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Distant Cousin
20-10-2006, 01:43 PM
I've been trying to teach myself Japanese for just over a year now, but the amount I know is pretty pathetic. I think this is mainly because I don't know how to study effectively. Do I just write everything out from a book, then read over and over it till it sinks in?

I also don't know what to learn first, vocab, kanji or grammar? I know most of the kana tables, about 25 basic kanji, a couple of easy sentences, and a tiny tiny bit of grammar.

I'm hoping to go to Japan for a gap year in a couple of years (still just a pipedream atm), and I'd really like to be competent in the language, but I have no idea how to go about learning.

Thanks guys.

Supergoal
20-10-2006, 02:07 PM
Tough question really as everyone has their own methods. First off it helps if you live in the country where the language is spoken , that way you'll pick it up the quickest no doubt. Now I study 30 minutes text/books in the morning, the odd few minutes checking up kanji through the day and speaking all day to relatives and friends or at shopping to staff etc. When I first started out it was a bum and I felt I wasn't getting anywhere, but just by studying you are progessing even if you feel you're not, so don't stress over it. Definitely find a couple of good text books such as Genki range 1 and 2 are excellent I found. Stay away from Kanji at the moment, learn some verbs and nouns, then learn to read Hiragana and Katakana, from there you'll begin to find your own learning style. As I said, even if you feel you're not progressing, just by studying you ARE learning....No worries.

Ganbare!

sj33
20-10-2006, 02:13 PM
I've just started a course in Japanese at UWE (a uni near here). While it's a uni course, anyone from the general public can take part.

3 hours a week, potentially a 3 year thing as there are 3 'levels'. Real relaxed, fun environment (smaller classes if you take the afternoon course too - most people take the evening course), and it's suprising how much you take in when your enjoying it.

Lots of potential to move on from there too, such as the JET scheme.

The Genki 1 book is essential in my opinion. Focus on Hiragana, nothing else until you've mastered that. Move on from romaji as soon as you can, as it's a really retarded way of trying to emulate proper Japanese.

Supergoal
20-10-2006, 02:16 PM
3 hours a week, potentially a 3 year thing as there are 3 'levels'. Real relaxed, fun environment (smaller classesif you take the afternoon course too - most people take the evening course), and it's suprisomg how much you take in when your enjoying it.



Yeah and that too, enjoy it and you'll buzz through it :)

Richard.John
20-10-2006, 02:30 PM
One of the best ways to learn a language is to combine it with your interests as studying alone is often not enough.

Supergoal
20-10-2006, 02:34 PM
One of the best ways to learn a language is to combine it with your interests as studying alone is often not enough.

That's where games come in. How I got into was this way

Distant Cousin
20-10-2006, 02:41 PM
Aye, I got into it from games and music (VK, oh the shame ;p).

I'll look out for that Genki book, also, what Grammar book(s) should i go for?

Supergoal
20-10-2006, 02:43 PM
Genki starts you off on the right foot and combines everything. Depending on your level, stick with Genki at first, then try the second book if you feel confident.

Distant Cousin
20-10-2006, 02:44 PM
Hmm, it seems to be mainly for class work. I'd rather learn on my own (for now anyway). It's a bit pricey too, but I'm not so concerned about that.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Genki-1-Text-Japan-Times/dp/4789009637/sr=8-1/qid=1161352288/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/026-1039533-1474059?ie=UTF8

dave heats
20-10-2006, 02:45 PM
Just get the genki book mate. Covers any grammar you might need. And pick up a cheap copy of japanese for busy people from ebay.

EDIT - and go to a class with a decent sensei.

Supergoal
20-10-2006, 02:59 PM
Yeah the Genki book is great for single learners too. I never used it in a group anyway.

Distant Cousin
20-10-2006, 03:09 PM
Hmm, I'm not sure about classes. I find them a bit demeaning tbh. Although I may have to find out about this Uni course. Got any info Jakey?

nietzschedancing
20-10-2006, 03:16 PM
In at the deep end, but these are invaluable if you can do straight up, balls to the wall rote learning and school-like excercises:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Introduction-Modern-Japanese-Grammar-Lessons/dp/052154887X/sr=1-1/qid=1161354281/ref=sr_1_1/026-9920307-6258830?ie=UTF8&s=books

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Introduction-Modern-Japanese-Exercises-Lists/dp/0521548888/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_b/026-9920307-6258830?ie=UTF8

Distant Cousin
20-10-2006, 03:19 PM
Hmm, I like the idea of them being suitable for slower learners. Seem a bit intensive though.

sj33
20-10-2006, 04:29 PM
Hmm, I'm not sure about classes. I find them a bit demeaning tbh. Although I may have to find out about this Uni course. Got any info Jakey?
A lot of universties run an Institution-Wide Language Programme, which is basically run purely by the university. Check out your local uni's and see if they offer such a scheme.
I'm doing it as a standalone course, though a lot of people do it alongside dedcated courses.
My uni has Level 1, 1+ and 2. Level 1 assumes no prior knowledge, but after a mere 3 classes I'm able to understand much of the lines I hear in animes. Really good fun if your in a smaller group too, as it's much more involved, so if they offer multiple times, find out which is the smallest (usually the afternoon, as students have their dedicated courses then).

And get the book mate, I read it regularly, 2-3 times a day, well easy to understand and moving at a good pace.

We have it at our uni for ?38.99 if you need it (I'm not in till Monday mind).

Don't be put off by the fact it's quite intensive - you soak it like a sponge.

dave heats
20-10-2006, 05:39 PM
Hmm, I'm not sure about classes. I find them a bit demeaning tbh. Although I may have to find out about this Uni course. Got any info Jakey?

Why would a class be demeaning?
I do level 2 at the same uni as shakeyjake as an additional module on my final year of architecture and having a sensei talk almost solid japanese for 2 hours combined with self learning will teach you far more than just the later.

Worth trying before dismissing i reckon :D

Distant Cousin
20-10-2006, 05:46 PM
Hmm well, it's probaby repercussions of school. I was talked down to and treated like a stupid 5 year-old in most of my lessons.

But I might give it a shot, how old do you have to be to do it?

dave heats
20-10-2006, 05:50 PM
You dont have to worry about that happening on a uni based lesson matey. Everyone is treated equally, and theres all sorts of age groups in the lessons. You get all sorts of people attending. In my class of 9 or 10, it ranges from the token otaku (who left ^_^) to a middle aged nutritional lecturer.

Not sure of the age requirement. Contact your local uni to firstly find out if they offer such a course, and if they do, how old you have to be to attend. My guess would be 17/18..

dave heats
20-10-2006, 06:00 PM
just had a quick look on the glasgow uni website and cant find any list of their languages. Although they do have a ILP, so they should offer japanese.
????????????
Ganbatte kudasai! (go for it)

Distant Cousin
20-10-2006, 06:45 PM
I think I might :D

When I've finished college, the course I'm doing is only one year.

Fireproofradiator
20-10-2006, 07:01 PM
I'm learning with a private tutor and we're going through Japanese for Busy People. One hour is ?16 (although I'm about to quit cos I've got bloody bills pilling up..). That's not too expensive if you count it as your big hobby - it's a night out down the pub, basically, and you get 1-to-1 tutorage with all the attention on you. I've been going for about six months - one lesson a fortnight - and it's just starting to click, but that's only simple sentence structures ('Mr Tanaka is on the chair...' etc). I normally do a couple of hours revision in between lessons.

I'd recommend 1-to-1 though - you can pick your own pace, get all the attention and ask all the questions you want, focus on the stuff that interests you, er... that's it!

My tutor's in the Sheffield area if anyone reading this is round there...

Distant Cousin
20-10-2006, 10:40 PM
Btw, what's this 3 year course called? It's part time right?

My sister goes to Stirling Uni which is quite close, so I could ask her to find out about it.

Marius
21-10-2006, 02:12 AM
Japanese for Busy People is a VERY dry and corporate book. It is aimed at business people with little free time, so the grammar in book one is very simple but much of the new vocabulary is completely useless - terms like section chief, division chief, business trip, looking at slides, have a meeting etc. Book one is fairly simple, but two and three have some complicated grammar to get through.

I ploughed through all three books and it was then a relief when I moved onto the intermediate genki book, which was much clearer, more useful (from my point of view) and more interesting. I recommend you start with that ahead of JFBP.

chaoticjelly
21-10-2006, 12:13 PM
Ooh and aah are the same in Japanese as they are in English.. you just increased your vocabulary..

nietzschedancing
21-10-2006, 12:34 PM
Ooh and aah are the same in Japanese as they are in English.. you just increased your vocabulary..

I thought 'a-re' replaced 'ooh' as an interjection of surprise or shock?

I may, however, have dreamed that.

JAPJAC
21-10-2006, 01:50 PM
I`m impressed at some folk wanting to learn Japanese. However, I am slightly baffled as to why? As far as I know Japan is the only country that speaks Japanese making the language somewhat useless in the real World? I have lived in Tokyo for over 3 years now and thus far have mastered one sentance perfectly-`Domora regarto Mr. Robarto` which roughly translates to `Thanks alot` which I am most proud of.

Well interested as to why kids here wanna learn it especially if they don`t actually reside here. Has it got anything to do with Japanese cartoons and comics? Why?

importaku
21-10-2006, 02:00 PM
And I can ask the question Why not??

Why do people learn any language?? People learn it because they are interested in the country. Or maybe like on here sme people want to learn as it allows them to understand japanese games/anime/music ect.

