As Much Japanese As Possible This Week Day 3

There are plenty of posts in English here.  This just doesn’t happen to be one of them.

この記事は難しい。辞書で言葉をしなければならない。

SatoriReaderの記事で音がある。オーディオをダウンロードすることができます。「コナの大冒険」、第一話から、第十二話までダウンロードした。それから,1つのファイルにオーディオを編集して、Dropboxにファイルをアップロードして、タブレットにファイルをダウンロードした。したがって、車でファイルを聞くことが出来る。いいだと思う。

このプロジェクトはとても難しい。日本語のテレビを見る。日本語の音楽を聞く。日本語のオーディオを聞く。日本語の記事や本やワェブサイトを読む。時々ぜんぜん分からない!でも結局見につける。

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As Much Japanese As Possible This Week Day 2

遅いですが、眠ることが出来た。SatoriReaderで『コナの大冒険第11話」呼んだ。非常に静かだ。テレビを見たい、でも誰も目お覚まさない。朝字舞うなし『銀の匙』第1話をみた。あまり分からなかった!今夜はスカイプで新しい友達と話した。妻と母を訪ねた。妹も母を訪ねた。一緒にゲムをして、ピザを食べた。楽しかった!

来週の日曜日は父の日だ。近くの映画館で「インディ・ジョーンズ レイダース 失われたアーク』を見る。特別な父の日のイベントだ。楽しみにして!

たぶん今眠ることが出来た。眠らない場合は、『コナの大冒険第12話」を読む。

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All Japanese

This week, to the extent that I can, I am going all Japanese.  Obviously, my work has to be in English, and the time that I spend with my family will be in English.  But, when I am alone, I will talk to myself in Japanese.  I will only listen to Japanese music.  I will only watch Japanese TV/movies/anime and I will watch it out without subtitles.  And, for me that hardest part, I will only attempt to read in Japanese.

Generally, I have a novel with me everywhere I got.  Well, for this week, it will have to be something in Japanese.

That also means that any blog entries I make this week – after this one, of course – will be in Japanese.

I saw an article on a language website about a guy who spent a month without English.  I’ll be honest – I didn’t read the article.  I can’t spend a month without English while living where I live and doing my job.  But I can, within the limits set above, spend some time every day without English.

I have a feeling that this is going to be a lot harder than I think.  It may, at times, be a lot more boring than I think.  Maybe I can finish that detective novel that I’m reading today, since I will start my week tomorrow.

Wish me luck.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Takoboto

Takoboto is a handy dictionary.  It is available as a website and as an app.  If you look up a word on the website, you get something like this:

takoboto

Pretty cool.

In the app, you can turn off the languages that you don’t want.

I particularly like that you can see what each character in the word means.  That really helps you learn to recognize characters when you see them again.

You can search for words in English (and, I assume, the other languages represented, although the English dictionary is the most comprehensive) and in Japanese by roumaji, kana or kanji.

And, you can search for Kanji by radical.

Excellent.

Also, although this is obvious, I find it funny that the word “verb” is a noun.

Find good tools and use them.

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Random Stuff

For readers in the U.S.:  Fathom Events is hosting a Ghibli Festival.  Each month from June to December, they will show a Studio Ghibli movie in theaters around the country.  Each movie will be shown on two different days, once dubbed and once in Japanese with subtitles.  There are a few theaters near me that generally show Fathom Events films, and I am blessed with a wife who, although she has no interest in learning Japanese, is a big fan of Ghibli, so we’ll be going to see several (or all) of them.  Now, if I can only talk her into going to see the subtitled versions instead of the dubs…

Yes, we have them on DVD, but it’s different on the big screen.

Conversation Exchange comes through again.  3 days a week I generally manage to meet up with a Japanese speaker on Skype.  I generally get at least a half hour conversation in Japanese (and a half hour conversation in English).  I also have some penpals, and one of them told me that there is a Japanese festival happening near me!  How did I know know about this?  It turns out that there is a Japanese cultural association about 70 miles away from me, and they hold several annual events:  a new year’s celebration in January, some kind of rice pounding even in the summer and winter and a summer festival.

The 夏祭り (summer festival) features Japanese festival food, music, folk dancing, tea ceremony, taiko drumming, flower arranging, bonsai, calligraphy, karaoke, kendo demonstration and who knows what else.  Oh, and it’s indoors in a large air conditioned venue.  Oh, and it only costs five bucks.  Oh, and the webpage is bilingual, so it’s reading practice!

Learning Vocabulary.

I am cramming in lots of vocabulary, generally 20-30 new words most days, courtesy of Memrise.   I read a discussion about whether or not this is useful.  One side says that the more vocabulary you get into your head the better.  The other side says that this isn’t useful because you aren’t using the words, so they won’t stick.

Well, in one of my conversations, a few words that I had only come across in the last month or so came up, and I was able to recognize them, so I’m clearly in the first camp.   Cram in all the vocabulary your brain can take.  That’s my philosophy.

Now, obviously, you need vocabulary and grammar.  However, can we debate for a moment which is more useful?  With amazing grammar but a scanty vocabulary, how much can you really communicate?  With an extensive vocabulary but limited grammar, I think you can get more ideas across.

Learn both.  Both matter.

But, still, cram in the vocabulary at whatever rate works for you.

Of course, don’t forget, my advice is worth what you paid for it, and it’s free.

