May be of interest to people living in the United States –
Fathom Events is doing another Ghibli Fest this year: details here. Basically, over the course of the next year, nine Ghibli films will return to theaters for very limited engagements. Each film will be shown at least once dubbed and at least once with subtitles.
Here’s a short commercial:
Some of these movies look so good that it’s a treat to see them on the big screen. Now, if I can talk my wife into watch the subbed version instead of the dubbed versions…
Finally, after a week of being sick, I am back to work on Japanese. This week, chapter six of 中級へ学ぼう. I actually studied some new vocabulary yesterday for the first time all week. I did get some good conversation exchanges in over the weekend. (Skype was having an issue with android devices, but they apparently finally got that fixed.)
During conversation exchanges, I have noticed that I sometimes lapse into English when I am supposed to be speaking Japanese out of either laziness or frustration, so I have asked my friends, when I do that, to give me a 分かりません and force me back in Japanese! Laziness does not lead to fluency!
The big goal this week is just to get back on track with my studies. It isn’t about catching up. That is, I don’t care where I would have been if I hadn’t gotten sick. I just want to make sure the train is back on the rails and I am doing my normal learning routine.
I’m not mad about anything. I’m just sick and also tired. I’ve been sick all week, so the studying has been limited to trying to keep up with my vocabulary reviews on memrise and grammar reviews on bunpro. Other than that, not a lot of anything happening. However, I’m finally starting to feel somewhat better and I find myself looking at the remaining part of Chapter 5, so I might have a go at it after work today. We’ll see.
Let’s say that you’re doing some reading in Japanese, and you come across a sentence like 9月の半ばを過ぎ、朝晩幾分涼しくなって過ごしやすくなりました。
As you may have guessed, this isn’t a random sentence that I just made up. It is the first sentence of my reading assignment for this week. Now, the thing is, the first time I read this sentence, it just didn’t break down sensibly for me.
At that point, I had two options.
Option 1 : Google Translate. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s often close enough to correct, and using it would let me move quickly on to the next sentence
Option 2 : Deconstruct the sentence as I have often done as a demonstration in previous posts. It would take more time and more effort, and it would delay my reading the rest of the assignment.
But, and here’s the crux, which option teaches me more?
I have sometimes resorted to the quick option, but, this time I did what I should always do – I took option 2 and broke the sentence apart. It took a few minutes, but, afterward, I understood the sentence. I didn’t just know how it translated, but I understood it in a way that I wouldn’t have if I had let some piece of software translate it for me.
Now, granted, as I was doing it, I was thinking If I have to do this for every sentence, it’s going to take me all day to read this page.
Well, that was the laziness talking. That was not the thought of the guy who wants to be fluent in Japanese!
I was prepared to break down every sentence. I got a break, though, as I was able to simply read the rest of the paragraph. There is, however, two-thirds of a page left, so we’ll see what happens.
Oh, just a random thought. Why are so many things in Japanese and English reversed when compared to each other? I just thought of this as I typed two-thirds. In Japanese this comes out to 3分の２ i.e three parts of which I have 2. The important answer to thst question is: because they are. Now get back to studying and don’t get bogged down by questions like that.
I came across this from Inside That Japanese Book, and I wanted to share it. We have goal setting, study tips, learning vocabulary and all kinds of useful stuff. Enjoy.
As I am not studying JLPT materials or any other textbook, I have to find the new words I want to learn, by myself. My goal for 2018 was to reach 10,000 words by the end of the year, a plan that can be achieved only by learning 10 new words every day. I started […]
The writing practice continues apace. My Cafetalk tutor, whose name is Makisan, by the way, wants me to answer as much of my homework as I can in hiragana
this week from now on. I have to say that my writing looks like it was done by a third grader. Here. I’ll prove it:
Actually, given that I’ve only been trying to write for a few days now, I don’t feel bad about it. It isn’t pretty, but I’m figuring my tutor will be able to read it, and, if I can successfully communicate, that’s good enough for me right now. Surely, as I write more, I will get better. I will confess, however, that I was, at first, tempted to write everything in informal Japanese just so I would have to write fewer characters!
Don’t be hard on yourself when your newly stuff isn’t perfect. You forgot a vocabulary word that you saw for the first time two days ago? No big deal. You just started writing and it looks sloppy? No big deal. It’s new. Don’t worry about it being flawed. Practice makes proficient, as an old friend of mine used to say.
And, just for fun, here’s the reading assignment I am about to tackle:
As you can see, the book has an abundance of furigana. Too many, really. One thing that I like about this book is that the furigana are underneath the words, so I can simply lay a ruler under each line and cover them up. Furigana are good and useful, but they are a crutch, and you want to stop depending on them as soon as you can.
The reading contains new vocabulary and new grammar, but I start the week by inputting the new words into Memrise and learning them, so, while I won’t claim to have them all down, I at least know most of them when I start the reading.
Well, stuff to do. Gotta go.
I am using the Tangoristo app to read Hakumusume (fairy tales). I read the first sentence of the current story and was stumped by it. Not a good start, right? But I find that, when I’m stumped by a sentence, deconstructing it helps me immensely. In fact, after I do that, I usually find myself saying, “Well, that was easy! Why didn’t I get that one right out of the box?” So, let’s get down to it.
むかしむかし、あるところに、 – this one is easy. You might as well read it as once upon a time and go with that. It might more literally be translated as something long long ago in a certain place, but, since it is the standard opening for a fairy tale, once upon a time will do nicely.
When you are learning as new language, the obvious (and understandable) tendency is to translate word-for-word, but the real idea is to get the same idea and feeling across. A word-for-word translation is often clunky and difficult to understand
病気の母親 – a sick mother
You could argue that this literally says something a mother to whom illness belongs – illness + particle の indicating possession + mother, but, again, word-for-word, while it can be useful for the language student trying to parse a sentence, doesn’t always make sense in the finished product
と – and
親孝行の息子 – her devoted son
Here we go again. This is literally something like a son to whom filial piety belonged. It is the same construction as the previous one. Filial piety + の indicating possession + son. (And, no, I didn’t know the word 親孝行 (oyakoukou). I had to look that one up.)
が – particle indicating subject
いました – past tense of いる which is to exist or to be for living beings.
So, now I end up with something like Once upon a time, there lived a mother and her devoted son.
Why do I always add something like or a similar phrase? Because there is generally more than one way to translate a sentence, and my translation may not be the best way to do it and is certainly not the only way to do it. For example, you could certainly make a case for her dutiful son instead of devoted. In fact, that was my first idea, but I decided I liked devoted better.
And, of course, now that I’ve done all this work, I don’t know why I didn’t understand that sentence immediately. Still, the work is good for me. Digging into grammar is always good for me.
Well, on to the second sentence to see how well I do with it.