Not useful in the real world, dont know where you got that from. So if someone learns japanese & they dont live in japan its useless is it?

Supergoal
21-10-2006, 02:15 PM
In my case I learn it because I have to. Since being wed to a local girl and obligations of a family that don't speak English!

I think as long as people are trying to learn something, it's better than learning nothing. Having something to be interested in that is common among other folk is great right?..!

Also I think us British should get off are lazy slob arses and learn another language, instead of doing the "English Only" route. :) Widen your world

nietzschedancing
21-10-2006, 03:01 PM
I`m impressed at some folk wanting to learn Japanese. However, I am slightly baffled as to why? As far as I know Japan is the only country that speaks Japanese making the language somewhat useless in the real World? I have lived in Tokyo for over 3 years now and thus far have mastered one sentance perfectly-`Domora regarto Mr. Robarto` which roughly translates to `Thanks alot` which I am most proud of.

Well interested as to why kids here wanna learn it especially if they don`t actually reside here. Has it got anything to do with Japanese cartoons and comics? Why?

I hope you're being a little ironic. Why does anyone learn a language, then? To learn a language is to imbibe something of a culture, a nation, its history etc. Whether it's for practical reasons (like Supergoal), motivated by an interest in a particular article of Japanese culture (such as manga, anime and the like) or purely out of curiosity, to learn another language is a display of deference and world solidarity.

DCharlie
21-10-2006, 03:08 PM
Well interested as to why kids here wanna learn it especially if they don`t actually reside here. Has it got anything to do with Japanese cartoons and comics? Why?

you'd be surprised how much japanese text is in these japanese games!

Richard.John
21-10-2006, 03:52 PM
The real world? If you live in Japan it's the local lingo so it would be best to make a little effort in your world.

JAPJAC, If you have been in the country for three years and only know one phrase, then I feel sorry for you.

JAPJAC
21-10-2006, 03:53 PM
I don`t need your sympathy thank you. When in Rome but English has served me very nicely thank you thus never `needed` to learn it (Japanese that is). I assume your `fluent` mate? I think not. Kettle, black then. I`m not Japanese, you wouldn`t see me dead in a Jinbei, I can`t vote, I can`t join the army (do they have one?) etc etc etc. I can`t speak/write Japanese.

In them there Japanese RPG`s I`m sure DC?Eharlie! It`s very rare to find Japanese text in most action arcade machines in Japan! It`s mostly in a form of English isn`t it? Not really a problem then for gamers that don`t play RPG`s, table games and touchscreen/card-based games.

Just wondered why Japanese? Surely a form of Chinese and Spanish would be more useful unless it stems from comic/cartoon interests. Purely wanted someone to reply giving reasons why they have interest in learning Japanese. Wasn`t really about me and my Japanese language ingnorance.

Total respect anyone willing to give it ago as it seems proper difficult. Good luck!

Richard.John
21-10-2006, 04:13 PM
Kettle, black? Hardly! Either way it's your choice so whatever floats your boat.

JAPJAC
21-10-2006, 04:16 PM
If you would of written that in Japanese I would of been impressed in you proving me wrong, However, I would of then had it translated into English so I would of understood it thus proving my own personal point. You didn`t though. Shame. I am almost certain you cannot speak/write Japanese either. Same then.

mattfabb
21-10-2006, 04:23 PM
hi
in my opinion, to learn a language you need both motivation and a good teacher..its difficult to learn without anybody teaching you.
in the meantime, there is this webpage:

http://language.tiu.ac.jp/index_e.html

its called learning tutor, go to dictionary tools, you can copy and paste directly and get an esplanation of the kanji.
if you wonder what kind of stuff you could use, there is a japanese wikipedia, im sure they have pages about games, so you could learn more about the games you like, and learn some kanji.
hope this helps
ps, im italian, i graduated form cardiff uni with a degree in spanish and japanese, i think its shocking that somebody can live in japan for 3 years and only know domo ****ing arigato. dont you have any friend?

JAPJAC
21-10-2006, 04:26 PM
I have no Japanese friends that is true. My best friend is English and I grew up with him for 25 years in England. He lives in Tokyo also so I am lucky in a way. Alot of things here are written in English and most people can speak a little English, at least enough to get by on. I don`t remember seeing any written Japanese in everyday life in England nor did I ever hear any Japanese being spoken apart from in the Japan Centre.

importaku
21-10-2006, 04:34 PM
So Japjac how do you survive for cash & stuff if you dont speak japanese?? Surely you must have a job or somthing?

Wouldnt you have to know even a little japanese to get a job?

mattfabb
21-10-2006, 04:37 PM
you know the best guys in japan do not speak english, and would never have a good chat with you because they are afraid of making an ass of themselves in front of a gaijin, right?

the only people that bother to talk to gaijin are the weirdos.
i know from experience.

if you want to chill out with the locals, having a drink or something, you have to make an effort. the are happy if you try, even if youre not good.
uk if full of foreigners, japanese and koreans are everywere in cardiff, at least. the only problem to make friends is that you have to slow down, but whats important is their personality , not their fluency.

Marius
21-10-2006, 04:40 PM
So Japjac how do you survive for cash & stuff if you dont speak japanese?? Surely you must have a job or somthing?

Wouldnt you have to know even a little japanese to get a job?
Not really - depends what the job is. From English teachers, to accountants, to hostess girls, the lot, I've known some people who speak it really well and others who can't say anything. Definitely not 100% necessary. But it does make living here much easier.

Eps
21-10-2006, 05:36 PM
I thought this was going to turn into another one of these "more Japanese than thou!11" threads - but it's turned into a "less Japanese than thou" thread instead :D ;)

Shoju
21-10-2006, 08:26 PM
The Pal version of Shenmue 2 on the Dreamcast is quite useful. There's quite alot of useful dialogue with subtitles.

JU!
21-10-2006, 08:54 PM
I echo what most other people have said a class is most helpful, as long as you get a good teacher. Japanese for busy people can be good i think alot of classes use this but i also agree it can be some what dry. Talking to a teacher is also helpful and being in a class with people of the same interest helps as well.

The reasons i study Japanese. I went to Japan in 2003 speaking no Japanese when i came back, i wanted to know some language as to communicate better with people, ask things etc next time i went. I have studied Japanese for about 2-3 years now and while my grammar is rubbish i can nearly hold a conversation. In addition I have been to Japan a further 3 times and hope to teach English there after my degree.

My Japanese has helped me make many Japanese friends in university and talk to people i may never have spoken to and i would have never met. I also would have not met current girlfriend. Some times Japanese people come into my work e.g. someone came in once who could not speak much English i spoke to him in Japanese and have to other people on many occassions who come in. So it was useful to learn Japanese if just for that. I find learning it also very rewarding and fun. I also found i had to use my Japanese quite a bit in Tokyo last time i went, but you can get by without knowing any quite easily i think.

Distant Cousin
22-10-2006, 12:26 AM
Also, i was thinking about buying jap versions of consoles I don't own (wii, 360 etc). Good idea? I'd get a jap 360 if it wasn't so damn unreliable, or can it be sorted in the uk?

DCharlie
22-10-2006, 01:23 AM
I don`t need your sympathy thank you. When in Rome but English has served me very nicely thank you thus never `needed` to learn it (Japanese that is). I assume your `fluent` mate? I think not. Kettle, black then. I`m not Japanese, you wouldn`t see me dead in a Jinbei, I can`t vote, I can`t join the army (do they have one?) etc etc etc. I can`t speak/write Japanese.

some background, i had my lessons cancelled by work about 2 years ago, since when my japanese has suffered drastically - back then i failed level 2 proficiency by 5% , now... i'd probably be luck to get above 30%! lol - anyways - what puts the fear of god into me is an accident, or an emergency. For instance, something (god forbid) happens to my wife and i have to call an emergency number (that bits okay) but JUST SAY i had to follow some sort of emergency procedure in the mean time with instructions over the phone... i'd be all kinds of hosed. Yes, it's a doomsday-hopefully-should-never-happen scenario, but at least some japanese study will get you through the first part.

Again, not aimed directly at you JAPJAC, but there are people i work with who have been here for 10+ years , have a purely Japanese wife, a couple of kids and still don't know what the word for Tuesday is. If i were those people, i'd be worried sick.

To be perfectly honest, i've been here 6 years 3 months and i'm pretty much ashamed of the state of my Japanese. But that's a whole different topic.

Japan is great and all, but really, with zero japanese the gate comes crashing down on you in a number of areas, but you can survive for sure.


In them there Japanese RPG`s I`m sure DC・harlie! It`s very rare to find Japanese text in most action arcade machines in Japan! It`s mostly in a form of English isn`t it? Not really a problem then for gamers that don`t play RPG`s, table games and touchscreen/card-based games.

not at all, a whole host of arcade games (and arcade/action style home games) use text as pointers - case in point, Sando-R which explains what you need to do , Gatcharok, Made in Wario... it's possible to figure out with trial and error of course, but unless you are going to be happy playing arcade only style games for the rest of eternity, then i'd have thought it might become a problem at some point.

Regarding usefullness - of course, learning Mandarin or Spanish would be more practical, but if your passions are _Japanese_ video games , _Japanese_ Anime and Manga, _Japanese_ history, _Japanese_ culture, then it is more useful to that person to learn Japanese.

