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Need tips for Learning Japanese (Tokyo) - 1 month studying already

OoTmaster

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Depends on the friend how frequently I find mistakes in their English.

I'm not suggesting he actively seek out people to speak to and have them correct his grammar. It just seemed you were suggesting as a friend you shouldn't correct the grammar of a friend learning your language. I disagree with that and was giving my personal experience. At his point of study I would most certainly suggest listening more than speaking. But I would also hope that native speakers would correct bad habits they hear from any learner so they don't develop those habits further.
 

Julie.chan

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No, no, I was only describing the world as I see it as a reason to not depend on friends correcting your mistakes. I apologize for any misunderstanding.
 

Buntaro

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Hey Jon, you said you are looking for some listening practice. Here are a few webpages that give good listening practice for beginning students. They include recordings and written transcripts.

サーティーワンアイスクリーム...(n5)

紅芋のかきごおり...(n5)Shaved ice

いぬとねこのえさ...(n5) Dog and cat foods

おおきな さかなの かぞく...(n5) Big fish family
 

healer

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As such, as hinted at above, I would suggest that imitation of native speakers is what you should use as your primary source of improving your Japanese, followed by learning via a textbook/class/etc.
One needs to find the right people around because we want to learn the type and style of language we want to learn. Some people use bad language because of their upbringing or personality. Some people use good language but can't explain how the language comes about because they just pick it up as it is their native language. I have heard some men picked up the Japanese language in the bars and ended up speaking like Japanese women because they never went to proper learning. So imitating is not enough and probably not the first priority when one is the beginner or even the intermediate learner.

I believe I have to learn enough from the textbooks, being able to speak and listen reasonably adequate to make conversation before I have the confidence to converse in Japanese. Unless you are learning from your parents, no one would talk slowly or explain to you everything you ask.
 
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Julie.chan

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One needs to find the right people around because we want to learn the type and style of language we want to learn. Some people use bad language because of their upbringing or personality. Some people use good language but can't explain how the language comes about because they just pick it up as it is their native language. I have heard some men picked up the Japanese language in the bars and ended up speaking like Japanese women because they never went to proper learning.
Sure, sure.

So imitating is not enough and probably not the first priority when one is the beginner or even the intermediate learner.
I don't think that follows.

Note that I suggested listening far, far more than speaking. In fact you probably want to keep your mouth shut for quite some time. So as long as you're not surrounding yourself with only women, I don't see why you should end up talking like a woman in that case.

I believe I have to learn enough from the textbooks, being able to speak and listen reasonably adequate to make conversation before I have the confidence to converse in Japanese. Unless you are learning from your parents, no one would talk slowly or explain to you everything you ask.
You were saying your Japanese could be a little weird if you imitate the wrong people, correct? Well, if you start off learning Japanese from a textbook without ever getting real-world listening practice, I propose you certainly would learn some very weird Japanese. Lots of things about the way Japanese is taught to foreigners are destined to produce odd quirks.

Most significantly, there's the fact that you're learning based on English. That alone is going to make your language less natural because you'll end up using English as an analog and saying things that make little sense as a result. But there are other little things as well, like the fact that textbooks lie to you about particle usage at the start, how you're usually started off with teineigo instead of short forms, and simply the fact that you're learning a ton of grammar rules.

As for parents, I don't recall my parents explaining to me how English works very much. No talking slowly, either, just simpler language. I think this is pretty typical of parents.

