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Advice needed I think I’m learning Japanese, I really think so.

Discussion in 'Japan' started by southpaw, Sep 29, 2019.

  1. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    In an effort to avoid getting further confused by Bawbawbel and Maurice in the “intermediate learning to carve thread”, I thought I would spend my time doing something useful and learn some basic Japanese vocabulary and phrasing ahead of my January trip.
    I have been using Duolingo for a couple of weeks now but was wondering whether anyone has any recommendations for other free online resources to pick up some basic Japanese. Also seeking advice on some useful phrases to learn beyond the obvious greetings etc. TIA
     
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  2. chrisj

    chrisj One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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  3. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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  4. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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  5. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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  6. chrisj

    chrisj One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Tondemonai desu
     
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  7. Any

    Any One of Us

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    [​IMG]
    ive seen some funny youtube videos with books like these.
     
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  8. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    So learning Japanese is really hard. Have spent three solid weeks ( at least 1 hour a day) practicing on Duolingo and using other resources and all I feel confident in saying is:
    Hello
    Good morning
    Thank you
    Excuse me.
     
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  9. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    It’s a good start.
    I have found the gains I made when I knuckles down have gone since slacking off.
    I need to get back to it!
     
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  10. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Futatstu beeru korasai

    All you need to know
     
  11. sbm_

    sbm_ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    IMO nothing worthwhile is learned in less than five years of real time. Language seems very hard in that you need a strong connection to it to keep going, like family or living or working in that country. Yearly ski trips might just be enough. Otherwise you backslide really easily.

    My advice is, don't neglect listening, get into Japanese language media. I see lots of subtitled anime in your future!

    I'm about one year into Italian, and I can just about make it through a kid's bedtime story, and pick up bits and pieces from SBS Italian language shows.
     
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  12. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Kudasai?

    Plus only 2 beers!! o_O
     
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  13. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah that
     
  14. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hitatsu
    Mitsu
     
  15. piolet

    piolet Better make it three Ski Pass: Gold

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    Beyond that it's holding up fingers time
     
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  16. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Sobering but very sensible advice. Thanks.
     
  17. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Toriaezu, nama o kudasai! (Draft beer, please!)"
    And gesturing to the group works for me.
     
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  18. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    Haha, "Toriaezu Nama (w)o Kudasai!", very natural and a frequently used expression. The expression is not something that you can learn from average Japanese textbooks but it's actually widely used at Izakaya, etc, so Japanese people might be a bit surprised if foreigners use the expression.

    If a Japanese girl is serving you a beer at Izakaya, you should say "Hirose Suzu yori kawaii desu-ne!". Then, I think she will feel a bit happy and Japanese people around you will smile or laugh;). A Yori = More than A, Kawaii = Cute, Desu = one of Japanese words that are placed at the end of each sentence and Desu is a polite one(It can make the sentences sound more polite). Adding Ne = Desu-ne sounds nicely casual(not too polite). So, "A Yori Kawaii desu-ne!" is "(You are) cuter than A". Hirose Suzu is a very popular young actress in Japan. Basically, Japanese actors and actresses are "only in Japan", I mean, they are popular / well-known only inside Japan, so Japanese people won't think foreigners recognize Hirose Suzu and Japanese girls will be surprised and feel happy at the same time = Successful conversation;)


    This girl is Hirose Suzu(I'd say 99% Japanese people recognize her). She was acting for JR Ski Ski a few years ago. "Hirose Suzu yori kawaii desu-ne!" means "You are cuter than Hirose Suzu!"(the young actress in the JR Ski Ski video below)
     
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  19. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Extremely useful phrase. This will be my weekend practice.
     
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  20. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Great thanks, but I will have to be very careful about who I call cute especially if I’m with Mrs Paw:whistle:
     
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  21. DeskRider

    DeskRider One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Mou ganbatte ne!
    I found it much easier doing than reading.. we did 6months of classes in Oz before moving over there. Learnt more in the first 2 weeks living there!

    Learning to read the menus is a good goal to help get into some better food and open up some speaking opportunities with some locals.
     
  22. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    6 months of classes vs 2 weeks of living there! Nothing like immersion I guess. Not quite the same but when I lived in Quebec and worked with native French speakers, my French improved greatly even though everyone spoke mainly fluent English. French is quirky but Japanese is on another level.
     
  23. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    My wife would chope of my head if I would say that beside her. :nono: (however could have done that same 40 years ago - today ...... Ojii-san desu ne!)
     
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  24. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Being a girl I think it might be a bit of a gaffe for me too!
    But the toreaizu Nama has gone down well in the past, except they then think I’m fluent - which I’m not!
     
