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IsaacDavid

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Japanese is my favorite language.but i think that in my own i will not understand it thoroughly and completely unless that i make a course.what do you think?
 

nice gaijin

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To teach is to learn twice, as they say. I think it's important to be up front with your own abilities and not present yourself as an expert if you're just a language enthusiast. Do small, bite-sized lessons, share them and try to get feedback from fluent and near-fluent speakers, to make sure you aren't making incorrect assertions. It's also good to get feedback from new learners; the goal for me is to take something that's seemingly complex, and explain it in a way that a beginner will learn at least one new thing. My tendency is to over-explain, because all the information is connected in my brain and I feel like I have to explain it all for people to get the whole picture, but that's actually a bad teaching method because people can only handle so much new information before the law of diminishing returns sets in.

I've often thought of making Japanese lessons, and in the past I actually have made a few worksheets to explain grammar points... but I'm sure I'm still tumbling down the leeward slope of "mount stupid" on the Dunning-Kruger chart, as I'm constantly discovering new things I didn't know in Japanese.

dunning-kruger-effect.png
 

mdchachi

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Japanese is my favorite language.but i think that in my own i will not understand it thoroughly and completely unless that i make a course.what do you think?
Do you maybe mean to take (go to) a course? If so I think it's a good idea. Everybody learns differently but it's good to have the structure that a proper course and teacher provides.
 

IsaacDavid

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Do you maybe mean to take (go to) a course? If so I think it's a good idea. Everybody learns differently but it's good to have the structure that a proper course and teacher provides.
Yes i mean to take a course.i'm not a english native speaker.
 

IsaacDavid

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To teach is to learn twice, as they say. I think it's important to be up front with your own abilities and not present yourself as an expert if you're just a language enthusiast. Do small, bite-sized lessons, share them and try to get feedback from fluent and near-fluent speakers, to make sure you aren't making incorrect assertions. It's also good to get feedback from new learners; the goal for me is to take something that's seemingly complex, and explain it in a way that a beginner will learn at least one new thing. My tendency is to over-explain, because all the information is connected in my brain and I feel like I have to explain it all for people to get the whole picture, but that's actually a bad teaching method because people can only handle so much new information before the law of diminishing returns sets in.

I've often thought of making Japanese lessons, and in the past I actually have made a few worksheets to explain grammar points... but I'm sure I'm still tumbling down the leeward slope of "mount stupid" on the Dunning-Kruger chart, as I'm constantly discovering new things I didn't know in Japanese.

dunning-kruger-effect.png
Thanks for your advice.
 

salyavin

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People often say Japanese is one of the hardest I am not so sure at least as far as spoken goes it is rather regular and in many ways easier than English in my opinion. The written part dealing with on and kun readings of kanji can be more difficult than say just hangul. I guess one problem for the English speaker is the grammer is flipped around. Japanese is SOV and English is SVO.
 

IsaacDavid

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In my experience investigating languages i can say certainly that japanese is the most difficult.
 

mdchachi

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In my experience investigating languages i can say certainly that japanese is the most difficult.
Japanese is definitely easier than English grammatically. It's the writing system that makes it difficult.
 

IsaacDavid

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I learned english with only a dictionary and i understand any book in english.i wouldn't say the same about japanese.japanese grammar is indeed more complex.
 

mdchachi

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I learned english with only a dictionary and i understand any book in english.i wouldn't say the same about japanese.japanese grammar is indeed more complex.
If you wrote the above without any translation aids after learning English only with a dictionary that's very impressive indeed.

Japanese books are written using a non-latin character set. That's nothing to do with grammar. However I agree it may be harder to get started. Without some very fundamental knowledge about the language you can't use a Japanese dictionary. For example for English you can look up the words "ate" and "eat." And for words like "talked" and "talking" you can probably figure out the relevant word in the dictionary is "talk." Japanese is similar but you need to know enough to figure out that "tabemasu" "tabemashita" "tabeta" tabekunakatta" etc. all lead back to "taberu" (eat) in the dictionary. But once you know a verb such as see you can very easily determine how to say "see" "saw" "seeing" etc even if you have never seen the word before. But in English there's no way to know that the past tense of "see " is "saw" without memorizing it.

Anyway we say it's easier because the basic grammar rules for Japanese don't have many exceptions like English especially for things like for verb tenses as above.
 

bentenmusume

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Apologies in advance if this is a bit soapbox-y and strays from the original topic, but since the conversation has gone in that direction...

It's always struck me as rather pointless to talk about the "difficulty" of languages in a vaccuum. How "difficult" a language depends on how similar or different a language is to the learner's native language in all the various possible ways that could manifest itself.

