A Longer Cafetalk Lesson

DISCLAIMER: I got one of the Cafetalk monitoring positions. I get five free online lessons over the course of the month of November, and, in return, all I have to do is rate the lessons and post it. I figured I might as well go whole hog and do a serious write up here.  (As of this writing, the application period for monitoring positions is closed.  I hope you took advantage of the opportunity and applied for one.)

Another great lesson with Makisan today. This one was an hour long, and the time simply flew past.  She is a great teacher.

We are using みんなの日本語 and today we went over vocabulary from chapter two. There was a page full of pictures, and I had to look at each picture and identify it. Nice. There followed a quick discussion about これ、それ、あれ which was easy since I already knew it. That was followed by her holding up an item and asking me これは何ですか。Which was, of course, followed by me identifying the item with それは。。。です. That was straight forward enough, but then it was my turn to pick up items and ask the question, so here I am grabbing random items from around the room. That was fun.

Then she tossed me a curveball or two. I pick up a hat - これは何ですか…それは帽子です。What is this? That is a hat. Then she suddenly asks, 誰の帽子ですか…whose hat is it? Ooh…and she kept doing that kind of thing to me throughout the lesson…okay, well, I have to go to work now…oh, what time do you have to be there? It was great. A sudden swerve off script, basically, which is exactly what happens in the real world.

After all of that, I asked a question. How do you say that you want to do something? The answer is to take the ます form of the verb and change the ます to たい. So…話します is “I speak” but 話したい is I want to speak. 朝飯前. (Remember that one? Something so easy it can be done before breakfast, or, as we might say in English, a piece of cake.)

Then we went on to how to say that you are able to do something. Dictionary form of the verb + ことが出来る. So…話す is “I speak” using the dictionary form and 話すことが出来る is “I am able to speak”.

From there, the obvious place to go is how to say that you want to be able to do something…but I have to study that one a little more before I attempt to explain it.

Also, by the way, I got the chance to pull out that most useful phrase “What is the opposite of…”

I was trying to say that something was ‘small’, but I couldn’t remember the word for that in Japanese. I could remember, though, that ‘big’ is 大きいso 大きいの反対は何ですか – What is the opposite of 大きい? Which got me the answer 小さい. Why is that cool? Because I kept the conversation in Japanese and didn’t have to resort to “how do you say…in Japanese?” which is a question that I know how to ask in Japanese but would prefer to avoid if I can find a way around it because it’s a little too easy, somehow. Sorry if that doesn’t make any sense.

Since my next lesson will be a week away, I said that I would study the vocabulary from chapters 3 and 4 (さんかとよんか).  I looked over the vocabulary and got her to pronounce some of the more difficult ones for me

So, how was the lesson? Informative, fun, interesting, helpful…can I think of any more adjectives that fit?…yes, but you already get the idea.

Oh, and I learned how to connect two sentences which are kind of opposites of each other. Because my Japanese is limited, I said, in two sentences: Japanese is fun. Japanese is difficult. She picked that up and ran with it, teaching how to attach those sentences using が as we would use ‘but’ in English. That wasn’t part of the lesson, but, since it fit with what I was trying to say, she threw it in. Excellent!

And, as before, she sent me a message containing everything that she typed into the chat box during the course of the lesson.

Now that is a ton of stuff for one lesson!  I’m going to crack open the book and start hitting the vocabulary from chapters 3 and 4.  StickyStudy and Memrise to the rescue.

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