Let’s face it: learning a new language is a monumental task. In order to stick with it, you have to get at least a little excited about it.
Here’s the fun thing about みんなの日本語, the book my Cafetalk tutor uses. (And, when I say “fun”, what I really mean is “often excruciatingly frustrating”.) There seem to be, at a conservative estimate, approximately six million different みんなの日本語 volumes and versions. The particular one that my tutor gave me is filled with nice little exercises to help you practice the vocabulary and grammar points (which are actually in a different book) but what it is not filled with is comprehensible instructions.
This should not be taken to mean that it is filled with incomprehensible instructions, because it doesn’t really have much in the way of instructions at all. It does have a few examples (in Japanese, of course, and usually in Kanji) and the examples aren’t always supremely clear.
So I have to spend a while figure out what I am actually supposed to do in a particular homework assignment before I can actually start doing the assignment.
I’m thinking that this book is not for everyone.
I have to be honest, though – I like it. The extra effort really engages me.
The lesson for this week is, of course, て forms. (You didn’t think I was randomly posting about て forms for no reason, right?)
One of the cool things about て forms is that they let you say that you are in the process of doing something right now. (I think that would be the present progressive tense in English, but don’t quote me on that.)
(For example: now, I am writing a Japanese language blog).
And, of course, you can say what isn’t going on right now, too.
雨が降っていません。 (It is not raining.)
See how easy that is?
And how absolutely cool?
To me, this is exciting, and that excitement makes me want to study more to find out what the next cool thing I am going to learn is.
And it’s good that I’m excited, because, quite frankly, learning to make and recognize て forms is kind of a pain. I know that there will be a day when it’s easy and I’ll wonder why I fussed about it, but I am not at that point yet!
And, yes, I am still singing the て form song.
The good is that (A) it hasn’t driven me nuts yet and (B) I am actually recognizing how to make some て forms without having to sing the song.
How about you?