How can I get over decision paralysis for picking a grammar resource?

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I’ve also always found the advice to wait to be… difficult to understand. Especially given how slow the first few levels are.

That advice has always felt like its putting WK/Kanji on a pedestal which I don’t think is particularly deserved/helpful, Kanji is important for reading and eventual fluency, but I’m not convinced it should be the first thing you learn. Knowing a few hundred Kanji but not being able to form the sentences “Good evening, how are you?” or “I like apples” seems like it could kill motivation.

I definitely didn’t put everything on hold until I got to a certain WK level, I kept learning from other sources, kept up with my Anki, and made sure to prioritise WK to an extent but only because it was working for me and it was relevant to my goals (reading).

Obviously you should be careful to not burn yourself out, but picking one resource to go through alongside WK doesn’t seem like it comes with a high risk of burn out. Just keep an eye out for if things get too hectic, and if that happens then you’ll need to reprioritise (based on your goals).

[sorry for double post, just wanted to keep my on-topic reply separate from off-topic]

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Same!

A couple of people have made the same request and the team has said something about a review system overhaul before, so I’m still kinda hoping they will make a proper recognition mode happen.

A while back I kinda implemented a very rough version of a user script that more or less does exactly what you’re saying, and I really do like the whole process better that way. I really like getting a new sentence with each review, but I also had the same complaints you have.

You just reminded me that I’ve been meaning to fix the million problems with the script so I can share it. Oops. Unfortunately it’s still pretty buggy currently otherwise I would have already. Just in case someone wants a version of it that works but you can’t click certain things in certain orders or it’ll break things… lemme know, lol.

As for Anki, copying the sentences sounds doable but I think the downside would be that the sentences don’t change at every review step. So there wouldn’t be much of a difference to other grammar decks that already exist I guess.

Also: Team Anki :facepunch:

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Yeah, it really matters a lot less than one might expect. It may come across as intimidating, but working through a book like genki is really a tiny speck in what will be your entire japanese journey, so the time saved by picking the “best” resource is going to be comparable to the time lost by figuring out what that best choice is anyways. I just did tae Kim for a bit because it was easy, free, and online.

I think there is a lot of discussion about efficiency (which is a good thing), but it can be misleading to beginners. The goal isn’t to be as efficient as possible. That’s not possible. Max efficiency isn’t the end, it’s the beginning. You use it as a basis and modify it from there into something sustainable for you. Whichever resource you feel like using, go for it. It’s all just a stepping stone to getting more comprehensible input anyways.

I personally read through tae Kim for a bit and then was like heck that and just opened up a visual novel and learned from there. I learned some N1 grammar before I even finished learning katakana (which i also learned from the vn). I liked it so it was a lot more sustainable than looking at a page on the internet. In the end, didn’t matter that I did it that way and I learned my grammar regardless.

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Personally, I actually started vocab and grammar first and then started kanji with WK. I spent almost an entire year (or possibly more) on just grammar and vocab before diving into kanji because kanji scared me. Lol

Hear this: There’s no wrong path. Everyone’s different and everyone learns differently. What works for one person may not work for you. Did I spend hours upon hours researching different methods and opinions like you? Absolutely. Do I regret it? No, 'cause there’s so much out there you don’t want to miss out! And now I have a whole host of back-up options and resources to use should I want to try them out.

BUT, that being said, you will eventually just have to take the plunge. What you choose to plunge into should be solely up to you. Take people’s experience with a resource and their opinions into account but you make the decision on what matters to you. If you can find them, check out samples of different methods for yourself and see if you like the direction they go in.

As for an additional opinion when it comes to grammar, if you can stand yet another one, I did Human Japanese first. It was clean, simple, affordable, and you can buy it as an app for your phone or for your computer. Best of all, it was written from the perspective of a native English speaker who learned Japanese while living in Japan. I followed up HJ with Genki and I find that Genki now just reinforces everything I learned in HJ. Both have their pros and cons but every resource will so don’t be scared to just try one and see where it goes. There’s nothing wrong with jumping ship if you find a resource doesn’t work for you and trying another.

