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Josquin’s TAC 2014 - Катюша, Celts, 旅立ち

 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
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Josquin
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 3280 days ago

2266 posts - 3992 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, French, Latin, Italian, Russian, Swedish
Studies: Japanese, Irish, Portuguese, Persian

 
 Message 185 of 227
07 September 2014 at 12:42pm | IP Logged 
@g-bod: Alright, thank you! I'll just give IAIJ a try. I got it relatively cheaply from amazon.co.jp, so I won't be that disappointed if I don't like it.

@Cristina: Thanks! I think in order to learn tourist Japanese, Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, and Assimil would be an excellent start. The problem with Japanese isn't just its relative distance to German, English, and other Indo-European languages, but of course its insane writing system.

I think, for tourist Japanese, it wouldn't be worth the trouble learning kanji and you might even neglect the kana syllabaries. Given your condition of dyslexia, which would probably make learning the script more difficult than it is anyway, I would highly recommend to go for spoken Japanese only, so Pimsleur and Michel Thomas might just be what you need.

I haven't used audio based resources myself, but kanewai talked a little bit about them in his log. I started with Colloquial Japanese, which is nice because it introduces the kana gradually and doesn't expect you to learn all of them from two giant tables. However, it has a very steep learning curve after the first six or seven lessons, so I started using Genki then, which is excellent if you're serious about learning Japanese.

Concerning polite language: Roughly speaking, there are three levels of politeness in Japanese: casual, polite, and formal. Each level has its own peculiar verb conjugations and expressions, which wouldn't be appropriate in a different register. So, the simple phrase "I am Christian" would be "Boku wa Kurisuchan da" in casual speech, "Watashi wa Kurisuchan desu" in polite speech, and "Watakushi wa Kurisuchan to moushimasu" in formal speech.

Usually students start with the polite register, then go on with casual speech, and finally learn formal speech. It isn't half as difficult as it looks in the beginning, but you need time to get used to it. Formal speech is peculiar in that way that it uses honorific expressions when talking about others and modest or humble expressions when talking about yourself. You will primarily encounter it in business or other very formal situations.

A good example for formal speech is family relations. When talking about your own family, you would use modest expressions like "chichi" for "father" or "haha" for "mother". However, when talking about someone else's family or when addressing your parents directly in a formal situation, you would use honorific expressions like "otou-san" for "father" and "okaa-san" for "mother".

It's somewhat similar to "du" and "Sie" or "tu" and "vous", but much more elaborate. Obviously, this reflects the importance of politeness and respect in Japanese society and of being humble and modest about yourself. I remember you talking about the, for a Norwegian, shocking levels of politeness in German letters. Well, I guess Japanese would take this to a whole new level! ;)
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vonPeterhof
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Senior Member
Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 3208 days ago

715 posts - 1527 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 186 of 227
07 September 2014 at 1:20pm | IP Logged 
Josquin wrote:
Concerning polite language: Roughly speaking, there are three levels of politeness in Japanese: casual, polite, and formal. Each level has its own peculiar verb conjugations and expressions, which wouldn't be appropriate in a different register. So, the simple phrase "I am Christian" would be "Boku wa Kurisuchan da" in casual speech, "Watashi wa Kurisuchan desu" in polite speech, and "Watakushi wa Kurisuchan to moushimasu" in formal speech.
While this is probably too much information for a beginner, just to avoid possible confusion over terminology used in other sources, I think it's more common for the third level to be referred to as "honorific". Formality is often treated as a characteristic separate from politeness, so it's possible to talk about such categories of speech as formal non-polite ("Watashi wa Kurisuchan de aru") and formal polite ("Watashi wa Kurisuchan de arimasu"), but these are definitely well beyond what's necessary for tourist level interaction.

