Author Topic: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress  (Read 10653 times)

FunkyStickman

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #50 on: January 25, 2019, 06:34:26 AM »
I started learning Japanese about a year and a half ago. I'm currently using only apps on my phone (so I can do them anywhere). I'm using Mango (free from library), Memrise, Duolingo, and Anki cards. Each ones has strong points.

I'm nowhere near fluent, but I'm to the point where I can pick up on a lot of phrases I hear in anime. I haven't touched it in a few months, it's probably time I got back to it...

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #51 on: February 03, 2019, 03:32:18 PM »
Test results for the JLPT were posted. I passed the N4! Listening was hard, but my score was on par with what I got on the N5 listening section, so I'm pretty happy about that.

Already started an intermediate textbook. Enjoying it so far, though the listening comprehension has gotten tough there. Audio is a lot faster and it's hard to keep up. I know that's part of what's needed in order to think in the language and not mentally translate or search about for the meaning of a word. Still rough while making that transition.

Belated congratulations for this. It is nice to have a real milestone like that. Good luck with the intermediate textbook.

For my part, I'm beginning to spend more and more time on Korean. My weekly language exchange meetings have started back up after a holiday hiatus. I'm watching Korean dramas on Viki in the evenings, and I'm drilling vocabulary on Quizlet (this set). I've also gotten out a couple TOPIK prep books, though I haven't spent nearly as much time with them as on Quizlet. I've listened to a few Talk to Me in Korean podcasts, but I find it hard to get into podcast listening.

One big thing is that I told my boss I would be going for the Korean language exam, so it is now officially part of my job to pass this thing. I can't spend much time on this at work because of all the other things that need doing, but at least I can drill vocabulary now and then or listen to a Korean podcast while working on something tedious.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #52 on: February 09, 2019, 05:04:20 AM »
One big thing is that I told my boss I would be going for the Korean language exam, so it is now officially part of my job to pass this thing.

The other day, I finally sat down and did a proper timed mock test for the reading section of the TOPIK 1. It was awful. In spite of all the time I have spent on this so far, I would have been better off guessing at random. I'm not sure what happened with the test I'd taken online before and passed, whether it wasn't accurate or whether I was just better with listening. I spent a lot of time on Korean the past couple weeks because I had some quiet time at work and also stayed late and brought things home and had language exchange sessions one evening a week and watch Korean dramas at night with dual subtitles (English and Korean). It is super frustrating, especially now that I've told people I'm doing this.

My post-mortem on the mock test is that I need to prioritise TOPIK-specific vocabulary memorisation. This should help with both accuracy and speed. I only finished 60% of the questions, which obviously hurt me. I think my time management should improve just by having done it once and having a better sense of the big picture. I do feel I'm following the words and Korean subtitles more closely now with the dramas, and I'm recognising words I've studied. That makes me feel a little better, but it's not giving me new vocabulary, only reinforcing what I've done. On Quizlet, I'm now showing 14% progress on the TOPIK 1 vocabulary list, but it seems like I get more questions wrong than right, especially when it comes to spelling words in Korean.

omachi

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #53 on: February 09, 2019, 09:30:33 AM »
Vocab on tests is one of the biggest frustrations that I have with Japanese as well. There's what I've learned through whatever sources, and then there's test specific stuff that you're expected to know. I'd say my textbooks probably covered 3/4 of what was needed, along with a whole bunch of stuff that's not needed for that specific test. Like, I was 1/4 of the way through the N3 vocabulary when I looked at what was needed for it, because in learning N5 and N4, I picked all that up.

I guess what's particularly frustrating is that if you don't look at test specific vocab, then you'll end up not doing well. But if you do, you're just learning to the test. A lot of that vocab hasn't stuck particularly well because the context I have for it is just a couple flashcards I had to make to get exposure to the word, not something I came across in a more organic manner. My big goal is to learn the language, not just pass a test at a certain time, so it's a little less fun to cram that stuff.

What's particularly funny is that in reading childrens' books, first grade level stuff, I'm picking up a bunch of N1 ("fluent") words. So a first grader is expected to know the word, or ask a parent and then know it, but foreign learners don't need it until they're approaching fluency. Yay tests.

