Question Recommendation Thread: (Use this thread when you seek advice.)

NeoShweaty

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*OP EDIT*
This thread is open for all the members who seek Japanese language + translation related recommendations/advice from fellow members. :)
- mikkih


I just gained access to this invaluable resource because of njt's kindness so i figure i might as well use it. First, Let me explain my situation to clear things up. I am just about to graduate from high school (June 8th!!!) and i have been talking japanese at my private school since sophomore year. I have been at the head of my class for all the years and have won the japanese award for my school (not many people competing as japanese isnt that popular) and blah blah blah. I have very unhappy with the way my japanese has progressed. My class is impossibly slow (although we do go faster than other classes) and i cant learn as much as i am dying to. This summer i was planning to go back to japan but couldnt get the funds, planned to take classes (at the New York Japam Society) but couldnt afford it, so i am stuck this summer without any way to learn more japanese before college (i plan to major in east asian studies with my emphasis in japanese studies and language...maybe ill take some chinese for the future).

My level of comprehension of the language in terms of manga is that i can read shonen jump, for example, and get most of the story but that isnt good enough. While i was in japan (for a month) i had to communicate with my family almost exclusively in japanese unless they asked questions about english, so my speaking japanese aint that bad, same with my writing. I could ask my japanese teacher if i could keep my japanese textbook because we didnt even crack half of the second book, but i am afraid i will have no incentive to study, what with my job and it being summer vacation.

Now, what would the translators of this forum recommend i do?
 
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njt

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

hmmm well I'd recommend anything you have an interest in. Just reading and reading and reading will help lots. If you've already checked out all the jump stuff, then check out other series like air gear, or even child comics like Doraemon... or gag manga like ganso urayasu tekkin kazoku (I believe you can find it on the raw bot at lurk) then if you want to translate, choose something you like, if it's already translated check your translation to the translated material and see how close you were... ;).
 

NeoShweaty

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

I have so much raw manga that i have never really read from beginning to end because i am buying them for collectors sake mostly. I think ill get around to aquianting myself with the dictionary and reading it because i have a ton of manga that has been Editing. That is all well and good but i want to learn more verb tenses and vocab and kanji, so i guess i have to force my self to sit down and learn it on my own for a bit...
 

Gold Knight

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

Trying to play video games in Japanese have helped some learn more, from what I gather.

Asking questions in all the Translators' Ask Me threads here might not be a bad idea either.
 

NeoShweaty

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

i play japanese video games all the time but it hasnt really helped. I was playing the hulk ultimate destruction earlier so maybe i am not in the right state of mind...
 

zindryr

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

Eh, what I find has helped me personally is just to take an active interest in the various factors of Japanese pop culture, and do something with your Japanese every day. Doesn't matter what just as long as it is something. Read manga, watch anime, check out a movie, glance over the newspapers (online or off), anything. And when you do it, make sure there's no kind of translation lying around, subtitles on the screen, or anything of the sort. Subtitles are more distracting to your hearing than you'd imagine, (at least I noticed my hearing getting much better when I stopped watching subtitled stuff).

That's pretty much what I've got to suggest. Hope it was helpful.
 

NeoShweaty

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

i have manga that i have bought that i need to read. I found dragon ball pretty easy to read. Ill download more raw anime then. That is a good idea but i do listen when i watched subbed anime just to check the subtitles, sometimes they are way off and i laugh at that. Thanks for the suggestions but keep um coming
 

Nihongaeri

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

Language acquisition... Hmm... I think there's to very general areas that one can concentrate, those being linguistic comprehension and communicative competency.

For comprehension the best thing to do, IMO, is consume media. Manga, novels, TV, movies, news, websites. Preferably a variety of things, and the more the better. Also, consumption of media should be as active on your part as possible. Think about what's being said and make an honest effort to understand it.

For competency the best things to do is, without doubt, use the language. It certainly isn't an easy task, especially if your language skills happen to be sub-par, but if you want to increase your communicative competency, then actual use of the language is the only effective method I'm aware of.


