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Japanese Working Memory Issues?

KijntheRelar

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So this is a problem I've had alot. While I can read things in Japanese, I struggle with my short term memory when trying to keep all the components of the sentence straight. Perhaps this could be because I just need to read more but even if I know every single word in the sentence and grammar component, it just gets hard to keep all the information straight and gets jumbled around in my head. I sort of half-understand the sentence.

I'm thinking some of this may stem from a bad habit of translating or perhaps I'm reading things without really interpreting each piece of information. Should I try to think more deeply and read really slowly? Interpreting information as I hear it or read it is very hard for me as I tend to wanna get a bunch of it then try to translate it chunks at a time. - Bad habits :(

I'm not sure what I can do to fix this, does anyone have similar experiences that could give me some help with this? This is probably a big reason I still suck at really jiving with the language despite having reasonable proficiency and experience,
 

OoTmaster

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Don't translate or interpret in your head. You need to think in Japanese when reading/listening to Japanese. It can be extremely difficult if you don't have exposure to written/spoken Japanese often. That's the best advice I can offer you. When I was in Japan I didn't sit and try to figure out what people were saying as they said it, I simply listened and I either understood or I didn't. If I didn't understand I would ask for clarification. That's it.
 

Majestic

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I think it is a common problem. It gradually goes away with a lot of practice. I've been at it for 30 years. It still throws me at times.
 

KijntheRelar

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So I read this Making Sense of Japanese Word Order - Think Outside-In - 80/20 Japanese today and I think it's helping me get some of my issues. My biggest problem is thinking in an english sentence order even though the words themselves are not translated. It's like I'm thinking in english but with japanese words basically. I think it'll be a matter of working from simple to complex and trying to consciously think about the sentence in the progression it's given.

I should really work through Genki again or something.
 

AmerikaJin5

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...even if I know every single word in the sentence and grammar component ... I sort of half-understand the sentence.
...This is probably a big reason I still suck at really jiving with the language despite having reasonable proficiency and experience, [sic]
What do you mean by "reasonable proficiency and experience"? Knowing all the vocabulary and individual grammar points in a given sentence?
Perhaps you need more practice at integrating grammar and vocabulary. Words and conjugations etc. are not isolated objects; language is a flow of connected expressions and ideas.
Unfortunately I can't really recommend any resources for that, as my experience with improving reading/listening comprehension has mainly been through conversation with Japanese friends/colleagues.
 

Mike Cash

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This is probably a big reason I still suck at really jiving with the language despite having reasonable proficiency and experience,

These are mutually contradictory assertions.
 

KijntheRelar

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These are mutually contradictory assertions.

Fair enough, but I think what I mean is I have reasonable knowledge and experience but lack of fluency or proficiency. Anyway, I found the absolute best thing for me seems to be A) Slowing the crap down with reading and speaking as to not use English. and B) To get a as much exposure as possible.

Thinking in Japanese is something I do not think until lately I've really understood. Thinking in japanese means no thinking in english. That sounds obvious but it really isn't because when you truly think in Japanese with no english you realize how limited your thinking becomes, like you're a little kid trying to express ideas. You suck and cannot find the right words and this is a GOOD thing I think because it means you are now in full Japanese mode which can be built upon.
 

OoTmaster

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Thinking in Japanese is something I do not think until lately I've really understood. Thinking in japanese means no thinking in english. That sounds obvious but it really isn't because when you truly think in Japanese with no english you realize how limited your thinking becomes, like you're a little kid trying to express ideas. You suck and cannot find the right words and this is a GOOD thing I think because it means you are now in full Japanese mode which can be built upon.

Yes this! It's very difficult at first and you're not fully expressing yourself in your thoughts but you must force as much of the thinking as possible to be Japanese. If you get stuck in a thought don't revert to English for the thinking try to think of another way to think it in Japanese. If you want to think "the watermelon is green" but forget the Japanese word for watermelon think instead "the long fruit is green". Don't give up on the thought just think of other words to describe the one you forget.
 

KijntheRelar

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Can you be a little more 具体的, please?
I've studied since I was 12 and have had a ton of listening exposure albeit subtitled anime and can read a lot of material even though I do not understand a lot of it.

Basically I have a lot of experience and exposure but I have made a mountain of bad habits and learned a lot of the wrong things.

Who else has done this? I seem to be the only one who has failed learning as a child.
 

OoTmaster

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Proficient:
1. well-advanced or competent in any art, science, or subject; skilled:

If you're struggling with it you're not proficient.

Experience:
4. knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed, encountered, or undergone:

Pretty sure experience in the sense you are trying to mean would need to be validated as the genuine article of experience. Because true experience in the sense you are talking about leads to proficiency.
 