Good luck! Have fun! Don’t freak out! You got this! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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I mainly learned N5 & N4 gramamar (currently doing the intermediate deck that is covering N3ish stuff) via Jalup and that’s pretty much the approach that it takes. It’s just sentences that introduce (and repeat) grammar and vocab etc and then you mark whether you understand it. It’s also pretty nice (in my option) as it gets away from full English translations very quickly. The one thing that it does lack compared to Bunpro is a nice visual way of seeing how far through the JLPT grammar points you are. It’s built around getting you to being able to read native material asap, rather than around JLPT so I can very much understand why it doesn’t but having that clear sign in bunpro of what you have covered is the one thing I envy! That also probably means that it would be difficult to know what deck to start with based on what you already know, but for others that are pretty early in their studies it’s certainly a tool I would reccomend (it’s pretty pricey but myself and some other people I know have managed to get very decent discounts by getting in touch with the guy that runs it and asking so that’s worth a shot)

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Only reason I would want to learn more grammar would be to pass N1, so a clear alignment would probably be for the best. I feel like Bunpro worked okayish up until N2, when you mainly start getting expressions instead of grammar. I guess a prep book would work for that, but will see if I have the motivation to do it just for the sake of it… I haven’t really touched any grammar stuff in a year and haven’t really felt the need to.

Jalup seemed interesting, but since they were expensive I never really looked into it. I also find the main guys personality and attitude a bit annoying (somehow high horsed) :sweat_smile:. Sometimes there are some good blog posts, though.

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yeah! Jalup has worked really well for me & I love it but I feel like it’s hard to recommend unless:

  • your primary goal is reading native content,
  • you are early on in your studies (as each card builds ontop of previous ones),
  • you can manage to get it at a discount (or money isn’t an issue),
  • your main motivation isn’t passing JLPT in the most efficient way (it will get you there in time but it’s not structured around it)

So yeah, for a lot of people (you included) it wouldn’t make sense. Now if only someone would make a tool that introduced grammar like Jalup does but allows for organising your studies like Bunpro, that would be perfect!

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Grammar can be intimidating without having some kind of endpoint in mind, because it feels like you’ll lock yourself into a resource and be stuck with it forever.

I think it’s easier to commit to something if you recognize that you can break up your grammar studies into chunks roughly organized around the JLPT levels.

I personally used Genki and I still recommend it because it’s a pretty compact introduction to all the N5 and N4 grammar points. Having an N4 foundation makes it much easier to jump into native material and start learning more naturally, but I find that the formal instruction for the initial phase is really helpful for learning the basic conjugations and sentence structures.

Try committing to a resource, whether Genki or MNN or whatever, and setting a timeline by which you will be comfortable with N4 grammar points. That’s at least 2-3 months of study to really get it down, but that’s not very long in the grand scheme of things. Once you’re N4, you can completely reevaluate how you want to proceed, whether switching to a different resource or diving in with reading simple native material. You’re not stuck on that path forever but just having a basic foundation will really expand the options that are available to you next.

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Even as a BP loyalist, I can entirely see where you guys are coming from. Grammar is just messy and think there isn’t a one size fits all study approach for all levels. For BP, it probably has a difficult learning curve for raw N5 beginners, fits/excels very well for N4-3. For N2-1, now that I’m going through it, it’s grammar synonym hell trying to do productive output based on English into JP (many cases more literary nuances too) when in many cases I can just understand it when I see the full sentence and don’t want to think about a translation. Right now, I’m grinding more comprehension decks through Kitsun and reading which is far easier. So I’m still contemplating how to handle my reviews in the future which I’ve left to just a couple times a week and find it less fulfilling ATM. But I like seeing the same content on different platforms, sometimes it sheds a new light and figure the more practice the better. If I could get my N2-1 grammar comfortably into output like writing or speaking much better, BP would be far easier…I’m just not there yet (and some are more useful than others which I may not even want to spend time on for output).

But the platform is getting better quickly. I don’t know if it got sold off and under a new management but seems there has been a recent shift lately with performance, more content and reading tool. To say the reviews are the only benefit would be an understatement; almost all sentence now have native audio, there are ~10k sentence for reading practice w/ solid translation, the grammar dictionary function is super useful, I mined alot of vocab into Kitsun and we have a great community too (plus they have kept it ridiculously dirt cheap for it’s content which may not last long if they continue to build it).