Supergoal
22-10-2006, 01:28 AM
I thought this was going to turn into another one of these "more Japanese than thou!11" threads - but it's turned into a "less Japanese than thou" thread instead :D ;)


lol

Supergoal
22-10-2006, 01:36 AM
To be perfectly honest, i've been here 6 years 3 months and i'm pretty much ashamed of the state of my Japanese. But that's a whole different topic.

Japan is great and all, but really, with zero japanese the gate comes crashing down on you in a number of areas, but you can survive for sure.

I understand completely this feeling...
Before returning to Japan this september I spent 2 years back in the UK where I didn't study Japanese one bit. Of course before those two years I spent almost 3 years in Japan. What really gets me down at times is how much I really want to speak well and sometimes I can't get across exatcly what I want to say. I feel, that I want, need, have to, talk to everyone about anything in any situation otherwise I'm useless.

I can't sit idle and let my Japanese decay, I have to keep progressing or become majorly depressed that I can't speak and complain that I don't understand instead...:(

JAPJAC
22-10-2006, 02:27 AM
dcharlie, those games are what we call `table games`, as I said. Thanks alot.

Richard.John
22-10-2006, 03:00 AM
There are a lot of foreigners in Japan who cannot string a simple sentence together. Most of course are English speakers (teachers) who just rely on sign language and broken Engrish from their victims.

I have a friend who has lived here for about 10 months and has never even attempted to learn the lingo. If you are in the country for a limited period of time, then fair enough, but as DCharlie points out, it's those nightmare scenarios that cause problems.

For exmaple, my wife's former colleague is Japanese and lived with his wife and baby in London. One day the child unexpectedly fell ill yet the mother couldn't speak enough English to handle an emergency situation so called her husband at work rather than the emergency services. The child died as a result. A rare event and a tragedy but no doubt a lesson learnt.

DCharlie
22-10-2006, 06:36 AM
dcharlie, those games are what we call `table games`, as I said. Thanks alot.

point taken - but there are still arcade style games with enough text to cause problems if you don't understand what you are supposed to do surely?

regardless , you are right , as you say : as long as you only ever want to play arcade games that have no japanese instructions then yes - your gaming life would not be improved by learning japanese.

Again, as we've discussed else where, that's somes perogative (wanting to play off all sorts , not focusing on particular types) - just like chosing not to learn japanese - in the end, i'd say you miss out on something but in the end it's a choice that each individual makes.

Anyways, I'd suspect that most of the people on this board have a wider range so would like to know at least what is going on in the games they play (being able to find the options, being able to understand the 'stores' , being able to understand the written objectives) hence for them learning Japanese is relevant to their enjoyment of their hobby.

Learning any language is to be commended, i don't see why it even needs to be questioned to be quite honest.

sj33
22-10-2006, 06:36 AM
Heck, people moan enough about the foriegners coming over to the UK and being unable to speak English. I'd say at least trying to learn the native language of the country you live in is just expected, surely?

Would be totally understandable if the residents didn't wanna give a person the time of day if they really didn't care that much.

Supergoal
22-10-2006, 08:14 AM
Heck, people moan enough about the foriegners coming over to the UK and being unable to speak English. I'd say at least trying to learn the native language of the country you live in is just expected, surely?

Would be totally understandable if the residents didn't wanna give a person the time of day if they really didn't care that much.

Great point.

Kotatsu Neko
22-10-2006, 08:49 AM
I read the Japanese for Busy people books but as someone else said they are indeed rather corporate and dull. I also watched a lot of anime unsubtitled, and slowly began to pick stuff up and it sank in. Eventually I could understand simple anime such as My Neighbour Totoro without subs, but complex stuff is still way over my head.

I haven't progressed my knowledge much at all in a long time as I'm really just too busy, but I do find time to listen to a Japanese podcast called Japanesepod101 from time to time. It's nicely done and has lessons for people of various abilities. It also starts from the very beginning if you're coming to it with zero knowledge.

http://www.japanesepod101.com/

You can grab the lot through iTunes if you have enough hard drive space.

cutmymilk
22-10-2006, 11:40 AM
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=017&item=270040624150&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&rd=1

Self pimping, but may be of interest to someone!

DCharlie
29-10-2006, 04:36 AM
dcharlie, those games are what we call `table games`, as I said. Thanks alot.

actually... are they? Table games is Mahjong , chequers , card games, chess, etc are they not?
Are any of the games you mentioned actually categorised as "table games" if so, where?

Akihabara
29-10-2006, 05:59 AM
In my experience learning from a PC screen is not an effective way.
Buy the Genki book, but also get the workbook.

Don't start with kanji, it will be much easier to learn kanji is you're fluent in hiragana and katakana, because you will be able to see the patterns etc. I've been studying now for 4 years and am now in a Japanese University learning every day for about 3 hours. Like Supergoal said, being in the country where the language is spoken is a key factor on learning it fast. 3 hours a week, like I had in University before is almost a waste of time. I learned more here in 2 weeks then in a whole year back in school.

JAPJAC you should do of course whatever you like, but don't you think you would feel a bit more at home here when able to read at least some hiragana and katakana? I remember going to South Korea last year and all the signs were like Arabic. I really feel that being able to read them in Japan are small things that make you feel more at home and also feel more appreciation from the Japanese people. Good luck anyway everybody, Japanese is not so hard as a lot of people say. Most of it makes perfect sense and with some devition it shouldn't be too hard to pick up.

fuse
29-10-2006, 08:44 AM
I'm doing a course at Thames Valley University currently, which sofar I'm enjoying and appreciating - I've only been at it 4 weeks and I feel I've come a lot further than if I would in months if I was self-tutoring. Out of question, has anyone ever used a series of books called "Minna No Nihongo"? That's what we were recommended (and I managed to pick up on the cheap from ebay), just curious as to how anyone more experienced rates it... it's not too useful for me yet seeing as it's all in Hirigana, but we're told that by Christmas-time we should be at least semi-capable on that front.

Does the Genki textbook have instruction in English? I'm wondering if it's worth picking that up too as something to work through on the side.

wonderboy
29-10-2006, 10:49 PM
The Genki book I, i have has english, hiragana and some Kanji. Nice
easy book, with explains the usual. Sentance structure, verbs, adjective
adverbs etc..

:)

DCharlie
30-10-2006, 05:19 AM
Out of question, has anyone ever used a series of books called "Minna No Nihongo"?

yup - i used those books - they aren't bad at all. Having everything from the off in Japanese really helps in the end. :)

sj33
30-10-2006, 10:12 AM
There are romaji and hiragana editions aren't there? I'm gonna ask my sensei (lol) about it today. Sounds like a bit of a double hitter book, further learning Japanese while getting used to reading hiragana

Supergoal
30-10-2006, 11:39 PM
Just to say again, the Genki books are excellent in my opinion aswell as some other folk have said. Just get it and start learning and enjoying.

Jaxon
31-10-2006, 12:49 AM
http://www.d-addicts.com

If you want to watch Japanese soap operas to help boost your listening comprehension, this is the place. A good number of the shows are unsubtitled, and if subtitles are available, they're usually offered as a separate file, allowing their use at your discretion. If you decide to really get into it, you could even take it upon yourself to translate and subtitle a series.

If you've never been exposed to Japanese dorama before, be warned: the standard of acting in the body of work as a whole is below average. Also, more often than not, a show that presents a strong, interesting and promising first episode will dissapointingly descend into cliche and suffer from poor characterization. Nevertheless, there are a few outstanding series out there that redeem them. And remember, no matter what you decide to watch, you're guaranteed lots of airtime of nice looking Japanese girls. =)

Jimmyzilla
31-10-2006, 01:05 AM
another thing about c/k/j-dramas is there's ALWAYS a twist, often more than one....and sometimes there's an amazing end!....except the series somehow manages to carry on for a few more episodes and it just ruins it....

Richard.John
31-10-2006, 03:10 AM
Japanese dramas? They are ****e, cliche ridden, bore fests, but if they help with the lingo, then why not!

Supergoal
31-10-2006, 06:25 AM
I think if you are at the level of understanding Japanese dramas then you have no worry at all about learning from books and stuff like that.

I struggle to understand shows and I've been here for just over 3 years in all.!

sj33
31-10-2006, 07:36 PM
Do you guys know of an online romaji->hiragana converter?

I ask this because I'm trying to nail down my Hiragana by practicing writing words and names I know. Would like the converter to see if I'm right!

Just gotta do the 'R' lot next week and the final 3 and I've got it memoriesed!

On that note, how do I type in hiragana in Opera?

saif
01-11-2006, 07:53 PM
I used Minna n nihongo and have always suggested it toanyon. fairly realistic and useful. Works quite methodically but with variations. GET IT!

sj33
02-11-2006, 06:46 AM
Mentioned Minna no Hihongo to my teacher on Monday, she'd gonna get it ordered so we can check it out ^_^
I'm totally up for ditching romaji and getting used to pure hiragana, I'll be glad when we actually do that.

sj33
27-04-2007, 01:16 PM
Sorry for the bump-age of this age old topic.

I'm planning to buy Minna no Nihongo for use during the summer, as I won't have classes until September.

Which books do I actually need then? Obviously the kana/kanji edition, but is the translation book essential? What about the Practice Questions book?
Is the CD worth it?

blueheat
27-04-2007, 06:42 PM
I'm moving to Japan for a year in three months time, but I only know a few katakana so far. I'm going to knuckle down though in my remaining months here, so I'll at least know something when I arrive in Japan.

