If I have given the impression that I am hot stuff with languages and that Japanese just flows naturally into my head every day…let me correct that impression now.
みんなの日本語の１１課はとてもむずかしいです。(Loose translation: Chapter 11 of Minna No Nihongo is giving me fits!)
When do you use みんあ and when do you use ぜんぶで? Which counter goes with which type of object and which words do you use counters with? And have you noticed how easy it is to mix up ふたつ and ふすか and ふたり and similar groups of words? Days of the month…number of people…number of things…ARGH!!!!!
And let’s not forget all of those times that you conjugate the adjective instead of the verb! Double AARGH!!!!!
Okay, I’ve got that out of my system now. This week I am moving on to Chapter 12, which is more about…you guessed it…adjectives! I have a feeling I will be reviewing Chapter 11 a time or in the next few weeks, though.
Here’s my point. While Japanese is not the insanely impossible to learn language that you may have heard it to be, neither will it always be the simplest thing in the world. You will have words that just won’t stick in your head. (For me, for whatever reason, the words for the different types of trains – local, express, etc, just won’t stick in my head.) There will be words that you mix up. (See my comments above, preceding the first ARGH!) There will be points of grammar that you will have to think about when you use them. See my comments preceding the second ARGH!).
Here’s the good news: this will only get better. Grammar points that seem hard now will be so easy after a while that you will wonder why they ever gave you trouble in the first place. Words that are hard now will, as you use them, stick. (Now, if you don’t use them, they may not stick, but, hey, what do you expect?)
You will have bad language days (or maybe even a bad language week or two).
It is vital that you push through those times because they are TEMPORARY.
Don’t every throw your hands up in dismay and give up. Take a little break to regroup and them go for it. Look, the hard stuff is part of the fun. I ran into it this morning during my Cafetalk lesson.
I wanted to say, “I am very busy this week.” That was fine. ”今週、とても忙しいです。”
Then, as an afterthought, I added, “I was busy last week.” That was wrong. I said, “先週忙しいでした。” That is a literal translation of the sentence, and IT’S WRONG because I conjugated the verb (です to でした) when I should have conjugated the adjective (忙しい to 忙しかった). Now, when my tutor (gently) corrected me, the only I could do was to laugh. I couldn’t help it. In that one instant it was so complicated that it was funny. I followed that up with 日本語は楽しくて面白いです. (The Japanese language is fun and interesting.) And I got it right because I conjugated the first adjective (changing い to くて in order to connect them properly.
Oh, it was also wrong since I should have used も meaning “also”. I just wanted to point out that I knew that. (Well, my tutor pointed it out to me.)
It is fun. It is interesting. And it is the differences, hard and easy, that make it fun and interesting.