Author Topic: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?  (Read 5287 times)

Offline nixonlee

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Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« on: August 01, 2012, 11:41:37 AM »
I have a Canadian friend who spoke Japanese brilliantly.  But, his method was basically graduating a Japanese university--sort of forced immersion.  It seems this may be the best method for learning Japanese.  But now we are teachers and have no time, resources, or legal rights to do this.  So what do we do?

Some people say use Pimsleur--but it seems that this method is designed to take you from level 0 to level 2 really fast and then you hit a wall. 

There is a brilliant website called AJATT (All Japanese All The Time) and his method is immersion.  Basically he says do everything you do in Japanese and eventually you will pick everything up.  Don't worry about grammar because native speakers don't need to learn grammar to speak and read Japanese. 

Also on the AJATT site, I learned of another method using smart flash cards (forgot the name of the system) but it's basically flash cards that automatically appear as often as you need them based on the score you give as to how well you know them.

There are tons of resources I have found for learning Japanese, learning Kanji, and so on.  And many of them seem to work well at first until you hit that wall.  Some of them, you take a day break, and then loose to much.  Then you have no energy to try it again. 

Most great speakers seem to only speak well because they have immersed themselves in the language.  Either through college, relationships, or enjoying all the anime, manga, and Japanese video games they possibly can.  But it seems that many of us live here and have the good intent to learn the language but somehow fail.  Perhaps using English internet and watching movies in English is our way of avoiding culture shock... or maybe we are just to damn lazy.

My question is simply, for those of you who have seen some success, please tell a little bit about what you have done.  We would all appreciate something to get us amped up and GENKI for Japanese! 

THANKS!

Offline Josiah

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2012, 12:40:50 PM »
My Japanese hasn't improved that much in the year since I've lived here. I think I feel more comfortable speaking, and my vocab has increased, but my "style" is still the same (i.e. really bad grammar). When I lived here before I learned a lot extremely quick because I literally had no one to speak English to. I didn't even have to study.

I took Japanese for 3 years in university and I don't feel like that helped my Japanese at all. The only thing it did was keep me from forgetting.

For me, the textbook method doesn't work that well, but right now I am at a huge plateau. So I gotta put the ritter to the titter at this point and just grind it in. I don't think there's any one tried and tested way for people to learn - you kind of discover your own preferred method.

when my Japanese was horrible, I'd just ask people permission to sit with them (not completely random, but not really people I knew that well either) and I told them I just wanted to try and pick up some words. They usually always said yes. Then I'd match facial expressions with words I heard over and over, and then when I felt a certain way, I'd recall the word that matched with that feeling and use it. I never caught the meanings completely, other than an abstract meaning I'd assigned to it in my head. I think this method increased my listening and speaking skills (as in, speaking tonally and in accent) to a level beyond most of my peers in university who were far better grammatically and with kanji.

I think the only key to success is actually wanting to learn more / get better. If you're just doing it just because, then you'll become disenchanted quickly.

Offline OxO

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2012, 01:17:42 PM »
AJATT....isn't that the one where he's trying to sell some online course thing? Is there a free version somewhere abouts?

My Japanese is absolutely attrocious though I think I've managed to learn a bit more than when I came (nowhere near what I should have though, pffft)- back then I knew the kana roughly, the meanings of a bunch of kanji and....a spoken vocabulary of like 50 words.

I used to use anki a lot, thats maybe the flash card thing you're on about. It is pretty good though...it has flaws. Too easy to lie to yourself. A month or so back though I switched to http://www.memrise.com/  and find it to be much better, really getting some useful words drilled in. Tests you well, has some useful mnemonics, etc...  No mobile app yet though and it can be annoyingly strict with typing stuff exactly the way it wants with no variation.

For kanji heisig is pretty good though doesn't touch readings at all. http://kanjidamage.com/ is cool, like heisig but with readings and example words and whatnot.

