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how to do some reading and listening practice

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(2017-03-20, 4:43 pm)Akira00 Wrote: I tried to read the latest one piece chapter in japanese and I understood really little. It didn't strike me as really difficult but it's true that as a language learner just the lack of vocabulary and the slow speed in reading katakana make my progress painfully slow.
Well, One Piece is one of the hardest manga to read that I know of, really. It's not generally super difficult dialogue... although sometimes a character will go into a pages long exposition monologue that can get pretty heavy. Still those parts are perfectly manageable.

No, the difficulty with One Piece is that all the characters have 'interesting' ways of speaking, and there's a ton of slang that's obscure or is just plain made up for the character, a lot of misspelled words to reflect the sound of the characters manner of speaking, etc, etc.  Also the occasional exchange that doesn't make a lot of sense but is included for the punch line which might be some kind of pun or some kind of situational humor or both. Anyway, understanding these things means being familiar enough in the first place with speech patterns to recognize them when reading written dialect, to understand both meanings when words are puns... and ideally recognize when made-up words are being introduced, although as a foreign reader you may never be sure. (It helps to read from the beginning and in order though, since such terms are likely to be explained when or soon after being introduced.)

I mean, you'll run into all of these things reading manga generally, but it's a lot to take in all at once especially as your first manga reading attempt. You'll *never* (probably?) find a manga that is completely free of slang and written dialect, but you can at least find ones where it's only relatively standard contractions and the slang terms are common enough to be in the dictionary. (OTOH, one piece *does* have the advantage of furigana.)

There's also a general trend when reading - the first chapter of a novel or the first volume of a manga is always hardest. Every author has their own writing patterns, tending to use the same vocabulary and expressions no matter what, and of course the setting of a story also causes certain terms to come up over and over again. (Which in one piece is mostly ways of describing one's resolve to beat the living tar out of another character. Also some stuff about ships and oceans.)

Anyway, you might try reading another manga first. I second Stansfield123's suggestion of Yotsubato! , that's certainly one of the easiest manga I've read... and also it made me smile a lot. A lot of people also start with Doraemon (sp?) ... anyway, I've never read it, but it seems to be pretty accessible. If you really want to read One Piece in particular, then I'd at least start at the beginning so that you can get used to the setting-specific terms and individual character speech patterns as they're introduced.
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RE: how to do some reading and listening practice - by SomeCallMeChris - 2017-03-20, 6:28 pm