So I'm in Japan right now studying with the local kids. Don't be fooled. My japanese is HORRIBLE! When I first got here I was making steady improvements talking and reading and my listening has really improved a LOT just sitting in the classes but some shit went down back home, I spent two weeks without speaking and bam! All gone -_-. I can barely string a sentence together.
Now I feel a bit lost on how I should go about this coz I feel my study schedule isnt all that. My normal schedule is this:
I input new words from my textbooks into anki and looking up grammar rules but I find that my problem isnt with reading/writing but the words I do know I can't seem to recognize when people speak to me which is a little strange and really fustrating.
Also grammar. How can I cement grammar rules into my mind. I just put some rules in my anki but it feels a bit forced. I mean it's good for reading/writing but I have to think too long about the rules it's pointless for speaking. It just isn't natural.
So any advice would be really appreciated. Feel like I'm lacking heaps of motivation now that I had that break. Any advice would be appreciated
Last edited by FloconDeNeige (2012 June 06, 10:24 pm)
From: New Jersey USA Registered: 2011-09-05 Posts: 104
I'm assuming your textbook has no audio tapes. Find Japanese Audio or Videos with Japanese Subtitles (youtube videos, subbed dramas, movies, the news even) and listen to it while looking at the subtitles. Eventually, you will find a word you recognize in the Subtitles and hear how it should be pronounced.
For example, I was listening to a song and one of the words was Kasabuta (scab). I thought is was pronounced Kaa-Saa-Boo-Taa, but the guy said it Kaa-Sa-Bu-Ta. But now, I know what it should sound like, and how to say it.
Yeah I'm not actually taking any Japanese classes so I dot really feel like I have a structure to learn from. Im studying with the Japanese kidsso my texts are pretty academic and I think the words can sometimes be a bit useless for real speech lol
From: New York, NY Registered: 2009-10-02 Posts: 458 Website
It takes a lot of input and a lot of time.
When you're reading a book, you can go as slowly as you need to -- so you can get those words that take you a second to retrieve from your memory. When you're hearing spoken Japanese and it's coming at you at 250 words a minute, your brain has to deal with turning the continuous stream of sound you're hearing into words, and it's going to trip over any words that aren't 100% automatic.
If you can supplement your academic texts with anything that's closer to real extemporaneous speech, especially closed-captioned/subtitled TV, I think that will help. But read more in general, read more that's non-academic, and listen more. Anki can only help part of the way because it's only going to show you a limited number of contexts (if any), and to get a word or a grammar point to that place where you it 100% and can remember it any time you need to, you have to see it a lot of times in a lot of different contexts.
As far as we know (and the OP apparently noticed as well), people are not very well suited to learn to speak grammatically by cramming grammar rules and trying to use them to produce sentences on the fly. Actually, children learn grammar by being exposed to loads of speech (in their native tongue) and imitating/trying out/being corrected; second languages seem to be learned most efficiently by things like 'book flood projects' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_flood)
In theory, I think it would be a good start to first find some Japanese texts you like and spend time each day reading them aloud; that may give you a feeling for the flow of the language. A variant that may be even more effective may be to read the sentence silently first, then think about the meaning, what the writer is trying to express and why he is trying to express it, and only then read the sentence aloud; for the secret is not to regurgitate texts as if they are magic formulas, but to connect it to how you would use the sentence in your everyday life. If reading language is too stilted, you may try use subtitled TV dramas or anime instead
When that becomes easy, you may want to try translate some sentences to your native tongue, and the next day reconstruct the Japanese sentences from your notes, using grammar books or Japanse friends for the cases where you were wrong.
I don't think that getting your speaking skills to 'near Japanese' level will be easy even with this method, but this is the best I can think of on the basis of what I currently know about learning theory in general and foreign language learning in particular.