I also like to look at lists of most common words and most common kanji and try and concentrate on getting those ones down. Plus ones that strike me as particularly amusing despite being rather useless.

And of course just getting out , drinking some Dutch courage, then speaking to random Japanese people is good. Cements the words I learned academically and puts them into place in a real world setting and really solidifies them as stuff I should know. Fuji Rock was quite a good Japanese study weekend for me- lots of booze and pretty girls who like the same stuff as me= educational win.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 01:22:13 PM by OxO »
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Offline Khaleesi

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2012, 02:10:52 PM »
Studying at a Japanese university works because you're forced to read and write massive amounts each day.  But only if you stick with Japanese friends, and even avoid English web usage.  Surfing in English, streaming English webcasts or media and news (I'm assuming native English speaker) will further hinder your progress.

Stay away from anything in your native language, even Facebook, and you'll see marked improvement.

Source:  grad school in a foreign country.  took 6 months to speak and write like a native.  Japanese takes on average 2-4 years at that level.

Also, when my friend moved to Hokkaido to teach, she could barely speak Japanese after 3 years in Kofu.  1 year in the country, relying heavily on Japanese Karaoke and with no foreigners around her or TV--- she sounded like a native.

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Offline nixonlee

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2012, 04:26:56 PM »
CraigSan-- Thanks for the links.  I will try some of these guys out.  Heisig was really fun for the week I used it.  I learned so much Kanji in like one week that it was ridiculous.  Then I got distracted for like a day or so and couldn't get back into it because was I took a break, every bit of it sunk out of my bucket of a head.  Anki is the SRS system I was referring to and it seems nice if you can stick with it. 

Josiah and Khalessi -- you guys seem to make a strong point of (a) {Josie's emphasis} being part of conversation are observing conversation and (b) {Khalessi's emphasis} staying away from English.  I think you guys make a great point.  I think I may be able to follow Josiah's advice and be part of more conversations (we are in Japan after all).  But, I think I may need advice on just how to truly avoid the temptation of English entertainment.  Like Josiah, I have the advantage of dating someone who use great at Nihongo and the disadvantage of dating someone with great English. 

The great experiment begins... the attempt to find a way to escape English. 

Offline Josiah

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2012, 10:07:40 AM »
Like Josiah, I have the advantage of dating someone who use great at Nihongo

FYI for those of you who didn't know:

That old saying that dating a Japanese person will improve your Japanese is largely a myth, or at least a fallacy. There are high school exchange students who've come over speaking no Japanese and ended up extremely proficient after only a few months of dating with a native, but that native spoke little or no English and had next to no interest in learning to speak well either. Most of the adults here who shack up with a national are at a different point/learning curve in their life and their partner will already either speak decent English or have more of a vested interest in improving their language skills than you do.

sure, I'd love to speak better Japanese (and I guess I have improved slightly), but if you draw a graph of how my level of communication has improved and how my partner's has, there would be an incredible difference. Not only is he incredibly intelligent to begin with, he also enjoys learning English which means he actually learns new vocabulary, phrases and grammar each week and then he tries (to my never-ending delight) to use them in context over and over until he understands their usage perfectly. I think because I have a good understanding of where his English is at, I speak to him within a pace and using vocabulary he knows. So at the beginning of our relationship in the previous year, sometimes we'd go out and I'd see him chatting to Carlito, or Craig, or Lisa and I'd be so worried for him, but now he carries on more than well enough.

To get the most out of the language learning from dating someone with a foreign tongue, I think you need to be at that proactive - and very few people are.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 10:44:01 AM by Josiah »

Offline OxO

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2012, 10:31:31 AM »
I dunno, I don't really have experience on the Japanese side of things but when I lived in Sweden I found that my Swedish improved a lot once I started going out with a native Swedish speaker despite her speaking perfect English. Its not like it just works by osmosis or whatever, I guess the thing is getting yourself ingratiated into a native speakers world to such a level exposes you to so many more situations where the language is being used in a way that interests you, and you are free to attempt the language any time you like with somebody available who is more than willing to bitch slap you in a friendly way should you make a mistake.

