I just heard of Bunpro through browsing the community this morning and it looks good, do you recommend it?
I’ve been using Pimsleur for listening and speaking practice, wanikani is my obsession, I watch an episode of anime every day, and have started the Tadoku graded readers (still working through level 0 free content). I joined KaniWani too but haven’t gotten that off the ground yet. I’m just getting started on this and I realize there are gaps in my plan, the elephant in the room being grammar. I have both genki and minna no nihongo but something about using the books when not in a group/class situation just turns me off.
For context, I’m coming back to Japanese after about a 10 year hiatus. I got to N3 ish and lived in Japan for two years, so this is mostly brushing off the cobwebs and getting back what has been forgotten. I seem to do best when it’s the kind of studying that can be done in those interstitial moments throughout the day (like WaniKani), or while doing something else (like Pimsleur). I think that’s why the textbooks aren’t working; they require more of a formal plan and dedicated time that I don’t have right now.
As for my motivation - this is purely a hobby and maybe we’d like to move back to Japan one day, maybe not. I don’t have any specific requirements other than that I just love it!
(Also, sorry if this is in the wrong topic thread, it’s my first post and this seemed like the most appropriate place I could find.)
It’s worked well for me, with a caveat: its explanations are very minimal.
If you expect it to teach you the ins and outs of grammar points, you’re going to end up disappointed. But I treated it mostly as something to teach me the bare basics of grammar points and to show me which grammar points exist in the first place, so I could then recognise them in my reading and get an actual understanding of them that way. If you use Bunpro in that way and accept that you’re going to have to do further reading and practice on the grammar points it introduces, it can work very well.
I would recommend recommend Bunpro, but you may want to try it out first and see how it goes with two SRS running at the same time. I had to stop Bunpro for a while to focus on WK so it can be a lot to juggle.
Plus, if you were already at N3 level, you can just skim through the N4/N5 sections for a refresher.
Or you can do what I did and watch the following Game Gengo videos over the course of a week or so:
Yeah, I used three SRSes actually, but that did mean switching around between them depending on what I saw as the bottleneck in my reading and listening. Not enough vocab? Do lessons and all the reviews on Torii SRS, reasonably limited reviews only on the other two. Kanji getting in the way? WK lessons and all the reviews, limited revies on Bunpro and Torii. Grammar slowing me down? Focus on Bunpro, get that grammar in my head, and keep up with reviews at a slower pace on Torii and WK.
It’s super easy to overload yourself if you try to keep up a higher speed on multiple SRSes at once.
Do you recommend Bunpro for grammar?
Yes. However, keep in mind that Bunpro is oriented toward the JLPT, which is designed by the Japanese government as a tool for assessing the competence of foreigners in the Japanese language. JLPT results are used for things like evaluating visa applications. Consequently, the language found there is more professional and academic in nature.
If your interest in Japanese is based on popular media like anime, just know that Bunpro will expose you to a lot of stuff you’ll rarely encounter in that context.
There’s a month free trial. I’d recommend just giving that shot. Unless things have changed you’ll still have access to the search utility and explanations on the grammar points, but without the SRS functionality and less example sentences once the trial has ended. They also have a resources tab for each point that has links to free online resources or page numbers for popular books, so it integrates really well with other study resources.
Something that might be nice in your case is the ability to mark things as known and skip around. There’s a big study button to just do lessons in order, but there’s nothing to stop you from pulling a point for something you’re reading and manually adding that your review pile. It’s very free-form and trusts the user to do as much or as little as they need rather than WK’s very opinionated approach to learning. They also do a good job of marking things as literary or whatever, so if you say don’t care about literary things it’s possible to avoid that. However, I will say the most common complaint of people doing this is that many of the sentences will build on content from prior “lessons” and vocabulary used roughly lines up with wordlists for each N level, so it may be difficult to parse an N1 example sentence effectively while going ahead. I don’t think it should be too difficult for you at N3ish, but I’ve seen a lot of beginners get frustrated with it.
The other thing I want to mention is that the community there is pretty awesome. I’ve spent a lot of time reading the generated discussion threads for a lot of the grammar points and they run a japanese in the wild thread where the admins share some text (from manga, signs, labels, ect.) and share their interpretation the following day. I had a good bit of fun with it in the past and I’d recommend digging through the old threads if you’re interested in manga as well.
Example sentences, most points have around 10. I think the N1 content was still being flushed out so maybe less there. Most of these are voiced.
A screenshot from this month’s grammar in the wild thread which anyone can join. They also post these on twitter.
I recommend Bunpro for grammar!
But not as your only source for grammar. I find Genki not-terrible as a starting place, and then the “dictionary of japanese grammar” books.
And reading. Just lots of reading. Chicken-and-egg problem, though, you need some grammar to read, and you need to read to pick up new grammar. Bunpro and Genki are good ways to boot-strap into that process.
In fact, you’ll find that Bunpro features pretty much all of the entries in the entire Dictionary of Japanese Grammar series.
Yeah, I only have the “basic” volume. I like bunpro for arranging them in a logical order, and I like the books for indexed look-up-a-bility (which I find bunpro frustrating for even though you technically can)
I mostly use Bunpro as a grammar search engine these days, actually. Are the dictionaries easier for that? I might get them if that’s the case.
For sure. Not to mention that the books go into much more detail and provide explanations of each point of the grammar, instead of just the summaries most Bunpro points have (although they are going back and adding detailed explanations, but those are only found in N5 and N4 grammar points, for now).
Maybe just because I’m old and when I’m looking something up I prefer the analog “should be about ‘here’ in the book, then flip back or forward” to “search boxes and page reloads”.
Oh man, the yellow basic grammar dictionary is my go to. I will say that it takes some getting used to. Once you figure out how everything is organized you can see that there is a ton of info crammed in to the book. Even though it’s “basic,” there are a lot of grammar points that I haven’t even found in Genki 1 and 2. However, it is so condensed that some grammar points you might have to read over and over to finally get all of the finer details down. I imagine it will be several years before I’m ready for the intermediate volume.
I imagine it will be several years before I’m ready for the intermediate volume.
I thought the same thing, but as it so happens, I’ve run into quite a bit of stuff in the intermediate and advanced volumes as well. I mostly interact with written Japanese, though. I think a lot of what’s in the advanced book primarily deals with formal/written grammar, so if you mostly just watch anime or read manga, it’s probably less useful.
Sorry to not strictly answer your question, but your Japanese situation is pretty similar to mine, and I found that book clubs were the best for grammar study at my level. Your N3 grammar will come back to you really fast, and you will encounter a lot of new grammar in a book. Other members of the club help you interpret the grammar, and the context is super helpful for actually “getting it,” as well as remembering it.
Of course, it depends on whether you like reading. I love reading, so a good story is much more motivating to me than any other method. I tried bunpro for a hot second, but found it really boring.