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A new book to learn Japanese kanji through real etymologies

#26
I'll say anyone that dismisses ADOBJG because of the romaji (I'm guilty of it early on myself), is making a big mistake. Amazing book and probably the most important set of courses in my Memrise course series.
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#27
I get the impression that as often as not what romaji indicates is just that the book was published earlier, before the more recent trend to prioritise kana use took off.
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#28
(2017-03-26, 5:07 am)Nukemarine Wrote: I'll say anyone that dismisses ADOBJG because of the romaji (I'm guilty of it early on myself), is making a big mistake. Amazing book and probably the most important set of courses in my Memrise course series.

This is my only exception to the rule so far, but it does make the books confusing when it shouldn't be.  Often I can't tell if the author is using (n) to refer to "ん" or "noun", and other confusing things like that.  I wish there was an edited version that removed all the shorthand garbage.

(2017-03-26, 6:11 am)pm215 Wrote: I get the impression that as often as not what romaji indicates is just that the book was published earlier, before the more recent trend to prioritise kana use took off.

I haven't noticed this trend.  Lots of older books had kana...?
Edited: 2017-03-26, 6:37 am
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#29
(2017-03-26, 6:36 am)theadamie Wrote:
(2017-03-26, 5:07 am)Nukemarine Wrote: I'll say anyone that dismisses ADOBJG because of the romaji (I'm guilty of it early on myself), is making a big mistake. Amazing book and probably the most important set of courses in my Memrise course series.

This is my only exception to the rule so far, but it does make the books confusing when it shouldn't be.  Often I can't tell if the author is using (n) to refer to "ん" or "noun", and other confusing things like that.  I wish there was an edited version that removed all the shorthand garbage.

Hell, I'd buy a hiragana (and non-abbreviated terms) edition if they ever made one. I agree about the romaji making things difficult especially in the notes. I've sort have gotten used to the abbreviations but it gets me now and again.
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#30
I'm going to guess that the trend for demanding kana over romaji that we see amongst Japanese learners who already know kana is not reflected amongst beginners. I'm sure there are many many people who would be put off by a lack of romaji and polling the most dedicated learners, who already know much of what the book is trying to teach, about whether they need it seems a little misguided.
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#31
Kana is something you learn in a matter of weeks. The material in the book is stuff that you learn in a matter of months. No, it is definitely not at all a matter of missing the demographic of the book when people ask for kana. If you can't read the kana, you absolutely should not be studying kanji in isolation yet, period.
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#32
I passed the N5 in December 2016 (I was in the 83rd percentile which means I did better than 83% of the people who wrote the test) so obviously I know the kana very well and am qualified to speak on this topic and would like to say that I still use romaji when writing by hand simply because I can write romaji a lot faster than kana/kanji.

As I explained to my native Japanese tutor once, when I write romaji I can use what we call "cursive" i.e., my pen does not leave the paper while writing therefore I can write multiple times faster than when I write kana and kanji.

My tutor has never criticized me for using romaji in order to take notes during our sessions. After all, the Japanese government itself teaches romaji to Japanese school children. I use the kunrei-siki Romanization method. Not the Hepburn method.

At the same time I have no problem reading Japanese texts that don't use romaji at all (obviously, since I did really well on the N5).
Edited: 2017-03-26, 9:51 am
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#33
Following up on phil's post, I'll add that I think writing while you're still learning the earlier parts of the language itself is a valid place to use romaji. I just think there's no excuse to use romaji in reading, past very early introductory materials that you wouldn't use past the first week or two of study. It's fine if someone wants to use a resource like that, but I wouldn't be able to recommend such a resource to people unless they have a very specific plan (i.e. "I need to be able to get around on the streets next month")
Edited: 2017-03-26, 9:56 am
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#34
(2017-03-26, 9:41 am)wareya Wrote: Kana is something you learn in a matter of weeks. The material in the book is stuff that you learn in a matter of months.

Kana doesn't take long to learn in a purely binary sense, but achieving a level of fluency equivalent to your native script does take a long time. There's nothing wrong with wanting to separate practicing that from learning the kanji, which is a daunting enough task on it's own.

(2017-03-26, 9:41 am)wareya Wrote: If you can't read the kana, you absolutely should not be studying kanji in isolation yet, period.

Why? Neither is a prerequisite for the other.

(2017-03-26, 9:41 am)wareya Wrote: No, it is definitely not at all a matter of missing the demographic of the book when people ask for kana.

My point is that the people here discussing the book are mostly not the target demographic and so can not be used to judge. It's perfectly possible that kana is the way to go but asking people on this forum is not the way to find that out.
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#35
Asking the demographic isn't the way to find that out either. People won't necessarily want what's good for them. If you asked someone who's been poisoned by modern academia what they want to learn japanese, they would most likely tell you that they want a coursebook; a good one, but still a coursebook. Coursebooks aren't a very effective way to become advanced in a language. Isolating yourself from the language's writing system while you study its orthography is madness, even if you want it.
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#36
You're acting like using romaji will stunt their ability to learn kana. All it means is they'll have to take the time to practice it elsewhere. Even assuming that using kana is the most effective approach this is still just a matter of accessibility vs efficiency, which I view as a personal choice.
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#37
Yes, actually. If they use a book that uses kana, they will get better and better with the kana faster and faster. If they don't, they're isolating themselves from the kana and will learn the kana slower. That's true regardless of how much they're studying the kana outside the book.

