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Learning Japanese |OT2| Love in the Time of コロナちゃん

Zefah

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今週、日本のアマゾンから小説を買った。この本が小学三年生たちのために書いた。たぶん読める?やってみたい。また、何かいい聞きの練習が欲しい。何がある? I’ve heard Pimsleur is good, but too stiff / formal.
I'd say the best way is to get into Japanese TV, preferably with Japanese subtitles. There are a lot of shows on Netflix these days, although I'm not sure if any interest you.
 
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brohmbel

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I'd say the best way is to get into Japanese TV, preferably with Japanese subtitles. There are a lot of shows on Netflix these days, although I'm not sure if any interest you.
Hah I wish, I'm definitely still a beginner. I tried watching some anime with J subtitles (Evangelion, Shirokuma Cafe, other random stuff), but everything is some combination of too fast and too advanced for me right now. Even Chi's Sweet Home is probably too advanced--I can understand a full line here or there, but mostly I can just pick up a word or two in each sentence. It's also very informal and slangy. Chi's is probably the easiest of the easy shows, so I'm probably SOL in terms of watching genuine J shows for at least another few months.

Unless you're saying to just put on whatever show I'm into, and try to the read the J subtitles while listening to the dialogue, and slowly absorb whatever I can?
 
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Zefah

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Unless you're saying to just put on whatever show I'm into, and try to the read the J subtitles while listening to the dialogue, and slowly absorb whatever I can?
Honestly, yeah. It will be rough going at first, but that's the fastest way to get to a high level of proficiency in my opinion. If you're always in your comfort zone, you won't ever get out of it.

Look everything up (within reason).
 
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Porcile

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As uncool as it sounds, I started out by re-watching Dragon Ball Z with Japanese subs and never looked back. Haven't watched, read or played a piece of Japanese media in English or with English subtitles since. I don't understand everything but it's a liberating feeling knowing you can pick up just about anything and still enjoy it. I don't even use Japanese subtitles anymore. Getting over the hang up of "I can't enjoy it because I don't understand everything" is the first major step that I guess 90% people fail to go beyond.
 
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Zefah

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As uncool as it sounds, I started out by re-watching Dragon Ball Z with Japanese subs and never looked back. Haven't watched, read or played a piece of Japanese media in English or with English subtitles since. I don't understand everything but it's a liberating feeling knowing you can pick up just about anything and still enjoy it. I don't even use Japanese subtitles anymore. Getting over the hang up of "I can't enjoy it because I don't understand everything" is the first major step that I guess 90% people fail to go beyond.
One of the best parts about Japanese learning is that, as long as you can correctly hear the word, you can probably look it up. Not the case with complicated spelling in English and lots of other languages.
 
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Porcile

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One thing you could is the same as me, just pick up something you originally liked in English and burn through it in Japanese as quickly as possible. I did DBZ and Ocarina of Time. No one can tell someone else the best way for that person to study or learn things, but as with anything the process of getting good at something mostly comes about through confidence.

Saying this as someone who asked all these same questions in previous threads, and now I'm a Japanese self-study veteran passing JLPT, living in Japan, making friends, getting girlfriends and doing job interviews. All the good shit that comes with learning a second language.
 
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Sakura

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Fukuoka, Japan

I've always wondered why the pass rate for JLPT is higher outside of Japan. Any ideas? My guess is Japanese language "schools" pushing students to take tests beyond their level, and a bunch of them not teaching anything at all but still making students take the test.

On the other hand, I would definitely would like to see the pass rates in each country especially from China. The way the test answers get posted online on Chinese sites a few hours after the test in Japan certainly raises some eyebrows. I guess any cheating fucks aren't doing anything to help themselves in the long term but still takes the piss for those of us who do everything legitimately.
If I were to completely guess, it is because people in the west are studying Japanese because they want to, and many people are taking the tests just to challenge or gauge themselves or whatever.
Lots of foreigners in Japan aren't studying Japanese because they love Japan and Japanese, they are taking the JLPT because it is necessary. So they will attempt N2 N1 (because the rest are virtually worthless) even if they aren't at the level yet, because if they somehow manage to luckily pass they can use it for work, or getting into school, or for credits at school. There are about 4 foreigners at work who have taken the N1 the last 4 times and failed all times. But they don't really study, they just want the certificate.
Anyway, do you guys have any trick for translating stuff from paper? My parents ask me to every now and then because they pick up random food items in Japan, and since I don't know all the kanji it's a bit arduous to look them all up. Usually I count the strokes, pick out one or two radicals and use something like this. Wondering if there's a better way.
You could guess the reading if there are characters inside the kanji you recognise. For example maybe you know 工, but don't know 項. Or 交 but don't know 佼. Or 講 and 購. Etc. You could just type こう, hit the space bar, and see if it comes up. Obviously won't work all the time, but many times it will.
Other than that yeah, not much other than just looking it up the hard way.
 