Incidentally, textbooks tend to teach relatively advanced Japanese long before simple Japanese (see e.g. teaching teineigo before short forms, and the incredible lack of onomatopoeic words taught), so a native speaker trying to simplify their speech for a non-native speaker who primarily learns that way might end up confusing the latter even more.
 

nahadef

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As someone who has been where you are, and am comfortably fluent, working in Japanese 50% of the time (fluency and accuracy are different, keep in mind, I have lots of room to improve accuracy):

-Set a proper, minor goal. Not “fluent in a year” but, N4 by December, N3 by next June. I think if you’re living in Japan, you’ll get a lot by exposure. With a text, focus on broadening vocabulary and grammar, and then use it, even looking like a goof trying to use his new words. Find a text at N5 or N4, dig into it, and build up your vocabulary. Ignore kanji for the first while. Words and meanings are a lot to process at first, wait till you have a base of words before adding onto that with kanji.
-Study regularly, not when you feel like it. Treat it like an exercise regiment. Three hours a week minimum to show satisfying growth. An hour a day to show real growth.
-Take the tests. They are not important in and of themselves, but early on, they are great benchmarks for your progress, and make the goals more real, and something that Japanese will really register as you making an effort. Not just learning izakaya Japanese, but learning daily Japanese.

Last, I don’t suggest paying a teacher/taking a class until your hit 中級 (when you can easily read that, you’ll have hit it). Living in Japan and doing the texts will get you there. Once you reach higher levels, the differences in the language get more ambiguous, and a trained teacher can be very beneficial.

Good luck!
 

healer

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Sure, sure.


I don't think that follows.

Note that I suggested listening far, far more than speaking. In fact you probably want to keep your mouth shut for quite some time. So as long as you're not surrounding yourself with only women, I don't see why you should end up talking like a woman in that case.
I agree with you that practising with Japanese native speakers is certainly an important thing to do when one has the privilege of having some good Japanese friends who are willing to do that regardless of one's level of competency

I don't have such privilege though. I learn Japanese language just because I like language and I hope to learn enough to make conversation so that one day someone like your friends helping with your Japanese language would not mind to do the same with me. I would try to get someone to practise with after I get to certain level that I think would not give others too much trouble.

When I learn a foreign language I tend to focus on reading and writing while I have no one around to converse with, listening to the audio after I have the adequate understanding of the grammar and vocabulary. I also try to think in the language I learn wherever I can even though I might make a lot of error. If possible I read all sort of books including manga and watch anime at my level. I don't depend on text books only. There are lots of web sites where one can learn Japanese language in casual and plain forms too.
 

Julie.chan

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when one has the privilege of having some good Japanese friends who are willing to do that regardless of one's level of competency
I didn't have good Japanese friends until a few weeks ago (which I connected with through MyLanguageExchange.com, by the way; cool site). Before then most of my listening practice came from a Japanese conversation group that meets once a month (or a little less).

Point being, you don't need to have a perfect scenario to get results.

At an absolute beginner level, you need to do something to build a foundation and a textbook with assistance is currently the best way to do so that I know of. I do wish they would teach things in a more natural order, though, and through pictures rather than English translations. Even nicer would be if there was an educational cartoon series that started with really simple language and gradually progressed to more and more complex stuff, but I doubt anyone would be willing to make the investment needed for that. 😆

I learn Japanese language just because I like language and I hope to learn enough to make conversation so that one day someone like your friends helping with your Japanese language would not mind to do the same with me. I would try to get someone to practise with after I get to certain level that I think would not give others too much trouble.
The folly with that reasoning is that if your Japanese becomes incredibly broken because you learned everything wrong, that's going to be more of a turn-off than if your Japanese is just elementary.

Here's a good example of that:


I also try to think in the language I learn wherever I can even though I might make a lot of error.
If you're thinking in Japanese, that's cool, but I'd suggest against thinking of doing so as practice.

At this point, I'd say I think about 80% in English and 20% in Japanese. I used to try to think entirely in Japanese, and I think that was a mistake. It encouraged me to grasp at straws to come up with ways to think what I wanted to think, which (among other things) led to broken Japanese that people here kindly corrected. Nowadays the only reason I think partially in Japanese is because I want to, and I try to only do so with Japanese I'm confident in enough to use in conversation.

If possible I read all sort of books including manga and watch anime at my level.
Yeah, those are great.
 
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