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Users study methods

#1
updated on 1st May 2013

Use this thread to share your current study methods so that it can hopefully help users refine their methods.

Thanks to everyone that has contributed to this thread, it turned out much better than I expected and I'm sure it will help many people.


Anchor links to user methods:

Tobberoth http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=4943
Fillanzea http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=4943
zanzou http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=4943
Mennon http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=4943
activeaero http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=4943
inertia http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=4943
auxetoiles http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=4943
CarolinaCG http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=4943
zakstern http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=4943
bodhisamaya http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=4943&page=2
blackmacros http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=4943&page=2
sugarlevi http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=4943&page=2
mistamark http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=4943&page=3
LegionOfDeicide http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=4943&page=3
nadiatims http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...7#pid94927
chamcham http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...#pid101507
chamcham v2 http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...#pid117356
thurd http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...#pid106161
ta12121 http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...#pid115748
ta12121 v2 http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...#pid132173
ta12121 v3 http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...#pid149022
cranks (High detail) http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...#pid117413
cranks again http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...#pid133971
howtwosavealif3 http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...0#pid88830
KMDES (High detail)http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...#pid130010
gyuujuice http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...#pid134011
kainzero http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...6#pid42056
Zgarbas http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...#pid160625
gaiaslastlaugh http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...#pid169027
cranks (High Detail) http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?p...#pid189893



Links to other method threads:

raseru "My study method (Study pack included)"
http://forum.koohii.com/showthread.php?tid=5011
Edited: 2013-05-01, 6:16 am
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#2
Will add more and more to this post as I come up with it.

My study method builds mainly on the idea that exposure imprints how to work with words and grammar, but doesn't teach it to you. Therefor, exposure both shows you what you need to learn and improves your abilities with the stuff you already know. By writing down and looking up new words as you're exposed to them, you learn them. By adding them in your SRS, you make sure that you won't forget them. By then exposing yourself to them, your knowledge and feeling for them deepens.

The above might seem obvious to many people, but it has tons of impact on my arguments on these boards. For example, I don't support output in SRS. The SRS is just there to keep stuff in your head until you're exposed to them enough, I don't believe it can put stuff in active memory for you, teach you how to use stuff. You MUST have exposure for that. For that reason, I believe it's silly to work too hard on your cards with audio, images and such. It simply won't help without exposure, and exposure gives you all of that for free. You shouldn't force yourself to be able to use a word before you've been naturally exposed to it enough.

My decks
I use three decks to study Japanese.

RtK deck

This is just the normal RtK deck.
Question: English keyword, Japanese keywords (usually one wago and one kango)
Answer: Kanji
I generally just want to be able to write it, but I try to bring up my stories/visual images as well, just in case.

Sentence Deck

Standard AJATT deck.
Question: A Japanese sentence.
Answer: Same sentence but with furigana.
I just want to be able to read the sentence (know all the readings) and understand it fully (grammar and vocab).

Vocab Deck

Newest one, this is the one I work on the most since it feels the most effective for my current level.
Question: Japanese word, usually like I found it but in kanji if I think it's useful to know.
Answer: Pronunciation in kana, EDICT english, an example sentence. Sometimes I add Japanese definitions, but it's rare.
For this deck, I just want to be able to read and understand the word, preferably instantly.

My goal is to know so many words that I can read and enjoy anything in Japanese, therefore my main focus is on vocabulary. I'm aiming for 15 000 words, but I don't keep track of how many words I know so it's a pretty generic goal. It is my belief that once you know 15 000+ words, you can cut down on adding stuff to your SRS a lot since you will understand so much from any source that you will get very few new words as you go and those will probably get stuck in your mind easier.