Hope you can get things in shape before the TOPIK test. If you only got through 60%, you're obviously going to be hurting at scoring time. My only tip there is that if you don't know something on a question, mark it in your booklet, skip it, and come back to it if there's time. If you're only going to get through ~60% of the questions, make sure they're the ones you know. It's possible you could have nailed the remaining 40% if you'd just gotten to them in time.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #54 on: February 09, 2019, 12:00:46 PM »
Vocab on tests is one of the biggest frustrations that I have with Japanese as well. There's what I've learned through whatever sources, and then there's test specific stuff that you're expected to know. I'd say my textbooks probably covered 3/4 of what was needed, along with a whole bunch of stuff that's not needed for that specific test. Like, I was 1/4 of the way through the N3 vocabulary when I looked at what was needed for it, because in learning N5 and N4, I picked all that up.

I guess what's particularly frustrating is that if you don't look at test specific vocab, then you'll end up not doing well. But if you do, you're just learning to the test. A lot of that vocab hasn't stuck particularly well because the context I have for it is just a couple flashcards I had to make to get exposure to the word, not something I came across in a more organic manner. My big goal is to learn the language, not just pass a test at a certain time, so it's a little less fun to cram that stuff.

What's particularly funny is that in reading childrens' books, first grade level stuff, I'm picking up a bunch of N1 ("fluent") words. So a first grader is expected to know the word, or ask a parent and then know it, but foreign learners don't need it until they're approaching fluency. Yay tests.

Hope you can get things in shape before the TOPIK test. If you only got through 60%, you're obviously going to be hurting at scoring time. My only tip there is that if you don't know something on a question, mark it in your booklet, skip it, and come back to it if there's time. If you're only going to get through ~60% of the questions, make sure they're the ones you know. It's possible you could have nailed the remaining 40% if you'd just gotten to them in time.

Thank you, Omachi. This was a helpful and encouraging post.

I hope I can catch up, but to be honest, I found there were very few questions that I could have answered in any amount of time. I've got just over 2 months. I'm hoping that drilling the vocabulary first and then doing more mock tests will make a difference.

Yeah, vocab for tests is different from vocab for life, but I think this one is based on studies of word frequency in Korean. It should be helpful to know the most frequent words. I just really haven't made as much progress as I had hoped at this point. I wonder sometimes if it's because I'm much older than I was when I started learning Japanese or if it's because this time I'm trying to teach myself instead of taking structured classes.

In committing to taking the TOPIK, I wanted to give myself a definite goal to work toward. Even if it's just a test, it provides some structure, and there's a set of vocabulary and grammar on which I can focus. I guess even if I don't pass it this time, I will still get the benefit of whatever preparation I do for it.

omachi

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #55 on: February 09, 2019, 01:18:09 PM »
Yeah, vocab for tests is different from vocab for life, but I think this one is based on studies of word frequency in Korean. It should be helpful to know the most frequent words. I just really haven't made as much progress as I had hoped at this point. I wonder sometimes if it's because I'm much older than I was when I started learning Japanese or if it's because this time I'm trying to teach myself instead of taking structured classes.

In committing to taking the TOPIK, I wanted to give myself a definite goal to work toward. Even if it's just a test, it provides some structure, and there's a set of vocabulary and grammar on which I can focus. I guess even if I don't pass it this time, I will still get the benefit of whatever preparation I do for it.
That's pretty much my reason for taking the JLPT as well. Something small and concrete to work towards instead of trying to eat the whole elephant in one go. Failure wouldn't be a problem so long as it gives me good direction on what I need to study. Of course, passing is nice, so good luck.

None of the JLPT vocab was useless, it's just that there were probably other words that might be more useful in frequent contexts. Like knowing the word for "vocabulary word" before "embassy". One is really useful in a learning context, the other only if you have a big issue in Japan.

YYK

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #56 on: February 11, 2019, 10:12:30 AM »
Like knowing the word for "vocabulary word"
単語? I'm finding there are a lot of words that map to the same or close English definition so I often don't know which is the correct one to use in a certain situation without having seen it in the wild numerous times. E.g. 納得 vs 承知. I should probably start using Japanese definitions.

@Kwill how are you studying vocabulary? I find it useful to write down (in my case, add to my Anki deck) every unfamiliar word I come across in context, such as when watching a show with Japanese subtitles or reading a book. It was really tedious in the beginning when I was looking up 4/5 words but I have about 4200 in my deck now and it's a lot smoother. This approach definitely forces you to pick up a lot of vocab relatively quickly.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #57 on: February 11, 2019, 03:05:01 PM »
Like knowing the word for "vocabulary word"
単語? I'm finding there are a lot of words that map to the same or close English definition so I often don't know which is the correct one to use in a certain situation without having seen it in the wild numerous times. E.g. 納得 vs 承知. I should probably start using Japanese definitions.