I also would quite like to learn enough so that one day I can play through a few of the currently incomprehensible japanese rpgs I own.

saif
27-04-2007, 07:06 PM
Shakey, The idea of the book is that you do all in Japanese in class and the translation is for your own study really. I believe that is the concept. The translation and grammar book is, imho, essential. You won't understand anything without it. It has the vocab lists, translations of some of the text (not all - though it tells you HOW to understand all the textbook) and some extras. The CDs are pretty good I think. maybe not essential but I think they sound pretty natural and will help you a lot if you dont have opportunities otherwise.

sj33
27-04-2007, 08:21 PM
Not worth getting for me as just something to use myself over the summer? I have my Genki book, but I just wanted to look at other options.

saif
28-04-2007, 11:16 AM
I think Minna is excellent but I have not seen/used Genki. I noticed that most decent places teaching japanese that I saw in Japan used it. I taught myself with it and, even if I do say so myself, most people assumed I studied a lot and had lessons and were surprised that I taught myself.

GluedOnBeard
28-04-2007, 11:35 PM
Ive been slipping with my learning, really just getting back into it, i have found this time that Plimseur audio lessons are a big help, and i find things from it stick in my memory alot more. I am also using a couple of free programs on the net:

http://repose.cx/anki/download/index.html

http://jls.phreadom.net/

I am starting to remember all the hirigana now lol, but am trying to find the best way to move onto kanji after I have. Sounds like soem of you have some useful classes etc near you (or of course living in Japan!), im stuck in the middle of nowhere trying to find people to talk randomly with on msn in japanese etc, that really helps keep vocab stuck in your head.

I have also just discovered that Genki book and find it extremely useful.

importaku
28-04-2007, 11:54 PM
If you can get to play japanese games its really good for kana reading practice i find.

Im suprised sometimes how much i have picked up from just reading. Most games tend to use kana or kanji with furigana. however games aimed at older players tend to use kana free kanji making it tough as hell as i need my percious kana to tell me which pronunciation its meant to be LOL.

Now if only i could expand my vocabulary as i can read fluently but it would help if i knew what most of the words meant hehe.

Exception OE
29-04-2007, 07:55 PM
I got a Pimsluer course from a torrent. Its absolutly brilliant and I picked it up quite fast. I wish I'd kept it up :-(

Sogeking
29-04-2007, 09:08 PM
Exception OE,

Check your pm :|

SegaMark
16-05-2007, 11:26 PM
I got a Pimsluer course from a torrent. Its absolutly brilliant and I picked it up quite fast. I wish I'd kept it up :-(

I got hold of these too the other day, had a go of the first one a few times, I feel like I'll never learn the bloody language. I don't think I have the mental capacity.

How is everyone else that is learning getting on?

GluedOnBeard
23-06-2008, 11:04 PM
I realise this thread is a bit dated but recently really got back into my learning, although having to go over everything as I seem to have had a complete memory lapse :(

Going well so far but does anyone know of any good books that are a better size for reading on the bus as I only have giant brightly coloured books for home use, its a bit troublesome on the bus :(

kryss
24-06-2008, 12:41 AM
Best grammar book ever. (http://www.play.com/Books/Books/4-/379316/Oxford-Japanese-Grammar-and-Verbs/Product.html)

Darwock
24-06-2008, 06:51 AM
For instance, something (god forbid) happens to my wife and i have to call an emergency number (that bits okay) but JUST SAY i had to follow some sort of emergency procedure in the mean time with instructions over the phone... i'd be all kinds of hosed.

I know this is an old thread, but it's a new read for me, so apologies for commenting on an old debate.

The situation DCharlie describes happened to me - I woke up one morning to find my girlfriend doubled up in pain in the toilet, she took pain killers but vomited them back up again. Her condition got worse from there until she was literally screaming in pain, and pretty much incoherent in any language - she asked me to call an ambulance, so I called 119 - I should have had enough basic Japanese to handle this situation, however the operator deviated from the simple set of questions that I had learned in my beginner's nihongo class. That, combined with the panic, meant I wasn't able to respond. So what did I do? Like a complete **** I had to just pass the phone to my girlfriend do she could answer the questions in-between screams. I've never felt like such a useless prick in all my life.

I could take this thread on a tangent about the ridiculous inefficiency of the Japanese ambulance service, but I won't do that - suffice to say that eventually she was admitted to a hospital miles and miles away on the other side of the city (FYI I live five minutes from a hospital).. they gave her a shot to calm her down and the doctor assessed it as unusually strong period pain!!

So yeah, it's very very important to learn Japanese if you live here, unless you manage to live in a gaijin bubble completely isolated from Japanese people and/or culture. Although to be honest, I don't know how anybody could live here for several years and NOT pick up the language to some degree.. you'd have to be incredibly obtuse.

Mercian
24-06-2008, 09:22 AM
I know this is an old thread, but it's a new read for me, so apologies for commenting on an old debate.

The situation DCharlie describes happened to me - I woke up one morning to find my girlfriend doubled up in pain in the toilet, she took pain killers but vomited them back up again...

Whoa! That sounds like quite a traumatising experience. I wish you guys all the best and hope your partner is ok.

MattyD
15-09-2008, 09:30 PM
Just wondering if one of our resident Nihon-go speakers could answer a question for me?

I was just wondering the significance of why there's three words for 'wife'? I know 'okusan' is for someone else's wife and 'kanai' is for your own but there's a third word, 'tsuma', listed in my vocab book. So what's that for? The definition just says 'Wife (own)'.

Incidentally I got quite into reading (translated) Japanese poetry at one point and remember reading the old word for wife literally translated as 'person from the north', implying they come from Hokkaido where all the demons and beasts live :lol:

Marius
16-09-2008, 12:26 AM
okusan - respect word, used for other people's wives.

tsuma - used for your own wife.

kanai - also used for your own wife, but more uncouth and gruff. Think of it as meaning " 'er indoors" literally. Most women prefer hearing tsuma.

jamesy
16-09-2008, 01:34 AM
I learned the words for wife last year in japanese class aswell, completely forgotte them until now tho. While we are on the subject though I was just messing about in policenauts a few days ago and I noticed the main character say something like "Ore no wife(uaifu?)". Is there any particular good reason why he would have used an english word instead of the proper japanese term?

Paulos G
16-09-2008, 01:45 AM
I'm thinking about picking this up when it's released next month:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NvqF1QroL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

Richard.John
16-09-2008, 06:38 AM
Also yome is another, I think it means bride or similar. My woman basically.

Kanai (家内) is great. Literal translation equals inside the house or household, lol. Sums up the Japanese male mentality perfectly.

teddymeow
16-09-2008, 06:55 AM
I'm thinking about picking this up when it's released next month:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NvqF1QroL._SL500_AA280_.jpg

Just ordered this. Only ?15 off VGP so surely not that bad a buy?!

My wife (tsuma ;)) and I are also starting a course at our local college next week. ?80 for 10 weeks. Proper beginners stuff but you have to start somewhere. From that I hope to start more advanced classes in the new year after my next trip to Tokyo.

Richard.John
16-09-2008, 07:23 AM
Ganbatte (がんばって) teddymeow. Enjoy the course.

kryss
16-09-2008, 01:48 PM
I might have to get that for my mum...

Friction
16-09-2008, 02:56 PM
I was looking at that DS one too. I also am thinking of taking courses at the local Uni. I'm pretty keen to learn but a bit overwhelmed with where to start and how much info I would need to take in! Start small I guess?! :)

fuse
16-09-2008, 03:10 PM
I'm doing a course at Thames Valley University currently, which sofar I'm enjoying and appreciating - I've only been at it 4 weeks and I feel I've come a lot further than if I would in months if I was self-tutoring. Out of question, has anyone ever used a series of books called "Minna No Nihongo"? That's what we were recommended (and I managed to pick up on the cheap from ebay), just curious as to how anyone more experienced rates it... it's not too useful for me yet seeing as it's all in Hirigana, but we're told that by Christmas-time we should be at least semi-capable on that front.

Does the Genki textbook have instruction in English? I'm wondering if it's worth picking that up too as something to work through on the side.
Ooh, reflection.

As the teacher predicted, we'd pretty much nailed hirigana in the first term, and by the end of the first year I was happy enough with katakana and about 30/40 or so kanji on top of that. My first year teacher was awesome, quite frankly, and gave us all a great foundation. Since then? Really slipped :(

Second year teacher was crap - it felt like we were covering too much old ground and not enough new, and instead of checking people's understanding of things it was more about parrot-esque repetition. Between that and some *ahem* personal circumstances with another member of the class, I ended up dropping out.

Still like to practice all the time even if I'm not learning new things, and that DS title certainly looks like an insta-buy for me. Would be good to get back into it :)

saif
16-09-2008, 03:31 PM
Minna no Nihongo (i will not tire of recommending this!)

I would fully recommend learning hiragana (as a reading script) first and foremost - before learning words even! Then, once you have that, stay away from romaji as it will bring with it pronunciation issues that are incredibly difficult to get rid of. Learning a new script is a great feeling too.

sj33
16-09-2008, 03:40 PM
I can't even remember if I posted in this thread before, but meh.

I'm sure it's been said before, but books and DS games alone will only get you so far, a person needs to try and hunt down part-time courses in their local area. There's about 4 or 5 running in Bristol, I did the one at University of the West of England for 2 years. I loved every second of it, despite only finishing the second year with 2 students (down from about 40, no lie!).