Zefah

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If I were to completely guess, it is because people in the west are studying Japanese because they want to, and many people are taking the tests just to challenge or gauge themselves or whatever.
Lots of foreigners in Japan aren't studying Japanese because they love Japan and Japanese, they are taking the JLPT because it is necessary. So they will attempt N2 N1 (because the rest are virtually worthless) even if they aren't at the level yet, because if they somehow manage to luckily pass they can use it for work, or getting into school, or for credits at school. There are about 4 foreigners at work who have taken the N1 the last 4 times and failed all times. But they don't really study, they just want the certificate.
Probably this. It's a lot less convenient (fewer opportunities and locations) to take it outside of Japan, too, so the people taking it are probably a lot more motivated and prepared.
 

brohmbel

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How important is it to learn proper pitch accent? Do native Japanese people get confused when they hear foreigners using wrong pitches, or using wrong pitches for common homonyms ( 雨 vs 飴, 箸 vs 橋 )? Do Japanese people understand you well enough but think you sound funny + you're dumb, or does it really throw them off?
 

Zefah

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How important is it to learn proper pitch accent? Do native Japanese people get confused when they hear foreigners using wrong pitches, or using wrong pitches for common homonyms ( 雨 vs 飴, 箸 vs 橋 )? Do Japanese people understand you well enough but think you sound funny + you're dumb, or does it really throw them off?
I'd say 95% or more of the time, you just sound funny/dumb, but the meaning gets across fine if your Japanese is otherwise correct.

Personally, I never consciously studied pitch accent (never had even really heard of it until like 2015 or 2016), but I did do a lot of shadowing of native speakers.
 
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brohmbel

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I learned a couple of Chinese words a while back, and I thought the pitch stuff made Chinese a pain in the ass, and I thought Japanese would be easier in that regard, but I guess not. And just now I realized that syllable emphasis in English words is also based mostly on pitch, not on volume. So Japanese isn't all that different after all.

Lawyer (high, low)
Cacophony (low, high, low, low)
Garage (low, high)
etc

And I guess there are homonyms in English where the pitch is different between words:
Address vs Address
De
fense vs Defense
In
sight vs Incite
 

Porcile

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I think pitch accent is a bit overkill but if you're learning it you're probably covering a lot of bases when it comes to comprehension and speaking practice. I've had a fair few times where I haven't been understood because of my shitty accent and I've just mumbled some incomprehensible garbage.
 
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brohmbel

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This vid seems like a good top-level overview of the pitch patterns, with some example words. Seems like for the most part you just listen to natives talk, and memorize each word's pitch pattern that way, the way you learned English words' intonation. I'll be paying closer when learning new J vocab from now on. Before today, I didn't even know it made a difference.
 
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rykomatsu

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Now, there are tons of apps out there you can download on a smartphone or tablet (or even use your mouse on a PC) to draw the character and look it up. I bet there is even photo recognition stuff out there now.
Google Translate will do this in real-time with the camera. Not perfect, but for what it is, pretty good I think.

 
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brohmbel

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I'm having trouble figuring out which of the following meanings the -ている verb form imparts to a given verb:
A: the continuous "doing (verb)"
B: the non-past "does (verb)"
C: "in a state of having done (verb)"

Example 1: 食べてる: I've heard that 食べてる can mean either "(currently) eating" or "in a state of having eaten." Which is it? Does it depend on context?

