42
Joined: 20 Jan 2015, 11:54
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 16 times
Status: Offline

Re: Learning the Japanese language

Postby Ktrn » 22 Jan 2016, 00:27

emlopez wrote:
reteka wrote:in my first two weeks of work, I have learn more Japanese than in the 4 past months in the Japanese School, nothing better than the real deal.

Oh, man, I was hoping that the course would at least be enough to get the JLPT5...

The course will certainly get you at least to JLPT N5 level. If you start from zero you'll get somewhere between N5 and N4, depending our own motivation and learning skills. I think most of the people who took JLPT in Dec took N4, some took N5 because the sign-up for the exam was already in September and they were unsure how far they would advance in during before the exam in early Dec.

For myself, I passed N4 barely on Dec 2014. I didn't study after that until I got to Japan and with the language course I got confident with taking N3. Results are coming on next Tue.

The course focuses on conversation abilities which is certainly a major plus for the course. For example in my Japanese courses in Finland we didn't really do much talking (only reading sentences and texts aloud), so I feel this course was simply great!

I will write about the other things later, but I thought it was important to say this asap so that people reading these posts don't get a wrong impression about the course!
zaragui
Vulcanus alumnus (15-16)
Posts: 54
Joined: 07 Jan 2015, 17:31
Has thanked: 3 times
Been thanked: 7 times
Status: Offline

Re: Learning the Japanese language

Postby zaragui » 22 Jan 2016, 01:28

Well hello everyone.

I am also a participant here this year and I have some piece of advice as well. My japanese learning was a bit different from everyone else's but from what I heard from several participants this year, I can almost guarantee you that one year of studying at full-throttle at home will only get you as far as 3/4 weeks of japanese school here. I'm not trying to demotivate anyone by any means, what I'm saying is that if you want to be efficient combining your self-study and your classes, then you should study things that depend solely on you and not a teacher - by this I mean kanji ( :twisted: ) and vocab.

The classes here will be mostly conversational and they will expect you to study vocabulary at home. From what I know, they won't require that you know a lot of kanji but if you want to live here for a year it's very helpful if you can read to some extent. Also, if you have the vocab but lack the grammar, you can just use broken japanese (aka loose words) to get your point across but if you know very complicated grammar but no vocab, there is no way anyone is going to understand you.

So my point is, study some basic grammar and vocabulary about topics you like to talk about and you're good to go. When it comes to kanji... well in the beginning there is no other way to do it - grab a book and start cramming/writing until there are no trees left in the Amazon forest. After you're past a certain level (N3 I believe? Maybe Ktrn can be more specific) reading books/manga will naturally increase your language skills and studying becomes a lot more enjoyable.

Also, as a final note, hiragana and katakana are an absolute must. No romaji! :P But do not stress a lot about the language skills. Most internships don't require any.

Good luck to all of you applying this year! :D
User avatar
emlopez
Posts: 19
Joined: 19 Jan 2016, 14:05
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 8 times
Status: Offline

Re: Learning the Japanese language

Postby emlopez » 31 Jan 2016, 16:49

zaragui wrote:My japanese learning was a bit different from everyone else's but from what I heard from several participants this year, I can almost guarantee you that one year of studying at full-throttle at home will only get you as far as 3/4 weeks of japanese school here. I'm not trying to demotivate anyone by any means, what I'm saying is that if you want to be efficient combining your self-study and your classes, then you should study things that depend solely on you and not a teacher - by this I mean kanji ( :twisted: ) and vocab.


Well, I don't have a teacher to being with and everything comes to personal efforts, sooo... I guess I'm on the right path? :P Then again, that same philosophy should be applied to learning anything. ;)

Ktrn wrote:The course will certainly get you at least to JLPT N5 level. If you start from zero you'll get somewhere between N5 and N4, depending our own motivation and learning skills. I think most of the people who took JLPT in Dec took N4, some took N5 because the sign-up for the exam was already in September and they were unsure how far they would advance in during before the exam in early Dec.

