Crystal Hunters: A manga designed for people learning Japanese!

A team of Japanese teachers just made a manga called Crystal Hunters which is designed explicitly for people learning Japanese. It only 87 words and particles in total, and all of them along with introducing all grammar for zero is given in this guide. I think we finally have a good reading target for absolute absolute beginners. :slight_smile:

29 Likes

Wow, the Japanese is so hilariously broken. As if all the characters were non-natives with only elementary grasp of the language…

6 Likes

You and friends?

2 Likes

So? It is aimed at total beginners. The writing is questionable yes, but just for reading and comprehension practice, this does fine. Beginners should just take this manga with a grain of salt, because yea, the japanese is not natural at all. But honestly, beginners japanese is never natural so…

2 Likes

Ah, be nice. These people live in a fantasy world, where are they supposed to have learnt Japanese from?

That prison guard, though. So polite.

The trouble is, beginners don’t know what needs salt and what does not. Beginner Japenese is これはペンです, not… 行っていい or あなたは誰

18 Likes

Agreed. I’m still a beginner but if the aim of the manga is absolute beginners, using kanji (even with furigana) and て-form doesn’t really work toward that. Also, I still find casual speech much more difficult than polite formal speech to grasp (probably because most textbooks focus on formal speech first) so absolute beginners would be pretty lost without the oh so comfortable “です” and “-ます”

Its a cool idea though.

Nope. I saw this from the learn Japanese reddit. I literally only know 50 kanji right now LOL, and my grammar is barely at the manga’s level.

1 Like

It depends on what you are using. I know Cure Dolly for example teaches the Te form for lesson 5. I’m pretty much an absolute beginner (I only have watched the first 8 Dolly videos and the first 6 lessons of みんなの日本語) and I can follow it

I think their guide is the first time I’ve seen someone claim that the verb doesn’t have to come last for a grammatically correct sentence:

わたし は クリスタル を みる = I see a crystal.
There is a わたし は word-particle set, and a クリスタル を word-particle set. Because Japanese is a particle based language, we can actually move around the word-particle sets and the meaning stays the same. We can even change the order to be the same as English.
わたし は みる、クリスタル を。
Or, we can change the order to be like Yoda.
クリスタル を、わたし は みる。
While the first version is the most common. All of these versions are grammatically correct.

I’m not sure I would call “わたし は みる、クリスタル を。” a grammatically correct sentence, but please correct me if I’m wrong.

2 Likes

Wait did they really do that? Geez.

In very casual speech, you can do a lot of weird things to the grammar. This can allow you to put the topic after the verb, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen the object coming after the verb…

5 Likes

Now…are these teachers who are Japanese or teachers of Japanese? Because…a lot of this is pretty unnatural.

It’s completely fine. This is called 倒置法 or inverted sentence.
Now, the overuse of わたし…that’s another matter entirely. But Japanese is very flexible with word order as long as you use particles to mark the constituent parts.

Terminal を is pretty common I feel. Here’s a few examples from my subtitle flashcard bank:

My Hero Academia

image

Toradora

image

Demon Slayer

image

My Hero Academia

image

(incidentally, keeping a bunch of subtitle cards around is a great way to search for example sentences)

14 Likes

This was the content of the reddit post:

Crystal Hunters is made by a team of three teachers in Japan and an ex-pro manga artist. We had a lot of fun making this manga, but we’re not sure if this is something everyone is interested in. Let us know what you think.

I’m assuming that unnaturalness would come from the fact its meant to be super super simple. But I’m an absolute beginner, so I wouldn’t know

1 Like

Even with the limited vocabulary (which I think is a decent idea), there’s still a fair amount of strangeness. For example, at one point it says 怪物は力がある, but the idiomatic word here would probably be 持つ (which is already in the vocab list).

Another thing that stuck out to me was when the guy got stuck in a tree and they said 木の中に – a quick google image search confirmed my suspicion that this would probably be taken to mean literally inside the tree, like…embedded in the trunk or inside a hollow area.

Pointing to animal tracks on the ground and using あれ is weird – that should definitely be これ. It’s weird to see these adventurous guys call themselves 私 and using て-form to make requests instead of using imperative form, especially when everything else is pretty casual. Shouting 怪物! at the monster seems like a very English-first pattern…if it was 怪物め or 怪物よ then that would be a lot more acceptable.

It’s certainly not the worst thing I’ve ever seen but I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone personally.

6 Likes

What kind of teachers? Japanese professors? Gym teachers?
Credentials? Or, Just a few ALTs?

7 Likes

:man_shrugging:

The Wikipedia page about 倒置 states:

日本語では、動詞を最後に置くこと以外は語順が比較的自由であるが、あえて動詞を最後以外に持ってくる動詞の倒置がある。

This sounds to me as if it was a stylistic choice to disobey grammar rules? Or am I reading that wrong?
Until now I always thought those instances where someone “forgets” to say an important part of the sentence and appends it to the end after the verb is not grammatically correct and only happens in speech, but maybe that’s wrong. I guess it doesn’t even really matter if something is correct or incorrect according to some grammar rule. I was just surprised that they would present such a sentence to absolute beginners.

2 Likes

Also, the rough and tough adventurers calling each other あなた :slightly_smiling_face:

15 Likes

I think what’s happening here, is that whoever made this manga opted to use the most basic, textbook, mechanical style of Japanese in order for absolute beginners to understand the content. Personally, I think it would have been better for them to use fairly standard Japanese that you would encounter in this kind of manga, then explain everything in the guide they provided. That way, it would be easier for the reader to eventually make that transition to “regular” manga when they eventually get that far, and they’re being exposed to casual Japanese early on. But hey, I can see this kind of manga being used in a N5 classroom, so I don’t think it’s all bad. :slight_smile:

3 Likes

I guess it comes down to what’s strictly correct and what’s pragmatically correct. It’s supposedly a “rule” that every Japanese sentence needs a verb, but that’s not really true – い-adjectives can stand on their own since they have an inbuilt copula, for example. Bare nouns can be a grammatically correct sentence on their own, as with 大丈夫?, despite being technically incomplete without a verb or a copula.

You can often even omit the verb entirely if it’s clear by context – shouting 手を! to someone in danger of falling off a cliff; 目が!as you’re blinded by a bright light; ご武運を as you send someone off to war.

And some patterns don’t ever take a verb at all, like the 日本へようこそ you see as you step off the plane, 聖火の加護と祝福のあらんことを as a cleric blesses you with a healing prayer, or 彼女ができますように as you might write on a strip of paper to hang up at Tanabata. This last one is especially devious since it also breaks the “subordinate clauses don’t use polite form” rule, but that’s the standard pattern for making wishes!

In summary:
guidelines

10 Likes