I would recommend my study method to people who are already quite good at Japanese. Complete beginners can't get the comprehensible exposure I find so important, so I think they might need the extra stuff like audio, images etc on their cards. I would not recommend going vocab deck instead of sentence deck until at least all the grammar up to JLPT2 has been somewhat mastered.
Edited: 2010-02-02, 5:42 pm
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#3
My core principles are (1) exposure; (2) keeping new words active in my memory until I build up enough exposure to them. Because my vocabulary is fairly good, a lot of the unfamiliar words I run across are not so common that I can count on getting exposed to them enough just by reading if I don't reinforce them.

So my study methods are (1) reading; (2) SRSing sentences based on reading.

I like to have 2 different reading materials going at a time, one for just reading and one for SRS. The one for just reading (without dictionary lookup -- I do a lot of reading on the subway) should have very little new vocabulary, while the one for SRS can be more difficult. I read a lot of contemporary fiction, some light nonfiction and current events.

When I'm reading for SRS purposes, I make a card out of every sentence I don't understand completely. This can amount to one out of every 2 or 3 sentences in my reading.

I just have one sentence deck going. I was doing some kanji, but kanji output requires a more intense level of commitment than I have right now.

Question: A sentence, or sometimes a fragment of a sentence, with any unfamiliar words underlined.

I prefer to add whole sentences for more context, because there are many cases when the meaning of a word depends on its context. (e.g. I just came across, セックスの談義に 花が咲いた -- of course I know that "花が咲く" means literally for a flower to bloom, but I wasn't familiar with it being used metaphorically in the context of a topic of conversation.)

Answer: The underlined words in hiragana (if needed), plus a definition of each word. I don't bother translating the whole sentence, though I'll translate a particular phrase if it's being used idiomatically.

I typically add 15-20 sentences per day.

My reading plan for 2010 is to start with light novels and contemporary novels on a level I'm used to dealing with (Murakami Haruki, Sakuraba Kazuki, Kawakami Mieko, Wataya Risa, etc.) and then start incorporating current events reading (especially the magazine Sekai) and novels touching on business/financial/government topics. In February 2011 I'll reevaluate whether I've progressed enough to feel comfortable tackling some of the earlier 20th century authors.
Edited: 2010-02-17, 10:31 pm
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JapanesePod101
#4
My SRS'ing is pretty similar to Tobberoth's...

3 decks:
RtK deck - no English keywords though, just a wago and a kango word for each kanji (if there is one) - and these are each different cards. Hiragana on one side, Kanji on the other.
Vocabulary deck - Just random vocabulary I find
Sentences deck - Just random sentences I find that I want to learn, mostly new grammar structures

But mostly, I've stopped adding stuff to my Anki decks recently. Gotten really bored with it over the last month and instead starting doing some translation exercises. I'm an ALT and some of my students are applying to Kyoto Uni, so they've been doing practice translation problems going Japanese -> English. I'm doing the same problems the other way, English -> Japanese. Then I usually post my answers on Lang-8 and have a Japanese Japanese teacher look at it. When I write the first draft, I don't let myself use a dictionary or look up how to write kanji. Then I rewrite it with a dictionary in hand - this is the draft I show people. Smile

More and more, I've been thinking about mostly kicking my SRS to the curb. Been using it steadily for a year and a half now, but think I'm thoroughly sick of it. I'll just maintain my RtK deck and work on writings, I think.

And of course, I'm lucky enough to have opportunities to chat with people daily at work and such.

I don't have much of an immersion environment per se, as I don't watch much television nor do I like reading manga. Wish I could get into either...and have found reading novels generally a little too frustrating to be considered fun. I do spend a fair amount of time on Japanese websites, though - especially kotonoha.cc. Smile

Anyways, I'd say I study 3-4 hours a day, all of it at the schools I'm working. At night, I hang out and look at some Japanese websites or go out and chat with Japanese people - but that's about it.
Edited: 2010-02-02, 8:06 pm
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#5
@Tobberoth: I have a question. Even if you're already advanced, but if you concentrate on vocab, how is that gonna help you to be able to read anything in Japanese one day? I often have the problem that I understand all the words in a sentence when reading novels, but still don't understand the sentence as a whole. Probably because I lack grammar skills, I'm not sure. My question is: how do you work on that kind of understanding?
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#6
chochajin Wrote:@Tobberoth: I have a question. Even if you're already advanced, but if you concentrate on vocab, how is that gonna help you to be able to read anything in Japanese one day? I often have the problem that I understand all the words in a sentence when reading novels, but still don't understand the sentence as a whole. Probably because I lack grammar skills, I'm not sure. My question is: how do you work on that kind of understanding?
I may not be tobberoth but I do understand you're problem exactly.

