Home Forums The Japanese Language I feel like I don't know anything

This topic contains 11 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  マーク・ウェーバー 10 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #42251

    eru777
    Member

    I have been self learning this language for one and a half years now and I feel that I don’t know whack.
    I go to the asahi shinbun site and I don’t understand whack. What am I doing wrong? Is this natural?
    I know lots of kanji, about a thousand. I finished the seasons a long time ago.

    Hey! Lip them? Lip them? What?
    #42253

    Aikibujin
    Member

    Can’t comment much as you are beyond my level, but I believe to properly read a newspaper you have to learn the 2,136 Jouyou Kanji. If you know less than half that are used, I can understand why you would feel frustrated.

    I do know this is a common feeling for language learners as it was a common complaint with my TEFL students. In most cases it’s purely psychological as they always tended to know a lot more than they thought they did. But I can see where it would be worse with Japanese as once you know the alphabet in English you can read just about anything, where as Kanji might as well be a language within a language.

    I personally feel that Kanji has been the main thing holding me back in my learning as I tried to focus on other things previously. Now I’m doing WaniKani and I feel like I’m learning heaps more than in the past.

    Have you tried it?

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 6 months ago by  Aikibujin.
    #42257

    Joel
    Member

    Fairly sure the first thousand kanji represents 90% of the most-often used kanji, but yeah, that still means you don’t understand one in ten kanji you encounter, which can sometimes suddenly flash over into “Gah! I don’t get this at all!”. My suggestion: go through an article with a dictionary, look up any words you don’t understand, and add them into an Anki deck or something.

    #42268

    Well, news are often focused on one specific topic and if you haven’t ever researched that topic you will naturally be a bit lost. To avoid getting frustrated with not being able to understand a lot I’d suggest focusing on one specific thing you want to understand and just add words to anki every time you see something you don’t understand. At first there will be many, but over time they will become fewer. If you want to be able to understand the news you should probably go for a specific topic like politics etc, as there are a lot of lingo related to many subjects reported in the news that you won’t see very often used in conversations etc.
    I’ve been studying for like 2 years plus a few months by now and feel pretty confident when it’s related to idols since that’s what I’m interested in, but when it comes to news I can be pretty lost as well sometimes.

    take something like this
    http://www.asahi.com/articles/TKY201311050469.html?ref=com_top6_1st
    I can definitely understand it, but since I’ve never had any interest in these kinds of topics there are quite a few words I actually haven’t seen before including these listed here. Quite a tragic story really… :/
    執行猶予
    過失致死
    判決
    悲惨
    ボンネット
    駆け足
    被告

    So yes I think it’s quite normal, but the only way to avoid it is to get better. Learning English I doubt I would’ve been able to read the news after just 2½ years and even to this day there is some lingo (especially financial) I don’t understand at all in English.

    #42269

    You could know the readings for 50,000 kanji and it wouldn’t make a difference if you don’t know any of the actual vocab. Learn more words – once you do, it’s more a case of getting used to the grammar, getting lots and lots of input until it makes sense in your head. I’m currently about 2/3 through a vocab list called Core 6k and I’ve found it to be really helpful; unless you find a better way to learn words, I’d recommend Core 6k.

    Also, a good way to get better at reading is to practise reading, especially more simple stuff. Here’s a great site: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/index.html
    New news stories every day, each one shorter than the regular article, simplified words and grammar, highlighting of proper names, furigana, mouse-over of certain words with definitions in Japanese (which helps your reading even more), accompanying audio.

    I’ve been doing this for 3 years now and I still feel the way you do, even though there are times I notice I’m getting ever so slightly better :P

    #42273

    Aikibujin
    Member

    Of course the vocab would be included in the study of the Kanji, figured that would go without saying.

    #42276

    Joel
    Member

    That’s kinda the other way around – if you study the vocab, you tend to encounter kanji, but if you’re studying kanji, there’s no guarantee you’re also looking at vocab.

    Well, news are often focused on one specific topic and if you haven’t ever researched that topic you will naturally be a bit lost.

    Yeah, that. I once tried to read the kids version of Asahi Shimbun a while back, but the whole thing was nuclear radiation this, and subatomic particle that, which (for some odd reason) didn’t seem to come up in Japanese class in between learning the days of the week and whatnot. =)

    #42278

    Aikibujin
    Member

    There is a guarantee if you make sure you do it. :P

    #42287

    eru777
    Member

    Akibujin :

    Have you tried it?

    I gave it a try but I don’t think it’s for me .. [Speaking of Wanikani]

    You guys , thanks for your input. Also, how much time do y’all spend in studying every day? What do you think is a good time schedule?

    To マーク・ウェーバー, I don’t read newspapers and I’m not really interested in them, I just wanted to see where I am at. But I guess I will have to stick with blogs that I like . Sticking to something you enjoy reading about is crucial indeed.

    To Michael : Thanks for the link I will definitely check it out :>

    It’s weird finding stuff I really like since the original idea for me to learn Japanese was to be able to understand Hatsune Miku songs and generally Japanese songs, but I had no idea at the time how butchered the lyrics are grammatically speaking. Oh well!

    Hey! Lip them? Lip them? What?
    #42288

    Joel
    Member

    … I had no idea at the time how butchered the lyrics are grammatically speaking. Oh well!

    Haven’t you ever listened to music in English? Pretty much all song lyrics are completely butchered in order to make them fit the rhythm or rhyme structure. =P

    #42291

    eru777
    Member

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>eru777 wrote:</div>
    … I had no idea at the time how butchered the lyrics are grammatically speaking. Oh well!

    Haven’t you ever listened to music in English? Pretty much all song lyrics are completely butchered in order to make them fit the rhythm or rhyme structure. =P

    I was drinking lots of alcohol during that time of my life, if that’s an excuse :P (Hint, it’s not)
    I should have known better.

    Hey! Lip them? Lip them? What?
    #42296

    A good schedule is one that fits you. You are doing this as a self study so there is no right or wrong. Progress at the speed you want, and above all make sure to make it as enjoyable as possible so you’ll actually want to do it ;)

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