I'm going to be studying Japanese at degree level at the University of Sheffield in just over a weeks time, for 5 years - can't wait. But they'd never have accepted me if I didn't cover the basics for 2 years already, so such part-time courses are an excellent place to start, and give you a level of interaction that no book can offer. Books are great for reinforcing, however.

On that note, can anyone recommend one of those DS Kanji games for people like me needing to work on their kanji?

I read Minna no Nihongo before, I rate it higher than the Genki book we were using.

MattyD
16-09-2008, 03:41 PM
okusan - respect word, used for other people's wives.

tsuma - used for your own wife.

kanai - also used for your own wife, but more uncouth and gruff. Think of it as meaning " 'er indoors" literally. Most women prefer hearing tsuma.

I thought it must be something like that. Funny thing is all the dialogues I've been through so far use 'kanai' rather than tsuma but I guess that's just the Japanese mentality. Or else they expect that in the real world you will encounter people using kanai more often.

I knew the Japanese had some 'old-fashioned' values but seeing how entrenched the gender divide is even in their language (calling female colleagues 'chan' even when they're essentially equal etc) has been eye-opening.

Richard.John
16-09-2008, 04:13 PM
I think 'chan' is just cute, a term of endearment in some ways, less rigid that 'san'.

Anpanman
16-09-2008, 06:41 PM
I'd agree but maybe it also depends on the family, location or just how it sounds.

The brother in law is a 'chan' and we - me, wife, daughter are all 'san'. No 'kun's at all.

kryss
17-09-2008, 12:12 AM
I'm sure it's been said before, but books and DS games alone will only get you so far
I learnt most of my Japanese from reading manga, that's the best place to learn natural Japanese AND keep yourself interested at the same time (and they're cheaper than their English-translated counterparts).


On that note, can anyone recommend one of those DS Kanji games for people like me needing to work on their kanji?
Nazotte oboeru otona no kanji renshu: kanzenban (http://ntsc-uk.domino.org/showthread.php?t=81622)
なぞっておぼえる大人の漢字練習:完全版
THE best one out there. The basic training is enough really, but there are challenges which will really help you practice too - 700 of them! I just progressed to Level 8 making me the same as a 13 year-old kid...


I read Minna no Nihongo before, I rate it higher than the Genki book we were using.
I hate both. But they are good practice.
I like this (http://www.play.com/Books/Books/4-/379316/Oxford-Japanese-Grammar-and-Verbs/Product.html), but it's pure explanations.

sj33
17-09-2008, 01:22 AM
^Thanks for the advice. Good to know the game assumes only kana knowledge, I'll track it down ASAP! The book too (which is surely easier to find!)

EDIT - This looks like something worth keeping an eye on... http://www.amazon.com/My-Japanese-Coach-Nintendo-DS/dp/B001BZ8EX8

MattyD
17-09-2008, 07:54 AM
Nazotte oboeru otona no kanji renshu: kanzenban (http://ntsc-uk.domino.org/showthread.php?t=81622)
なぞっておぼえる大人の漢字練習:完全版
THE best one out there. The basic training is enough really, but there are challenges which will really help you practice too - 700 of them! I just progressed to Level 8 making me the same as a 13 year-old kid...

Which means you're officially better at reading Japanese than most people are at reading English :ph34r:

importaku
21-09-2008, 09:27 PM
Theres a couple of other games for the ds that are great at helping learn japanese.

http://image1.play-asia.com/350/PA.75701.001.jpg
Anpanman To Asobo Aiueo Kyou****su

Perfect for learning hiragana & katakana, it will teach you stroke order & how to pronounce it. Theres a ton of simple games that will test your writing & listening skills, it's aimed at young kids but perfect for beginners.

http://image4.play-asia.com/640/PA.84396.001.jpg
Kotoba No Puzzle Mojipittan DS

Once you have mastered kana you can expand your vocabulary of words playing this, its like a japanese version of scrabble, the puzzles vary. Some you have to spell a set word, others you have to fill all the spaces, others you have to create so many words using a set number of characters. I play it with a dictionary next to me, see what tiles are on the board then flip to the page & start looking for words using those characters. Helps me pick up words pretty quickly.

jamesy
21-09-2008, 09:48 PM
That top game you posted there looks interesting. I can already recognize pretty much all the katakana and hiragana and I'm fairly decent at writing most of them, but I do get confused and mix them up sometimes.:rolleyes:
You reckon this would be useful for becoming more familiar with kana and being able to read quicker? Wouldn't wanna buy it and find out it's a little too basic.(unlikely)

importaku
21-09-2008, 10:00 PM
http://nintendo-import.blogspot.com/2007/05/anpanman-to-asobo-aiue-oky****su-date.html
Heres a translation of the mini games have a look & see if it's too basic.

The games are a mixture of tests, some will require you to be able to say what character or word is on the screen, another teaches you which characters to put the " on, others teach you which kana is missing. Another game asks you to say the time.

Theres an alphabet that has 3 words to learn for each character so theres a mini vocabulary to learn, these words are used in the minigames so it's all self contained.

The official games website has a few movies on about how it works ect.
http://www.agatsuma-toys.com/aiueo/index.html

sj33
21-09-2008, 10:04 PM
I'm perfectly kana fluent and have been for 2 years, so wasn't too worried about the kana test awaiting us on the first day of uni (to make sure we followed instructions and made sure we know them!). What I didn't realise what that we'd be tested in kana order... I never even thought of that!

This seems to be a good way of remembering that though:

"Kana Signs, Take Note How Much You Read and Write them" (http://www.epochrypha.com/japanese/kana_tables.html)

jamesy
21-09-2008, 10:12 PM
Think i might go for this. Seems to have the sorta stuff i SHOULD know from classes but unfortunately I haven't really spent any time learning for a while. Cheers for the link to this importaku. At least I know I won't get any worse by trying. :) I sure as hell hope not anyway.

Out of interest how did the test go Shakey_Jake?

importaku
21-09-2008, 10:23 PM
The fact you can read kana will help a lot, most of the games test you in some way. One even tests you to see if you can remember the order they come in the alphabet. You have to arrange them on the train in order.

I get quite excited that i can play it all fluently, then i remember its aimed at under 5's LOL oh the shame of it all :lol:

If you do get it & need further clarification on any of the minigames just send us a PM & i'll sort you out.

jamesy
21-09-2008, 10:28 PM
lol cheers mate. Expect a few pm's when it arrives then. :P Definitely gonna order it tonight. Since I'm getting it tho it would be rude not to buy something else at the same time.

EDIT: Just ordered this. I'll post my impressions of it when it arrives in case anyone is interested.

sj33
22-09-2008, 07:51 AM
When I was learning kana in class, our teacher made it real easy by making them look like little pictures of things which rhymed with the sound (e.g. みlooking a bit like someone riding a mini-scooter, supposedly!). We learnt 10 per week (i.e. 2 groups), and giving us something easy to remember rather than a bunch of squiggles made it really easy. There may be some websites which do something similar. I was quite disappointed when she didn't do this for the kanji!

I also printed out loads of sheets with squares on, and just wrote lines and lines of kana. One kana per line. Just drilling the kana over and over (maybe even saying the kana at the same time so you mentally associate a kana with a specific sound) really help you remember it.

And also don't get too bogged down with stroke order, kana order etc. just yet. The important thing right now is to just be able to know what a kana is by looking at it, then you can perfect.

Good luck!

JU!
22-09-2008, 07:54 AM
Nazotte oboeru otona no kanji renshu: kanzenban (http://ntsc-uk.domino.org/showthread.php?t=81622)
なぞっておぼえる大人の漢字練習:完全版


Had a go on a mates vers of this Sat. Definitely gonna buy a DS n this as soon as poss. My kanji level needs to go up big style:D.

kryss
22-09-2008, 03:30 PM
Whatever you think your ability is, start at level 1.

teddymeow
26-09-2008, 12:16 AM
First beginners lesson tonight. It was nice knowing pretty much all that the teacher was telling us but it felt good to be practising it with other people who wanted to learn.

Next week should be good as we're moving into unknown territory which shows how deep my knowledge of Jaoanese is if everything I know can be retaight in one 2 hour lesson :lol:

As an aside the 'My Japanese Coach' DS game has been delayed until mid-October :(

jamesy
26-09-2008, 12:19 AM
You'll have to post up some impressions whenever you finally get the "my japanese coach" software. My anpanman learning game has been shipped from play-asia today so hopefully i'll have it within a week.

teddymeow
26-09-2008, 07:09 AM
^Will do.

My homework this week is to memorize the vowel hiragana. Just bought iKana for my iPhone so I can try and go that little bit further while I'm travelling to work in the morning.

saif
26-09-2008, 11:17 AM
teddy, personally, I would not bother with the tech and just sit down and write them by rote. It is annoying BUT it will give you a better feel for the shape and the flow of writing hiragana. Writing Japanese (basic) is something that you will not use that often so you should not just think you have it down.
Also, it allows you to get your own style into it.

kryss
26-09-2008, 12:56 PM
Sage-like advice there saif. Pencil, paper, effort. That's what it takes.

saif
26-09-2008, 01:33 PM
Ironically, i didn't do it like that ;)

But I still feel the effects of not doing that the first time, if you get the basics spot on, it all flows, if you have no rush to learn (ie you are not actually going to Japan tomorrow), then take the time and get it right. The feel is very important imho.