Definitely true that Josiah's other half has improved a shit-tonne though.

Full immersion-  I have heard that is a good way to go. Trouble is...it means sacrificing so much of your life towards the purpose of studying. And of course our job is based around our native language so totally cutting ourselves off is rather impossible.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 10:34:45 AM by OxO »
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Offline Gman776

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2012, 10:44:25 AM »
Like Josiah, I have the advantage of dating someone who use great at Nihongo

FYI for those of you who didn't know:

That old saying that dating a Japanese person will improve your Japanese is largely a myth, or at least a fallacy. There are high school exchange students who've come over speaking no Japanese and ended up extremely proficient after only a few months of dating with a native, but that native spoke little or no English and had next to no interest in learning to speak well either. Most of the adults here who shack up with a national are at a different point/learning curve in their life and their partner will already either speak decent English or have more of a vested interest in improving their language skills than you do.

sure, I'd love to speak better Japanese (and I guess I have improved slightly), but if you draw a graph of how my level of communication has improved and how my partner's has, there would be an incredible difference. Not only is he incredibly intelligent to begin with, he also enjoys learning English which means he actually learns new vocabulary, phrases and grammar each week and then he tries (to my never-ending delight) to use them in context over and over until he understands their usage perfectly. I think because I have a good understanding of where his English is at, I speak to him within a pace and using vocabulary he knows. So at the beginning of our relationship in the previous year, sometimes we'd go out and I'd see him chatting to Carlito, or Craig, or Lisa and I'd be so worried for him, but now he carries on more than well enough.

To get the most out of the language learning from dating someone with a foreign tongue, I think you need to be at that level of protectiveness - and very few people are.

Gonna go ahead and disagree with a lot of that especially the part about assuming your partner is going to have more knowledge of English than you.  I came to Japan when I was a junior in college, I had virtually no knowledge of Japanese.  I sucked.  In America, I was near the middle, if not the bottom of my class.  Then, in Japan, when my classmates were in the library studying, I was hitting the bars, enjoying happy hour, and trying to talk to Japanese people.  That worked.  I met a Japanese girl during study abroad and we got married before I left to go home :P  As for my Japanese, I was number 1 in the class by the end of the year and I pretty much never did homework and I skipped tons of classes to go hang with my gf/wifey.  The trick to improving your Japanese by dating someone in Japan is to find someone who has little to no interest in learning or using English. If you get involved with someone who literally cannot communicate with you outside of using Japanese, your Japanese is gonna get pretty damn good.  My wife is only now becoming interested in learning English, and we still don't speak that much of it (outside of speaking English around my son - he is picking it up pretty fast :D).

One-sided communication may only benefit one person, but if you can pull it off, and you are on the receiving end, that shit works out  :evil:

Offline Josiah

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2012, 11:15:08 AM »
I relate a  lot to that, especially about always being in the bottom end of the class. I also much preferred going to bars and socializing to hitting the books, and I still do. What has transpired is that my social circle is now almost exclusively Japanese. I'm friends with lots of non-Japanese people, but when I make plans for the weekend, or go out, it's usually always with my group of Japanese friends.

I think that helps me a lot, but at the same time, they're all (mostly) practicing English super hard. It's nice for me because after 3 or 4 days of no English I want to blast my brains out... but then again, if I just grunt through it, I'll reap the benefits.

sadly, you can't learn Kanji by speaking tho. :roll: :roll: :mrgreen:

And when I wrote that, I was mostly generalizing and I think your experience is one of those exceptions that makes the rule. Some people here with great Japanese have / would have no problem dating someone with no English, but in an urban setting at least, most of the girls/guys interested in dating foreigners seem to be already proficient or have some interest. On the off chance, you do find  :-* true love :-* and you overcome the language obstacles a la Last Samurai.