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  25. Cheese Mountain

    Cheese Mountain Hard Yards

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    From a language teaching point of view, Duolinguo is not very good. So it's not just you, it's the program you're using.

    There are three main problems.
    1. It is constantly getting you to translate back and forth between the target language and English. This means you're always relying on working back and forth into English instead of automatic recall in the target language.
    2. It never explicitly explains anything to you, you just need to work it out. Parts of speech, sentence structure and the meanings of those untranslatable words like 'desu' that Ramenman mentioned, you're just left to try to deduce it all. Language nuance and grammar does not come easily for most of us when we learn as adults.
    3. For languages that use a different script (like Japanese), there's another layer of difficulty with no explanations or pronunciation guides. It means you're spending so long guessing and working out the character sounds, it really slows you down and dents your confidence. If you were trying Italian, at least you'd be able to read the letters and have a stab a pronunciation.

    For an online program, I've heard good things about the Language Pod 101 programs that Born 2 Ski mentioned. Not just for Japanese, but other languages too.
     
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  26. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    If you are learning how to ask for beer better learn how to ask for the toilet too :)

    Toire wa dokodesu ka
     
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  27. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    First sentence I learned.
    And I use it often.

    Ocassionally mixed up with a bit of koko desu ka or asoko desuka when I think I know where it is, but you catch someone’s eye as you’re headed there and don’t want to end up being the wandering gaij who is lost without having asked first.
     
  28. sbm_

    sbm_ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    This may be a newer feature (it's certainly a hidden feature), but when you tap on a lesson, there's a tiny "lightbulb" icon above the "Start" button, if you tap on that you get a textbook-style page come up that actually does explain that lesson.

    They also are trying to do some things like facilitate meetups for learners - I get notifications for Sydney ones. I went to one recently, the woman that organised it said they (the Duolingo people) were pretty helpful and have tools on the site for bookings, printing nametags, ideas for activities etc.

    But yes for my language learning I'm at the stage where I need to sit down with my textbook and do old school study to memorise some of the nitty gritty of grammar and tenses etc.
     
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  29. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I’ve used Pimsleur.

    Supported by quite a few textbooks, and judicious use of google translate.

    I did notice using Google Translate yesterday that the camera translate has improved - auto translate for most things which is awesome - point your phone in the direction of the sign/ingredients/label etc and read it in English within seconds. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good.
     
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  30. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Thanks as it happens I have moved to also using Language Pod 101 and have found it very helpful. I have really noticed the limitations of Duolingo especially for a language like Japanese. I think there is a place though for multiple tools each of which have their place. One good think for Duolingo is the structured repetition which helps ingrain character recognition as well as pronunciation.
     
  31. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Great advice, thanks!
     
  32. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Yes that camera feature is a game changer.
     
  33. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    There is a language difficulty rating put out by the body that trains 'Murican diplomats in foreign languages. It only includes the governmental language of a country so while Icelandic is included, provincial languages spoken by many more people like Basque or Welsh don't get a mention.

    It's ranked 1 to 5 with a star ( * ) meaning extra difficulty or an extra half point.

    The easiest language to learn for a native English speaker is Spanish followed by Swedish. The absolute hardest with a rating of 5½ is... Japanese, so you've chosen to learn the worlds most difficult language. :eek:

    FOREIGN SERVICE INSTITUTE LANGUAGE DIFFICULTY RANKINGS
    The Foreign Service Institute language difficulty rankings are an indication of how long a native English speaker would need to reach proficiency in a number of different languages.

    Category I: 23-24 weeks (575-600 hours)
    Languages closely related to English

    Afrikaans
    Danish
    Dutch
    French
    Italian
    Norwegian
    Portuguese
    Romanian
    Spanish
    Swedish

    Category II: 30 weeks (750 hours)
    Languages similar to English

    German

    Category III: 36 weeks (900 hours)
    Languages with linguistic and/or cultural differences from English

    Indonesian
    Malaysian
    Swahili

    Category IV: 44 weeks (1100 hours)
    Languages with significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English

    Albanian
    Amharic
    Armenian
    Azerbaijani
    Bengali
    Bosnian
    Bulgarian
    Burmese
    Croatian
    Czech
    *Estonian
    *Finnish
    *Georgian
    Greek
    Hebrew
    Hindi
    *Hungarian
    Icelandic
    Khmer
    Lao
    Latvian
    Lithuanian
    Macedonian
    *Mongolian
    Nepali
    Pashto
    Persian (Dari, Farsi, Tajik)
    Polish
    Russian
    Serbian
    Sinhala
    Slovak
    Slovenian
    Tagalog
    *Thai
    Turkish
    Ukrainian
    Urdu
    Uzbek
    *Vietnamese
    Xhosa
    Zulu

    Category V: 88 weeks (2200 hours)
    Languages which are exceptionally difficult for native English speakers

    Arabic
    Cantonese (Chinese)
    Mandarin (Chinese)
    *Japanese
    Korean

    * Usually more difficult than other languages in the same category.
     