For myself, I passed N4 barely on Dec 2014. I didn't study after that until I got to Japan and with the language course I got confident with taking N3. Results are coming on next Tue.

Mmmm, interesting, in case that I were selected and I felt confident/brave enough I would maybe go for the N4 then.

Also, how did it go, Ktrn? I hope you passed the exam!
User avatar
Ktrn
Vulcanus alumnus (15-16)
Posts: 42
Joined: 20 Jan 2015, 11:54
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 16 times
Status: Offline

Re: Learning the Japanese language

Postby Ktrn » 03 Feb 2016, 00:24

emlopez wrote:
Ktrn wrote:The course will certainly get you at least to JLPT N5 level. If you start from zero you'll get somewhere between N5 and N4, depending our own motivation and learning skills. I think most of the people who took JLPT in Dec took N4, some took N5 because the sign-up for the exam was already in September and they were unsure how far they would advance in during before the exam in early Dec.

For myself, I passed N4 barely on Dec 2014. I didn't study after that until I got to Japan and with the language course I got confident with taking N3. Results are coming on next Tue.

Mmmm, interesting, in case that I were selected and I felt confident/brave enough I would maybe go for the N4 then.

Also, how did it go, Ktrn? I hope you passed the exam!

Passed! 153/180 points. :D

Maybe I should rephrase my previous writing slightly. Many didn't even take the JLPT, then apparently the sign-ups divided between N5 and N4. So you should be able to take N5 for sure, maybe N4 depending on yourself as I said previously. Minna no Nihongo I and II should cover all the grammar for N4, but for kanji I think you have to study some of them by yourself as the course focuses more on speaking. Also if you start from zero it might be quite a task to get to N4 in just 3 months, but this year some people managed to do that. :)

In short: "If you start from zero you'll get somewhere between N5 and N4, depending our own motivation and learning skills." :)

zaragui wrote:After you're past a certain level (N3 I believe? Maybe Ktrn can be more specific) reading books/manga will naturally increase your language skills and studying becomes a lot more enjoyable.

I guess around N3 level. I agree for manga, but I still haven't read a full book in Japanese though I have a Harry Potter waiting in my room haha (thought about starting with something familiar).
User avatar
emlopez
Posts: 19
Joined: 19 Jan 2016, 14:05
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 8 times
Status: Offline

Re: Learning the Japanese language

Postby emlopez » 07 Feb 2016, 15:46

Congrats, Ktrn!!

Then, as I said before, I'd have to consider which one I would sign up to!

I was considering to read よつばと! and/or チーズスイートホームin Japanese at some point because I've read in a couple of places online that they are nice for beginners since there are a lot of kana and the vocabulary isn't too dificult.

Starting with something familiar is probably the best way to go, good luck with ハリーポッター!! ;)
User avatar
emlopez
Posts: 19
Joined: 19 Jan 2016, 14:05
Has thanked: 6 times
Been thanked: 8 times
Status: Offline

Re: Learning the Japanese language

Postby emlopez » 19 Feb 2016, 08:51

emlopez wrote:
reteka wrote:Now Im making a verb list with all the forms, helps a lot, so I recommend you something along those lines, not very helpful as all my study material is in Spanish. You need a lot of sheer willpower to not fail on your quest, good luck.


I need to do something along those lines as well. Or at least find a webpage that covers all the verb forms!


Sorry for double posting (although it's been a while since my last post on this topic) but guess what I found! :P I went to an especialized store the other day and left with this: http://cheatsheets.nihonshock.com/ It is just amazing!!!

Also, this may not be news but just by googling 'Japanese verb conjugation chart' lots of awesome resources will turn up, such as:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/AMB_Japanese_Verbs.pdf
https://lingualift.com/jp/files/docs/conjugation.pdf
http://www.laits.utexas.edu/japanese/joshu/gconj.php

Return to “Vulcanus in Japan”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests