How to get started with grammar?

Hey everyone, this is my first post so I apologize if I’m doing something wrong. I have not been active on the Community forum yet (only visited the meme page a few times).

Basically, I’ve been learning Kanji and Vocab for three months now but I can’t read anything yet, because I know literally 0 grammar, so I was wondering how I can get started. I have a book (Japanese from Zero) but the pacing is kinda slow. Also, university is starting again tomorrow and I’m not sure if I have a lot of time, I like WaniKani because the workload is always relatively small and I can just do Reviews twice a day and not worry about planning anything.

Is there anything like WaniKani for grammar? Whats a good source that only teaches grammar and little/no other stuff (JFZ also teaches Hiragana/Kanji, which I dont want).

Thanks everyone!

3 Likes

In terms of an approachable SRS to learn grammar, personally I really liked +1 sentence decks, because you can just do your reviews and a set amount of lessons every day (They start out with fairly simple sentences, then introduce new pieces of information one by one)
I’m sure there are plenty alternatives out there, but I used Jalup Beginner from japaneselevelup.com, which introduces most grammar in Genki 1 + 2 and then a little on top of that in 1000 cards. Only downside imo really is the hefty price tag of somewhere around 100$
Within the mobile apps, the first 100 cards of each deck are for free, if you want to give the method a try.

1 Like

Yes. It’s called BunPro. I’ll let everyone else tell you about it because I’m not a user. It seems quite popular among people on WK though.

I’d personally advise against studying grammar in isolation because it can get boring and doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a feel for those structures, or that you’ll be able to use them properly. As some people have mentioned on these forums, it’s possible to be quite advanced in terms of grammatical study without being able to communicate well. I also think it’s much easier to remember things you’ve seen in context. However, if you just want concise flashcards for study, I guess BunPro will work.

I’d suggest you also take a look at JLPT prep sites, which typically have a flashcard format along with example sentences. One site I genuinely recommend is Maggie Sensei’s site. However, you may find the colours too flashy or find the lessons hard to follow because quite a lot gets covered for each structure. I personally found them very helpful and easy to understand, but those were some of the complaints I’ve heard about her site. I’ll admit that the lessons aren’t always perfectly organised, but I still think it might be worth your while to take a look. You can also follow her on Twitter, but what she does on Twitter is mostly kanji and vocabulary, so I doubt that will interest you. I hope at least some of these suggestions help, anyhow.

This is good, IMO. It might help with building a strong foundation. Have you been going through the YouTube videos as well?

The good thing is that you can use any resource at this point since they all go over pretty much the same material in the beginning.

Bunpro is good for memorizing grammar rules via SRS and it has links to online resources for each lesson, but it doesn’t teach grammar directly.

For an online resource, I like the following:

https://pomax.github.io/nrGrammar/

What I did was use the textbook series, Genki but I’m sure yours works as well. I used Bunpro as well. And because Bunpro now has the Genki Path you can follow, whenever you see the grammar point in the textbook, you can practice it as an SRS system.

2 Likes

What was your process with Genki? I haven´t come that far with it, because I find it quite tedious since there is so much classroom-focused material etc.

2 Likes

Although this isn’t an SRS system like WaniKani, I’ve been using this YouTube playlist that follows along with Genki I and II. I tried using Genki by itself but I prefer a video format and I can’t recommend this playlist enough! It’s free, engaging, informative, and well formatted for a self learner. I would recommend trying out a few different grammar sources to see which one you like the best though since everyone learns differently.

1 Like

I just sat down and did it. Not much help I know. But I didn’t find it too tedious. I was also using Bunpro which helped me as well. The key thing is to only use things that interest you, if it doesn’t interest you, that’s okay. Other resources will be good!

Having been using Bunpro for ~6 weeks now, I highly recommend it. Try the free month at least.

2 Likes

I like Bunpro to practice grammar that I learn elsewhere. It is possible to learn grammar there but I would not recommend it for learning. I love the Human Japanese (HJ) app because it is quick and gives you a general idea of the structure of Japanese grammar. But to really learn grammar, reading and doing all exercises in Genki 1 and 2 is what really helped me with my reading. Lastly, this dictionary has been super useful: 日本語文型辞典 英語版 ―A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns for Teachers and Learners: Group Jammassy: 9784874246788: Amazon.com: Books

1 Like

I personally have used Genki mainly for its audio content, conversations, and the readings at the back of the book.

Basically, in order to be taught the grammar, I studied first with Japanese for Busy People, and then went to Genki to get more examples and see the kanji the way Japanese actually looks. Now I’m using Genki for a little bit and Minna no Nihongo as my main text (I’m on book 2 of both). Genki alone provides a fairly haphazard presentation of grammar, and there’s a lot of confusing grammar practice… if you do it without the audio samples. But the audio can be a good way to hear the drills in your head and start to pick up grammar cues in listening.

Care to provide an example?

I see many people recommending Bunpro, Minna no Nihongo, or Genki. Never did any of those, so I can’t attest to their effectiveness.

I used Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese. It’s 100% free, online and as an app. It’s a simple to use guide from the most basic to the most advanced grammar structures in Japanese. The only downside is that I am sure most people would find it extremely boring, but I found it enjoyable since I am passionate about studying Japanese.

There are a few grammar points that I found weren’t covered in the guide, but by the time you finish it any new grammar points won’t be all that common in daily conversation anyways (mostly just for N2/N1 testing purposes).

(edit: in the 2nd edition.)
There’s not a lot of consistent presentation of how to make positive, negative, and question sentences using different verb types, different forms of adjectives, and different particles, and they teach certain constructions before teaching verb constructions those are based on, and they mix in a lot of English when prompting tense changes in the practice sections. I was quite confused upon finishing Genki 1 but then reviewed with MnN 1 and found everything being much more clearly presented and therefore embedded in my mind. With Genki 2, I’ve learned that there are certain audio samples that are quite helpful and other samples that I need to skip to keep everything clearer in my brain.
The main thing I recommend is making sure one gets enough clear presentation of the bullet points. Aspects of Genki are great, and others require some reinforcement and clarity, in my opinion, such as Cure Dolly or Tokini Andy or bunpro or something.

Ive been using Tae Kims guide recently as I really like that he gets straight to the point. Whereas Genki has often bored me so far with a lot of slow-paced exercises and classroom exercises.
How is minna no nihongo compared to genki? Is it well structured and paced?

Yes, it is definitely well-structured and paced. I’d say that the main benefits of MnN are that the units are smaller and more deliberately organized by grammar points in a standardized format, the audio samples are quicker (so it may challenge your listening), and the main text is all in Japanese so it is more immersive (and it doesn’t provide translation of the practice sentences… only the grammar presentation and sample sentences and vocabulary in a separate handbook). There may be too many exercises for you, but I’d argue that if those are too much of a challenge, then you probably need them to let the grammar points sink in, and if they are easy, you’ll go through them quickly. (I went through MnN 1 very quickly, but now am slowing down a little in book 2.) An answer key is provided for all of the practice.

The main benefits of Genki, as I see it, are that the Units have some fun themes and pictures, and that listening to the audio that goes along with the exercises can be just as (or more) helpful as doing the exercises themselves (especially when certain prompts in Genki are in English).

Tae Kim probably is fine. I’d like to visit it again, but I found occasionally that the points I looked at wouldn’t stick with me unless I applied them. I’d still recommend it, though, because it’s free and fast!

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.