There are of course more pragmatic concerns, though. If you don't have a genuine interest of some kind in your studies, then you are, in all likelihood, doomed to failure. Finding something that involves your target language that also keeps your interest is of primary concern.
 

NeoShweaty

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

i am very interested in learning. I mean i do plan on majoring in the study of japan and its language. I guess the concensus is to read read and read. I cant really use the language tho because i dont have any opportunites out side of class which just ended
 

zindryr

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

Nonsense!  While you may not be able to actively "speak", (edit: blah, realized this could be taken the wrong way and has nothing to do with your actual abilities in Japanese), the language there is at least a lesser form available for communication.  Japanese blogging and the like.  Simply go and find yourself a Japanese blogging site.  Start writing posts and stuff in Japanese, go about and read other people's posts, comment, make friends, chat.

Then there's also the possibility of running into Japanese gamers who may or may not use voice chat to talk to each other.

There's always oppurtunity, you've just gotta work a bit to find a group.  Finding the group is the hard part though.
 

NeoShweaty

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

you guys have some good ideas. I hadnt thought of some of these things. Thanks everyone
 

njt

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

zindryr said:
Japanese blogging and the like. Simply go and find yourself a Japanese blogging site. Start writing posts and stuff in Japanese, go about and read other people's posts, comment, make friends, chat.
http://mixi.jp/ is the place to go for that stuff :p.
 

NeoShweaty

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

alright, for now. I am gonna make an effort to read the 57 volumes of manga that i have... quite a daunting task. Im gonna see about translating some of them and checking my translations, so stay posted. Ill have to see about posting anywhere first i have a question. I have the japanese ime and have the button on the bottom right of my screen but are there any hotkeys are changing from english to japanese and from hiragana to katakana? it is kind of annoying to have to click mid-sentence to have to write something in katakana
 

zindryr

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

Alt + Shift switches between English and Japanese, Alt+~ switches between the Roman alphabet and hiragana input. If you use the hiragana input you can control from there what characters you use for the sounds, e.g. kanji/katakana/hiragana.
 

NeoShweaty

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

どうも。 便利ね。 わあ、すごいね。This is also much more fun
 

njt

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

May I also recommend the program Kanji gold (google search) it has many things you can use to teach yourself kanji. It's quite neat :).

Have fun reading, and before you consult a dictionary, try to think what the meaning is based on context, the words before and after generally help you get what it's trying to say (though you probably already know this) it's just if you find yourself looking up word after word then reading won't be fun... and you might get annoyed and stop. and we wouldn't want that.

Never the less when you want some more help never hessitate to let us know :ossu
 

NeoShweaty

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

well, i started reading some dragon ball and bleach but the text was way to small for me at like 3 in the morning. The only problem i find is they use vocab that i have never heard of. I can understand most of the time but still im trying to get the hang of it
 

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

I think it'd be good to not always read for 100% comprehension.
Give yourself the freedom to take unknown words in context without looking them up. You'll understand more than you would think, and your brain will do all the mental leaps without you having to worry about it :p
Other times you might want to go over every little nuance with a fine tooth comb.
However, don't go to overboard looking up every word, because trust me, you will get very sick of it.
Japanese news is good to listen to, again not for comprehension but just for letting the language flow over you..
it's all about osmosis!! :smile-big
 

NeoShweaty

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

i do get japanese news on my tv. I hadnt thought of seeing it because it is far too complecated, but i guess it is more about absorption with that stuff
 

njt

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Re: what would you guys recommend?

yeah and the funny thing is, when you listen to stuff like that (Back when i was in my first year, I'd listen to japanese radio everyday (well it was a tape recorded when my friend went there)) you tend to remember what you were doing when certain songs start to play. Like when a popular song by the band 19 plays I remember playing megaman for the PS :p.

Things like that are pretty neat... but yeah the more i listened to the radio the more it seemed to "slow down" so the more you try to listen to it, the more you'll become used to it :D.
 
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