Thanks to Cafetalk, I am getting some great lessons in Japanese. As I have mentioned before, my tutor, Makisan, uses みんなの日本語 as her textbook, and it has the interesting attribute of being written entirely in Japanese. Today I was doing my homework (宿題) and thought I would let you see what some of chapter six (六課) looks like.
I just finished section 6.5 which beings like this:
あなたは きのう なにを しきしたか。 れい : わたしは きのうの あさ ６じはんに おきました.
Now, here are some things worth noticing:
It is entirely in Japanese. No surprise there.
It is entirely in kana. I have mixed feelings about that. Reading kana is reading Japanese, yes, and, since it is easy to learn to read kana, you get a nice feeling of accomplishment from it. But I really feel that it is best to move on to kanji as quickly as possible. Fortunately, the sample sentences and dialogues often contain kanji with furigana.
And, in case you can’t read it, the instructions say:
What did you do yesterday?
Example: Yesterday morning, I got up at 6:30.
Okay, literally it is more like: you (topic particle) yesterday what (direct object particle) did (question particle). Example: I (topic particle) yesterday (possessive particle) morning 6 o’clock half (particle with several functions) got up.
Isn’t Japanese fun?
So the idea was to write a paragraph about my day all in lovely Japanese. This isn’t as hard as it sounds for a couple of reasons. One is that it is only Chapter 6, so there is a limited amount of vocabulary available. The other is that, back in section 6.3 there was a paragraph, accompanied by pictures, of the day of someone named トワボンさん. His paragraph had some gaps in it where I had to fill in the verbs, but each gap had an accompanying picture just in case I couldn’t igure out from the words what he did. Many of his doings took place at a certain time or from a certain time until a certain time. That is one of the themes in this chapter.
(トワボンさん is a pretty active guy. He got up, had breakfast, went to school, had lunch, played tennis, went home, listened to the radio, ate supper, watched TV, read a book, wrote a letter and went to bed. As a teacher myself, I can’t help but notice that there is no mention of homework in his day, unless that book he read was homework. Also, the poor fellow goes to bed at 11:00 and gets up at 6:30. I could use a little more sleep than that, myself.)
So I had a guide I could use in composing my own paragraph, but the extremely cool thing to me is still that I did it. I wrote a (simple) paragraph in Japanese that pretty accurately described my day. I’m psyched about that. We are making progress. Also, since phase 2 of my old friend the Hacking Japanese Supercourse involved learning 2,200 kanji, I wrote (okay, typed) most of my paragraph in kanji.
As I went into phase 3, I really felt like I needed a bit of organization. Now I have it, and I am making progress. It’s exciting!
(By the way, there are several different みんなの日本語 books. The one I am using is called kaite oboeru.)
My next Cafetalk lesson is three days away, and I still have some more homework to get done before then, so, back to work.