It's really a case of grammar study. There are times (though they're seldom) when I will know every word in a sentence but something about it will have my brain in a twist. If that's the case it's a grammar problem (or something is idiomatic and you're missing it) and it might pay to find a similiar sentence or one with the exact same structure and see if you can understand the structure in a different context. It may be that you can just due to you're understanding of the surrounding sentences come to figure out what the sentence you're having trouble with means and I think this is a big part of how we learn to decode structures we're no so familiar with over time.

If it's all grammar you have studied before but you're still not getting it try find an example sentence with an english translation that's the same and work backwards through it to figure it out.

Edit: aside from that the pure vocab method works best once you're at the point where you can understand something so long as you know all the vocab. Basically once you've studied at least all the JLPT2 grammar you're good to go.
Edited: 2010-02-02, 10:36 pm
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#7
Awesome thread.
I get to work and have a cuppa. I come to this site and do my due reviews, then add ten and study them. Slow and steady.
I used to use textbooks, stuff like J501 and Authentic Japanese, but they just bore me to tears. I have had enough of reading articles about udon and how unique and mysterious Japanese culture is. So now I buy "Spa!" magazine and pick a smallish article and translate it. Maybe two or three articles a week. I enter all the words I don't know into Anki, and review them each day. I recommend buying the trashiest Japanese tabloid you can find. It's great! And it's about stuff that Japanese people talk about all the time.
Then I do a page from 日本語総まとめ問題集(2級) and put the structures into Anki as well.
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#8
mezbup Wrote:Basically once you've studied at least all the JLPT2 grammar you're good to go.
Does Tae Kim cover all of the JLPT2 grammar or do I still need to study elsewhere?
Because I've done Tae Kim and a number of textbooks, and I still come across sentences quite frequently where I don't quite understand what is going on. Perhaps this is just a case of me not thoroughly understanding what I have already studied?
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#9
Zarxrax Wrote:
mezbup Wrote:Basically once you've studied at least all the JLPT2 grammar you're good to go.
Does Tae Kim cover all of the JLPT2 grammar or do I still need to study elsewhere?
Because I've done Tae Kim and a number of textbooks, and I still come across sentences quite frequently where I don't quite understand what is going on. Perhaps this is just a case of me not thoroughly understanding what I have already studied?
At some point "new grammar" is less about specific constructions and more about understanding concepts and vocabulary better-- ie. connecting with a more Japanese thought process.
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#10
Zarxrax Wrote:
mezbup Wrote:Basically once you've studied at least all the JLPT2 grammar you're good to go.
Does Tae Kim cover all of the JLPT2 grammar or do I still need to study elsewhere?
It does not cover it all, though it makes a good start on it, I think.
Quote:Because I've done Tae Kim and a number of textbooks, and I still come across sentences quite frequently where I don't quite understand what is going on. Perhaps this is just a case of me not thoroughly understanding what I have already studied?
Maybe; or maybe it's grammar you really haven't met yet (JLPT2 or otherwise). Feel free to throw us some examples (maybe in the 'what's that word' thread to avoid derailing this one?) if you want and we can have a look...
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#11
Zarxrax Wrote:
mezbup Wrote:Basically once you've studied at least all the JLPT2 grammar you're good to go.
Does Tae Kim cover all of the JLPT2 grammar or do I still need to study elsewhere?
Because I've done Tae Kim and a number of textbooks, and I still come across sentences quite frequently where I don't quite understand what is going on. Perhaps this is just a case of me not thoroughly understanding what I have already studied?
Sometimes you'll find it's a bit of both. Tbh Tae Kim covers the levels 4 and 3 pretty thoroughly but really only touches on 2 and I mean barely touches on it. There's about 170 grammar points covered in Kanzen Master 2級 alone.

