New Japanese Resources

I am very excited because I ordered some new books from the Internet on learning Japanese.

The first one that got here is Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication by Taeko Kamiya.

book

All set to effectively communicate

I lightly reviewed the material in this book yesterday (it came yesterday) and I really, really like it! You get 142 Japanese sentence patterns, plus a brief but very informative explanation of the elements of the sentence AND you get other examples, AND you get exercises with answers. This is an excellent book to get going really quickly with the Japanese language.

FIRST VIDEO

I was trying to become more familiar with the Japanese language before I made my first Japanese video but I see now that this was a mistake. I should have started making videos the very first week I began learning. I realized that the point of learning a new language is to speak it, even if you make a lot of mistakes. Speaking the language is so important that one should begin right away and work on the mistakes later.

With that in mind, I was planning to make my first video this weekend but alas, I will be busy and away so I may make a video or I may not. Seems like a lot of drama for a video of me butchering the Japanese language!

Oh well.

Thank you for stopping by!

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Fluency

There are as many posts in the blogosphere about fluency as there are languages in the world. Some organizations have tried to codify fluency and set some kind of standard. I suppose there’s a use to that but all the definitions of fluency I saw left me wanting.

I think of my experiences with Spanish and English. I can certainly say that I have mastered both these languages. Sure, I speak English with a Mexican accent and I speak Spanish with a Northern Mexican accent but still, I can manipulate these two languages at will. I don’t have to think in order to use either in sophisticated ways; my vocabulary on either language is huge.

So as I struggle with Japanase (it’s only been about 6-7 weeks since I began studying it), I know what mastery of a language feels like and I know that by the end of October, I will be far from mastering Japanese. But will I be fluent? Last night I read a definition of fluency on a language blog that I really liked. This guys defines fluency as being able to speak the language without struggling to come up with what to say. By that standard, I doubt that I will be fluent.

I am not disappointed however because there are many other things I will have gained by the end of October by attempting to learn Japanese in three months. I have for example, began to form a methodology to learn a new language. I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that there are no shortcuts. You have to study. You have to strive to understand the structure of the language. You have to learn many verbs and you have to understand how to conjugate them. You have to put in the effort.

I also have gained some confidence that I am, at my age, able to learn a new language, thus demolishing the myth that only children can learn a new language. I predict that by the end of this year, I will be able to hold a conversation in Japanese spontaneously.

Also, I have tried a number of language learning methods, most very superficially I must admit, and for me, Pimsleur is the winner. I have now began to save money to buy the Pimsleur materials for learning Arabic, Chinese, and Vietnamese. For the European languages I plan to study, I will do fine with YouTube videos and other resources on the web.

I am so excited by the prospect of widening the scope of the things I will be able to read and understand and by the many movies and songs I will be able to enjoy in their original language.

And now, I will do what has become a past time of mine. I will list the list of languages I plan on learning:

Japanese
Chinese (Mandarin)
Vietnamese
Arabic
Portuguese
Italian
German
French

I think I will start learning Italian as soon as I make my first Japanese video, which will happen soon.

Thank you! Gracias! Arigato!

Chinese!

In my Karate class, there are people from Japan and people from Vietnam and all of them are friendly and willing to help me out with my Japanese and my Vietnamese.

Well, Tuesday I found out that one of the people I thought was Vietnamese is actually Chinese! From China! Woo Hoo! I asked her what she spoke and she said she can speak both Mandarin and Cantonese. Score!

So I took a quick look-see at Chinese; Mandarin to be exact and found out that Mandarin has four tones and that it’s totally doable! After reviewing my Vietnamese course, I developed a healthy fear of tonal languages you see, but I think learning Chinese could be a lot of fun!

So I think it’s time to review my language list again!

Thank you for looking!

 

Progress…or the lack thereof desu ne!

I continue on my quest to become a polyglot. I think to gain that title, I have to speak at least six languages fluently. I already speak English and Spanish fluently (plus I know them very well) and I am in the process of learning Japanese.

That is to say, I am making very little progress in learning Japanese. I have accomplished a number of things in the first month however:

1) I learned the Kana (Hiragana and Katakana)
2) I’ve learned around 20 Kanji.
3) I’ve learned a number of phrases.
4) I’ve listened to enough Japanese by native speakers that now, Japanese has a structure when I listen to it.

But my biggest accomplishment this month, has been to solve the mystery of desu ne. As I was watching videos on YouTube by native Japanese speakers, I noticed that the phrase desu ne occurred often in their speech. So I looked it up. Everywhere I looked, I was told that the phrase meant isn’t it? However, the sheer number of times the phrase occurred led me to believe that this phrase wasn’t being used that way. I mean, I watched an interview in a Japanese documentary and this man, by all appearances a business man, used the phrase about 25 times in the space of a minute or two!
So I finally found a website where this phrase was explained to my satisfaction. It turns out that desu ne is also a phrase akin to the Canadian eh or the American you know? and equally as overused.

So there, that’s my report on my polyglot experience thus far.

Oh, I also received my Pimsleur Quick Vietnamese course on the mail! I really like it! It’s all audio and so far the method makes sense to me. The Quick Vietnamese course consists of 8 lessons in 4 compact discs. The course was only $9.99 but there is a caveat; I will receive in the mail, additional materials on this language and if I decide to keep them, all I have to pay are four easy payments of around $70 each. Now, I like this Pimsleur stuff already and I think I may bite on this easy payment thing. I’ll keep you posted.

Also, my language list has been revised thus:

Japanese
Italian
Vietnamese
German

I think these 4 languages will get me my Polyglot title and you know I will be making me some business cards when I finally get there!

Thank you for stopping by!