Offline nixonlee

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2012, 03:22:41 PM »
They key to conversation is communication.  Thus the only time I really get to use Japanese is when I am talking to someone who doesn't use English (like Josiah said).  Moreover, the big issue with finding friends here is that most of those who you will find already speak enough English... otherwise you probably wouldn't have found them.  So...  I guess the next question is where can I find some Japanese friends who don't like using English. 

MUZUKASHII!!!

and know that you (Josie) advised to try learning Kanji early on so you don't look like a fool who can speak nihongo... but, it's just hard to keep the momentum of interest going when you don't know enough words to understand the kanji.  I want to read and do all the cool stuff... but conversation is what I really need to keep me excited about Japanese.

Offline karta

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2012, 11:49:19 AM »
I only study when I have to and I am not very self-motivated to study Japanese in my free time.  The thing the helped the most was that I got a tutor who speaks next to no English and doesn't have much of an interest in English.
I came to Japan after studying Japanese at university for about 7 months.  One semester and a short study abroad.  My teacher at my university (not study abroad) was lacking in her teaching skills and I heard more about her cats in English than I ever heard her use Japanese.  So, I came to Japan basically able to introduce myself and read hiragana and katakana and nothing else.
I am still not great but now I can have conversations and do things in my everyday life in Japanese.  I have very little Japanese friends who don't speak English, actually. 
I highly recommend taking lessons from a local who speaks nothing but Japanese.  Nick Modarelli takes lessons (near your house, Nick) from two different teachers and surely one of them is willing to take you on as a student.  If not, they probably know people who would.
There is also some community class in the building next to Nirasaki station.  I don't know the details but the other Nirasaki Nick does.

« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 10:30:40 AM by karta »

Offline mondai

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2012, 10:43:29 AM »
some suggestions:

Read a lot.  Even if your readig is rubbish, read a lot.  Read kids books or manga or whatever.  Reading is very important.

Listen to as much Japanese as possible.  Hang around people who speak it.  Don't spend your time watching US dramas etc

Go to Karaoke with Japanese folk -try to learn at least 1 Japanese song.  Karaoke is good for forcing you to read under speed.  It also gives you the readings of kanji.  Quite a good method.

join a club -Join a Japanese club, any kind is fine.  Having to function in Japanese will be helpful be it Karate, dancing, swimming.  you might also make friends.

if possible, talk to kids. Japanese has quite a lot of complex pragmatics in terms of politeness.  Kids don't know all that stuff and just say what they want/think.  This is a good place to start.  simple real Japanese

Buy books rather than go to classes.  Classes force you to learn something, someone else thinks you should learn.  With books you can dip in and do whatever you want.  Also a 1 hr class is maybe 2,000 yen.  You can buy a book for 2,000 that will have way more info in that the 1 hour class did.

Just a thought...

Offline Terranasaurus Rex

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2012, 11:52:36 AM »
The only problem with learning from kids is that you are a lot more likely to learn incorrect things. Pretty much every time I have a conversation with a Japanese person under 22 or so, I get the comment "Wow...Your grammar is better than mine!" At least for the stuff I know. Imagin talking to a young person speaking native English. People with different backgrounds, different social groups and even different genders etc will speak differently. That's the same in Japanese. That's one of the things they warn about if you are going to learn Japaense by getting a Japanese significant other. You gotta watch out for gender specific language as well. For example I was helping dish out food at kyushoku, and I got a sleeve in the food and said 'Yabe-!' instead of 'Yabai.' That is a much stronger thing usually not said by females, and I got scolded for it.  :roll:

Also...at Karaoke depending on the genre of music etc the kanji doesn't always have the reading. Music that young people tend not to listen to tends not to have the hiragana.
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Offline Khaleesi

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2012, 12:01:44 PM »
Singing a lot of Enka, are we? :wink: :-D
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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2012, 12:04:47 PM »
....What if I like Enka!!? HUH!?!?
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Offline fred