To get a really solid understanding of the stuff you do know still requires lots of reading and comprehending the patterns in all sorts of different contexts to really cement them in your brain. Doing study gives you a surface understanding which gets deepened through real world reading.

Also I feel that once you've studied through the 2級 grammar, it becomes much easier to pick the 1級 stuff up through reading rather than going out of your way to study it. Just something I've noticed. Though I would recommend making your way through something like Kanzen Master 2級.
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#12
I think it's near impossible to work through a proper newspaper without a basic knowledge of all of N5, 4, 3, 2, and about a quarter of of N1 grammar. Tae Kim only takes you to N4.

When I first made the attempt to read Japanese newspapers I was also missing the grammar connections big time. To help out with that I stopped working on my vocab deck and worked solely with a grammar deck. I put in anki everything from the Unicom 3 and 2 kyu grammar books and had my tutor mark out what she considered the most important 1 kyu grammar points to look at.

That helped a lot but now I've come full circle back to vocabulary problems. However, vocabulary is much easier to look up in a dictionary compared to grammar points so it's not so bad.
Edited: 2010-02-03, 11:56 pm
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#13
My current study method has shifted into trying to use my SRS as simply light exposure instead of an end all be all source of Japanese comprehension. Cementing everything together now comes through the process of reading grade appropriate material.

I have two decks. The first is simply RTK.

The second deck is my sentence/vocab deck. It contains about 700-900 grammar sentences from Tae-Kim and Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication, 3,000 vocab sentences from 2001KO books 1&2, and a pure vocab only deck for what would be the 2001KO book 3 (if such a thing existed). There is about 6,500 sentences in total.

If I could go back in time I would:

1. In the beginning only add the grammar sentences from Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication. Any other grammar examples would be added based on problems encountered during reading. The reason I say this is because until you start reading real material you just don't really know what areas you'll be able to pick up well through context and what areas you'll need help in. Adding a billion example sentences before you "get started", so to speak, is just a waste of time. Take a few example sentences to cover the general idea and then get to reading.

2. Forget sentence decks. Vocab, vocab, and more vocab. Burn through vocabulary as fast as humanly possible and use all of your spare time reading REAL material instead of static vocab sentences. Every 2001KO sentence I read could have been a sentence from a real book. Pure vocab decks are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much faster, burn you out less, all of which gives you more time to read REAL Japanese material.
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#14
@activeaero,

I might actually try your "if I could go back" method, as I find that the sentence way does work but not to the extent that it should be for me.

Could you expand on the grammer part a bit more, maybe giving a couple of examples of how you would add it into Anki?
Edited: 2010-02-04, 6:34 am
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#15
activeaero Wrote:My current study method has shifted into trying to use my SRS as simply light exposure instead of an end all be all source of Japanese comprehension. Cementing everything together now comes through the process of reading grade appropriate material.

[...]

Pure vocab decks are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much faster, burn you out less, all of which gives you more time to read REAL Japanese material.
I have exactly the same experiences and study method. Two decks: RTK & Sentence/Vocab (through card model in Anki) and I also regret not doing vocab earlier.

Currently I suspended all my sentence cards and just focus on vocab. In time I'll probably add sentences I stumble upon but its doubtful I'll return to doing KO2001.
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#16
chochajin Wrote:@Tobberoth: I have a question. Even if you're already advanced, but if you concentrate on vocab, how is that gonna help you to be able to read anything in Japanese one day? I often have the problem that I understand all the words in a sentence when reading novels, but still don't understand the sentence as a whole. Probably because I lack grammar skills, I'm not sure. My question is: how do you work on that kind of understanding?
Like mezbup said, it's a question of grammar. Personally I find my grammar knowledge to be very high, way beyond my vocabulary. I read Japanese novels and such all the time and it's extremely rare that grammar turns out to be an issue, it's 99% of the time just a lack of vocab. One should note, however, that I consider idiomatic phrases vocabulary, not grammar.

