I found out just a couple weeks ago that I’ve been accepted into a research fellowship in Japan! As part of the program we get three weeks of language instruction, and I want to be placed into as high a level as possible (because I learn quickly and I’ll progress quite a bit more between now and the actual class). I’m being evaluated based on introducing myself in writing in Japanese. Does anyone have any tips for grammar resources or things I can study to make my writing as impressive as possible? Thank you very much!
How much do you know already?
I’ve never taken a formal class so I’m not sure how to quantify, but I know basic grammar (how the particles は、が、を、も、に、の work, basic sentence structure). My vocabulary is still pretty limited but I can look things up as long as I know how to use them properly. I think my weakest point is probably verbs.
My writing isn’t spectacular so I’m not sure if this would be the best, but I would cram basic adjective and verb conjugation, make a quick list of vocabulary regarding things you would like to talk about in your introduction, and maybe try to look up some example sentences (just be careful, because many examples aren’t correct). If you can absorb some sentence structures from native sources (something like NHK easy, maybe?) and “plug and play”, that would probably help.
Try writing on Lang-8 and get yourself corrected.
But when I started Lang-8, I have just realized that the best way isn’t really to write a lot; but to re-learn grammar properly (笑).
Here is mine: http://lang-8.com/1470705/journals
I second Lang-8. It’s an incredibly useful place to practice out what you think you know and/or your specific practice. As a self-learner of a foreign language, something like this is indispensable.
The only difficulty I have had is parsing between different peoples’ opinions about whether what you wrote is correct or how it should be changed. However, second to having direct access to a native speaker, this and HiNative are my go-to’s.
I’ll definitely look into lang-8 then, thank you! Making a list of relevant vocab and finding similar sentences also sounds really helpful
A dictionary of Japanese grammar  is what Tofugu recommends studying to learn Japanese grammar. I imagine much of the information presented in it will appear in EtoEto, when that is released.
A dictionary of advanced Japanese grammar  would likely be useful in helping you to get placed in a more advanced class.
How to sound intelligent in Japanese  is intended to help you build on your vocabulary. It seems like a very strange book (starting with the title!) You can read Tofugu’s review here .
There are many more articles that Tofugu have written on the subject, which you can find just by searching grammar  or vocabulary  on there site. Although searching through those articles might take a while, I don’t recommend it.
Yeah, error correction is not an easy thing, even teachers go overboard sometimes. It’s important to judge the student’s level and correct things accordingly. As an ALT, I have to constantly remind myself of what the purpose of a given lesson is, so that I’m not overwhelming students with corrections that are unrelated to the lesson and don’t impact comprehension.
Lang-8 isn’t allowing any new registrations though, is it? It won’t let me, at any rate. I don’t know of any good alternatives besides maybe going to the Japanese Only section here and joining in on as many conversations as you can, especially the prompts. Mamimumason corrects you as they chat a little with you and they’re incredibly helpful and very patient.
Also, @Hanalee, congratulations!
I don’t know. No new registration?
Anyway, the way I use Lang-8 is just to create a Japanese-language-only blog. Correction is a bonus. And, there are definitely more comments/likes than posting it on Blogger.
Seems Lang-8 is no longer taking new registrations. They redirect you to HiNative, which seems to me to be… bad? None of the recent posts on Japanese have any feedback on them, and they mostly seem to be absolute beginner questions that could easily be answered through a Google search.
Yeah, it’s not really the same thing at all. Disappointing. And I don’t think there’s really anywhere out there that offers the same service?
Could try the contact us…the website looks like it is having technical problems currently.
Unless they have decided it doesn’t make money and plan on shutting it down without announcing anything, though that would be strange.
@ryan2 The dictionary of Japanese grammar sounds great, I’ve put a request in at my library. They don’t have “How to sound intelligent in Japanese” but I’ll look into buying it, seems like a good resource.
@ideordinal Thank you, I was really blown away when I found out
That’s too bad about lang-8, but thanks to everyone for your input!
I wonder if you’d be better off hiring a short term tutor for this specific purpose from italki or whatever. Be very clear your looking for something highly focused. Or maybe an exchange partner but I guess that might be less reliable. Just be clear you have a very specific goal in mind.
Yeah come to Japanese Only! Looking forward to chatting with you <3