I personally learnt hiragana in 3 days by looking at a chart and deciphering words using the chart (having gone through and "looked at" each character first. But I was IN japan, and obviously there was no shortage of words to decipher. katakana I did in a similar way and that took me about three hours. But before I felt comfortable (ie not thinking is it this, or that?), it took some time. And my writing is still shocking.
If you want to get good, beyond kana, you really need to be aware of the importance of accuracy when writing.

kryss
26-09-2008, 02:26 PM
I worked the other way around, learning to read by writing. Took me six weeks to learn both Hiragana and Katakana by practicing every night in work.

Richard.John
26-09-2008, 04:23 PM
I have no problems reading both H and K but writing is more difficult as I rarely have the need. Actually, make that never.

teddymeow
26-09-2008, 07:10 PM
It's more to get an idea of what they look like by using the flash card game that it comes on it.

I intend to sit down this evening with the Hiragana I "think" I have memorized and do what I would consider "proper" studying by copying them down and seeing if I can name them. I can then check my answers from the chart provided by the college and see how I am getting on.

It's great being able to sy that I am learning something new. It's been on my list of things to do for a while and it's great that I will be able to use it in the future to further the enjoyment of my hobbies :)



Fingers crossed.

sj33
26-09-2008, 07:45 PM
I honestly can't remember if I've already mentioned this, but when I learnt kana 2 years ago, I just dedicated myself to 10 a week (+ voiced variants), and sat down and wrote rows of them, in the correct stroke order, and said the kana at the same time. I don't know how many trees went into my kana practice, I just wrote pages. and pages.

This killed 3 birds with 1 stone - I knew what the kana looked like, I associated the sound with the visual representation of the kana, and I also knew the stroke order right from the start, rather than having to tackle that later.

I still use this approach when learning kanji. I feel this approach is best because you're getting it all right from day one, without getting into bad habbits with the stroke order. It becomes invaluable when learning kanji because you develop and ability to 'guess' the stroke order based on what you already know.

The temptation to take on more than 10 a week once you think you've 'mastered' that weeks selection is strong, but not recommended in my eyes, because it's the pure drilling of the same kana over and over that drill them into your brain.

teddymeow
26-09-2008, 08:05 PM
The temptation to take on more than 10 a week once you think you've 'mastered' that weeks selection is strong, but not recommended in my eyes, because it's the pure drilling of the same kana over and over that drill them into your brain.

Cool, cheers for that. I guess notebooks all around town will be quaking once they learn that I am out to master Hiragana and Katakana ;)

I guess it's because I found the first five fairly easy to recognise but now that I have started to write them down I understand how tricky this is going to be.

God knows what it will be like when I am trying to remember all the Hiragana and then start Katakana.

Better make sure I've got enough pens :)

sj33
26-09-2008, 08:21 PM
Good luck with it and stick at it! I think it took me 6 weeks to get through all the hirigana, and then had to start with the katakana! But it's well worth it. After doing it that way, I could read kana without having to 'mentally translate'. Just be sure to go back over the older ones now and again to keep them fresh.

It's worth the effort, and if you later do any other Japanese course, you'll be flying. As I say, I'd doing a degree course now.

honeymustard
26-09-2008, 08:42 PM
I guess I'll ask this here as I was always curious... is stroke order really a big deal in Japan? I didn't think it would make much difference... not many people see you writing surely?

importaku
26-09-2008, 08:51 PM
Its not important for people watching you write, the reason stroke order is important is because when it comes to learning kanji & when you use a dictionary you have to find them by the amount of strokes they have & each part is drawn in a set way. If you cant tell which bit is what, you will find it extremely hard to find the correct kanji out of the thousands.

But with kana its not so bad, maybe when you play game that has you writing would stroke order be important as they detect your writing by the order of the lines to work out which character you
just wrote.

sj33
26-09-2008, 09:04 PM
I'd say if you're going to be learning to draw kana anyway, you may as well do it properly from the get-go. I didn't really understand it either at first, but it soon becomes obvious when you move onto kanji and realise they have an accepted stroke order for a reason - it's just miles more natural to write them in those strokes. It also makes learning kanji strokes a million times easier because it's not random, it's all done in a set, logical way (even if it's not initially obvious).

Hohum
26-09-2008, 10:33 PM
I plan to have a crack at learning Japanese in the near future (something I've pretty much always been interested in doing, but put off as it seemed so intimidating). Anyway, the following resource could be helpful for some of you perhaps:

http://www.polarcloud.com/japanese

Besides the firefox plugin there are also downloadable flash card sets at the bottom of the page, pdf format, ready to print. I know everyone has their own methods of learning, but they could be useful to some... i.e. hand a few to a friend and get them to test you, etc.

saif
27-09-2008, 10:16 AM
stroke order is not that important for kana but i was shocked at how different the characters can look when you do the strokes in a diffferent way. It just makes them a lot easier to read. It makes a big difference with similar kana such as "so" and "n", or ke and ku.

noobish hat
27-09-2008, 10:35 AM
I've found stroke order is important to both kanji and kana. If you learn them wrong then handwriting recognition tools WILL NOT work, and this can become a problem when you start to use dictionaries (or games) that require this, particularly because it's extremely difficult to unlearn

teddymeow
28-09-2008, 09:08 PM
Well, I have been practicing a lot the last couple of days (on the train on the way to work, during me lunch break and certainly today as I've been off work) and I've got:

a, i, u, e, o, ka, ki, ku, ke, ko memorised and I can write them down without much needing to sit there and think what they look like.

I've found it best to split them into the groups they are in (so a, i, u, e, o then ka, ki, ku, ke, ko etc...) look at them and their stroke order and then write down a couple of pages of each one. Then once I have done that for each 1 of the 5 I go away for a bit and do something else then come back and attempt to write all 5 down in one go to see if they have stuck.

I hope this system proves to work as once I start getting further into the alphabet it should make it easier to recall the earlier Hiragana I have learnt. It's proved successful for the first 10 so I will start with the "S2 tomorrow and see how it goes.

And the learning continues...I'm loving it...:D

sj33
28-09-2008, 09:20 PM
Sounds like the best way of doing it :) Obviously it's only worth drilling it while your mind is still in the activity, so it's good to go away and revisit. I've got a kana test tomorrow, and although I know my kana, I used this as an opportunity to be sure my stroke order is correct, and I've done pretty much the same thing :) Sticking to the groups makes things simpler of course... it's wise to learn them in correct order, so try to do the s/t's next week, n/h's the week after etc. There is an order (http://www.epochrypha.com/japanese/kana_tables.html) ('Kana Signs, Take Note How Much You Read and Write them')!.

If I may go on a tangent, we had a Japanese meetup last night, all the Japanese class but also any Japanese people (studying over here from Japan). Must confess, my first actual experience talking to real Japanese people who had never left Japan before! They were 2nd years university students studying English, and all eager to learn English, so I didn't get too much opportunity to give my atrocious Japanese skills a whirl, though I managed to slip in ひこき with a girl who was struggling to remember Airplane... was a fulfilling feeling to say a Japanese word and they understood it! One strange pattern, they all shared a love for Harry Potter, Busted, McFly and Utada Hikaru, without exception. I love Hikky, can't understand their love for Busted or McFly, though I'm sure they'd feel my obsession with Morning Musume, AKB48, Berryz Koubou etc. to be equally concerning! A good night though, and made a prat of myself on the karaoke. Everyone's joined the Japan society, including the NTSC-J girlies, so it should be good stuff! =)

noobish hat
29-09-2008, 12:09 AM
what uni are you at?

kryss
29-09-2008, 12:33 AM
ひこうき is aeroplane. Watch out for the extended vowels! They'll get you if you're not careful.

sj33
29-09-2008, 07:21 AM
^Thank you! Luckily the absent う was inaudiable when I said it to the Japanese girl!


what uni are you at?

University of Sheffield.

teddymeow
05-10-2008, 11:41 PM
Okay. So I'm up to 25 Hiragana now and the bloody "N" sylables are nice and fun to write, aren't they :( Blimey.

On a side note, I've been trawling Youtube for videos of Monkey Majik songs and managed to read one of the song titles in Hiragana without any form of notage being looked at first.

Made me ridiculously excited - probably more than it should have done :D but then it has helped to reinforce that I am loving learning something new. I've no idea what the word means mind you but it was amazing to be able to look at it and know how it should be said.

The song was called あいたくて (Aitakute) and it's actually a pretty cool song too. From the new album Time.

Anyways...

importaku
06-10-2008, 12:44 AM
Okay. So I'm up to 25 Hiragana now and the bloody "N" sylables are nice and fun to write, aren't they :( Blimey.

On a side note, I've been trawling Youtube for videos of Monkey Majik songs and managed to read one of the song titles in Hiragana without any form of notage being looked at first.

Made me ridiculously excited - probably more than it should have done :D but then it has helped to reinforce that I am loving learning something new. I've no idea what the word means mind you but it was amazing to be able to look at it and know how it should be said.

The song was called あいたくて (Aitakute) and it's actually a pretty cool song too. From the new album Time.

Anyways...

The more you do it the better you'll get & before long you will be able to read pretty fast. Try it in games too you'll get lot of practice in there.

jamesy
06-10-2008, 01:48 AM
Totally agree there. I get pretty much all my practice of reading through stuff in games. Wish i had a good dictionary to look up stuff i'm reading tho.

On another note my anpanman game came a couple of days ago. Don't have my ds atm tho. Lookin foward to giving it a go.

Richard.John
06-10-2008, 02:31 AM
Extended vowels are a problem as well as double consonants. A word for monster can become the slang for the stiffened part of a man's body if you are not careful.