This is the thing though, in my opinion one should keep using sentences until they feel more or less done with grammar. If you think the grammar section on JLPT2 is fairly easy, I'd say you know enough grammar to just go over to vocab, since JLPT1 grammar won't show up in regular modern novels etc.

So yeah, for grammar, it's all about mining sentences from grammar books and then just read. Just like vocab, having grammar in an SRS deck isn't enough to perfect it, you need exposure to it as well. If you don't understand a sentence because of grammar, it could just be that it hasn't been cemented well enough, more exposure should fix it.
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#17
@Tobberoth&mezbup: Thanks so much for your answers.
See, the thing is that everybody here keeps telling me that I shouldn't bother learning grammar or grammar rules, but then again while my kanji and vocab ability is 1kyuu level, my grammar level might be beyond 3kyuu level. For 2kyuu grammar all I can usually do is GUESS: What would you recommend to do in my case when "studying grammar isn't a good idea"?
I finally bought the Kanzen Master 2kyuu grammar book and I know there is a spreadsheet. Would it help to use it and go through the example sentences?
What I did for grammar so far was using the "Dictionary of Basic Japanese grammar", put example sentences on the question side with blankets, then tried to fill in what was missing while recalling the rule. It worked, but wasn't very effective. At least I don't feel that I learned that much and I still struggle with a lot of grammar structures.
Well, I don't only wanna be able to recognize grammar, I also want to be able to reproduce it. Now I hear you say: Production comes later naturally after seeing structures often enough.
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#18
I currently have 3 active decks.

RtK
Question: English keyword and Japanese
Answer: Kanji
I've changed or added to the English keywords in some cases, when I felt that Heisig's keyword was strange/misleading.

Vocab (just words/phrases, not sentences)
This is both recognition and recall in most cases. For words with kanji I use hiragana keywords to keep synonyms distinct. I haven't yet figured out what to do about hiragana-only words so those are recognition-only for now. Most of the words come from 2001KO (reference pages), some from blogs, articles, or books.

Verbs
I started this deck last week. Basically, I got tired of being so slow when making the potential, passive, and causative forms. I had no trouble reading them but generating them at conversational speed was a problem, so now I'm just going to drill the forms with 100+ common verbs until I can do it without thinking.
Question: verb (with kanji) in dictionary form plus the name of the tense it should be changed to.
Answer: conjugated verb, definition

I also have a little sentence deck but haven't been using it because so far it seems like more trouble than it's worth. It's possible that I'm misunderstanding the concept and doing it wrong.

(MARCH EDIT) Changing study methods as I go along...

In early February I started taking private lessons twice a week with a focus on improving my conversation, and it became clear that I understood a lot of vocab I couldn't use. Don't know which verbs go with which nouns and which particles they need, can't tell whether a verb is 自動師 or 他動詞. So I'm currently working through 初級から中級への日本語ドリル(語彙), which is a book filled with complete expressions using 24 of the most common verbs. After I do the exercises, the expressions go in my vocab deck so I don't forget them. It's starting to help.

I also threw out my sentence deck today because I've been struggling with it for 2 months and it's just boring, I hate it, and I wasn't seeing enough improvements to justify it. Now I'm going to try out a cloze deck, starting with sentences from 文法が弱いあなたへ. It's grammar drills for the person who's studied those points and understands them but sucks at using them.