Mike Cash

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I've studied since I was 12 and have had a ton of listening exposure albeit subtitled anime and can read a lot of material even though I do not understand a lot of it.

I wouldn't call that particularly useful exposure or indicative of being "reasonably proficient". Nor is it quite accurate to say you can read a lot of material if you don't actually understand a lor of it. (When I started learning Japanese my goal was "reasonable proficiency in ten years. I was earning my living in a 100% Japanese only environment in six. I considered that "reasonably proficient". If you can't function in Japanese and can't understand what you read, by definition you are not proficient).

As I mentioned in your other thread, the problem with what you're doing is that you have no corrective feedback loop. This is an essential element of gaining actual proficiency with a new language. You also lack any element of time pressure, which is what has allowed your nasty translating habit to ossify.

Have you ever tried the JLPT? Even a practice test?
 

musicisgood

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So I read this Making Sense of Japanese Word Order - Think Outside-In - 80/20 Japanese today and I think it's helping me get some of my issues. My biggest problem is thinking in an english sentence order even though the words themselves are not translated. It's like I'm thinking in english but with japanese words basically. I think it'll be a matter of working from simple to complex and trying to consciously think about the sentence in the progression it's given.

I should really work through Genki again or something.

Thanks for the link. Some good stuff on it.
 

KijntheRelar

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I wouldn't call that particularly useful exposure or indicative of being "reasonably proficient". Nor is it quite accurate to say you can read a lot of material if you don't actually understand a lor of it. (When I started learning Japanese my goal was "reasonable proficiency in ten years. I was earning my living in a 100% Japanese only environment in six. I considered that "reasonably proficient". If you can't function in Japanese and can't understand what you read, by definition you are not proficient).

As I mentioned in your other thread, the problem with what you're doing is that you have no corrective feedback loop. This is an essential element of gaining actual proficiency with a new language. You also lack any element of time pressure, which is what has allowed your nasty translating habit to ossify.

Have you ever tried the JLPT? Even a practice test?

No, I would actually like to aim for the N2 or N1 and perhaps that could be a real goal I could work towards. I'm learning everyday and am figuring out how to think purely in Japanese more and more each day.

Quite honestly, I think given my current standing, I could reach reasonably proficient/fluent in one year because I feel like I'm sorta close. I should have said I can read and comprehend alot of material, and I can use the web in Japanese EXCEPT for looking up specialty subjects like drawing techniques or tutorials which I have issues understanding.

When you say feedback, would writing and getting corrections on my Japanese through something like Lang8 work? Because right now, going to Japan or going to a Japanese community is not possible at all. I suppose if I got a Skype buddy or something that would help tremendously because I would be working on speaking with feedback.

Not really, I would actually like to aim for the N2 or N1 and perhaps that could be a real goal I could work towards. I'm learning everyday and am figuring out how to think purely in Japanese more and more each day.

I tried some practice questions for N3 and could get 60 percent of them correct pretty easily but there is just alot of vocabulary I wasn't familiar with.

Quite honestly, I think given my current standing, I could reach reasonably proficient/fluent in one year because I feel like I'm sorta close. I should have said I can read and comprehend alot of material, and I can use the web in Japanese EXCEPT for looking up specialty subjects like drawing techniques or tutorials which I have issues understanding.

When you say feedback, would writing and getting corrections on my Japanese through something like Lang8 work? Because right now, going to Japan or going to a Japanese community is not possible at all. I suppose if I got a Skype buddy or something that would help tremendously because I would be working on speaking with feedback.
 
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Toritoribe

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When you say feedback, would writing and getting corrections on my Japanese through something like Lang8 work? Because right now, going to Japan or going to a Japanese community is not possible at all.
As I already explained in my previous post in your another thread, you can check your Japanese listening comprehension or ability of Japanese composition here, whether it's really close to proficient/fluent or not, before moving to speaking Japanese, which is usually harder than reading, listening or writing. (No offense, but so far we saw so many people who thought they understood the meaning of sentences correctly, but actually their interpretation was wrong in this forum.)
 

KijntheRelar

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As I already explained in my previous post in your another thread, you can check your Japanese listening comprehension or ability of Japanese composition here, whether it's really close to proficient/fluent or not, before moving to speaking Japanese, which is usually harder than reading, listening or writing. (No offense, but so far we saw so many people who thought they understood the meaning of sentences correctly, but actually their interpretation was wrong in this forum.)

Ah ok, I'll check it out. Good because I have grown tired of Lang-8 with it's vague opinionated corrections that are not helpful.
 
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