An argument for AJATT


Same here, I found the articles inspiring back when I read them.

I don’t know about AJATT, but I’ve seen over a thousand hours of subtitled anime, and I think that has been invaluable to my Japanese learning. I first started getting interested in the language because of Bleach - characters would keep shouting なんだとぉぉぉ!? during battles, which was super fun to imitate. That might not seem very educational, but guess what? なに + だ = なんだ, easy. Noun + と quote particle needs だ in between, easy. I would also try to read things that were massively above my reading level every once in a while, like Japanese Wikipedia articles or stories, or easier things, like anime titles. Stuff that popped up often like 等 and 姫 were easy to learn once I reached them in my studies. I think exposure and studying are both essential, and create a positive feedback loop.


I just don’t see any reason to label yourself with something if you don’t follow any of the things that distinguish it from “consuming a lot of native content.”

You started your post with

Well, what’s controversial about “consuming a lot of native content” if you’ve declared you don’t abide by any of the things that make AJATT controversial?

You certainly set it up as though you were going to argue for those things.


I don’t think learning grammar is so important. Of course you should know the basics in order to start immersion (So basic verb conjugations, should not take more than 30 hours, because this is easy in Japanese). From school I know that learning grammar, vocabulary and the like is abosultely worthless if you don’t listen to the language. In my language classes (especially English) most people were great at remembering vocabulary and regurgitating grammar to get good grades. This was a very effective method for reaching this goal, however, they could hardly talk or comprehend speech because you cannot remember all your grammar rules as fast as you go.

Some of my friends and I weren’t as much motivated to go through all that hassle and soon started to ignore the vocabulary and grammar we had to learn for homework. However, because our hobbies basically consisted of nothing but Internet, and because there is much more and much better content in English, we naturally got fluent in very little time. Of course we still did bad in the tests, because translating is a bitch if you haven’t studied the one to one word correspondenses. For real application of the languages though, we were far superior, because we naturally understood the material.

My question is: Why would this ever be a problem?!
Do you understand all grammatical mechanisms in your mothertongue? Even if you do, do you ever need them? Of course not! You just somehow know what is correct and what isn’t. This is what “understanding” really means, not a grammatical and semantic analysis of a text.

If you are lacking knowledge about nuance, there is nothing better to do than doing more immersion, a dictionary won’t help you here.

This is not a real problem and is pretty impossible given enough immersion. Plus you can always just get a literal translation from a dictionary, I just don’t think that everything should come from there.

That’s exactly the problem with too little immersion. You can study for a test all you want, but it won’t make you understand the language. In this way, test can be very counter-productive, because tests push your focus away from language comprehension towards grammar and the like.


So Naph just mentioned above that they got a crazy score in the reading section of N1. They also mentioned that they read tons of native content… and you’re somehow saying that they had too little immersion? :man_shrugging: I think you misunderstood that they meant :slight_smile:


Well, JP already said it, but my point was that I didn’t study grammar, and instead relied on immersion alone, and suffered from it.

The reason why you know a grammatical structure makes sense or not “instinctively” is because people kept correcting you (or at least rephrasing you) when you were a kid. It was pretty much hammered into you.

Now, this is also possible for adults, just talk/write a lot, make mistakes, and get corrected. Rinse and repeat. But I just can’t deal with that process, so I’d rather go with the grammar route.
(Or not, I guess, since I’m not doing that, but I really think I should)


For reading you have time to process the text, so it’s not the same as conversation. I think listening immersion will help more for conversation.

You can definetly get instinctive comprehension through immersion, actually it is the main goal of immersion. Getting corrected is a rare treat for us, because we don’t have native people around us most of the time. Immersion is the second best thing.

How is learning grammar supposed to help you with that?


I do a lot of listening too. Understanding is not a problem.

So, that’s why grammar is important. Immersion tells you what can be done/said, but it does not tell you what cannot be said. Even if you’ve never seen a given construction, maybe you just haven’t come across it, maybe it’s wrong. You have no way of knowing.
Trying it out and being corrected will teach you what is wrong, but as you say, it’s difficult to get that. Grammar books (especially those for advanced learners/teachers), on top of telling you for sure how to use something, will often have examples of wrong constructions, explaining why it is wrong. Plus, those explanations are usually much clearer than what a random native speaker can manage.

By boosting my confidence on what is or isn’t correct. Without that, at every turn I second guess myself and try to remember example sentences.


Easy: If you never have heard something, don’t say it!

Either it is wrong or it is an odd way to say something, which should also be avoided.
While grammar can tell you what is strictly wrong, you still won’t be able to decide how natural something is. Immersion will tell you that.


That would be awfully limiting. I don’t know how often I say things that I’ve actually heard before.

Also if you don’t know the intent of the person who said something in Japanese, how would you know how to interpret that grammar? Say you hear a grammar point that is only ever used for expressing situations with causality, but you don’t know that requirement. You’re going to think you’ve heard and understood it, but probably use it in situations that go beyond expressing causality.