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Chit Chat

I am still wresting with passive, causative and passive-causative voice verbs.  I have written out for myself side by side examples of how to form the verbs (using the same group I and group II verbs each time) and then written out some sentences using the same verb in each form.  Practice, practice, practice.

Also, I’m still working on getting some regular conversation going.  I have four different people that I meet with on Skype each weekend – two on Saturday and two on Sunday, as well a couple of people that I chat with if we simply happen to be online at the same time.  Now I have a regular Thursday morning meet-up as well, even though it means having to get up an hour early so we can chat before I go to work.

My friend this morning made the mistake of asking if I had any Japanese questions, so I whipped out my homework on these verb forms.  That was fun for both of us, since we had a little linguistic difficulty.  This largely stemmed from the fact that we both knew the word 受身 which means passive voice, but neither one of us knew the Japanese word for causative voice verbs.  I would pull out 食べさせられます, and he would tell me that it was a passive verb, which is true but not the whole picture.

We got there in the end, though, by using some specific examples.  He then told me with a (friendly) laugh that it was so easy that Japanese children could do it.  That’s true, but they’ve been learning Japanese for longer than I have!  He really is a lot of fun to talk to.

If I had been learning Japanese 50 years ago, how would I have done it?  A box of cassette tapes, probably, and no chance at all to ask anyone else questions or get any language practice in.

I finished my lesson for this week and, during the lesson, found myself trying to explain geocaching in Japanese.  I experienced a vocabulary shortage.  Still, I got the point across, so that was good.  Also, I got some good explanations of 使役 and 受身 and, of course, 使役受身, i.e. causative, passive and causative-passive verbs.  On top of that, all of my homework on the topic was right, so I guess I’ve got it, even though I don’t feel like I’ve got it.

I am continuing to pack in new vocabulary with Memrise.  Today it was 37 new words related to the body and their kanji.  This is where Takoboto, which I just added to the app list came in handy.  It is one of many free dictionary apps out there, but it has a lot of nice feathres and works really smoothly.

Now it’s time for a brain break, and then, later on, I have some grammar that I want to review.

I suppose it all sounds like hard work, and it does definitely take effort, but it’s fun.  Actually, breaking down the kanji that make up a word is really interesting.

For example, today I learned 裸足.  裸 means naked and 足 meand foot, so 裸足 means barefoot.  Or how about 神経.  神 means mind or soul and 経 means sutra, longitude, pass through.  If you put that together, it isn’t too strange that 神経 means nerve.

Make it fun.  You learn a lot more that way.

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(By the way, 頑 means stubborn, firmly and 張 means lengthen.  So, if you lengthen the time for which you are stubborn, I guess you’ll do your best.)

 

 

 

 

 

Wait…Who Made Whom Do What?!

I think I sprained my brain.

I should mention ahead of time that, in case anyone is considering that rash act of actually reading this post, it’s going to be rather technical on finicky points of grammar.  I’m really writing more to get my head clear than for any other reason.  You have been warned.

Once upon a time, I learned about the passive form of a verb.  This is when something is done to the subject of the sentence, rather than having the subject be the doer, which would be the active tense.

犬は私をかみました – A dog bit me.  The dog is the subject of the sentence and the doer of the action.  This is active tense.

私は犬にかまれた – I was bitten by a dog.  I am the subject of the sentence, but the dog is the doer of the action.  This is passive tense.

Okay, fine.  I can do that.

Then I learned to causative form.  This is when someone lets or makes someone else do something.

先生は私に宿題をさせました – My teacher made me do homework.

Okay, so that’s alright, too.

But now I have to learn to combine them into that mythical beast we call the passive causative form.  Ir causative passive.  It seems to depend on who you ask.

Huh?

Now, correct me if I’m wrong (seriously, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong!), but, as I understand it, this means that the subject of the sentence is forced (or made) to do something by someone else.  For example:

いかを食べさせられた。- I was forced to eat squid.

Now, here’s my homework.

私は子どもに薬を飲ませた.   薬を飲んだ人 =

So, let’s break it down.   飲ませた is nonformal causative past tense (whew!).  So, the subject (私) made someone else do something.  I made my child take medicine.  薬を飲んだ人 = 子ども

私は嫌な上司にお酒を飲まされた。   お酒を飲んだ人 =

飲まされた is nonformal causative-passive past tense.  (Oh, boy.)  So, the subject (私) is being forced to do something.  My annoying boss forced me to drink alcohol.  Bad boss!  お酒を飲んだ人 = 私

子どもの時、私は母によく買い物に行かされた。  買い物に行った人 =

行かされた is nonformal causative-passive past tense.  (Again!)  When I was a child, my mother made me go shopping.  買い物に行った人 = 私

私は隣の人に足を踏まれた。 足を踏んだ人 =

踏まれた is nonformal passive past tense.  So the subject had something done to him by someone else.  I had my foot stepped on by the person next to me.  足を踏んだ人 = 隣の人 (I think that is asking for the person who did the stepping on…)

先生は遅刻した学生にその理由を言わせた。   理由を言った人 =

言わせた is nonformal causative past tense.  So the subject made someone else do something.

The teacher made the student who was late say the reason.  (Yes, I know that sounds clunky.  I’m not worried about that right now.)   理由を言った人 =  遅刻した学生

So…that’s what I’m going with.  Maybe it’s even correct.  We’ll see.

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