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どっちか/どちらか

dhmkhkk

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Hi guys,

so I've learnt so far that どっちか means "one of the many", "either one". e.g.
1. その2人の少年のどちらかがそれを知っている。
That's pretty straightforward: either he or he knows it.

Then there are more complicated examples (for me), like:
2. 彼は英語かフランス語かどちらか話せる - he can speak either one - English and French. So it kind of means "both", but I can see the logic.

And then there is this example which I don't get:
3. 喋るか食べるかどっちかにしないと.
I understand it means "eat or talk, not both at the same time", but grammatically it sound for me like "talk or eat, DON'T do either of them/don't do one of them". Shouldn't it be something like 喋るか食べるかどっちかにしなさい/しな[よ]? Or does it mean here "both"? Then it would probably make sense: どっちかにしない - don't do both.

Thanks!
 

Toritoribe

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2)
It means "either one - English or French". Thus, it's "either", not "both". "Both English and French" is 英語フランス語どちら話せる.

3)
しないと is a common omission of しないといけない "you should ~", so the meaning is almost the same as しなさい.

In conclusion, どっちか/どちらか means "either one" in all your examples, not "both".
"One of the many" is どれか, not どっちか/どちらか, by the way.
 

dhmkhkk

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Thank you very much!!
It means "either one - English or French". Thus, it's "either", not "both".
So, the sentence means "he speaks either French or English", so only one of them, not both? I took the examples from here Japanese Meaning of どちらか, どっちか, dochiraka, dotchika | Nihongo Master , and here they translated it as "both"?

しないと is a common omission of しないといけない "you should ~"
Aaaah I see that now, thank you. It's curious how Japanese verb forms sound so "negative" and the meaning can be positive. Kind of confusing :)
 

dhmkhkk

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Wow, nice thread haha. But that's a problem actually. I have now finished Genki I and II and I think the correct way for me would be to get more exposure to the language. So, the only way I have is to google new stuff I hear/read. And then I come across such misleading articles...

I cannot post every little question in this forum, otherwise it would be flooded. But I will never consult "nihongomaster" ever again :)
 

lanthas

 
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You can always move on to intermediate and advanced textbooks. Genki is not the end.
 

lanthas

 
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I switched to "An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese" after completing Genki and was quite pleased with it.
 

dhmkhkk

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@lanthas Thank you, I will look into it. Another question: you have mastered Japanese, so you could probably give me a good advice on how I should proceed. What I would like to do (of course) is jump right into the language (anime,drama). I also have a feeling my grammar is on a level where I understand pretty much everything (grammatically, of course). As for vocabulary, I will learn it from e.g. anime. Is it really necessary for me to get back to books? Do I still know too little grammar after Genki?
 

lanthas

 
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I haven't "mastered" Japanese and never will. Just the other day, I had to ask for help on this forum concerning a simple dialogue line from a game, despite me having passed the JLPT N1 and the line being completely obvious for native speakers. I, too, once thought my knowledge of Japanese grammar was pretty good - but it didn't take long to realize that this was only because I wasn't even aware of what I didn't know.

What I can say though, is that Genki is definitely not enough. The books have the word "elementary" on their cover for a reason. They only explain the absolute basics which aren't enough to understand even a simple anime series.

I'd recommend to first spend more time on textbooks (to build grammar knowledge) and reading (to build vocabulary). Looking up words while reading is much easier and much less frustrating than repeatedly rewinding a video, trying to catch what a character is saying. Then, when you start doing listening practice, you'll be able to quickly recognize spoken words that you've never heard before, but did read.
 

dhmkhkk

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Ok thank you, that‘s good to know. Then I guess I have to get back to the books.

I must say though, for me it‘s much easier and much more fun to rewind the video (and I have a file with Japanese subtitles open) and copy-paste the words I don‘t know directly to an electronic dictionary than looking up kanji through figuring out its radicals. So as you see, I don‘t have to guess what the character is saying, because I have the dialogues in Japanese in a text file. There is this great site called kitsunekko.net, where they upload anime subtitles in Japanese in .srt format. I find it to be a great learning material and I learn a lot of new words really fast. And it‘s so much fun too! :)
 

OoTmaster

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I personally use nhk easy news for reading. It's more helpful in my opinion to people like me, since it has furigana above kanji. Also you can copy/paste unknown words/kanji into something like jisho.org.
 

lanthas

 
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I must say though, for me it‘s much easier and much more fun to rewind the video (and I have a file with Japanese subtitles open) and copy-paste the words I don‘t know directly to an electronic dictionary than looking up kanji through figuring out its radicals.
By "reading", I of course meant reading on a computer or e-reader, not on paper - specifically because these save you the effort of looking up kanji.

So as you see, I don‘t have to guess what the character is saying, because I have the dialogues in Japanese in a text file. There is this great site called kitsunekko.net, where they upload anime subtitles in Japanese in .srt format.
A word of warning on that website: the subtitles there are created by amateurs and have varying levels of quality. Sometimes they're plain wrong, and trying to understand a transcript that doesn't make sense in the first place is a waste of time indeed.

If you found a good one though, all the better. Listening is definitely more fun than reading. Just make sure to keep studying grammar on the side, because this is more important than vocabulary for really understanding the text.
 
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dhmkhkk

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Just make sure to keep studying grammar on the side, because this is more important than vocabulary for really understanding the text.
I couldn‘t agree more... If I compare how much I struggled at the beginning and how much easier it is now after completing Genki... I annoyed pretty many people on this forum with grammar questions of really elementary level. Now I can regognize grammatical patterns and how the words are connected in a sentence, but I have to look up A LOT of words. But I stay positive, learning a language takes time :) Anyway, thanks, I will keep learning the grammar.
 
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