@Solfrid Cristin Out of the resources you have I can only comment on Pimsleur. Unlike their programs for most European languages that start with the polite form and later introduce the casual ones, the Japanese Pimsleur stays pretty much entirely in the polite register, with a few formal expressions introduced later for work-related conversations. This should be enough to develop active skills in tourist level Japanese, but I think it's also a good idea to at least familiarize yourself with how honorific speech works in order to be able to understand it passively. The reason is that honorific speech is used by the majority of service personnel in Japan - hotel clerks, waiters, shop assistants, etc. The customer isn't expected to respond in kind, but you do need to understand the honorific and humble vocabulary. As far as I can remember, Pimsleur doesn't give a full explanation of how the system works, and if the other resources don't go into much detail either it should be helpful to read through a summary like this one after you've got the basics of ordinary polite Japanese.
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Expugnator
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Brazil
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3335 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 
 Message 187 of 227
12 September 2014 at 3:40pm | IP Logged 
Hye Josquin! I'd just like to let you know that I've started using the Modern German Grammar Workbook and I think using the grammar then the workbook was a nice idea, better than using it in parallel. This way, I can review what I read before and enforce it. There are already so many sample sentences in the grammar text, no need to 'practice' on the go; then when you do the exercises it can work as both practice and review, it's almost like doing an 'active wave' for an Assimil book. Just my thoughts, I think other people could have good results by doing the exercises right after the textbook explanations, too.
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dampingwire
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3101 days ago

1185 posts - 1513 votes 
Speaks: English*, Italian*, French
Studies: Japanese

 
 Message 188 of 227
13 September 2014 at 7:12pm | IP Logged 
Solfrid Cristin wrote:
As for Japanese material I have Pimsleur, Michel Thomas and
Assimil, and had planned to start Japanese in
that order, but if you have any better suggestions I am all ears :-)


I started with Pimsleur and Michel Thomas and found them to be a good way of getting
going with the language. I've not tried Assimil but
Tae Kim's guide that
vonPeterhof pointed to is where I went next. I was using the Minna no Nihongo textbook
at
the same time, but that's probably OTT for tourist-level Japanese. NHK offer a free
course which I found quite useful for
filling in 10 minute slots of spare time at work too.

EDIT: I also remember using an online course
from York University in Canada. It's basically a recording of the lectures plus some
supporting materials. My recollection is that it starts from scratch. I found the pace
to be a little slow and the interface a little quirky, but maybe that's just me.


Edited by dampingwire on 13 September 2014 at 7:15pm

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Josquin
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 3280 days ago

2266 posts - 3992 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, French, Latin, Italian, Russian, Swedish
Studies: Japanese, Irish, Portuguese, Persian

 
 Message 189 of 227
21 September 2014 at 1:52pm | IP Logged 
SUNDAY, 21 SEPTEMBER 2014

Thanks for your contributions, vonPeterhof, Expugnator, and dampingwire! All of that is really interesting and helpful.

I have been studying rather irregularly for the last few days. There are several reasons for that, mainly a presentation that I have to prepare and that I tend to focus on singing in my free-time. On top of that, there was a school reunion, because it’s already ten years that I graduated from school. I had to travel to my home town for that and spend the weekend there, so studying went overboard. Nevertheless, I managed to do a little bit in all of my languages.

Русский

I have been watching some episodes of Кухня lately, so I’m on episode 8 of the first season now. I try to watch them without the transcript and only use it when I completely fail to understand the gist of a dialogue. I’m a little bit amazed that I can understand quite a bit without the help of the transcript, but for details or in order to thoroughly understand a joke, I still have to consult it, of course.

While I notice that I’m progressing in Russian, I’m lacking a bit of motivation to go on with it. Somehow, the fascination for Russian culture and literature, which has motivated me most of the time, has started to dwindle and shifted towards Japanese and Irish culture. For that reason, I might not do a lot in Russian in the near future, except watching some Кухня.

Gaeilge

After a short break, I’m back with Irish. I have finished unit 13 in Teach Yourself now and finally mastered the past tense. I can’t say I’m entirely confident with irregular verbs, but at least I understand the regular verbs thoroughly.

Although I know most forms of the irregular verbs from Scottish Gaelic, where they are more or less the same, Irish adds a complication by using different question and negation particles in the past tense than in the present tense. In order to create total mayhem, however, some irregular verbs take the present tense particles in the past tense, which is really confusing and has to be learnt by rote.