Sure you could wait for someone to correct you, but the odds a native can explain why it’s wrong will be slim.

So now it seems like it’s more like “wait til you’ve heard it 100 times and do an analysis on the circumstances of those”

Luckily there are experts who have done that analysis and published it in books…


i see nothing wrong with doing some amount of grammar. not necessarily to the point of memorizing it all and juggling with concrete terms and trying to force all the structures in, but you need a foundation and a good source that answers questions.

doing basic grammar lessons in any textbook will provide you with enough to know what to even try to look up/figure out later. it cuts the time to process a string of information short. since we’re not babies and do not have a mommy who acts as our tutor 24/7, this is just the economic choice.

we also have a lot of knowledge already, just encoded in a different language. that’s a resource you have as adult with finished education, and i don’t see a reason to throw that advantage away. so if a concept, or word, or kanji, is easier to get by just looking it up once, then why riddle around for weeks until you understand?

the whole “nothing but immersion” school of thought doesn’t work for me. life is too short to run slaloms if you could just walk straight and get where you want in half the time (or less).


My disclaimer was there because most proponents of AJATT are pompous a-holes who tell you your method of learning is sub-par. I needed to make sure that that was not my goal.

I think you have the wrong idea about it. There’s so much more to AJATT than throwing away your textbooks and other resources. Mainly, their stuff about sentence mining (anki guides, japanese dictionaries, all that good stuff), resources to find Japanese native material, tips in maximizing exposure, is just not the same as ‘consuming a lot of native content’. That’s what I am here to support, and thus I will continue calling it AJATT, and not ‘consuming a lot of native content’.

The whole point in creating this was not to attack anyone or their method of learning. I just think the view of AJATT as a method is looked down upon because of a lot of its supporters doing stupid stuff, while there’s so much value in its true form. Does that mean I have to adhere to what you believe AJATT is? Heck no, I will continue to support what I think is a valuable method and try to share it.

for anyone interested: I really recommend JALUP (google it!) as a way to get started. I think they are more on the humble side of the spectrum, and have a wide range of ways to help you start.


Frankly, I’ve started AJATT about a year ago, and I don’t know a lot of these. I do know and love JALUP, however. Sometimes people may fall into a trap of reading about learning Japanese and not reading Japanese, which JALUP has talked about. Once you get your own routine going, I think you only need to come back a couple times for additional resources. I will try to check them out though :+1:


Sounds more like A Lot of Japanese Most of the Time or something, to me then if the controversial exteme stuff isn’t included (unless you think sentence mining is controversial) but if you want to have that AJATT label on you, it’s none of my business.


balance is important. the right amount of each method is what makes you progress. “a lot of japanese most of the time” makes sense, because you need a lot of input, but any more will just hamper your growth.
it’s like never asking “why”, only ever “what”. to some degree, you’ll internalize patterns, but your knowledge will be shady, and you’ll repeat a lot of earlier mistakes from assumptions where you could clear up misconceptions early and get on a more precise course.

i was never an AJATT fan, and the creator, khatzumoto, didn’t blow me away with his stuttered, all over the place japanese.

look up videos of him speaking, he’s terrible.


yeah, you can talk shit about his method all you want, but this ain’t true.


By the way, nothing prevents you from reading about grammar in Japanese. So, it could still be ALL Japanese ALL the time. :wink: But I think the balance between media/enjoying the language and studying is really important.


I’ve tried that, but somehow even when I understand what it said it didn’t fully connect. Somehow it was very hard to internalize something described abstractly instead of just looking at what the words are doing. You have to be very advanced in a language to remember stuff just by reading it, I feel :slight_smile:


cant do that as beginner/lower intermediate though.

@RaphaelMillion unlike khatzumoto, i actually speak japanese, i know exactly how he’s sounding.
of course, to a newbie, even rattling down tourist guide phrases sounds impressive.


Well, that’s true that the rule alone isn’t enough. You need to see it in action. But all grammar books I ever used have example sentences as well. When I was prepping for N3 and N2, I would take the time to look at those a lot and google some more if I could still not get it. (I also had a Japanese tutor when preparing for N2, so I would ask them as well).

Yes, fair enough. That being said, ~N3 is when I really started using Japanese resources only. I remember it was hard, but it was doable. I haven’t tried before that, so I can’t judge how effective it would be, or when is the best time to switch.


it’s the balance i mentioned earlier. the further you get, the more you want to stick to japanese.
i’m using the j-j dictionary for kindle, too, because the english would trip me up and distract.
at your level, you don’t need any english anymore, and i believe a “japanese-only-mode” for wk would be pretty awesome. a simple option to switch it on. no more “definition” test, only readings for kanji.
then again, for wk, it doesn’t even really matter, since it’s not designed to teach japanese, only a very specific part.