@Kwill how are you studying vocabulary? I find it useful to write down (in my case, add to my Anki deck) every unfamiliar word I come across in context, such as when watching a show with Japanese subtitles or reading a book. It was really tedious in the beginning when I was looking up 4/5 words but I have about 4200 in my deck now and it's a lot smoother. This approach definitely forces you to pick up a lot of vocab relatively quickly.

It's a good idea. Right now I am focusing on the vocabulary for this specific test, so I'm mainly using Quizlet with flashcards that someone else made up for the test. There are 1153 cards. Lately I've been doing them in 'Learn Mode' which tests vocabulary. It uses spaced repetition and only introduces a few terms at a time. Sometimes I'll just let the flashcards play, and sometimes I'll do a matching game if I'm waiting somewhere.

As you said, context helps. Once I recognise a word in the wild, I remember it better. Right now I'm re-watching 'W' with both Korean and English subtitles, and I'm recognising more words than before.

yakamashii

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #58 on: February 11, 2019, 06:10:42 PM »
Like knowing the word for "vocabulary word"
単語? I'm finding there are a lot of words that map to the same or close English definition so I often don't know which is the correct one to use in a certain situation without having seen it in the wild numerous times. E.g. 納得 vs 承知. I should probably start using Japanese definitions.

Using Japanese definitions is an excellent idea. That will make it a lot easier to see differences that aren't apparent in the most common English gloss (and you'll see that, particularly with 漢語 words, you can't rely on the most common gloss).

In your example, 納得 means to understand _and_ accept ("Yeah, that makes sense/sounds reasonable"), while 承知 as in 承知しました is simply acknowledging receipt of information ("I have been informed."). The difference is stark in Japanese, but that's hard to see without hearing it in the wild, as everyone's saying. A 和和 dictionary will help.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 08:36:22 PM by yakamashii »

YYK

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #59 on: February 12, 2019, 09:49:33 AM »
In your example, 納得 means to understand _and_ accept ("Yeah, that makes sense/sounds reasonable"), while 承知 as in 承知しました is simply acknowledging receipt of information ("I have been informed."). The difference is stark in Japanese, but that's hard to see without hearing it in the wild, as everyone's saying. A 和和 dictionary will help.

That makes sense. Thanks for the explanation.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #60 on: March 03, 2019, 04:08:56 PM »
I tried a new book this weekend: Let's Speak Korean. I wasn't expecting much because it is a bit old (originally published 1987), and it provides Romanisation for almost everything. Plus the Romanisation is an older style that isn't used as much now. On the other hand, a free copy was available, and I was tired of the things I'd been using.

Turns out it was really helpful. I started it yesterday morning and went through the whole thing this weekend -- fairly carefully for the first few chapters and then just going quickly through the conversations and grammar notes and vocabulary lists for the rest so that I could finish. I found the grammar explanations helpful. The Romanisation helped me much more than I realised it would. A lot of this was review of things I'd encountered elsewhere, but it felt like it stuck with me better. I want to go back through the whole thing a couple more times.

The vocabulary and grammar covered seemed to fit well enough with what I encountered on the TOPIK practice test, though there is more vocabulary in the TOPIK than is covered in this book. I'm still going through the practice test carefully to understand what I should have answered, so I was able to see specific points there. Also, this mainly uses a more formal set of verb forms (like 입니다), which is what is on the test, instead of the slightly more informal set (like 이에요) that is what I encountered in the MOOCs and in some other study material.

I'm now re-watching Goblin with just Korean-language subtitles. I still only recognise a tiny proportion of the words, but I can follow the story since I saw it before. It feels like I've really made progress this weekend.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #61 on: March 11, 2019, 06:22:21 AM »
Things are moving along and getting better. I now think I honestly have a chance to do well on the TOPIK on 20 April.

Last week I tried another practice exam. This time I only did the first half of the reading portion (20 out of 40 questions), and it took me 37 minutes (more than half of the 1 hour allotted for the full reading portion). I got 65% right. I was really happy with the improvement, even though I recognise I'm still slow and the second half of the questions may be harder. I think the last time, I got about 12% or 14% right, partly due to only finishing 60% of the questions before the time limit.

What made the difference? Going over the question instructions and question types with my language partner ahead of time so that I didn't need to spend time understanding the question format during the exam. Going through the last practice test carefully to understand what I did wrong for each question. Understanding more of the grammar thanks to the textbook I used last weekend. Learning more vocabulary.