"Accessibility" isn't a factor here. People study kanji to learn to read japanese. If you're going to learn to read japanese, you're going to learn the kana. Yes, it matters "when". If your kana is so bad that you struggle to read three-character kanji readings, I've got news for you, son: you've got japanese problems, but a kanji ain't one.
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#38
(2017-03-26, 11:30 am)wareya Wrote: Yes, actually. If they use a book that uses kana, they will get better and better with the kana faster and faster. If they don't, they're isolating themselves from the kana and will learn the kana slower. That's true regardless of how much they're studying the kana outside the book.

"Accessibility" isn't a factor here. People study kanji to learn to read japanese. If you're going to learn to read japanese, you're going to learn the kana. Yes, it matters "when". If your kana is so bad that you struggle to read three-character kanji readings, I've got news for you, son: you've got japanese problems, but a kanji ain't one.

My own experience:  the very first introductory textbook in Japanese I worked through was all-romaji.  Then later I learned the kana and kanji.  I still use romaji in my personal handwriting. (But when I type on my computer I used kana and kanji).  The fact that my very first textbook in Japanese was all-romaji in no way stunted my ability to learn kana and kanji.  The proof:  I passed the N5 in December 2016 in the top 16%.
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#39
Of course it doesn't stunt you to use a resource that doesn't use kana. All it does is put it off. But if you're studying kanji there's literally no reason to not be learning the kana at the same time if you don't know them, and past the very beginnings of a kanji book, if you're not good enough with the kana to be able to read readings yet, you shouldn't be spending that much time on kanji.
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#40
My brain tends to trick me into reading romaji as if it was my L1.
In Japanese "gi" is read like "guitar" while in Italian is read like "genius". If I'm a little distracted I tend to read words like "genki" as "jenki", while this doesn't happen with kana.

Another issue with romaji is that it doesn't enlight modifications in the same sound, so that if one learn a word like "ippen" in romaji, it could not see the relation with "henka".
While if one learns いっぺん and へんか in kana, it is more clear that there might be a relation between the two words.
The same with sounds like ふうかく and かっこう.

If this is objectively important or not I don't know, but I would prefer a kana version Tongue
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#41
(2017-03-26, 11:30 am)wareya Wrote: Yes, actually. If they use a book that uses kana, they will get better and better with the kana faster and faster. If they don't, they're isolating themselves from the kana and will learn the kana slower. That's true regardless of how much they're studying the kana outside the book.

"Accessibility" isn't a factor here. People study kanji to learn to read japanese. If you're going to learn to read japanese, you're going to learn the kana. Yes, it matters "when". If your kana is so bad that you struggle to read three-character kanji readings, I've got news for you, son: you've got japanese problems, but a kanji ain't one.

Just a few hours ago you were talking about how quickly kana can be learned:

(2017-03-26, 9:41 am)wareya Wrote: Kana is something you learn in a matter of weeks.

Now your worried that people won't be able to do it? The occasional kana syllable will be a negligible amount of practice for the dedicated learner but a significant barrier to beginners.
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#42
(2017-03-26, 1:30 am)theadamie Wrote:
(2017-03-24, 6:55 pm)yudantaiteki Wrote: In a situation like this, romaji vs. kana really makes no difference. It's just a few syllables for a reading.
I hate romaji.  Also you have to have noticed that most books that use romaji are there to make a quick buck off of people/tourists with a short passing interest.  If I see kana I know they are taking me as a student seriously.  Romaji means they believe I'm not going to stick with this and I haven't already put forth the slightest effort.

Surely you've noticed this trend?  You should be reading kana just to increase your reading speed anyways.

It's true that less serious materials use romaji, but "A therefore B" does not mean "B therefore A." There are a number of good resources (mostly older ones, but still very useful) that use romaji. The Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar is the most notable, but there are others.

In this case we're just talking about listing readings in romaji. This is not going to have any real effect on learners. We're not talking about the kind of thing you saw in early 19th-century materials where they had pages and pages of reading passages in romaji.

I'm skeptical about OP's book, but not because it uses romaji. I consider that irrelevant for this kind of work.
Edited: 2017-03-26, 3:42 pm
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#43
(2017-03-26, 1:33 pm)Splatted Wrote: Just a few hours ago you were talking about how quickly kana can be learned:
Now your worried that people won't be able to do it?

And now you're trolling.
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#44
Will the book be finished regardless of the kickstarter goal being reached or not?
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#45
(2017-03-26, 8:35 am)Splatted Wrote: I'm going to guess that the trend for demanding kana over romaji that we see amongst Japanese learners who already know kana is not reflected amongst beginners. I'm sure there are many many people who would be put off by a lack of romaji and polling the most dedicated learners, who already know much of what the book is trying to teach, about whether they need it seems a little misguided.

I learned kana as step #1 before anything except maybe "hello".  I assumed this was standard, and I still think it should be.  Jump in the deep end and learn to swim or stay out of the pool imo.

(2017-03-26, 8:12 am)Nukemarine Wrote:Hell, I'd buy a hiragana (and non-abbreviated terms) edition if they ever made one. I agree about the romaji making things difficult especially in the notes. I've sort have gotten used to the abbreviations but it gets me now and again.

Would you want to start a project?
Edited: 2017-04-06, 1:41 am
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