Going through light novel breaking all grammars apart

Hello everyone.

I’m thinking on doing this kind of activity.

  • Take from a light novel few sentences
    For each sentence:
  • Break the sentence grammatically. Mark subject, predicate, particles.
  • If it is a complex sentence with multiple clauses - find how they are connected.
  • List all used vocabs with furigana and translation
  • List all used particles, identify their roles, add links to some third-party infos when appropriate. Comment on the particle role in the sentence.
  • List all inflections (verbs, adjectives), identify their form. Comment on their using cases when appropriate.
  • Sentence with translate vocabs but leaving particles
  • Add official translation
    Repeat (at least weekly) until entire light novel is reviewed.

After reaching WK 20 lvl I tried to read some light novels. I wasn’t successful. After a little more time, around my 4x lvls I tried again, and I found out that the problem wasn’t only in my vocabs size. I heavily lacked grammars knowledge, and because all that inflections and particles are always not in kanji it was hard for me to tell where is a verb inflection part and where is just a noun that usually written with kana only.

I started to study grammars. Around that time I also started to do some activity in HelloTalk. There was a chat where we reviewed light novel text sentence by sentence. I translated vocabs and commented on particles. Then one English native guy conjugated everything into final sentence. And one kind Japanese soul supervised our activity.

The progress was visible. For first 3 sessions I’ve also covered translation. After, we tried to tune up the quality of final translation and asked English guy to do it. And we witnessed how the person that didn’t know a lot of vocabs managed to complete the translation (the sentence consisted of translated vocabs and jp particles).

That brings me to some thoughts. I’m still using KanjiTomo to decrypt kanji, but can read the light novel more or less comfortable. What if I could learn all grammars that I know now that time at 20 lvl? Would my learning progress changed?

Anyway, we done that for a month, but as September came everyone became suddenly very busy with works and uni.

But not me.


  • Bridge vocabs (and probably grammars) with this anki app
  • Find the way to ask Japanese natives review my activity (I will try to do it through HelloTalk for now)

And here are my questions:

  1. Would you find this activity useful?
  2. Would you agree to pay for this? (I intend to monetize through Patreon with $3/month tier)
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Sounds like what I should be doing when reading Manga but I am too lazy!

I am currently facing the same problem as you were in that finding it difficult to break down sentences. Not being helped by the manga as sometimes words normally written in Kanji are written in hiragana (or worse katakana). Very confusing for a beginner.

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Yes, relatable :slight_smile: It was pretty confusing for me too. Even now sometimes.

I am not sure I understand what you want us to pay for?
You will manually dissect sentences and charge people to have access to your data? If so, there are already thousands of anki cards that do the same thing (for free).

If you are talking about creating an SRS tool for grammar, it already exists: bunpro.jp

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In my opinion. Learning grammars through narration is better than just learning grammars, because you will have context and see how grammars are used “in real world”.

The idea was to do the breakdown of entire light novel (konosuba) in the way I showed in the link at the head. My plan was to do at least 3-4 sentences per week. My work will consist of

  1. breaking the sentence into parts that can be studied
  2. gathering data about grammars and their particular use case in the sentence into one place
  3. presenting that data in understandable way
  4. proof checking with natives

You mentioned about anki cards, can you provide please the example. I’m a bit confused about what cards you talked about.

Personally I wouldn’t pay for this or even use it for that matter. I’d enjoy something where songs are broken down as such since they’re short and you can still get a lot out of it but with light novels it seems like such a huge undertaking for things not many people would even use. The amount of people learning Japanese who get to the point where they can read light novels isn’t many. I don’t think this would be too useful to beginners who aren’t ready either, they’d be overwhelmed with so much information at once and quickly give up.

Maybe this will be more useful than I’m giving it credit for, but until I see a system in place it’s going to be hard to truly judge its usefulness.

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I remember someone trying something similar on the forum before, but IIRC gave up after 4 or 5 sentences? (At least I haven’t seen that thread in ages).

I feel doing that kind of activity can be useful at the intermediate level, but there’s no point to read what someone else has done. It can be motivating to use a thread to have a bunch of people collaborate and stay motivated, though (although the past experience I mentioned wasn’t so successful)

By the way, I noticed a couple small things in the first link you posted: the furigana of 和真 was put on top of 佐藤 (and vice versa), しまう in this sentence convey more the idea of “regrettably” rather than unintentionally, …
Nothing that would prevent comprehension obviously, but I just thought I’d let you know :slight_smile:

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I see. Your arguments make sense. When I started learning Japanese my goal was to be able to read novels, so I can be biased in the point that this activity can be useful or enjoyable for studying. In my thoughts this could be used to break the barrier at the stage when you feel like you want to start with reading but struggle with it.