I switched from Quizlet to Memrise, and I wish I'd done that months ago. I'm finding Memrise much quicker and less frustrating for learning new vocabulary, so after about a week, I've gotten through 29.5% of the vocabulary on a TOPIK 1 list (1516 words), compared to the 18% of a shorter vocabulary list (1186 words) I reviewed in a few months of Quizlet. I also feel I've got a better grasp of the vocabulary now. I'm spending more time on Memrise than I had on Quizlet, but partly that is because it is more interesting and easier to use.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #62 on: March 25, 2019, 02:52:45 PM »
Still going with Memrise at about 50 words per day. It's getting easier now that I'm used to it, and I'm recognising a lot of words from Japanese, English, or prior study of Korean. I'm now 75% of the way through the TOPIK 1 vocabulary, and I'm recognising a lot of vocabulary when I watch Korean dramas. My goal is now to finish the vocabulary about 8 days from now and then spend the remaining time before the exam doing practice tests and reviewing grammar and vocabulary. I go back and forth between kicking myself for not studying this way before and thinking that maybe it's easier now because I studied in a slower way for the prior few years.

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TOPIK 1 : exam done
« Reply #63 on: April 22, 2019, 12:27:51 PM »
I just took the TOPIK 1 exam on Saturday. It was really hard. The results won't be out until the end of May, but my guess is that I passed at the low beginner level and fell short of the high beginner level. If I did pass the high beginner level, it was just by the skin of my teeth and with some lucky guessing. The hardest parts for me were the reading comprehension questions toward the end of the reading section, where you read short paragraphs and answer questions based on them. I am just not fast enough at reading. I'm barely hanging on to the vocabulary, and I didn't have time to really work on grammar and reading practice.

I feel discouraged after all the hard work, especially over the past two months when I was working as intensely as I could on Korean with a full-time job and other commitments. There were a lot of things that got put on the back burner during the past two months, and now I wonder if I should have focused on those instead.

Is a low beginner TOPIK pass worth all the time that I put into it? I have enough Korean knowledge now to handle some of the very basic tasks I wanted to be able to do at work: puzzle out book titles, recognise navigation buttons on websites that use images for their buttons that can't be auto-translated, and understand very basic and common greetings. Maybe I can build on that foundation over time, but right now I need a good long break from it. I think I'll at least continue with vocabulary reviews on Memrise, but the time spent on that should decrease over time.

How do you handle a break-up with a language exchange partner? I'm considering making this week my last meeting with my conversation partner, but I feel bad about cancelling on her after she's been so helpful the past several months.

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #64 on: May 30, 2019, 01:49:31 PM »
TOPIK results came out today! I passed level 1 but not level 2. This morning before I saw the scores I wrote down a prediction of 93 points total, and in the end I got 130 total, beating my prediction by quite a bit. Level 2 needs 140 points, so I wasn't far off.

The situation with the language exchange partner was completely fine. I don't know why I was worried. Turned out that she was busy, too. It's been awhile now since we've met, but I just wrote to let her know I passed the exam and to thank her for her help.

Since the exam, I've been keeping up with reviews on Memrise but not adding much new vocabulary or content. I've been watching less Korean dramas, but I started listening to Iyagi conversation podcasts. I also started listening to NHK news podcasts in Japanese to balance it out. Once some time goes by and I feel ready, I want to go ahead and focus on passing level 3 next, rather than spending more time on TOPIK I.

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #65 on: September 10, 2019, 08:32:43 PM »
Sorry for bailing on this thread. Life got in the way. I've still done nearly no studying this whole year. I miss it and also don't have the bandwidth. Just the way it's going to be for a while. I won't be targeting the JLPT this year for obvious reasons.

A belated congrats on passing the TOPIK level 1 exam! Best of luck on the next exam you take.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #66 on: September 11, 2019, 01:47:08 AM »
Sorry for bailing on this thread. Life got in the way. I've still done nearly no studying this whole year. I miss it and also don't have the bandwidth. Just the way it's going to be for a while. I won't be targeting the JLPT this year for obvious reasons.

A belated congrats on passing the TOPIK level 1 exam! Best of luck on the next exam you take.

Thank you, omachi. I hope life gets better and easier so that you feel like you have the energy to get back to whatever challenges seem worthwhile and exciting.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #67 on: September 12, 2019, 02:28:52 PM »
I'd love to hear more updates from people.

Here are a couple updates on my language progress.

Japanese: I passed the Pro test on mygengo.com. I have never done enough on the site to make it worth paying a fee to get money out, but it was nice to have the validation of passing and the prospect of taking jobs that pay at a higher rate. There never seems to be much work available there, so it's more of a theoretical sideline than a real one.