    #33 Bogong, Oct 18, 2019 at 2:05 PM
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019 at 3:29 PM
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  34. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Bloody hell! Glad I didn’t see that a few weeks ago. Harder even than Arabic and Mandarin. Oh well it helps me manage my expectations. Part of my motivation of doing this learning is that every time I visit a country for the first time I return to Oz and want to learn the language so that next time I go there I can communicate in the local language. However I never keep it up. So this time I decided I would anticipate that feeling and try to get some learning under my belt before going and hopefully when I get back I will have enough of an incentive to keep my learning going. I will probably sign up for some adult education classes in Japanese that is run through the ANU.
     
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  35. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's none of my business where people travel, but Spanish and Swedish are the two easiest languages and both of those countries have plenty of good skiing.

    German would probably be the best language for a skier to know and while it's not too hard to pick up the vocabulary, the grammar is an absolute killer and much harder than the Romance / Norse / Dutch related languages in Category I.
     
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  36. Any

    Any One of Us

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    I've mentioned to several Japanese about how English is supposedly very difficult when I hear them struggling. But universally the response is "no no no, Japanese is much much MUCH harder than English".

    my saving grace is that most Japanese know a surprisingly large amount English, they just don't have the confidence to use/initiate with it.
     
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  37. Jonkl

    Jonkl Early Days

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    So if I speak Cantonese fluently, Japanese should be a piece of piss for me to learn o_O
     
  38. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    At least you can do some writing together. :p
     
  39. Jonkl

    Jonkl Early Days

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    Yeah, that's about the extent of my "Japanese" language skills, reading Chinese charactersLOL
     
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  40. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope One of some lot ... Ski Pass: Gold

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  41. Cheese Mountain

    Cheese Mountain Hard Yards

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    That's interesting to know. It's been a while since I used it, so that might have been introduced since I gave up on it!

    I found it a much better tool for keeping up languages I have a strong foundation in, rather than learning a new one from scratch.
     
  42. Cheese Mountain

    Cheese Mountain Hard Yards

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    The repetition part is good, I agree.

    If you are truly dedicated to the task, you might want to adopt this method for learning https://ncase.me/remember/
     
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  43. sbm_

    sbm_ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    We've had lots of warnings in this thread, but I have to say to balance that, is there much else that's as worthwhile as studying another language? It's literally learning a different perspective on the world. Worthwhile things are usually hard.

    Skiing's hard too and takes years to become an expert, but I don't think anyone here would discourage learning to ski as an adult.
     
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  44. Any

    Any One of Us

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    when I first started learning Japanese I began to suspect that a lot of the language seems to be setup for Samurai in battle. the language can be quite verbose, but seems to me that the most important words are usually the first or second to be said. good for quick communication in the heat of battle. and when I think of it that way it seems very elegant compared to English.
     
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  45. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    You are the lucky one haven learning male language - many man married to Japanese tend to speak a a bit funny Japanese for their gender.
     
  46. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    I tell everone who wants to go to Japan for two weeks or longer to learn at least the katakana alphabet, it’s used in so many places, and since it’s used for loan words you know the meaning of the word as soon as you deciphered it.
     
  47. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Excellent if you can.
    I have great difficulty with written Japanese, but I’m also pulling out my magnifying glass for English menus these days :emoji_eyeglasses:

    My son is fairly fluent, yet I’ve managed better with my phone and google translate. So for effort/reward I’d go for a spoken language/google translate combo.
     
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  48. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    It’s the three different scripts that make reading Japanese really daunting. I found this article which is a good explanation of the rationale and purpose of the different scripts.
    https://www.iwillteachyoualanguage.com/learn/japanese/japanese-tips/how-to-write-in-japanese
     
  49. elSpike

    elSpike I am a Meat Popsicle Ski Pass: Gold

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    We just started and have gone with YesJapan and their Japanese from zero. There are free lessons online and some very naff but still good videos along with the textbook.



    Wife and I are learning together so we spent our morning walk reading every number we could find in Japanese.

    Will see how it goes. Will probably supplement with JapanesePod101 for the train.
     
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  50. Any

    Any One of Us

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    is the picture the school uniform you must wear while learning? must get drafty.
     
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