Thank you for the feedback. I don’t think that there is absolutely no point in reading others sentence breaking. I mean this can bring you to understanding how the sentence is structured even if you are not the one who break it. But it’s hard for me to stay fully objective. I got your point.

About previous experience, I think, it’s understandable. It is surprisingly very time consuming to collect all data about grammars and present it in nice way. Same is for me, honestly I don’t think that I will continue doing this to that extent. Obviously everything changes when money involved.

An lastly, about your correction. Haha, thank you :slight_smile: I have no excuse about your first point. But for the last I can say that I tried to convey that feeling when I wrote “with negative outcome” in explanation. Should still used “regrettably”, though.

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Ok, now I see what you are aiming for.
I think it has much more personal benefit than anything else, in terms of learning.
I mean, it’s a novel, it doesn’t have a particular order planned for learning. On the other hand there’re resources that do this in an orderly fashion. Japanese the Manga Way and the Basic Japanese Through Comics books do pretty much this.

On the other hand if someone is really interested in this, there was (still can be found in pdf :sweat_smile: ) the Mangajin Magazine, that did a thorough analysis for mangas both from japanese to english and also from english to japanese giving not only vocab and grammar references but cultural references as well.
Of course there was in that magazine the “Basic Japanese” column, from where the books came from, where particular emphasis is given to an specific grammar point for each volume, and then lots of examples comming from different mangas on that grammar point.

So, all in all, I think it can be a great way to improve your text comprehension and a prolific task for your japanese :hugs: … but perhaps not so much for other people using that same material.

Ah, I see. Didn’t hear about some of resources you mentioned about. And thank you for the feedback.

I’m not sure this would be useful.
As an intermediate tool, I can already understand a lot; what I can’t understand I have the tools to work out for myself.
On top of Wanikani and whatever other subscriptions I already pay, I don’t see the profit in it for me.

I can see it being useful for someone who is just starting to get to the point that they can read, but I think they should be reading material which is at their level, not something you find interesting.
Also, at that point, the biggest barrier to reading is 1) experience reading; 2) kanji and vocab knowledge.
If you can put the time in to read something, even if you can’t understand it, then eventually you will just get better at reading; this is double if you are doing WK as it fills in most of the gaps such as a fair amount of vocab and kanji.

Unless you were working on very simple texts I don’t think this would be useful for anyone; especially when there are resources like Satori Reader around.
By the time a reader is ready for something like この世界に祝福を or the Japanese translation of Harry Potter, I don’t think there is much use for other peoples resources outside of discussion groups.

Too easy for those who could find this useful. And too hard for those who try to make this useful. I think, I can understand your point.
Thank you for the feedback.

I think this could be useful however I think that it lacks appeal as a paid thing. Perhaps you could do 3-5 pages per novel (which is a lot of sentences still) and then do a larger number of novels. You could try using advertisements for revenue?

I dunno focusing on a single novel is nice for you but it automatically locks out people who don’t want to read that book.

I think you also need to consider that there are legal considerations to using other peoples work and charging for it.
While I’m sure aobunka isn’t going to send men in black suits to come after you, I’m also sure that using parts of their books (and charging or not) is likely to be in breach of copywrite.
Japanese CW law in particular is draconian.

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Yes, I thought about contacting licensers. But wanted to confirm first if there is even necessity in this activity.

Hm :thinking: thank you, will think about this. In theory I could make some service where I start to do analysis on multiple novels. Then decide by polling or something like that which one I should move on for each iteration.

I have tried to read Manga/Light Novels/Children’s Books ans as much as it it nice to have a partial analysis of a text, I don’t think a subscription service would be successful.
I use a tool that does a half-analysis automatically (“TangoRisto” on Google Play) and from there I finish It myself as I learn better when I do it myself.
I am pretty sure that there are similar tools for iOS and Browser so there is no real need for another one.

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Thank you for the feedback. Didn’t hear about TangoRisto, will check it. Surely there are tools that can be used to do analysis by yourself. And I’ll be honest everything I’ve done can be done by googling and putting some time into this. There are no much academic value in my activity. In fact, what I’m offering is saving the amount of time that is spent to find the info about this and that particular use case.

It’s also for iOS: http://www.tangoristo.com/
The feature I use most is not even listed as a main feature^^ You can paste your own text to be analyzed.

There is also https://www.japanese.io but I haven’t really tested it much.