How To Language Shadow?

Language shadowing is apparently best done by walking around while you’re doing it. All the videos I’ve seen of people doing language shadowing show them walking around a park, by themselves, with ear buds in, and walking around and talking. I admire parks where there is no one to look at the weirdo walking around talking to themselves in a foreign language. I imagine calls to the police are greatly reduced in that scenario. Anyway, I’ve been using Erin’s Challenge! to try and do some language shadowing while bouncing up and down in my chair. Bouncing is movement, right? Also, one of my cats always decides it would be great… Read More

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EtoEto — When a Small Company Gets Too Ambitious?

When I first started studying Japanese, I told myself I couldn’t ignore kanji, even though every first year Japanese textbook I’d flipped through did exactly that for most, or all, of the textbook. I forget how I came across WaniKani, but it seemed like the best way to learn kanji, in conjunction with a full course in first year Japanese grammar and vocabulary. And used like that, it’s really great. The first man to make the kanji less terrifying was Heisig. As legend* has it, he locked himself in a tower surrounded by a moat, which was filled with kappa, and learned the meaning of every kanji by inventing clever… Read More

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Conversing in Japanese: Homonyms and Pitch

One of my favourite blogs about Japan on the net is Japanese Rule of 7. And one of my favourite posts on this blog is where Seeroiさん discusses the difficulties of all languages, but Japanese in particular. Kanji terrify people. I discussed them first on this blog because I both love and fear them, but also because I wanted to get them out of the way. They are a lot of work to master, but they are comparatively easy compared to listening to other humans speaking Japanese, and you responding to them in a grammatical fashion. (Or at least 45% grammatical, which is my goal these days.) No, as is… Read More

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Why Study? There’s An App For That!

I don’t know how I feel about this. http://eli-talk.com/en/ ELI is a small wearable microphone device worn on the collar. Connected to a smartphone app, it records and analyzes your daily conversation and generates personalized foreign language lessons for you. On the one hand, great! It could probably be a very good study aid! A good self-testing aid! A helper to your learning. On the other hand, you could get a lot of morons like this traveling around the world. (This video does not show the Eli, but the Logbar, but the end result could easily be the same.) (Trigger warning: smug MRA/creeper.) “Respect for culture? Respect for other peoples’… Read More

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Speaking Japanese

Your typical Japanese class is about 80% listening, and 20% building dialogues off the lesson of the day. At least, in the classes I’ve attended, which have been classes where English was the language used by the teacher. There is one immersion school in Toronto, but I’m not convinced the only difference in the structure is that everyone has to use Japanese. (Of course, this means you speak more Japanese from day 1, which might be a better approach.) Photo via Good Free Photos But there’s a problem, because next week, you start in on a brand new lesson, and some brand new dialogues. Maybe grammar from some of the… Read More

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Kanji Wrap-up

Wow, so many posts about kanji. Why do I think they’re important? You can’t do anything with reading or writing in Japanese unless you know them. They will help you in learning vocabulary and grammar. They are thus essential to Japanese studies. Otherwise, nothing much else. When you confront your own cranky dog of kanji, have the positive attitude of the guy below. No, I don’t know what these kanji say. 頑張ってください!!

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Writing the Kanji

Writing? Kanji? おい、おじさん、2017年だぞ!みんなはコンピューターを使ていますぜ! No need to get upset, I know quite well that the IT revolution has made Japanese resources so abundant that even a clod like me can study the language in the comfort of my own home. You just fire up your IME (on computer), or keyboard app (on your smartphone), and start typing in sweet, sweet English letters. These letters form kana. The drop-down list shows you a bunch of kanji that match the kana you are entering. If you know your kanji well enough, just pick it from the list. If not, just leave the kana in and hope anyone reading what you’re writing is excellent… Read More

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Pronouncing the Kanji

So, you’re doing pretty well in your Japanese studies. You can now stride confidently into any Japanese restaurant and say 一つとんかつラーメンおねがいします。(Is it totally correct? Well, you won’t starve as a tourist, anyway, as long as you go into tourist-friendly restaurants.) You even proudly know that you used a kanji in 一つ. Wow! Super! And teachers give you kanji that have two or three or four pronunciations, and you’re a bit worried, but hey! You’re a language expert from birth! You can do it! And then comes the mountain. Not the mountain 山, but this: I mean, the first time I saw this, my eyelid started to twitch. If yours didn’t,… Read More

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