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2012, 12:17:35 PM »
The only problem with learning from kids is that you are a lot more likely to learn incorrect things. Pretty much every time I have a conversation with a Japanese person under 22 or so, I get the comment "Wow...Your grammar is better than mine!" At least for the stuff I know. Imagin talking to a young person speaking native English. People with different backgrounds, different social groups and even different genders etc will speak differently. That's the same in Japanese. That's one of the things they warn about if you are going to learn Japaense by getting a Japanese significant other. You gotta watch out for gender specific language as well. For example I was helping dish out food at kyushoku, and I got a sleeve in the food and said 'Yabe-!' instead of 'Yabai.' That is a much stronger thing usually not said by females, and I got scolded for it.  :roll:

Also...at Karaoke depending on the genre of music etc the kanji doesn't always have the reading. Music that young people tend not to listen to tends not to have the hiragana.

Although I agree that Mondai's suggestions are not 100% perfect, they are great for different ways to learn and motivate yourself. If you are looking at communicating more effectively, his ideas are good but if you want to speak properly, prepare to have to correct what you have learnt once you begin to use it a lot.

Offline Terranasaurus Rex

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2012, 12:26:13 PM »
Oh yeah. No argument that those are great suggestions. It can be hard to find a method that words for you, so having as many ideas as possible is awesome. I've definitely used the reading manga/make Japanese friends/doing karaoke in japanese/and the club joining thing (That is my absolute favorite. I have flute lessons that only use Japanese, and Amanda and Joanna and I go to Taiko and there as well except for talking to eachother everything is Japanese...it is a HUGE help.) But with the learning with kids thing some people have a really hard time re-learning things they've learned incorrectly, but of course it will be totally fine for others. You just gotta know how you learn best.
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Offline mondai

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2012, 12:40:47 PM »
The only problem with learning from kids is that you are a lot more likely to learn incorrect things. Pretty much every time I have a conversation with a Japanese person under 22 or so, I get the comment "Wow...Your grammar is better than mine!" At least for the stuff I know. Imagin talking to a young person speaking native English. People with different backgrounds, different social groups and even different genders etc will speak differently. That's the same in Japanese. That's one of the things they warn about if you are going to learn Japaense by getting a Japanese significant other. You gotta watch out for gender specific language as well. For example I was helping dish out food at kyushoku, and I got a sleeve in the food and said 'Yabe-!' instead of 'Yabai.' That is a much stronger thing usually not said by females, and I got scolded for it.  :roll:

Also...at Karaoke depending on the genre of music etc the kanji doesn't always have the reading. Music that young people tend not to listen to tends not to have the hiragana.

Although I agree that Mondai's suggestions are not 100% perfect, they are great for different ways to learn and motivate yourself. If you are looking at communicating more effectively, his ideas are good but if you want to speak properly, prepare to have to correct what you have learnt once you begin to use it a lot.

I'm a little curious about what "speaking properly" means here, especially if, as someone noted, the Japanese are not speaking as "well" as you are? 

For example, if someone came to the UK and I said "wow you speak better than me!" I'd probably be commenting on that the fact that they spoke unnaturally.  If, for example, someone spoke in very "proper" English or RP. 

I suppose it depends on what you want.  Do you want to sound like a native speaker, or do you want to sound a native speaker did historically or like a NHK announcer.

As for the karaoke thing even if the kanji doesnt have okurigana (?) you can hear the person you are with singing it, so hopefully it would work out.   :mrgreen:

Offline Josiah

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2012, 01:24:11 PM »
Buy books rather than go to classes.  Classes force you to learn something, someone else thinks you should learn.  With books you can dip in and do whatever you want.  Also a 1 hr class is maybe 2,000 yen.  You can buy a book for 2,000 that will have way more info in that the 1 hour class did.