Chinese and Japanese both use kanji, which could give a native Chinese speaker learning Japanese a certain advantage, but they're also completely different grammatically (whereas Korean, for example, is much closer to Japanese in that regard, to the degree that it is often easier for native Korean speakers to develop natural and fluent Japanese speech).

English and Japanese are both notoriously difficult for speakers of the other language because they share almost nothing in common in terms of grammar, sentence structure, the writing system, vocabulary (outside of some loanwords, but even those are often misleading)...anything, really.

And as an aside, I tend to be a bit skeptical when people (sorry, mdchachi!) talk about Japanese grammar being "easy" because it doesn't have as many irregular verbs, etc. as English, or describe the writing system as the single most difficult part of the language.

I see many second-langauge speakers of Japanese (including myself no doubt to some extent, despite my continued best efforts) who have been learning the language for years and achieved a degree of fluency/proficiency, yet still are not immune to occasional (or more than occasional) errors with particles and awkward phrasing that no native speaker would ever make. Expressing oneself naturally in Japanese and truly understanding in full the nuances of Japanese sentences/utterances is inherently a "difficult" skill for native English speakers to acquire for reasons that have nothing to do with kanji (which, though imposing at first, at the end of the day are just something that needs to be memorized and internalized).

(edited a bit for clarity)
 
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mdchachi

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What you're talking about is achieving native fluency. I'm constantly reminded when I read @Toritoribe 's various answers to people's questions how little I know and that I'm nowhere close to native. Similarly I feel the same way about non-native English speakers when I read @hirashin 's questions about English. I still feel that as a second language learner -- at a basic level not considering keigo and all that -- Japanese is "easier" until the written language comes into the picture. Of course this is from the perspective of an English speaker who only knows two languages so I'm far from an expert on the subject.
 

bentenmusume

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Oh, don't get me wrong—I understand where you're coming from, and when you put it that way, I'd find myself hard-pressed to completely disagree with you. (Though I'd argue that what I'm saying holds true even for achieving "advanced proficiency" without going all the way to "native fluency", as the latter is essentially an impossibly high bar to clear for an adult second-language learner.)

To reframe it, I suppose the point I was trying to make is that the "difficulty" of kanji, keigo and the like are more superficially evident, while the difficulty of the subtle nuances of particles, relative clauses, subtle phrasing distinctions and whatnot tends a bit more under-the-surface and deceptive. I've found that it's often easy for learners to disproportionately on the former and kind of take the latter for granted, which is I guess why I have a tendency to try to argue the other position.

As an aside, and just personally speaking, for a long time I found keigo much easier than speaking informally, simply because the former has clear rules and set phrasings that can be followed, while the latter requires a lot of subjective "feel" that can only come from exposure. I started learning Japanese in an academic setting and it wasn't until I graduated and came to Japan that I was interacting with natives in casual situations on a regular basis (I was also an antisocial loser back then ;)), so reading/writing and keigo came much easier to me than natural friendly conversation (at least for the first few years).

So even for native speakers of English who only know the two languages, I suspect experiences can vary widely depending on one's learning environment, personality, and so on and so forth.
 
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mdchachi

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I certainly agree with your points but I had to defend mine just a little. :) Considering how little I know it's amazing that I am operating in Japanese in my daily life both at work and at home as much as I do. Thank God for all the electronic crutches we have available to us these days!
 

salyavin

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We could also get into what does it mean to say one can speak a language. I took 7 languages but I certainly do not speak them. At one point in my life I could kind of get by in 3 now I am down to two with Japanese used at home to attempt to raise my kids to be billingual (in addition to going to Japanese school). My first hanzi were Chinese (Mandarin) in elemetary school but I remember so little. Speaking is not native, I guess basic daily conversation? What is fluent? flows well is what I figure even if we have an accent and make mistakes. I certainly disagree with Issac and figure he must be quite young to make such a statement definitively claiming Japanese is the most difficult. yes the grammer is different from English and I will never get to native level but I find it more easier than some. I got to see more of some weirdness from English by way of my Japanese wife he speaks rather limited English, I think English is a bit of a mess due to its history. On Chinese sure the grammar may be a bit easier for an English speaker but the tones are not nor the hanzi.
 