Example 2: 愛してる: I've seen 愛してる used to mean "loves," as in 父が母を愛してる ("dad loves mom"). Why doesn't this mean "is loving?" And so then what's the difference between saying 愛する vs 愛してる? Do they not mean the same thing?

Example 3: 始まってる: I think this usually means "in a state of having started?" But why doesn't it mean "is starting?"

Example 4: 持ってる: I've seen 持ってる used to mean "I have" or "has." But shouldn't 持つ mean "I have" / "has?" Shouldn't 持ってる mean "I'm having" / "having?"

Is there some over-arching logic for how all of these work? Something to do with whether a given verb is an "action" verb vs more of a steady-state verb?
 

Porcile

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I'm not an expert at all on grammar, as it's probably the weakest aspect of my Japanese, so I don't like commenting on the specifics of grammar, but I will say that you are doing the classic thing of fitting square pegs into round holes when it comes to translation. Seems to me like you understand the basic function of the grammar in Japanese but you want it to fit nicely into English, when it doesn't.

ている is used to express something that's ongoing or the current state of something, as far as my understanding it can be both short term and long term.

1. "In a state of having eaten." doesn't make any sense in English so I don't really understand what the question is.
2. No they don't mean the same thing because する and している are doing functionally different things IN JAPANESE.
3. Again overthinking the translation here. It probably could mean starting.
4. It shouldn't mean "I'm having" because if I said "I'm having a wallet" it's wrong in English. 持っている is used in Japanese as a way to express being in possession of something. For example お金を持っている would be very natural to express the possession of money either on your person or perhaps more figuratively like saying that person is rich. Something like あの男の人はお金を持っている 人です。 That man is a rich person. I didn't even use -ing.

Probably not useful but ditch the overcomplicated translations and start thinking about what the sentence is doing Japanese rather than trying to directly translate into English.
 
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brohmbel

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ている is used to express something that's ongoing or the current state of something, as far as my understanding it can be both short term and long term.
Ahhh thanks, those two definitions help clear it up. So converting a verb to ている changes its meaning to some combination of those two definitions, depending on the verb. So on the more "action"-y side, 食べてる means "eating," 泳いでる means "swimming," and 遊んでる means "playing." On the other hand, 持ってる means "have / has (ongoing)," 住んでる means "reside / resides (ongoing)," 愛してる means "love / loves (ongoing)," etc.

Beyond that though, I don't understand the functional difference between less "action"-y verbs in the ている form and those same verbs' plain dictionary form. If 「携帯を持ってる」 means "I have a cell phone (ongoing)," then what does 「携帯を持つ」 mean? And if 「父が母を愛してる」 means "dad loves mom (ongoing)," then what does 「父が母愛する」 mean? Etc. Do the plain dictionary forms imply a temporary / transient state? E.g., 「携帯を持つ」 might mean something like "I have a cellphone that I just stole, and I'm going to give it to my girlfriend in 5 minutes?"

Last point: I remember hearing the weird "in a state of having (verb)ed" definition of ている somewhere a while back. Maybe it was wrong haha.
 

Porcile

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Ahhh thanks, those two definitions help clear it up. So converting a verb to ている changes its meaning to some combination of those two definitions, depending on the verb. So on the more "action"-y side, 食べてる means "eating," 泳いでる means "swimming," and 遊んでる means "playing." On the other hand, 持ってる means "have / has (ongoing)," 住んでる means "reside / resides (ongoing)," 愛してる means "love / loves (ongoing)," etc.

Beyond that though, I don't understand the functional difference between less "action"-y verbs in the ている form and those same verbs' plain dictionary form. If 「携帯を持ってる」 means "I have a cell phone (ongoing)," then what does 「携帯を持つ」 mean? And if 「父が母を愛してる」 means "dad loves mom (ongoing)," then what does 「父が母愛する」 mean? Etc. Do the plain dictionary forms imply a temporary / transient state? E.g., 「携帯を持つ」 might mean something like "I have a cellphone that I just stole, and I'm going to give it to my girlfriend in 5 minutes?"

Last point: I remember hearing the weird "in a state of having (verb)ed" definition of ている somewhere a while back. Maybe it was wrong haha.
The dictionary form usually just indicates you or someone / something else will do the action of the verb.

