Can't see the patterns

Why when I read Japanese, I don’t really understand anything of what I read just a couple of words.
I only see patterns in simple things like:

  • Kore wa pen desu or ore wa nihongo desu, anata wa america desuka.

Just anything like that, but longer sentences after each other doesn’t trigger anything to me.

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Have you learned your particles yet?
Some extra grammar studies might help :slight_smile:
Maybe try some JLPT 5 example sentences online?
https://jlptbootcamp.com/2011/05/jlpt-n5-practice-test/

Sorry I forgot :sweat_smile: This website’s pretty good for learning particles and grammar as well!

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I agree with @Whologist. Japanese grammar is very different from English grammar, so you need to spend dedicated time learning and practicing it.

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BunPro.jp is a big help. You’ll learn grammar associated with each level from N5 to N1. After learning each grammar point, you’ll be able to read many example sentences that use that particular grammar.

You’re from Europe, so a subscription is like €2.70 a month. I sound like a sales guy, but I promise you, I’m not affiliated with them in any capacity. Just suggesting a really nice resource.

But, if you don’t want to add another subscription, there’s other free online resources, like Imabi.net.

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Every one is throwing their favorites so here’re mine:
Japanese the Manga Way and Cure Dolly’s Series over youtube.

I guess both would qualify as non standard approaches to teaching japanese… so even if you commit to a more traditional textbook it worth looking things through a different lens to really fix the fundamentals :ok_hand:

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Do you think it looks a little bit like russian? Because I speak russian, and I can tell you russian is also very short and broken in talking.

I think I can miss another 2.70 if it really helps. Imabi looks boring compared to bunpro, haha.

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Well I don’t know any Russian. But my understanding is that Korean is the only language with even remotely similar grammar to Japanese.

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I do know the basics, I even bought the particles in action from textfugu if I’m right.

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Don’t those mean “I am the Japanese language” and “Are you America?”? You need to add jin for nationality.

Also, is it really “wa” in romaji? That’s how it’s pronounced, but the particle used is は, so maybe type “ha” to avoid confusion later on. Or just start typing in hiragana to instantly feel 50% more japanese :+1:

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Technically, no, they don’t. They are closer to “as for me, the Japanese language” and “as for you, America?”

Obviously, you would not be able to use them without context, but the first one could be used if someone had just said “I am learning Spanish” or something similar. The second one could be used after being asked if one’s country of origin is France (or something or if they are from Europe). Then you can ask if the other person is from America. It would make more sense to just ask an open question (“where are you from”) in that context, but it doesn’t make the sentence wrong.

TL;DR those sentences are grammatically correct, and make sense in the appropriate context.

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More like 500% more Japanese!

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Indeed, BunPro is much more interactive and you use the SRS system for reviews of previously learned grammar just like we do here with WK. If you like this approach, go for it :wink:

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Russian and Japanese have almost nothing in common, but still, Russian is probably closer to Japanese than to English.

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While you’re correct of course, I kind of doubt that the OP was aiming for that translation. They already wrote that they only understand simple grammar patterns like ”これはぺんです”, so it’s IMO more like that they actually meant ”おれはにほんじんです” and ”あなたはアメリカじんですか”.

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I’d definitely try out https://bunpro.jp. Try to actually read and translate all the sample sentences, because that will improve your understanding of the grammar and increase your Japanese reading comprehension.

Oh, and try to never use ローマジ again. You need an IME (a tool that let’s you type in ひらがな、カタカナ and 漢字(かんじ))。I’ve been using this one for over a year, it’s easy and quick to use, alt+tilde (below ESC (`)) changes your English input to ひらがな, alt+caps changes ひらがな to カタカナ and ctrl+caps changes it back to ひらがな. Once you’ve typed a word, you can turn the word (and even whole sentences) into Kanji, you can do this by either pressing the spacebar on arrow keys. alt+tilde changes your Japanese input back to English. Being able to write in the language you’re learning helps quite a lot IMO.

If you still have problems reading your kana’s, then I’d get on that ASAP, it will just hinder you in the long run if you don’t have a solid foundation to build on.

You should also get a Japanese dictionary browser plug-in like Rikaichan. There are similar add-ons for other browsers as well.

In conclusion, work on your basics in order to build a decent foundation, use something like Bunpro for grammar, try to always type in Japanese instead of ローマジ, even though it might look scary at first, you’ll get used to it and it will definitely help in the long run.

If you need help with any of these things, feel free to ask me or anyone here. :slight_smile:

Anyways, your avatar reminds me that I still have three episodes of One Piece to catch up to, so I should probably get on that now.

Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar was an essential book for me. It goes in depth of do’s/don’t along with exceptions that only a fluent bilingual native could only explain. If you need a ‘why’ explanation, this may help.

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On the positive side, every learner of Japanese knows how to say “This is a pen,” in case anyone ever wonders what that strange writing instrument you’re holding is. (How in the world did that ever become the standard first sentence?)

Seriously, though, I don’t have anything to add to the good advice already provided here, except that a good rule of thumb (from an English language point of view) is to parse Japanese sentences backwards. This works with more complicated sentences as well. (If Russian is your first language, though, I have no idea how that would work.) Also to think of Japanese particles as attached to the word (or sometimes phrase) preceding them.

I feel like book 1 of Genki specifically uses that as an example sentence. I’m pretty sure there was a lesson on これは_____です anyway.

OP, based on those example sentences you wrote, I’d say you could use some grammar and vocab study. Pick up a copy of Genki 1 (or Tae Kim’s Guide if you want to be cheap) and start working thru that level of grammar. Conveniently, each chapter of Genki provides a bunch of vocab and it’s all stuff you’ll want to know anyway.

I second this. Best grammatical book I’ve ever found (and iirc so does Kouichi). It does have romaji but that doesn’t change just how darn good it is.

I don’t know anything about russian, but sometimes Japanese leave out the words if the rest can be inferred from the sentence. I wouldn’t call it broken, it just has a way of forming sentences that is quite different than english.

To your original problem that you have problems understanding reading beyond a couple words, I feel you. You just gotta practice, practice, and practice some more. The more you read, the easier it gets. If you don’t practice enough, you’ll eventually run into the problem of knowing the words in the sentence, but having no idea what the sentence actually means. Feels awful. Find some good practice reading material (llike https://iknow.jp/content/japanese ) practice away!

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