Japanese Language Studies

Progress Update: Japanese Studies

Hello, and happy August!

I apologize for my lack of posts in the past 2 weeks. I know that I said before that I would post at least once a week, but keeping up that posting schedule has been difficult in the past few months.

Today, I’d like to share another progress update with regards to my Japanese studies!

Briefly:

  • I got my hiragana and katakana mnemonics flashcards printed (in color and double-sided!). I’ll find out how much it will cost to laminate them (hopefully not much, it’s only 8 sheets of paper) and get that done so I can more regularly review them.
  • I’m making progress on learning how to write the katakana syllabary, though it has been slow as of late. (I’ve learned ア through  タ so far.)
  • I’ve posted some questions on HiNative since my previous update and made two penpals!
  • I took a break from Genki, and started using Human Japanese on my computer.

About that last one, I wasn’t expecting Human Japanese to be as engaging or helpful as it is. Not only is it cheap ($18.95 plus tax, roughly $21), but it also has audio of native Japanese speakers, as well as quizzes to reinforce the content in each chapter. The beginner’s course (titled “Human Japanese”) contains 45 chapters, and is separate from the intermediate course (titled “Human Japanese Intermediate”). What’s really great about it is you get a free trial (access to Chapters 1 through 8 in the beginner’s course) before you can decide if you want to buy the full version.

The only bad thing I have to say about Human Japanese so far is that it uses a lot of romaji after introducing all of the hiragana syllabary. I’d prefer seeing hiragana only when words that are usually written in hiragana are written in explanations or notes (instead of romaji). I’d also appreciate a way to hide the romaji column in the vocabulary tables, which would make it easier to get practice reading the hiragana without looking at the romaji. The same can be said for katakana, I think.

Here’s a list of what I’ve learned so far:

  • The difference between words like せんえん and せねん, which are written the same in romaji (senen) but are pronounced differently in Japanese. (This is why relying purely on romaji for pronunciation is bad!)
  • What euphony is
  • The honorific お
  • Verbs in Japanese always go at the end of sentences, and don’t change for person, number, or gender (no subject-verb agreement).
  • There are only two basic verb tenses in Japanese: past and present.
  • How large numbers above 900 work (i.e. the units for thousands and millions).
  • Vocabulary for times of day, month, and year
  • Adjectives come before nouns, just like in English.
  • How to seek agreement using the particle ね

So what’s next?

  • Keep going through Human Japanese. After I finish it, I’ll return to Genki. (I’ve read online that Genki Vol. 1 goes by much more smoothly after finishing the beginner’s Human Japanese course.)
  • Keep learning katakana, including how to write them.
  • Keep posting questions on HiNative.

After I finish Human Japanese and Genki Vol. 1, I want to:

  • Post entries on Lang-8.
  • Join HelloTalk and interact more with native Japanese speakers.

If you’re studying Japanese, how are your studies going? Did you use these resources too? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned! :)

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2 thoughts on “Progress Update: Japanese Studies”

  1. I hadn’t heard of Human Japanese. I might give it a go! Sounds like you’ve learned a lot. :)
    I think maybe it keeps the romaji in because if you don’t have the hiragana/katakana 100% down, which would be normal for beginners, you don’t want to potentially learn things incorrectly if you get a few characters mixed up.

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    1. Yeah, I really like it so far! I think the pace of it is slower than Genki, and it has pictures and includes information about culture that breaks up the “tedium” so to speak, of vocabulary lists and grammar. It’s a great piece of software! If textbooks aren’t working for you right off the bat, maybe giving this a shot would help. :)

      Ah, that is a good point! I don’t mind that it is included, but it’s the fact that it’s right next to the hiragana/katakana columns (there are vocabulary tables with the Japanese word, romaji, and English meaning in that order) that bothers me. My eyes gravitate towards it before I get a chance to actually read the Japanese characters. It would be nice if there was a clickable button to hide and show the romaji column!

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