Advice on Grammar Routine (If you aren't fond of Textbooks)

Hey guys,

Since reading is one of my weak points I wanted to start a proper grammar routine.

I’m not a Textbook person, so I started to check for resources that could work well for me.
Currently I’m about halfway through with Misa’s Beginner Lesoons and for practice I’m doing Bunpro. After Misa I plan to go through Tae Kim’s Guide and then I’l Probably look into Japanese The Manga Way.

edit: I also currently pull sentences out from Dragon Maid and put them into my deck on Kitsun. When I’m done I’ll start with a different show.
Additionally I listen to some podcasts/watch anime and try to make out grammar know.

I think that’s a good way to test the grammar I learned from the above mentioned resources

I’m curious about how you structure your study routine. Also I would be glad to hear your thoughts on mine. Especially if you’re also not studying with textbooks.

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More recently, I just tend to dive into reading stuff and then if I encounter a grammar point I don’t know, I’ll look it up from either Tae Kim, Imabi, Maggie Sensei, etc. then plug it into Bunpro for the reviews.

I still use a textbook in the classes I take, but that’s my current self-study routine. That way my exposure comes more from native materials than simply textbook Japanese.

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Sorry if this is a dumb question, but how do you go about looking up a grammar point if you don’t already know what it is? How can you differentiate unknown grammar from unknown vocabulary?

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I actually have been learning grammar entirely from BunPro. Their “recommended readings” and example sentences for each grammar point function essentially the same as a textbook passage, and I don’t have the hassle of juggling multiple resources to refer to (they’re all organized there already for you, plus the SRS).

I’m not reading anything to really test my knowledge to see if it’s been successful, but casually watching anime I’ve noticed that I pick up on the grammar patterns quite a lot. Once I finish the N3 block in BunPro I’ll probably pick up some supplementary texts to really drive them home (I’ve heard Kanzen Master is good?).

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Recommended, I find the explanation clear and it’s great to just browse through.

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Apart from foundations by CureDolly, this is basically what I’ve been doing as well. BunPro plus lots and lots of listening and reading.

And I went through some of the Nihongo no Mori playlists, but I didn’t take notes or anything.

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I’ve tried going through Genki, Tae Kim, and Misa’s lessons at various points, and I liked them well enough but could never really force myself to learn grammar in any sort of “structured” way. It’s probably not the most efficient method for learning grammar, but I prefer to just read things that interest me, and try to puzzle out the grammar that I don’t know. I use ichi.moe and Yomichan quite liberally to help parse sentences and vocabulary that I don’t know. Then, if I need more explanation of a specific grammar point or conjugation, I usually look it up on Bunpro to find whatever resources they’ve linked to. It can be frustrating to have to look up everything that way, but on the plus side I get to read interesting things rather than a textbook.

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Use a tool like ichi.moe for parsing sentences when I encounter stuff I don’t know. It does a fairly good job of parsing out particles and grammar constructs that can then be looked up.

For example:

https://ichi.moe/cl/qr/?q=きみは、最高の弁護士に弁護してもらう。&r=htr

Even if you don’t know that てもらう is a thing it points it out and then you can look it up.

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Agreed, CureDolly has really great explanations that get to the core of the grammar structure.

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You really should talk to people who will actually correct you. Native Japanese speakers ideally, not someone who speaks it as a second language. That is the best way. If you can’t find any natives to talk to then talk to people who are better than you at least. Supplementing that with stuff as a reference is good. It is even better to do the exercises in the reference books to practice and learn new or weak concepts.

That’s what I try to do at least.

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I think you should respect that everyone has a different way of learning things. Yes, speaking with natives is very efficient. However, a lot of people are shy about doing so and want to get at least some fundamentals under their belt before they attempt higher levels of communication. And some people simply don’t want to prioritize speaking skills over reading and writing, for example. Overall, I do agree however that having a language partner (and basically private Japanese tutor) is a great way to learn very quickly.

