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Road bump need some suggestions

JoJo

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Howdy folks, so I'm still learning Japanese and I'm noticing that I'm getting better each day. My problem right now is I'm finding it very hard to understand, speak and form sentences (verbally). I've got a Japanese tutor on Italki and when she asks me a question I find myself dumbfounded. I know what the words are individually but I'm having a hard time recognizing them when they are formed into a sentence. She even slows down if I have trouble the first time but that doesn't help. I'm pretty confident in my Hiragana and Katakana now and I'm comfortable with 30+ Kanji at this point. Do you think it'd be better to drop the tutor for now and focus more on reading, writing and listening comprehension? I know the only real way to improve with speaking is to actually speak to someone that is fluent in Japanese but I feel like that's too much for me at the moment. Would appreciate everyone's thoughts and if you want to, let me know how you managed this if you ran into this issue.
 

nice gaijin

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Hmm, let me rephrase... you're currently weak in your listening comprehension, so you're considering dropping the tutor and focusing on written Japanese, which you consider your strength. This is a bit like saying that your legs are weak, and then skipping leg day.

If you're only about 30 kanji deep, you've barely started learning, and you need all the practice you can get, on all levels. Although it's important to get away from filtering Japanese through your own language, at this stage I'm not sure I would recommend full immersion without some analysis. So I think it's helpful to have a tutor that can help you break down questions and sentences (in English) so you can analyze and deepen your understanding. Then they should have you repeat the question several times so you solidify it in your memory and learn the pattern. Then go over a few ways to respond, not just to answer the question for yourself, but a variety of potential replies, so if you ask someone else the question, their response is less likely to catch you off guard and trip you up.

If you're listening comprehension is weak, you need to practice it even more; turn your weakness into your strength. Watch some kid's programming like Doraemon, first with subtitles, then without. Watch it until you can remember the phrases they use that may seem useful in conversation, and internalize their meaning. Take those phrases to your tutor and have them help break down the grammar structures with you, so you are internalizing the form rather than just memorizing the phrases. Good luck!
 

JoJo

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Great way to put it! Yeah, now that I think about it, it was a bit absurd to consider dropping something that I need to work harder on lol. Anyways, thanks for the response and I'll keep on doing what I'm doing with just a bit more focus on the listening/speaking aspect of things.
 

TGI-ECT

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nice gaijin has offered an excellent idea about that watching of programs, but I would like to offer a modification to the idea.

Older jidaigeki is an excellent way to slowly absorb listening comprehension without a person fully realizing what is happening, IF they are into the drama itself.

I wrote "older" up there, because the ones that came out from about --- well, after San Biki-ga Kiru --- I don't remember the last year of that --- it only ran a couple of years --- but the newer ones/jidaigeki are horrid. (My view, of course.)

So to be more specific about 30 plus years ago I used the jidaigeki to help me with listening comprehension just by enjoying the drama itself, because you hardly need to actually understand what you are hearing as you watch the situations unfold and after a bit you find yourself actually starting to understand this-and-that and step-by-step you start gaining better listening comprehension.

There is also the tossing in of some variations to modernish Japanese and that can be really useful down the road.

Okay, so jidaigeki is explained here:


And to get you started on YouTube:

長七郎江戸日記 第1シリーズ 第1話「風流双面草紙」(1983年)
https{:}//www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE3dWvIn-8c -- Fix this "{:}" and the link will be good. The YouTube links and some news article links throw up that full image of a video something and that is just no good for here.

Anyway, jidaigeki may not be your cup of tea, green or not, but just an idea. And mainly if the watching of a show for them young folks is more not your cup of tea.
 
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