Lately I'm using Japanese a bit at work (reading, listening, and speaking) and occasionally watching some anime without subtitles. I've got a couple small unpaid literary translations to work on as well.

Korean: I was burnt out on Korean for a long time. I pushed myself long enough to get through the TOPIK, but I'm only just barely coming around again to the idea of studying. I kept up with the Memrise flashcards in the interim, so at least I've solidified that vocabulary. I'm currently doing Duolingo and the Memrise reviews, and I'm occasionally watching Korean dramas.

Today I went looking for a new textbook and borrowed Intermediate College Korean in paper before realising it had a site with text and audio clips. It's designed to be a second-year university course, but I think I'll give it a try. (Edit to note that the URL for the audio for the first lesson is not quite right. You can download it if you change the end bit to lesson1-text.mp3 insteaad of lesson01-text.mp3 )
« Last Edit: September 12, 2019, 02:41:29 PM by Kwill »

YYK

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #68 on: December 10, 2020, 07:37:16 PM »
蘇れ!

I've finally reached one hundred posts and can resurrect this thread. How are everyone's studies going?

I'm still keeping up with Japanese. I was planning on taking the N2 this year, but the JLPT has been canceled here in the States so it'll be an entire year before I can take anything. If I do take it next year I think I'll go for the N1.

Although I haven't read very much in general this year, I was able to finish three novels in Japanese, a first for me.

Back in February I joined a local Japanese conversation group. We were able to meet in person three times before Covid came to town; since then we've been meeting on discord. It's been a lot of fun. We've even had someone join from Yokohama so we've got the support of a native speaker, and I've made a friend in Japan I can hang out with when I eventually go. Maybe next year if things permit.

yakamashii

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #69 on: December 10, 2020, 10:33:44 PM »
Used some downtime earlier this year to bone up on Japanese adverbs, particularly ones that end in り (ゆっくり、やんわり、くっきり等). I don't run into them all that much in my work, but when I hear them on the street or on TV, it bugs me a bit that their meanings are so fuzzy in my mind.

I entered a couple literary translation contests to explore the option of translating literature during downshifting/after FIRE. It's a whole different beast than business and technical translation, and I've had to do a lot more googling than usual to grasp significance and implicit meanings (ex. Is there a reason the author chose a persimmon tree, or is a persimmon tree just a persimmon tree?).

Outside the contests, I've only read Japanese books whose English translations I'd already read (for example, コンビニ人間 after having read Convenience Store Woman last year). Looking to read more, but don't really know where to start. @YYK, what are those books you read, and did you like them?
« Last Edit: December 11, 2020, 03:05:48 AM by yakamashii »

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #70 on: December 11, 2020, 06:24:47 AM »
Welcome @YYK ! Reading three novels, feeling prepared for N2 even if you couldn't take it, and keeping up with a Japanese conversation group all sound like great progress.

Nice to hear from you @yakamashii ! Literary translation sounds like a really interesting project. Translation contests are probably a good place to start, both for the practice and for the potential recognition.

I felt silly posting here all by myself, so I stopped updating. I haven't stopped studying. In Memrise, I'm working on a JLPT N1 vocabulary list for Japanese and a TOPIK intermediate list for Korean. I did an online mock TOPIK test this summer and passed level 2 (advanced beginner). As with YYK, it wasn't practical to take the real thing this year, I'm thinking of studying for the next level and trying for level 3 in about a year. The TOPIK levels are numbered the opposite way from the JLPT. I have a sort of literary translation project that is way overdue, so finishing and submitting that is a goal for some downtime this month.

During the first UK lockdown, I got some help online with Korean lessons and did some conversation practice with Japanese, but I haven't done as much lately. I'm still watching Korean dramas and occasionally some Japanese anime to keep the languages in my ears.

YYK

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #71 on: December 11, 2020, 08:57:53 AM »
I'm glad to hear from you guys! I was bummed when the new rule went into effect and I couldn't post in here anymore. That's really cool that you guys are doing translations. That's something I've thought about but haven't attempted anything yet.

Used some downtime earlier this year to bone up on Japanese adverbs, particularly ones that end in り (ゆっくり、やんわり、くっきり等). I don't run into them all that much in my work, but when I hear them on the street or on TV, it bugs me a bit that their meanings are so fuzzy in my mind.

I entered a couple literary translation contests to explore the option of translating literature during downshifting/after FIRE. It's a whole different beast than business and technical translation, and I've had to do a lot more googling than usual to grasp significance and implicit meanings (ex. Is there a reason the author chose a persimmon tree, or is a persimmon tree just a persimmon tree?).