携帯を持つ = I'll hold the phone 
父が母愛する = Dad will love mum.
リンゴを食べる = I'll eat an apple.

I'm using will to translate the dictionary form but consider this very loose, since there are various ways to express the nuance of will such as そう and つもり. Now compare it to している/してる.

携帯を持ってる = I have a cellphone.
父が母を愛してる = Dad is in love with mum.
リンゴを食べてる = I'm eating an apple

Context is king. Is the action going to be carried out or is it already happening? Again some verbs in Japanese have different nuance compared to their English counterpart. Japanese in general has lots of ways to express the nuance of situations and you'll go crazy trying to fit them all into English.

"In a state of having (verb)ed" sounds like some textbook nonsense. Disregard completely and concentrate on what the Japanese is expressing at that time.
 
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Mr White

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So, looks like all sites I used to watch anime with jpn subs have died. Animelon, Terakoya, AnimeJpnSub. I currently use Netflix, but it very inconvenient for learning Japanese purpose. Does anyone know any alternatives?
 

Porcile

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So, looks like all sites I used to watch anime with jpn subs have died. Animelon, Terakoya, AnimeJpnSub. I currently use Netflix, but it very inconvenient for learning Japanese purpose. Does anyone know any alternatives?
Are you using the Japanese Netflix ? The last time I used it all anime and shows had Japanese subtitles.
 

Mr White

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Are you using the Japanese Netflix ? The last time I used it all anime and shows had Japanese subtitles.
As I said Netflix is not as convenient as sites I listed, where you could jump between sentences or loop them, which is really helpful. I mean it is better than nothing, but still..
 

brohmbel

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I Googled around for info, and it looks like Animelon had a chain of technical problems they've been trying to recover from, and they're actively working on bringing everything back online, though it seems to be taking a while. Fingers crossed it comes back soon.
 

Kayoba

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I'm not good at japanese at all since I don't dedicate enough time for studying. I can basically only read hiragana and katakana as well as ~50 kanji. I'm a little bit more confident when it comes to vocabulary, grammar and listening comprehension though. But I desperatly need to improve my reading since I'm very slow at it.

I currently play Yo-kai Watch 1 on Nintendo Switch. The game is entirely in furigana and doesn't have voice acting for the most part. Are there any recommendations of other japanese games that is in furigana only without voice acting?
 

Mr White

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I'm not good at japanese at all since I don't dedicate enough time for studying. I can basically only read hiragana and katakana as well as ~50 kanji. I'm a little bit more confident when it comes to vocabulary, grammar and listening comprehension though. But I desperatly need to improve my reading since I'm very slow at it.

I currently play Yo-kai Watch 1 on Nintendo Switch. The game is entirely in furigana and doesn't have voice acting for the most part. Are there any recommendations of other japanese games that is in furigana only without voice acting?
If I remember correctly The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has furigana
But i don't think furigana will vastly improve your kanji reading skill.
 
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Kayoba

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If I remember correctly The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has furigana
But i don't think furigana will vastly improve your kanji reading skill.
I'll check it out, thank you very much. I know it will not improve my kanji reading, that's not my goal at the moment.

I may know both kana alphabet, but I still struggle to comprehend a sentence when I read furigana. I feel like a four year old when I'm reading and I'm well aware it's because I don't study or read japanese as much as I should be doing. So I figured that playing a japanese game with furigana every now and then is a casual way for me to refresh my memory.
I took a sample quiz of JLPT N5 a while back ago and while I though that the questions were easy to understand. I did notice that what should've taken me 30 seconds to read took me nearly 5 minutes to read instead.

Before I found out that Yo-kai Watch used furigana, I used to read news articles from NHK Easy because it's easy to understand as they colorcode certain words like cities in their articles and provide an audio/video as well. Another thing I like about NHK is that I encounter a lot of new phrases as well.
The problem with NHK however is that many news articles are quite boring and I lose motivation when I read them. I also read some easier manga like Yotsuba&, but now I want something a bit more interactive way of reading.
 
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Mr White

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The problem with NHK however is that many news articles are quite boring and I lose motivation when I read them
Maybe reading something like famitsu will be more interesting?
I tried reading NHK, but got bored very fast, since I do not even read news in my native language 🤷‍♂️