Darwock
06-10-2008, 07:19 AM
Nothing to do with vowels or consonants but I found the best example of word confusion to be...

しゃべる shaberu (<- means 'speak')
しゃぶれ shabure (<- means 'give me a blowjob')

kryss
06-10-2008, 01:58 PM
おしゃぶり oshaburi (<-means a baby's dummy)

I think I got that right...

If you need a game to practice reading kana, try one of the pokemon games. No kanji there.

noobish hat
06-10-2008, 03:34 PM
Ironically, once you've mastered kana and start understanding the actual words, it becomes a real pain in the ass. Something written all in kana is harder to understand than something written with kanji and a lot of gameboy games are prime examples of that.

On another note, anyone going for the jlpt this year?

sj33
06-10-2008, 03:51 PM
What's the best way you guys find for learning actual vocabulary? Had this weeks lot of adjectives today, and there's a fair few I don't know - not really sure how to go about drilling these in!

kryss
07-10-2008, 12:28 AM
JLPT for me this year. Not very confident though.

Practice, practice, practice.
Be creative, write a story about something and use all the words you've just learned.

Oh, and learn the kanji for those adjectives! That'll help you no end.
Just out of interest, what did you learn?

sj33
09-10-2008, 10:38 AM
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mind-Your-Language-Japanese-Nintendo/dp/B001HN6QJS/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=videogames&qid=1223545073&sr=8-5

One to keep an eye on. Presumably different to the US 'My Japanese Coach' game.

noobish hat
09-10-2008, 11:11 AM
hey kryss, what level you going for? I'm tackling jlpt 2. Should have done it last year with everyone else in my class but I'm too lazy.

kryss
10-10-2008, 12:49 AM
Er, 1. Hence why I need to study. Scraped 2 last year after almost no revision.

teddymeow
14-10-2008, 07:39 PM
VG+ have updated their blog stating that My Japanese Coach has started to ship today so hopefully I should get mine by the end of the week.

Didn't have a lesson last week as the college had an open evening :(

Need to practice my Hiragana a bit more as I have only learnt up to the "Ns" so far what with work being more than a little hectic.

Might do some later on as the wife is on a late shift.

thebuddahman
15-10-2008, 08:47 PM
I'm just learning the hiragana for Ka, Ki, Ku etc etc and Sa, Si, Su at the moment.... quite enjoying learning with a class :)

jamesy
15-10-2008, 11:12 PM
Sa, Shi, Su at the moment...

That's better. :P

Anyway finally got my ds back on the go. Been trying out this anpan learning game. Some pretty neat stuff in it. There is a game where you have to say the right word into the mic depending on what the character on screen is doing. So if they are about to go to bed you have to say "oyasuminasai". Only problem with it is it doesn't seem to be too accurate. Second time i was going through it i didn't know one of them and just said "baka" and it accepted it! I'll post more impressions when i get more time with it.

Also started back to my lessons this week. We were learning adjectives. Anyone know if there is a way to tell an "i" adjective from an "na" or is it just a matter of learning them separately and recognizing them?

noobish hat
15-10-2008, 11:44 PM
you just have to learn them. all of them. although loan word adjectives are usually na

sj33
15-10-2008, 11:48 PM
Generally if it ends with an 'i', then it's an 'i adjective'. There are only a few handful of 'na adjectives' that end with 'i' (e.g. 'kirei'). Most of them thankfully don't.

jamesy
15-10-2008, 11:51 PM
:( fairly devastatin. I've noticed a few that must be na such as "benri" as removing the i would mean there would be no proper syllable. Am I right in thinking this would work for all of that kind?

What do you mean by loan word tho?

Thanks guys btw. :)

sj33
15-10-2008, 11:55 PM
By 'i' I meant い i.e the proper kana. I dunno if you've done kana yet, but understand that 'ri' is り. This is one of the many complications that romaji causes, and why it should be obliterated from the face of the earth.

So 'benri' is actually べんり, whereas the awkward 'kirei' is きれい. The key difference being the latter ends with the い kana, whereas the former does not.

noobish hat
15-10-2008, 11:56 PM
words they stole from other, better languages, then mangled until unrecognisable.

jamesy
16-10-2008, 12:02 AM
haha nice description of a loan word there. I've noticed a fair bit of that kinda thing actually.

I see what you're saying there when you talk about "i". I have learned kana btw. Dunno how to type them tho so just pretend for now these are hiragana. :P You mean that benri actually ends in "ri" rather than "i". That's kinda the point i was getting at. You can't chop the syllable in half so it must be an "na" adjective.

Am I following correctly?

sj33
16-10-2008, 12:06 AM
My memory fails me, but I assume べんり is a 'な adjective'. I've personally not came across an 'い adjective' that ends with anything but an い (though as I say, there are a few 'な adjectives' that end with い such as きれい, but they're few in number).

So basically, assume an adjective that ends with い is an 'い adjective', and just memorise the few exceptions like きれい。

jamesy
16-10-2008, 12:08 AM
OK cheers for the help.:) Now i just gotta go learn them...

noobish hat
16-10-2008, 12:09 AM
the point is that they are called na and i-adjectives because you need to add that mora to the word, so technically very few i-adjectives end with an i before you add it.

sj33
16-10-2008, 12:15 AM
^That's a kinda complicated way of viewing it though isn't it? Because you generally do use い adjectives with the trailing い、wheras you only use the な in certain situations (such as describing a noun) . That's why the な doesn't appear in the dictionary but the い does.

kryss
16-10-2008, 12:15 AM
便利(べんり) and 綺麗(きれい) only end "i" when they're not written with their kanji. i-adjectives ALWAYS end い as that is how they change form when used as adverbs, past-tense, etc.

sj33
16-10-2008, 12:16 AM
^Thanks for that, I do not know the kanji for those adjectives, so that clears things up for me a bit.

kryss
16-10-2008, 12:25 AM
The difficult one is remembering which -る verbs are ichidan and which are godan.

jamesy
01-12-2008, 02:53 PM
Hi, back to stress people out again. :w00t:
Just wondering where I can get initial D manga. I mean the originals in japanese, not the translated versions. I dunno if it'll help me learn much but it'll at least make me maybe remember a few words rather than just lists in text books.

Cheers!

kryss
01-12-2008, 02:58 PM
You could order it direct off Amazon.co.jp, they'll deliver books to the UK.

I'd recommend something more everyday, like School Rumble or Love Hina. I don't know about Initial D, but some manga doesn't have furigana and unless you're REALLY good at reading kanji you'll be wanting it.

jamesy
01-12-2008, 03:17 PM
hmm i'll have to look in to it then. Was asking about initial d mainly as it's the only anime i'm really into. I'll check out some of your suggestions tho. thanks.

kryss
01-12-2008, 03:20 PM
I could probably find some cheap secondhand stuff if you want me to.

jamesy
01-12-2008, 03:29 PM
If you don't mind like that'd be great. Anything would do really if its quite cheap.

teddymeow
01-12-2008, 07:01 PM
2 more lessons left this term - I've thoroughly enjoyed it so far. Got the basic 46 Hiragana down and have been reading the Jap versions of Yotsuba& by the chap who did Azumanga. It's helping me learn the "Dakuon" Hiragana too. I've no idea what the words mean but it is helping me with the speed at which I recognize the characters.

New term starts in January so I'll defo be signing up for that. Of those 10 lessons though I'll miss 3 due to being in Tokyo - but what a way to practice what I've learnt! :thumb:

I'll keep going with this for as long as possible!

kryss
02-12-2008, 12:05 AM
Yotsuba& is very good. Me and wife enjoy it too. You'll learn more from that than in-class vocab...

jamesy
02-12-2008, 01:06 AM
Does it have the furigana then? For some reason I assumed every manga would have it, probably attempting to read too many game manuals.

kryss
02-12-2008, 01:44 AM
Yeah it does, but not all DC(Dengeki Comics) manga does. For example, the Super Robot Taisen ones don't.

sj33
02-12-2008, 04:47 AM
It's 4:50am now, been up since 3am practicing kanji for a test tomorrow. Woe is me :(

Darwock
02-12-2008, 07:48 AM
Been up SINCE 3am? Did you sleep all day or something? The post clock says 5:50 anyway, is something wrong with my settings?

jamesy
02-12-2008, 04:39 PM
You probably need to change daylight savings or something.

kryss
03-12-2008, 09:33 AM
I just realised I have a whack of comic "magazines" I don't want. You can have some if you don't mind paying postage. I'll send 'em via seamail though so it's cheaper...but slow.

randombs
04-12-2008, 10:08 PM
I learned the hiragana/katakana order by inventing a town called Akstenham.

Obviously Akstenham isn't multi-cultural enough to include the Y, R and W bits but it does the job and it's been handy recently when scouring the Japanese bookshops in central London. I've bought quite a few books recently (I only know about 200 kanji so I've got a long way to go but it's nice to just have them here, and I get bored studying Japanese from textbooks).

Got three Haruki Murakami books and a couple of Natsume Sosekis. At the very least, it must be a refreshing change for my Japanese friends to talk about authors instead of whatever anime I'm not watching :)

I got some decent kanji flashcards about six months ago:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Japanese-Kanji-Flashcards-Complete-Proficiency/dp/0974869449

Hardly touched them since I first bought them but I've started using them again. There's 284 in there. Of those I definitely know about 150, and of those 150 I can write about 60-70. I sort of drilled them into my head quite quickly but I need to keep practicing as I'll just start forgetting them otherwise. Also, flicking through them makes my head hurt after a few minutes :(

I bought the next set, too, which has about 700 but it's collecting dust on the wardrobe for now.