Outside the contests, I've only read Japanese books whose English translations I'd already read (for example, コンビニ人間 after having read Convenience Store Woman last year). Looking to read more, but don't really know where to start. @YYK, what are those books you read, and did you like them?

I enjoy those kinds of adverbs but I'm not good at using them when speaking. My English brain isn't comfortable using onomatopoeias to describe things! My speaking in general is still kinda stiff and bookish since that's my main point of reference. I'm working on getting more fluid and conversational.

Regarding books, they were all ラノベ that I honestly didn't enjoy very much and wouldn't recommend, but they were all I could get my hands on. Likewise I'm at somewhat of a loss of what to read next. The only authors I know off the top of my head are Murakami, Dazai, and Natsume Souseki. I suppose that's not a bad place to start. I did think about picking up the 古事記 for the heck of it, but I'm not sure I want to put the energy into wading through that.

YYK

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #72 on: December 11, 2020, 09:02:12 AM »
On another note, I enjoy collecting 四字熟語 and came across one recently that I think is perfect for MMMers: 質素倹約

My other favorites include 疑心暗鬼 and 波瀾万丈. I really like the feel, sound, and look of these even if I don't find them particularly relevant to daily life.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #73 on: December 11, 2020, 11:34:08 AM »
Regarding books, they were all ラノベ that I honestly didn't enjoy very much and wouldn't recommend, but they were all I could get my hands on. Likewise I'm at somewhat of a loss of what to read next. The only authors I know off the top of my head are Murakami, Dazai, and Natsume Souseki. I suppose that's not a bad place to start. I did think about picking up the 古事記 for the heck of it, but I'm not sure I want to put the energy into wading through that.

What do you like to read in English or whatever is your best language? I really enjoyed reading the Harry Potter series in Japanese. I also read the 獣の奏者 series and loved that enough to be disappointed in the anime later. With young adult fiction sometimes the hardcover will have furigana for kids, but the bunkobon will leave that out for adults.

People differ a lot in what they enjoy. Amazon Japan will ship new books overseas, and the shipping cost is pretty low per book if you are getting more than one volume. Breaking into Japanese Literature could be a good thing to try if you want classics. Or maybe something from Aozora Bunko like Soseki's I am a Cat. For (slightly) more recent authors, you might try Endo Shusaku, Miyabe Miyuki, or Murakami Haruki.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2020, 11:45:14 AM by Kwill »

YYK

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #74 on: December 11, 2020, 12:37:26 PM »
What do you like to read in English or whatever is your best language? I really enjoyed reading the Harry Potter series in Japanese. I also read the 獣の奏者 series and loved that enough to be disappointed in the anime later. With young adult fiction sometimes the hardcover will have furigana for kids, but the bunkobon will leave that out for adults.

People differ a lot in what they enjoy. Amazon Japan will ship new books overseas, and the shipping cost is pretty low per book if you are getting more than one volume. Breaking into Japanese Literature could be a good thing to try if you want classics. Or maybe something from Aozora Bunko like Soseki's I am a Cat. For (slightly) more recent authors, you might try Endo Shusaku, Miyabe Miyuki, or Murakami Haruki.

So many good recommendations! Thank you.

In English I mostly read fantasy when I'm not reading history. I'm currently reading through Discworld. 獣の奏者 seems to check the fantasy box so I'm definitely going to look into that.  Breaking into Japanese Literature looks like a a really neat concept. Reading some classics is definitely something I'd like to do so I'll be taking a look at those stories as well.

yakamashii

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #75 on: December 12, 2020, 06:32:14 AM »
On another note, I enjoy collecting 四字熟語 and came across one recently that I think is perfect for MMMers: 質素倹約

My other favorites include 疑心暗鬼 and 波瀾万丈. I really like the feel, sound, and look of these even if I don't find them particularly relevant to daily life.

Those are fun 四字熟語. I'm more of a ことわざ person myself, and the one that makes me think of Mustachianism in terms of the folly of consumerism (particularly the conspicuous variety) is 能ある鷹は爪を隠す.

yakamashii

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #76 on: December 13, 2020, 05:15:59 PM »
@Kwill, can you tell us more about that literary translation project? Which of your languages? What's it about? How'd it come about? How do you feel how it's going?

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #77 on: December 13, 2020, 05:28:17 PM »
The project is in Japanese. I'm reworking two pieces I translated in grad school and writing short introductions to contribute to an anthology that my former professor is editing. One of my translations was pretty decent already, and the other was a train wreck I had to completely retranslate. The translations are mostly done, but I sort of lost confidence and stalled. What I need to do now is fix and reduce the footnotes, double-check everything, and finish the intros.