I disagree with this. Different people are different types of learners.
I'd much rather be getting taught by a competent teacher a few grammatical phrases with coaching than do drills from a book. I learn a lot slower using books than being taught.


+ to what Brit said, if I didn't mention it way earlier,

use Japanese as much as possible. Read every kanji on every road sign that you can, even if you only know things like iriguchi or deguchi or naka or whathaveyou. This is especially good for reading things in katakana since it seems to be hard for some people to master it. Find someone in your life, whether it's a bar tender, a coworker, or a friend who doesn't mind that the whole conversation takes place in Japanese, and learn how to say the phrases,
"What do you call this?" or "How do you say it like this" or "It's not a _____ but the..." f you don't know the word - for example, I keep forgetting the word "uchiawase" (meeting) and I keep saying "Kaigi" (also meeting), although the context is wrong. So I'm not in the habit of saying "not the 'kaigi' but the..." and then pause and someone will correct you once they understand the context "Ah, you mean the uchiawase?"

Offline Croninokehige

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2012, 02:03:45 PM »
Buy books rather than go to classes.  Classes force you to learn something, someone else thinks you should learn.  With books you can dip in and do whatever you want.  Also a 1 hr class is maybe 2,000 yen.  You can buy a book for 2,000 that will have way more info in that the 1 hour class did.

I disagree with this. Different people are different types of learners.
I'd much rather be getting taught by a competent teacher a few grammatical phrases with coaching than do drills from a book. I learn a lot slower using books than being taught.


100% agreed with this. Just getting a book is utterly worthless for me. Classes, where you can interact, have feedback, ask specific questions, have deadlines, etc. are an immensely more effective learning tool for me than just some book.

Offline Terranasaurus Rex

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2012, 02:41:41 PM »

I'm a little curious about what "speaking properly" means here, especially if, as someone noted, the Japanese are not speaking as "well" as you are? 

It's the Japanese youth that aren't speaking as well as me. I am not a youth, so my goal is not to sound like a youth.
I mean speaking in a way that is considered socially acceptable for your particular work/social situations. If I spoke the way an elementary school kid speaks while I'm at work, my coworkers might just think I am not smart enough to use/understand a higher level of Japanese. They might go out of their way to speak as simply as possible to me, and I might not as fast as I could improve. Personally I find this particularly annoying because often (out of their 'politeness') they will just not tell you. People tend to appreciate any level of trying to use Japanese and most people won't bother correcting you if you make a mistake. Again, if I speak like a 19 year old around my 35 year old Japanese friend she will roll her eyes at me, laugh, and tell me how strange I am (this happens a lot...as I tend to try and act strange on purpose.) If I speak like a man, I am going to get some really strange looks and possible scare off potential friends.

It all depends on how you want to be perceived. Of course listening to kids and trying to talk with them is going to be good for you language skills, and I agree that it is a good place to start, but those polite things that kids don't know to add in can be really important for an Adult living in Japan, especially if you are doing everything you can to improve the image of foreigners.

As a side note, realllly old people often to do the things you mentioned as well (use simple, informal japanese and speak their mind) because they've gained enough respect by living so long to get away with it. I also don't want to sound like an old person though, even if their Japanese is more 'proper' than children's.
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Offline Josiah

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2012, 02:55:32 PM »
Buy books rather than go to classes.  Classes force you to learn something, someone else thinks you should learn.  With books you can dip in and do whatever you want.  Also a 1 hr class is maybe 2,000 yen.  You can buy a book for 2,000 that will have way more info in that the 1 hour class did.

I disagree with this. Different people are different types of learners.
I'd much rather be getting taught by a competent teacher a few grammatical phrases with coaching than do drills from a book. I learn a lot slower using books than being taught.


100% agreed with this. Just getting a book is utterly worthless for me. Classes, where you can interact, have feedback, ask specific questions, have deadlines, etc. are an immensely more effective learning tool for me than just some book.