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Try BunPro. Don’t focus too much on answering every single review question correctly. You’re mainly using this to consistently expose yourself to grammar topics. That way when you start immersing, every grammar concept won’t be foreign to you. And if you don’t know how a grammar concept fully works when you finally end up seeing it in the wild, you may at least know how to break down the sentence structure from seeing the grammar previously. From there you’ll know what to look up.

Just my opinion …apparently some people in this thread hate BunPro. I personally hate grinding a textbook, makes me feel like I’m back in school all over again. So once again back to the point that there’s really no right or wrong answer. Find what you like and do it consistently I guess.

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Makes me wonder: Would many dedicated language learners hate SRSs if they were used in schools?

To clarify, BunPro worked fine at the beginner levels for basic grammar as an exposure generator like you said, but starts to lose it’s edge when you don’t really want to include English in your studies (N2-N1) and the “grammar” gets much more literary and rare. I never liked textbooks, either.

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I thought bunpro was kinda terrible honestly. The sorta “make you feel like you’re learning more than you really are” that Duolingo seemed to do. I was under the impression that I was the odd one out for having that opinion, but apparently there are others out there. maybe it’s made some improvements since I tried it tbf, but the core idea had some big issues so idk.

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Yeah, in hindsight I felt I was more memorizing things than understanding. But it least it exposed me to the things I then found in reading and listening, where I then could start grasping the same points gradually.

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Yeah that’s really the tragic part. It feels like the exposure is really the strong suit of it and it’s so close yet so far from utilizing it. Like if it was able to just feed you a buncha native sentences with the target grammar and test your comprehension, I would have a completely different opinion of it probably.

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True, a professor of mine had a pointillism painting in his office (I think it was a copy of "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande-Jette). If anyone ever came in saying that they were overwhelmed and couldn’t possibly learn everything, don’t know where to start, don’t know best resourse, don’t know, don’t know etc etc. He would just point at it and say that every little thing you learn is one dot on this painting. At the beginning with only 10 dots it means nothing, with 1000 dots it still means nothing but after a million dots…suddenly a painting. Something as complex as learning a language requires a billion little dots and it doesn’t matter where they come from or what order you learned them in…it only matters that you keep adding dots consistently everyday until you see the painting.

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And eventually you realize that almost all those dots are vocabulary…

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I mean maybe? The way those textbooks are structured just brings back flashbacks of high school Spanish class - it makes me want to fall asleep. I’d rather rep SRS for 3 hours than read a textbook.

that’s pretty much the main selling point. they’ve also added a search function which makes it an awesome resource for when you see a grammar point out in the wild and want to search it up. combined with the dictionary of basic japanese grammar its pretty nice. I plan on using it to around upper N3 and from there either dropping it or keeping it to search grammar points as I read. I doubt I’ll grind the upper levels though.

In case some of you haven’t used it in a while, here is rough idea of the amount of topics it covers:

image

To grossly over-simplify BunPro, if your main interest/goal with the language is to consume media then it’s probably not for you. However, if you want to ‘produce’ the language then it provides a feedback loop that one can do independently without a human expert…though it’s not perfect and need a strategy outside it’s system (and other ways to practice production).

So much like WK which is a reading development tool that needs reading supplementation, BunPro is a production tool that needs production practice (surprise!). I’ve used BP with frequent conversation practice and it has made a difference and why I’ve stuck with it (but have to make a concerted effort like writing or putting it to use). And since conversation has been my main objective, BP fits as a tool for me very nicely though I’m still challenged by what I mentioned earlier in advance grammar areas which I consider a weakness of the program. But if I just wanted to just read with little interest in conversation, I’d probably ditch it, it’s way harder than necessary, very time consuming and has little benefit if not practiced. Plus reading media is way more fun.

Just an observation, the community board on BP has a good portion of users living in Japan (presumably who need to practice output) though this isn’t hard data and noticed many who don’t like it are experts in the reading clubs here (again, just an observation and perhaps marginalizing). But if true then I think this makes total sense, we are naturally drawn towards our language goals (I mean, why not?). On a side note, this makes the message boards interesting reads and there is, of course, no right or wrong on whether a tool is useful when it’s highly personalized.

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I’m far from being an expert in anything reading related, but it is my main goal and I would agree that my criticisms of bunpro are in its ineffectiveness when it comes to that goal and nothing else. How much it helps with producing the language, I have no clue. Solid post, all around. Cheers mate.

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