Learning to write them has helped immensely, if I write one of them a few times it sticks for ages compared with just plain old recognition.

Although I'm bored of studying Japanese now, I'm at the stage where my speaking is fine (I've even had a few dreams in Japanese already!) but I just need to learn lots of words so I can hold deeper conversations, so I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone (一石二鳥 - isseki ni chou. Learned that one a couple of days ago) by learning the kanjis, and so learn new words at the same time. So far it's going well, and kanjis are really interesting when you start making connections.

jamesy
04-12-2008, 10:54 PM
I've even had a few dreams in Japanese already!

ahah that's ridiculously awesome.:thumb: You know you're doing well when even your dreams are in japanese.


I'll pm you about those reading materials kryss. :) Thanks!

randombs
04-12-2008, 11:58 PM
Lol yeah man, the thing is, it was proper Japanese, or as proper as I could conjure up in a dream. What makes it funnier is that I heard both correct and incorrect Japanese in the dream. I'll type it up here when I next get on the PC, it's pretty mad :)

Darwock
07-12-2008, 02:36 AM
I've been trying to 'formalise' my learning process somewhat, so in my lunch breaks I've been listening to the Pimsleur Japanese courses (which are pretty highly rated by all accounts). It's 99&#37; stuff I already know so I struggle to maintain my attention for the few things that might be new to me.. this is the problem I find for being at a level somewhere in the middle - no courses are really appropriate. I suspect the only way is private lessons with a teacher who can tailor the lesson to exactly what I need.

Anyway - that's not my point - the Pimsleur courses are.. wrong! On two or three occasions. I'm wary of the fact that all my 'absorbed' Japanese is Kansai-ben, but I have checked a few suspicious things and had it confirmed.

In a recent lesson it explained that "なんで渋谷へいきますか?" means HOW are you going to Shibuya? Errr... なんで means 'why', not "how'. I think that's Kansai-ben as standard Japanese is なぜ.. but to say how are you going in any dialect would be "どうやって" wouldn't it? Getting how and why confused could lead to some serious miscommunication...

It also informed me that you should always say ~たいです when you want to do something.. I have never met a single soul who says です after the たい form, it just sounds weird.

I'm kind of amazed that such a high profile lesson course could have these sort of mistakes in it.

sj33
07-12-2008, 02:57 AM
It also informed me that you should always say ~たいです when you want to do something.. I have never met a single soul who says です after the たい form, it just sounds weird.
Using です after たい is just polite form. Indeed in normal conversation among people you know, you would usually use plain form and thus drop the です. ~たい form verbs are essentially い adjectives.

The lesson is not incorrect in teaching you polite form first, to be fair.

Darwock
07-12-2008, 03:00 AM
Yeah I undertstood the reason it was telling me to say it, but after asking around it seems nobody will EVER say that, no matter how poilte the situation is. The course also puts undue stress on saying "I" and "We" in situations where it would never be said. Anyone who takes this course on face value is going to end up speaking Japanese very strangely.

sj33
07-12-2008, 03:07 AM
To be honest though, the degree course I'm doing also teaches 'proper, textbook' form primarily (although we also already know how to 'convert' into plain form), though since we have a lecturer (rather than listening to a CD), she can be extremely demonstrative with how everything is used in a real Japanese conversation. But it's taught in that manner that ensures we all understand the structure at a theorietical level, which pays later on when dealing with more difficult structures. We also socialise with Japanese people who 'correct' our speech to sound more natural, but we also know how it 'should' be phrased, grammatically'... for the same reason, many of the Japanese people have been able to explain little nuances in the English languages that I often wondered about.

I guess my point is that such lessons are always going to teach you the 'proper' way. I'm extremely skeptical about learning from audio 'lessons' or books or even part-time courses, because we rely so much on our constant uses of the language in class... but I'd say that with audio lessons, you're usually expected to deal with the 'colloquial' side of things yourself.

kryss
07-12-2008, 07:30 AM
Kansai-ben is much more interesting than normal Japanese to be honest. If you want to see explanations and how to say them in standard Japanese try "Colloquial Kansai Japanese (http://www.amazon.co.jp/Colloquial-Kansai-Japanese―まいど-language-library/dp/480530846X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228635048&sr=8-2)". I found it a few years ago and really enjoyed reading it, it put the fun back into learning after my enthusiasm had kind of trailed off.

なんで/どうして/なぜ are all fine for "why" questions.

JU!
08-12-2008, 01:44 AM
Yeah I undertstood the reason it was telling me to say it, but after asking around it seems nobody will EVER say that, no matter how poilte the situation is. The course also puts undue stress on saying "I" and "We" in situations where it would never be said. Anyone who takes this course on face value is going to end up speaking Japanese very strangely.

Always best to learn polite form first as well. I doubted this when my Japanese teacher in England was teaching us polite form, but then I would speak to my friends all in plain form. I have noticed though whilst living here polite form is useful in certin situations and good for converting te form stuctures etc. :D

Richard.John
08-12-2008, 08:55 AM
Another commonly used expression is verb stem + ちゃった. Used so often by the locals, they will think you are fluent if you use it.

Actually for me though, I feel awkward using really familiar Japanese as I dont want to give the impression that I am too confident with the language. For example, how do you guys call yourself? ぼくor maybe おれ? The latter just seems too Japanese for me

kryss
08-12-2008, 11:46 AM
-ちゃった (or -じゃった if it's a nu/mu/bu verb) is a contraction of -てしまった. It can be a little feminine though. Guys should use -ちまった.

I prefer おれ as when I'm reading manga its always little boys that say ぼく. I do tend to tag ぞ on the end of most things though. Read enough shounen manga and it just feels natural.

Richard.John
08-12-2008, 12:20 PM
Actually I didn't know about ちまった. On the subject of feminine speech, the line is blurrier than it used to be I think. Fifteen years ago, I was told that men didn't use certain expressions, but they are in common use now. ぼく is boyish indeed, but the alternative is a bit rough! I like おれ though.  

kryss
08-12-2008, 12:34 PM
My real favourite is -やがった which is the REALLY rough version.

Marius
08-12-2008, 12:52 PM
My real favourite is -やがった which is the REALLY rough version.

Can you give a full form, say, with たべる and のむ please Chris? I hadn't seen that form

kryss
08-12-2008, 01:41 PM
You tag on -やがる after the -て form.
Famously: 俺は誰だと思ってやがる! (From Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann)

VERY impolite.

お前、まだ生きてやがったのか?

...Hm, thinking about it, it's not really the same as -ちゃった, which implies the person kind of feels bad about doing something, more like the person is kind of peeved at someone else for doing something.


I posted about these books in the JLPT thread and thought it might be a good idea to add them here too. Grammar (http://www.amazon.co.jp/日本語能力試験1・2級文法対策標準テキスト-スーパー合格-行田-悦子/dp/4798013056/ref=pd_sim_b_4_img) Vocab+Kanji (http://www.amazon.co.jp/日本語能力試験-1・2級語彙対策標準テキスト-行田-悦子/dp/4798016659/ref=pd_sim_b_1_img) Practice Qs (http://www.amazon.co.jp/日本語能力試験1級対策合格問題集-予想模擬試験-行田-悦子/dp/4798019542/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228739921&sr=8-10)

boxhead
08-12-2008, 01:47 PM
ive been playing that japanese coach on the ds lately and I think its really great. I studied it in night classes for a couple of years and maybe thats why I find it so easy to get on with it but its definately worth picking it up. it has some really great functions on it like recording your voice and playing it along side the ingame voice version to see how well you stack up.

jamesy
03-02-2009, 03:02 AM
Been on this myself ds game myself. It's shown me that although I can read katakana/hiragana fine my writing is pretty bad. I never learned the stroke order for them so this is nice for that.

You still using it boxhead? How you getting on?

teddymeow
14-08-2009, 02:20 PM
<Bumpage>

A guy at work has given me Pimsleurs Japanes 1, 2 and 3!

Are they any good? Anyone here used them with the desired effect?

Darwock
17-08-2009, 03:52 AM
Lots of people love it. That's a disclaimer, cos I don't. As mentioned above I came across an issue with one part in the Pimsleur course, where they translated なんで渋谷に行きますか? as "how are you going to Shibuya" and then proceeded to teach you 'by bicycle', 'walking' etc

However in the Japan that I live in, that sentence 100&#37; means why are you going to Shibuya. After that I stopped bothering with Pimsleur, I wasn't learning anything new and all it did was serve to undermine what I already knew (as above). It's possible that the differences were caused by my Kansai-ben and Pimsleur's Kanto-ben, but either way it wasn't helping.

OVerall it seems like a quick guide to useful phrases for people going on business trips, and not much more IMO.

randombs
17-08-2009, 10:24 AM
I sometimes listen to the last five or so lessons of pimsleur's japanese 3 while going to sleep. Seems to do the job, I learned a few new things. I'm not sure what it would be like for a beginner but I get the impression it's a bit more involved than your usual hand-holding type courses. The vocab/situations I've heard seem to revolve around business-type situations, so as Darwock said, it's good for business types.

Seeing as you were given them, I guess there's less worry about them not being good enough, but I don't think they're bad. Anything that complements your other course materials can only be a good thing.