(MAY EDIT) Getting ready to take JLPT N3 in July and using the 日本語総まとめ books (語彙 and 文法) to prepare. Most of my vocab is now coming from these books. I didn't finish KO2001, it just seemed like the 総まとめ vocab book had a stronger focus on words I can immediately use in daily activities (including hiragana words + collocations), and the lists are situation-based and give a hint of context. For the grammar book, I'm throwing the example and test sentences into my cloze deck. Mostly I already understand the grammar in reading, it's usage that I've had trouble with, and now I'm finding that it's starting to work its way into my speech.
Edited: 2010-05-21, 6:31 pm
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#19
chochajin Wrote:@Tobberoth&mezbup: Thanks so much for your answers.
See, the thing is that everybody here keeps telling me that I shouldn't bother learning grammar or grammar rules,
Not everyone says that. I encourage you to learn both grammar and grammar rules. That shouldn't be the complete foundation of your study, but it sounds like you have doubts about your progress without grammar, so why not give it a try? It's not going to hurt.

Quote:Now I hear you say: Production comes later naturally after seeing structures often enough.
For some people, maybe. Others, no. Didn't work for me.
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#20
I had a ridiculous number of of decks (had to scroll through the list in Anki to see them all), a lot of which I've since culled, and a few of which are sitting there gathering dust... or reviews, really. These include my UBJG deck - which I feel like I've sort of outgrown through lots of reading, and hence can't be bothered wasting time reviewing - and my RTK deck. I actually do production in my KO2001 deck, and am finding as I go along that attaching Japanese meanings to the characters cements the concepts better than the English keywords did.

Only one active deck atm - KO2001. This is the standard audio & 'picture'/sentence deck, which I'm using for production and recognition. I originally did recognition only, but I've found the new system really seems to have improved my retention of vocab and compounds, my writing, and my listening. It's incredibly dull and dry, though, so it can be a struggle to get through after a long day at work.

Thinking of taking a break from adding new cards to KO2001 and grabbing interesting sentences from Yomiuri Shinbun's Pera Pera Penguin series. There's some good stuff in there for everyday conversation. I'm also using the White Rabbit Press' Shadowing book - not SRSing though, I just play it on my iPod at work and the gym and follow along with the book when I'm able and need to. It's improved my listening and my thinking in Japanese quite a bit. Shadowing and KO2001 has made dramas a heap more comprehensible! If only I had more than a couple of hours a day to devote to study *sigh*

chochajin Wrote:See, the thing is that everybody here keeps telling me that I shouldn't bother learning grammar or grammar rules, but then again while my kanji and vocab ability is 1kyuu level, my grammar level might be beyond 3kyuu level. For 2kyuu grammar all I can usually do is GUESS: What would you recommend to do in my case when "studying grammar isn't a good idea"?
I think the original sentiment behind the "don't study grammar" thing had more to do with not trying to produce by grabbing a structure from a grammar guide/text book and then substituting the words you want into it. This way lies unnatural Japanese (or whatever language you're using). Somewhere along the lines the idea went oddly hardcore and people were being told to avoid grammar explanations, which is sort of insane at a beginner level. Horses for courses, of course, but it seems to make more sense to either systematically learn grammar patterns to 2kyuu level or thereabouts, or have a grammar dictionary/reference on hand to look up things you don't know while just reading native texts. If your vocab and kanji are at a high-ish level, a reference book and native texts might be just the ticket...

chochajin Wrote:What I did for grammar so far was using the "Dictionary of Basic Japanese grammar", put example sentences on the question side with blankets, then tried to fill in what was missing while recalling the rule. It worked, but wasn't very effective. At least I don't feel that I learned that much and I still struggle with a lot of grammar structures.
How long were you doing this for, out of curiosity? I only ask because I felt the same with UBJG for ages (ugh, so frustrating!), and then one day - after prolonged use of SRS and lots of exposure through native material - they just started to click. Not in an "I understand this structure" way, I already understood the mechanics of the grammar point, it was more that I just knew what it meant, the same way I would in English.