Português

I have mainly been repeating stuff from the last few units in Portugiesisch mit System, because I still haven’t memorized all the past tense forms of the irregular verbs. I also seem to have lost my motivation to continue seriously with Portuguese, so I will put it on hold for the time being.

日本語

My main focus is on Japanese right now. I have finished the last unit of Genki, whose main topic was the causative-passive of verbs. It mainly conveys the idea of "being forced or made to do something". Although the verb endings in the causative-passive are sheer endless (食べる/taberu "to eat" becomes 食べさせられる/tabesaserareru "to be forced to eat"), I didn’t find it too difficult.

私は肉を食べさせられました。 / Watashi wa niku o tabesaseraremashita.
"I was forced to eat meat. / They made me eat meat."

Now that I have mastered all the grammar from Genki, I can fully concentrate on the reading sections and the kanji presented there. I plan to do some exercises to reinforce some weaker grammar points of mine though.

When I have really worked through all of Genki, I will continue with An Integrative Approach to Intermediate Japanese and then with Tobira. Both books have already arrived, so I can continue my Japanese studies without a break.

한국어

I have been listening to some Korean dialogues and practising reading Hangeul, but unfortunately I don’t have any time for doing Korean actively at the moment.
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Josquin
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 3280 days ago

2266 posts - 3992 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, French, Latin, Italian, Russian, Swedish
Studies: Japanese, Irish, Portuguese, Persian

 
 Message 190 of 227
28 September 2014 at 5:27pm | IP Logged 
SUNDAY, 28 SEPTEMBER 2014

I'm still studying rather irregularly and I don't expect that to change very soon. I think I'm over the whole "studying languages just for fun" thing for the moment. Instead, I need concrete reasons for studying.

I have come to the conclusion that I will drop the languages that I have no actual use for, such as Portuguese and Korean. I haven't decided yet concerning Russian, but I must admit that the attraction by this language and its culture has mostly disappeared. I am very much interested in Irish right now and I'd also like to continue with Japanese.

I noticed that having a good motivation for studying a language makes you study it more thoroughly. The last few months, I have mostly been skipping exercises and vocabulary lists in my learning materials and concentrated on the passive understanding of grammar points. However, now I see that this doesn't really get me anywhere. Concentrating on less languages might help me study more thoroughly and work on my active skills as well.

Gaeilge

My motivation for learning Irish is mainly its culture and music. Having been to Ireland, I'm fascinated by the history, nature, and culture of this place and especially the haunting melodies of its traditional music. I might want to get into this scene some day when my singing is good enough, so a knowledge of Irish will be more than useful. In fact, this is an ideal motivation for me, as it connects my two main interests: music and languages.

I'm working on unit 14 in Teach Yourself now. After finishing TY, I will get back to Learning Irish. Also, I want to take an Irish language course rather sooner than later, but this will mostly be a matter of money and not motivation.

日本語

My reasons for continuing Japanese are a little bit more abstract. I haven't been to Japan yet, but I'd like to go there one day by all means. I'm fascinated by its traditional culture (not so much by today's Anime, Manga, and J-Pop culture) and I also like the sound of Japanese very much.

I'm still busy with Genki and it might take me some time to really finish it. After that, I'll continue with An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese and Tobira.
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Josquin
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 3280 days ago

2266 posts - 3992 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, French, Latin, Italian, Russian, Swedish
Studies: Japanese, Irish, Portuguese, Persian

 
 Message 191 of 227
19 October 2014 at 8:18pm | IP Logged 
SUNDAY, 19 OCTOBER 2014

This will be a very short post, as I haven't been studying for the last weeks. I have had some health problems
again and I'm now on my way to recovery. I hope to have some better news the next time, but at the moment I
can't even look at my textbooks without getting dizzy.

See you soon!
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liammcg
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Senior Member
Ireland
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269 posts - 397 votes 
Speaks: English*, Irish, Scottish Gaelic, French
Studies: German, Italian

 
 Message 192 of 227
19 October 2014 at 8:44pm | IP Logged 
Sorry to hear it, get better soon! Liam


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