So I’ve reached level 4 and will be level 5 soon and was wondering when I should start studying grammar/reading low level books. Any advice/recommendations are appreciated, thanks everyone!
As for grammar: yesterday!
As for reading: whenever you feel comfortable with it.
At a low level, your best options for reading are going to be the materials that come within textbooks, because it’s just hard to find anything else that can work with beginner grammar.
There are a bunch of people that use Genki here. If you search, you’ll see.
Don’t mind me sneaking in here at an even lower level. If you’re looking for resources, I’d like to recommend this thread: https://community.wanikani.com/t/the-what-do-i-do-now-thread-free-resource-list/6534
Indeed for grammar there’re many books (Genki, Minna No Nihongo , Japanese from Zero, etc) that cover material in a concise manner and provide structure, wich it’s much of what they have to offer.
Most content it’s for free on internet, but it’s hard to feel or make orderly progress if you don’t have a clear reference, wich it’s what the books provide in contrast to many webs that are packed with grammar content.
The recommendation on those books it’s largely based on the community and the people that make extra material (most of it for free) to follow along with the books. Do a quick youtube search on those and you can find some very good teachers there.
The Dictionary on Basic Japanese Grammar (the yellow book) it’s also a must that will make your grammar learning very complete, specilly when the textbook proves short on explaining any point.
Personally, I am not a fan of Genki. I don’t think it’s very clear at what point you should be using the workbook along side it (like when to read the text and when you have read enough text to do the next exercise). Also, it isn’t clear when the vocabulary that they use in example sentences are ones that you should memorize or not. I personally think I’m going to stick with bunpro, but not having extended experience with either of them, take my opinion with a grain of salt.
The exercises in the workbook correspond to the numbered grammar points for each chapter. And the example sentences in each chapter usually use the new vocabulary you should memorize at the beginning of each chapter.1)memorize vocabulary, 2) practice and listen to dialogue. Try to recognize new grammar patterns coming up in the lesson. 3) Read a grammar point 4) do the practice exercise in the textbook 5) do the corresponding numbered exercises in the workbook as a self test and try not to use the book too much. 6) check answers in the answer book and correct yourself.
There are videos of the dialogues on the GENKI website if that’s more helpful than the audio, and there is a wonderful professor who posted lessons of every single grammar point on youtube as well. I posted the link somewhere in here lol.
I know GENKI isn’t for everybody, but I hope this clears up your confusion!
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Thats exactly right!. Specially if not used in a classroom environment it’s important you try to keep it motivating, hence the additional Genki related routine.
You can modify all or any of those steps in any way (vocab -> to anki or any SRS), grammar point with youtube Genki channel (though my prefered it’s Japanese Ammo with Misa; she goes to much more detail than the Genki channel).
The Genki videos for the dialogues are a nice addition as well.
If there’s any point you have doubts still, then The Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar it’s packed with lot (and I mean lots) of example sentences and explanations about the nuances of each grammar point, specially compared to any other that can be related.
Genki was the most tedious part of my routine , and just in the last month I’ve been able to make it somewhat fun using the above extras.
Finally I’ve realized that timing it’s not much of a concern when learning new grammar points (of course there’s always the pleasure of turning the last page of the book ), 'cause your SRS and gamification will be practical use; only now that I’m doing sentence mining I’m really getting the hang of many Genki lessons … . So build a nice foundation with the textbook and prepare to come back many time when you see them in context.
You’ve convinced me kind sir, I will be getting that book
I am a huge fan of “Japanese the Manga Way”, it worked wonders for me. Still wish there was something with a similar format and pace for more intermediate stuff.
One word - Bunpro.
I truly appreciate all of the replies! I’ll probably start by looking into Bunpro, Genki, and Japanese the Manga Way. I know someone suggested reading children’s books as well to help but I’m not sure when to start that or if that’s worth it
Regarding Japanese the Manga Way and Tae Kim, you should be aware that neither offer exercises and drills to practice what you just learnt. They’re good for reference or overview, not for making something stick.
If you mean reading actual Japanese children’s books… it’s not really worth it. They are usually entirely in hiragana, which makes it incredibly difficult to parse. Once they start to have kanji, the grammar becomes pretty hard for a beginner to understand, because a Japanese child is going to have a much better innate understanding of Japanese grammar than you.
It’s better to find something like a bilingual book or a graded reader, which are specifically designed for a foreign/adult learner. I’m just trying out the Japanese Graded Readers myself so can’t comment (but others on this forum seem to really like them), but I found a number of good bilingual books published by Tuttle as well (they were too hard to begin with though).