Sorry, I rambled a bit here. One day I'll learn how to be succinct Tongue
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#21
the thing about learning grammer is that it can only go a certain way. Grammer is good, but don't always focus on that. I'd say exposure to grammer in full context, i.e. sentences. Seeing it numerous times over and over again and understanding them and be able to read them fully. You will no doubt be able to recognize them in hearing and reading and inevitably understand them. As for writing, well that's another thing that will take time and practice and prefect.
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#22
I never thought this was going to happen, but for example, I never had really studied the grammar point that explains the cause of something (like: 時間がなかったんです。) and I have it on Genki, but I never had understood it really well, nor tried for more than an exercise. Then I arrived to that part on Tae Kim, put it on Anki and now I actually understand it.

So, srsing is great, but I still need to use simple sentences with simple vocabulary otherwise it'll just take me to full frustration.

My study methods are pretty much:

-Textbooks -> Genki (home)+ Minna no Nihongo (home, college)
-Tae Kim
-Sentences (including Tae Kim's)

I'm on vacations but my motivation is down, so I have not been studying much the past 2 weeks, but hopefully that'll change. I have almost 3 weeks to study and I want to reach Genki 2 in that time (I'm now reviewing Genki 1 and still haven't learned lesson 12).

I believe textbooks + SRS can be really effective. I however, have to focus on two languages and the one I have to focus more is Mandarin (because we have a lot of dictations), even though I think I focus more on japanese. So I don't have much time to focus on SRS and textbooks other than the stuff teachers make us study (though so far I know it all, and more complicated grammar will appear and I want to learnt it in the next few days.
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#23
In terms of learning how to output grammar I think it works really well if you have a really solid understanding (recognition) of the grammar through a lot of exposure to it but that doesn't guarantee you (or even lead to) natural output of it without any effort!

Learning to recognise most of the grammar you're going to need for daily life is very important. The next thing to do is learn to output it. I'm a fan of the layered approach when it comes to language learning. At least if you're aware of lots of grammar come speaking time if someone gives you a correction you'll probably be familiar with the grammar they may have used in place of what you used to make the sentence more natural.

IMO once you start trying to speak to people and Japanese people give you corrections this is when 使い方 is truly learned because you understand perfectly what you we're TRYING to say and now you understand perfectly how to express it. As opposed to understanding perfectly how to say something but it not perfectly expressing what you are actually trying to say.
Edited: 2010-02-05, 4:25 am
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#24
Following the AJATT input before output. It makes sense to understand a lot before you can output back out. But what I've heard from people doing AJATT method. Within a year they still thought they couldn't speak japanese well, but ironically they where having conversations in japanese that they thought they couldn't have. So that would mean you just need lots of practise speaking to get it right and obviously alot of input.
For me personally i've been doing ajatt but doing my own thing as well. Such as grammer+vocab+dictionary look ups both in english and japanese. Monlingual does work but only when you have a good understanding in japanese, or doing stuff you can definitely understand. Such as anime,manga terms such as くそ 何 僕 俺 貴様 様. But once you reached a good level of understanding, then you can easily go monolingual.  
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#25
I am very intrigued by the users at a high level who have gone to vocab decks.

My level: Passed JLPT 1. Can read novels, newspapers with the help of a dictionary. Grammar is almost never a problem, just vocab. Feel as if my speaking is good but I still stumble on certain verb forms like causative, etc. Also still haven't figured out how to correctly use んです。 Thats one thats been bugging me since I started studying Japanese.

My study method:

Read Japanese books and newspapers every day. Anki reviews every day. My anki deck is a basic sentence deck which I add 10 new sentences to every day from material i read, hear, or from smart.fm. Have about 4000 sentences in it.

After reading some of the above posts from people who seem to be at the same level as me I am wondering if I should switch over to a vocab deck. For those that moved to a vocab only deck..... how is your deck set up? Just the kanji word on the display side and definition on back in Japanese?! Maybe one example sentence on back?

Would love to get some advice as my studying hasn't changed in a while and I think I am ready for a change up.
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