IsaacDavid

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We could also get into what does it mean to say one can speak a language. I took 7 languages but I certainly do not speak them. At one point in my life I could kind of get by in 3 now I am down to two with Japanese used at home to attempt to raise my kids to be billingual (in addition to going to Japanese school). My first hanzi were Chinese (Mandarin) in elemetary school but I remember so little. Speaking is not native, I guess basic daily conversation? What is fluent? flows well is what I figure even if we have an accent and make mistakes. I certainly disagree with Issac and figure he must be quite young to make such a statement definitively claiming Japanese is the most difficult. yes the grammer is different from English and I will never get to native level but I find it more easier than some. I got to see more of some weirdness from English by way of my Japanese wife he speaks rather limited English, I think English is a bit of a mess due to its history. On Chinese sure the grammar may be a bit easier for an English speaker but the tones are not nor the hanzi.
I have many languages grammar books and dictionnaries and books in different languages and i've discovered that i can read more easily arabic,chinese,korean..that japanese.when i read a japanese grammar book(dictionary of basic japanese) i was amazed as wrote bentenmusume above by the the difficulty of the subtle nuances of particles, relative clauses, subtle phrasing distinctions...etc.anyone that have read that book(and more advanced ones) know about what i'm speaking.
 
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bentenmusume

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Yes, those Dictionaries of Basic/Intermediate/Advanced Japanese Grammar (the ones by Makino and Tsutsui, yes?) were among my favorite resources back when I was learning the language in university, and later teaching/tutoring it in grad school. I recommend them to all learners.

But the good news is that if you already have an appreciation for these subtle distinctions, you have a much better chance at mastering/internalizing them (with enough practice and exposure, of course), as compared to another language learner who doesn't notice/care about them at all.

In any event, if you're motivated to learn the language and have good resources at your side, I don't imagine there's anything stopping you from improving your skills. I hope you'll continue to post here with your questions and thoughts on the language as you progress through your studies.
 

bentenmusume

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mdchachi said:
Thank God for all the electronic crutches we have available to us these days!
Yeah, you're preaching to the choir here. I shudder every time I have to look at my phone to remember how to write a kanji that I would have known cold back in my college or grad school days. Being able to use IME 変換 helps me come off as far more erudite than the utter fool I'd appear to be if I was writing out all my professional correspondence by hand. ;)
 

IsaacDavid

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Yes, those Dictionaries of Basic/Intermediate/Advanced Japanese Grammar (the ones by Makino and Tsutsui, yes?) were among my favorite resources back when I was learning the language in university, and later teaching/tutoring it in grad school. I recommend them to all learners.

But the good news is that if you already have an appreciation for these subtle distinctions, you have a much better chance at mastering/internalizing them (with enough practice and exposure, of course), as compared to another language learner who doesn't notice/care about them at all.

In any event, if you're motivated to learn the language and have good resources at your side, I don't imagine there's anything stopping you from improving your skills. I hope you'll continue to post here with your questions and thoughts on the language as you progress through your studies.
I've decided to take a course.
 

salyavin

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I have another question for you, do you want to take Japanese only because it is hard or do you want to do something with it? Either way is OK. As I mentioned I took courses in many languages (rather than glancing at a couple books and making definitive proclamations about the languages) but many of them I did not have much I wanted to do with them other than some curiosity about the language so they basically went away. If you want to retain a language you need to have something you want to do with it, not sure that is your goal though.
 

IsaacDavid

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I have another question for you, do you want to take Japanese only because it is hard or do you want to do something with it? Either way is OK. As I mentioned I took courses in many languages (rather than glancing at a couple books and making definitive proclamations about the languages) but many of them I did not have much I wanted to do with them other than some curiosity about the language so they basically went away. If you want to retain a language you need to have something you want to do with it, not sure that is your goal though.
My contact with japanese was with a pocket japanese dictionary.i was attracted inmediately.and i looked for more about japanese.in the course of my search as i investigated more about the structure of japanese it became more beatiful and i fall in love with the language.i have to say that its difficulty also amazed me and attracted me.
 

IsaacDavid

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We could also get into what does it mean to say one can speak a language. I took 7 languages but I certainly do not speak them. At one point in my life I could kind of get by in 3 now I am down to two with Japanese used at home to attempt to raise my kids to be billingual (in addition to going to Japanese school). My first hanzi were Chinese (Mandarin) in elemetary school but I remember so little. Speaking is not native, I guess basic daily conversation? What is fluent? flows well is what I figure even if we have an accent and make mistakes. I certainly disagree with Issac and figure he must be quite young to make such a statement definitively claiming Japanese is the most difficult. yes the grammer is different from English and I will never get to native level but I find it more easier than some. I got to see more of some weirdness from English by way of my Japanese wife he speaks rather limited English, I think English is a bit of a mess due to its history. On Chinese sure the grammar may be a bit easier for an English speaker but the tones are not nor the hanzi.
How you learned your current japanese? What's your level of japanese?
 
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