Any tips for just getting stuff done?

yakamashii

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #78 on: December 14, 2020, 03:07:01 AM »
The project is in Japanese. I'm reworking two pieces I translated in grad school and writing short introductions to contribute to an anthology that my former professor is editing. One of my translations was pretty decent already, and the other was a train wreck I had to completely retranslate. The translations are mostly done, but I sort of lost confidence and stalled. What I need to do now is fix and reduce the footnotes, double-check everything, and finish the intros.

Any tips for just getting stuff done?

Have other stuff to get done that is less appealing than this stuff to get done? When something is languishing on my list of things to do, it eventually gets done when something more unpleasant appears on the list. Not really a Step to Success, I know.

Money, deadlines, and clearing the way for more money and deadlines are what motivate me to get translations done. Absent any of those, I guess I would want to divide the job into tasks and sketch out a schedule. Maybe prohibit myself from starting something more fun until I finish the job or get ahead of schedule?

ご苦労様 to you for redoing that translation. Were you able to remember the source text pretty well, or was it like reading it anew? I really struggle with revisiting work after too long.

YYK

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #79 on: December 14, 2020, 06:39:15 PM »
Those are fun 四字熟語. I'm more of a ことわざ person myself, and the one that makes me think of Mustachianism in terms of the folly of consumerism (particularly the conspicuous variety) is 能ある鷹は爪を隠す.

Oh that's a good one! I'm keeping that. I've come across very few ことわざ so far. My favorite is probably 月に叢雲、花に風. Runner up is 無い袖は振れぬ. Mostly just like the sound of these.

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #80 on: January 30, 2021, 07:15:36 AM »
ご苦労様 to you for redoing that translation. Were you able to remember the source text pretty well, or was it like reading it anew? I really struggle with revisiting work after too long.

Thank you for your thoughts and sorry to be so long replying. I've finally started making some progress toward finishing the translations after blocking out an hour each weekday and giving myself an Outlook notification for it. It's borderline within the scope of my day job to get this done, so I'm going to try to finish while I'm stuck working from home and can't do everything I'd usually do at work. Once I'm back on site--March? April?--I won't have time in the work day.

It was like starting from scratch with the one I had to redo. The trouble was I didn't fully understand the source text to begin with, which is why my original translation was so problematic. These aren't long, but they're 18th century with some obscure references. The footnotes on the Japanese editions help a lot, but they can also be a little obscure sometimes.

I wanted to share that a translation of Hōjōki is currently free on Kindle if you're interested in Japanese literature. It's only free until the end of January, but you can keep it if you download it by then.

I'm plugging along with language study a bit at a time. Right now I'm doing vocabulary on Memrise for Korean and Japanese, and I'm watching Korean dramas and occasional Japanese dramas or anime in the evenings. I use Viki.com and Crunchyroll.com but I'd be glad of suggestions for alternate legal sources for Japanese shows. I mainly started watching anime for Japanese listening practice, but I prefer watching dramas. Also, I don't necessarily want to sound like an anime character when I speak. I've subscribed to the NHK Radio News podcast, but I don't always listen to it.

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #81 on: February 26, 2021, 02:58:01 PM »
I've been reading 獣の奏者 slowly for a while now thanks to Kwill's recommendation. I'm enjoying it quite a lot, and learning lots of neat new words like 孵卵 and 鞍. If I hadn't already read a book on apiculture I'd be learning a lot about that as well!

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #82 on: February 26, 2021, 03:27:17 PM »
I've been reading 獣の奏者 slowly for a while now thanks to Kwill's recommendation. I'm enjoying it quite a lot, and learning lots of neat new words like 孵卵 and 鞍. If I hadn't already read a book on apiculture I'd be learning a lot about that as well!

I'm glad you're enjoying it! I've tried several times to get into another series by the same author, the 守り人 series, but there's something about the 獣の奏者 world or the characters that I just found more gripping.

YYK

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #83 on: March 24, 2021, 10:52:06 AM »
I found an interesting article on 新字体 vs 旧字体. This author is violently opposed to standardization and simplification and I don't find their arguments convincing at all, but there's some interesting history there that I was unaware of.

https://kanjinaritachi.jimdofree.com/%E8%A8%80%E8%AA%9E%E7%A0%B4%E5%A3%8A/%E6%97%A7%E5%AD%97%E4%BD%93%E4%B8%80%E8%A6%A7/

There are some traditional forms that I do prefer over their modern counterparts, for example 國 which I find easier to write cleanly than 国. However, I can't help but look at the list of simplified kanji in use and agree that the simplifications were merited. I am biased to the Japanese side of things however, because I look at the PRC simplifications and think "that's too simplified" and ROC-style full traditional as "too complicated", whereas the Japanese simplifications I think of as "just right."