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Wow didn’t know about this tool, thanks! :slight_smile:

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You’re welcome. I mostly try to parse sentences myself, but it’s a pretty good for double-checking what I’ve done especially if I’m uncertain about hiragana words, etc.

Just be warned that it’s not always perfect and can miss phrases. So sometimes you have to double check it’s work, but that doesn’t happen too often.

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nice!! currently I’m at lesson 7 of N5 and I already start thinking in Japanese lol :joy:

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I’ll try that too from now but I try to limit myself for two words per page when reading manga/tadoku stories for example. I try not to break my “reading flow” too much.

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thanks for your advice. think this will be super helpful ^^

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I already have some friends I talk to from time to time and I see improvement alot of times when we are talking after a while.

still, one of the main things that hold me back is grammar. think I should focus on that first and practive with alot of sentences.

this applies fairly acurate to me. I need to brush up my grammar but I think it won’t take too long bc I try to immerse myself in the language as much as possible (podcasts, music, phone settings in Japanese, sentence cards ect)

Hope that I see how much progress I made by the end of February ( I hache exams now so I can’t focus that much on Japanese)

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I recommend these: https://www.japaneseaudiolessons.com/

They are free and very well done. It will help you get some good sentence practice. Their reference stuff is also good.

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My grammar routine doesn’t involve a classroom textbook, but does involve a grammar handbook/dictionary/reference. If you don’t mind reading grammar handbooks (which are usually just collections of example sentences with explanations), then you might be interested in my routine, which is:

  1. Do fun stuff (watch dramas, movies, anime; read books, etc.), and if I encounter any new grammar points, continue to the next step.

  2. Flip to the page for that unknown grammar point in this book: https://www.amazon.com/Handbook-Japanese-Patterns-Teachers-Learners/dp/4874246788 . I wrote a long review that you can read on Amazon explaining why I love and highly recommend this grammar handbook/dictionary/reference.

  3. Highlight example sentences written by native speakers using the grammar point. The book mentioned above is filled with thousands of such sentences, with natural English translations. I use a systematic set of colors, to identify exactly where different parts of speech involved in using a grammar point start and finish, in a given example sentence. By carefully going through each example sentence, character by character, and identifying the different parts of speech, the correct usage pattern(s) of a grammar point becomes more obvious.
    Examples of highlighted sentences (from the aforementioned book):


    I always use the same colors for the same parts of speech. e.g.

    • dark blue: nouns, pronouns, noun phrases
    • dark green: sentences/clauses
    • light green: verbs and い-adjectives
    • teal: な-adjectives
    • yellow: adverbials (e.g. 早く、…ように)
    • light red: negatively conjugated verbs (e.g. 食べない)
    • gray: miscellaneous particles (e.g. だ、です)
    • cyan: topic (は)
    • orange: subject (が)
    • light blue: direct object (を)
    • purple: conditionals (e.g. …たら、…なら、…ば)

    Using a systematic set of colors gives me the option of recalling and visualizing the parts of speech used in a particular grammar point or construction when I try to speak or write sentences with the grammar point.
    I use underlines to highlight (and not block highlighting) because it allows me to visually show overlapping grammatical functions. I also don’t highlight everything, since that is too time-consuming.
    For example, in the first sentence above, 年間200万円もかかる is both a sentence (dark green), as well as a modifier of the pronoun の (dark blue). By using stepped lines, I can illustrate to future self the numerous different overlapping grammatical functions of a particular sequence of characters in a sentence. If I used block highlighting, I would only be able to highlight 年間200万円もかかる in one color, which is isn’t sufficient to correspond to its multiple grammatical functions.

  4. Attempt to use the new grammar point in conversation or writing with a native Japanese speaker, making sure to ask them if I used it correctly or not (since many Japanese people are too polite to correct mistakes unless you explicitly ask them). Ideally, using it with someone who you know will correct you is the best (e.g. a tutor or a Japanese friend who really loves to nitpick grammar mistakes).

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