Sunday, June 24, 2012

Learning Japanese 2

I wrote a post about my efforts in learning Japanese in 2010. I'm still going at it, though changing my approach. A huge part of my Japanese study was playing games like AKB48 and various Japanese RPGS on PSP, looking up words that seem to appear often and hopefully through seeing a kanji again and again, I will automatically learn it. Finished Jeane D'arc last year which was a decent RPG. Gave Terra Phantastica on Saturn a go and the Japanese was way too hard and too old with too much political dialogue.

One thing I realised is that I only learned to recognise the shape of kanji. Give me another similar looking kanji and I was lost. Plus, I would expect certain words in the context of a game and so I could barely recognise those words outside of a game.

Take for example: 波 彼 疲 度 渡

Confusing, ain't it? That's nami, kare, tsukare, do, watasu and I'm pretty sure there are more look-a-likes.

Since I came back, I've started learning to write because its probably the best way to learn to differentiate similar looking kanji. Its proven very useful and sometimes I'm surprised to notice certain elements in kanji that I recognise but never realised how it actually is written.

My kanji recognition is all over the place since I'm studying based on words that appear often in RPGs and not the kanji grade chart that most people do. I've got a kanji recogniser app on my phone which is very useful. Just draw the kanji and it looks it up for you. Problem is, the stroke order has to be correct.

This year I've finished Fire Emblem Kakusei, played 10 hours of Labyrinth no Kanata and am now 50 hours into Legend of Dragoon. My kanji vocabulary is expanding ever so slowly and I've got a long way to go. I really want to play Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 3 but that's going to be a whole different set of vocabulary since its set in the present. The problem with writing down kanji many times is that I can't have long sessions because I would end up with too many kanji to remember.

Some head scratching kanji stuff :

- mukashi/past   借り - kari/borrow. Add the hand element and past becomes borrow?

辛い - can be read as karai/hot or tsurai/painful. WTF.

If you watched SPEC, satori can be written as 覚り or 悟り . Who was the wise guy who decided that one word can be written in two different ways? Not as bad as those kanjis with 3 or more meanings.

覚 or え (oboe/remember) is one of the most confusing kanjis for me.

Put the two versions of satori together and you get 覚悟 (kakugo/prepare)

Put a different hiragana and it becomes める (sameru/wake up).

put fu in front in it becomes 不覚 fukaku/failure.

売る (uru/sell) + 糸 (ito/string) = 続く (tsuzuku/continue) ???

売る (uru/sell) + 言(iu/say) = 読み (yomi/read) ???

 Sigh, the road to learning Japanese requires so much work and is so slow...

Of course reading doesn't help me with my speaking. Sometimes I can read a sentence but it doesn't make much sense to me. I think I need to watch more doramas with Japanese subtitles. I'm really weak with verbs. Even when watching raw I just catch the subject and object and can guess the verb without paying much attention to it.


Anonymous said...

I recommend for Japanese learning materials. Buy their sets of kanji flashcards- I personally think it's the best way to learn them. Also, usually the reason there are different kanji for the same word (for example, au-to meet has 4 kanjis) is because when spoken they mean the same thing, but when written they show a different meaning. One is just meeting someone, another is meeting someone you long for, etc. This just makes lyrics/novels/etc. more poetic, really.

Anonymous said...

go through some song lyrics of songs you like. to be honest the word fukaku is not common nor useful lol.

the thing with drama is most of the dialogue is easy because it's inthe realm of common daily conversation so just keep working on it and eventually you 'll get bored with the common daily conversation japanese.

if you haven't checked out already
koohii forums
tae kim grammar guide.

Musouka said...

Try the Heisig method for learning the characters (but not their meaning). It's working nicely with me.

Akiramike said...

I think Heisig would work better with Chinese cause way too many Japanese ones don't make sense ie kanji with multiple unrelated meanings.

It doesn't mean that I don't use it. I think its the best way to differentiate similar looking words but its application would be limited.

Akiramike said...

Oops, didn't see (but not their meaning) in the brackets. Now I'm playing New Love Plus and learning phrases/words like

役立たず, 立ち去る, 授業, 調子