Something I learned from that article is that apparently the modern forms aren't necessarily modern simplifications but are sometimes a standardization of an existing simpler variant. 体 for instance is apparently one of the variants for たい that had been in use before the war along with 體 and 躰.

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #84 on: March 25, 2021, 05:31:51 AM »
Skipping right to the heart because finding this thread late:

Anki etc. and anime already listed, hm...

If you want to train your listening, do podcasts. This is less for understanding things than to getting used to the sound and rhythm. Of course it is more fun if you get most of the content and it is a topic you like.
I did this with my favorite voice actor/singer who had several (internet) radio shows. It really helps if you love the voice :D

There are also a few visual novels on steam where you can have both English and Japanese at the same time. Nekopara for example (but that might not be for everyones taste - catgirls and 18+ stuff (not in the steam version). I found it great for learning, you have both Japanese and English written and you can repeat the voices as often you want. (There is a demo /part 0 that should be free)
Most visual novels only allow one Language at a time though and steam does not let you start the same game twice.

Youtube videos about Japan. I like e.g. the Ask Japanese channel and there are some interview videos, so real life street people talking (and other videos often have some Japanese in them too). All the videos have English subtitles.


If you are just starting with Kanji, you might want to go with the Heisig books. You certainly should read the introduction (or something similar) regarding the contruction of the Kanji.
Really using Heisig is a big commitment though, since it is not "see something -> learn it -> happy" but more like "learn it -> repeat it for a while out of any context -> see it -> happy". It is a lot of work before you get real use out of it.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #85 on: January 22, 2022, 02:54:11 PM »
@LennStar I'm sorry I never replied. Between the whole pandemic thing and just not seeing the thread pop up again later, I missed replying.

You've got some good ideas for study. I had the Heisig books a long time before I actually got very far with them. What made the difference for me was this site Kanji Koohii, which has turned the Heisig books into a flashcard system with spaced repetition. I memorised all of the first book with that, and it made all the difference in the world to my reading and writing. Very highly recommend it. I haven't used the site in years, so now all my cards are expired, which is sad. I'd like to go back and work through the third book at some point, but I'm focusing on other things at the moment.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #86 on: January 22, 2022, 03:12:36 PM »
@YYK Thank you for sharing. You might enjoy playing with this Kuzushiji database search. You can type in a character and see what it looks like in images scanned from old documents and books from different periods of history. There was really a lot of variety.

Kwill

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Re: East Asian language study -- share your goals and progress
« Reply #87 on: January 22, 2022, 04:32:26 PM »
I started getting more serious (again) about improving in Japanese and Korean back in the summer. There was about a month or so when I was taking a lesson a week for each language via iTalki and also having conversations on 'Sail', which is a platform for 25-minute conversations with Japanese senior citizen volunteers. At some point I might subscribe, but I was just using a sample pack of free conversations I'd gotten as a special thing for signing up. I felt a little awkward about it, but the people were very nice. It sounds like most of the learners are from Southeast Asia and are trying to learn enough Japanese to move there for work.

Currently, I'm taking a weekly lesson over Skype with a Japanese woman who focuses on Japanese for work contexts. We're going through this book, which I like so far. I'm doing a JLPT N1 vocabulary deck on Memrise.

Korean is the big thing right now. Tonight I signed up to take TOPIK II on 9 April 2022. I'm not ready for this, but I'm aiming to fail as high as I can. I've started meeting to practise Korean with a Korean woman who is here for a year because of her husband's job. The first time we met I mentioned that I wanted to eventually pass TOPIK II level 3 because there's a language scholarship I could apply for to study in Korea for 6 months. Now she's really pushing me to take this seriously, improve my grammar, practise writing, build vocabulary, and pass the test. It makes it more fun that somebody besides me is excited about it. I've been plodding along with a TOPIK II vocabulary deck on Memrise for months and am only 33% of the way through (632 / 1860 words). I need to pick up the pace on that, but beyond that I'm not sure how to structure the study or what book to use for grammar. I ended up with an introductory Korean book from the 1980s, which my language exchange friend thinks isn't bad for explaining grammar. I've also downloaded the lower intermediate book from the King Sejong Institute but haven't started that yet. It feels like it'd be more efficient to get something that specifically goes through points for the exam. I'm open to suggestions.