I think this is because if I attach a situation or imagery to a symbol it's a lot easier to use/remember in the future. Discussing things with people in Japanese gives you the context to draw from when re-using the same structures. You can't get that from a book, because looking at the book is the context, and that's what you need to remember anyway. For Art History I was constantly using flash cards for paintings, painters, etc (by the end of university I had accumulated several thousand and they fill an entire box) but the cards were more about beating it in. The real memory came situations where I could visualize a teacher (or someone) talking about a particular work. Kind of the same with Kanji. I'll remember kanji and expressions I'm taught a lot more than ones I learn on my own because I can remember being taught them.

if that made any sense...

P.s. I do understand what you mean though about selective learning when you learn from a teacher. Kind of what being a HS ALT is like, lol. My kids aren't gonna learn shit, but that's okay, that's not my job.

Offline mondai

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2012, 04:16:57 PM »
Buy books rather than go to classes.  Classes force you to learn something, someone else thinks you should learn.  With books you can dip in and do whatever you want.  Also a 1 hr class is maybe 2,000 yen.  You can buy a book for 2,000 that will have way more info in that the 1 hour class did.

I disagree with this. Different people are different types of learners.

I agree we you, they are.  I'm just putting out there what worked for me.  Some folks like the "remembering the kanji" books, I can't stand them.

Another thing is "flash cards".  I went through about 3 packs of these and set myself challenges to learn a certain amount in a week. 

Anyway, the long and the short of it is, -if you wanna get better, do something, anything, as long as it helps you. 
(cliche alert)
the more you put in the more you get out. 

Offline mondai

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2012, 04:19:57 PM »
Buy books rather than go to classes.  Classes force you to learn something, someone else thinks you should learn.  With books you can dip in and do whatever you want.  Also a 1 hr class is maybe 2,000 yen.  You can buy a book for 2,000 that will have way more info in that the 1 hour class did.

I disagree with this. Different people are different types of learners.
I'd much rather be getting taught by a competent teacher a few grammatical phrases with coaching than do drills from a book. I learn a lot slower using books than being taught.


100% agreed with this. Just getting a book is utterly worthless for me. Classes, where you can interact, have feedback, ask specific questions, have deadlines, etc. are an immensely more effective learning tool for me than just some book.

Well, everyone is different.  I went to a few classes but the teacher had decided what I was gonna learn, and that didn't do it for me.  I had friends I could ask and they would tell me what I wanted to know so.

Regarding the books, -just to be clear.  I'm not advocating books over classes necessarily, I'm saying that in terms of value for money, a book we usually come out on top.  Of course it's nice to have someone to interact with and explain things to you, -but that doesn't have to be a teacher. 


Offline Josiah

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2012, 04:20:37 PM »
Buy books rather than go to classes.  Classes force you to learn something, someone else thinks you should learn.  With books you can dip in and do whatever you want.  Also a 1 hr class is maybe 2,000 yen.  You can buy a book for 2,000 that will have way more info in that the 1 hour class did.

I disagree with this. Different people are different types of learners.

I agree we you, they are.  I'm just putting out there what worked for me.  Some folks like the "remembering the kanji" books, I can't stand them.

Another thing is "flash cards".  I went through about 3 packs of these and set myself challenges to learn a certain amount in a week. 

Anyway, the long and the short of it is, -if you wanna get better, do something, anything, as long as it helps you. 
(cliche alert)
the more you put in the more you get out.


aren't you supposed to be on a roller coaster right now?

Offline mike

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2012, 04:25:41 PM »
Edit:  Sorry, my post was getting off the topic of immersion.  Suffice to say, I like books.  A lot.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2012, 04:56:39 PM by mike »

Offline mondai

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #26 on: September 28, 2012, 07:41:01 PM »

aren't you supposed to be on a roller coaster right now?

huh?  :|

Offline buriko

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Re: Which Japanese learning method(s) work -- IMMERSION?
« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2012, 07:58:56 PM »
lol Josiah, I think you're getting people confused....  www