Japanese grammar: Online Marugoto course or Genki 1 book?

I was wondering if anyone else has tried out the online Minato (Marugoto A1) course. I really liked the structured classroom ~ vibe ~ that the Minato offers, but I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about Genki as well. Would love to hear some opinions and maybe recommendations :smiley:

I tried out the Marugoto course and quite liked it but didn’t end up integrating it into my self study routine (no real reason other than I have a private tutor on the side).
I did finish Genki though and liked that too - but I guess it’ll come down to whether you prefer book learning or interactive learning. There’s a guided version too with a tutor, which I never tried.

I know @tip has been using Marugoto online, maybe they have interesting insights!

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Thanks for your response! Do you know if there’s any other courses alike to the Marugoto online course?

I haven’t done much online grammar study, so other than Marugoto I only know Erin’s Challenge (which seems more for false beginners than Marugoto’s A1 course). It’s kind of dated but cute in a “awww look at their little flip-phones” kind of way :sweat_smile:

I have used the A2/B1 Marugoto book as supplementary material with my tutor though – it’s topic-based and I guess it’s more a workbook than a textbook though, they try to teach culture through Japanese.
It looks like the online version (which has been updated recently by what I see now!) does have grammar sections, so if you’re enjoying it I’d just keep using that instead of buying something at this point! :slight_smile:

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I’d start with some Japanese children’s books. There are plenty online for free. They even have the English under it, which is immensely helpful (especially if you are so inclined to make Anki decks for sentences).

http://hukumusume.com/douwa/English/index.html

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I tried Genki several times and it just wasn’t for me. The style is much more suited to a live classroom, tutoring or partnering situation. Someone who with intermediate to advance knowledge making corrections and suggestions would have helped me stick with it. There are plenty of online supplements to Genki including some study along threads here if that style suits you.

Marugoto starts from zero if that’s what you need. Each unit though is stand alone so you can start at your comfort level. There’s a self test at the bottom of one of the “about” pages that will give you a clue as to where to start
https://www.marugoto-online.jp/info/level_check_test/?lang=eng
I scored high on reading and vocab/kanji but poorly on listening etc. so I chose A1 and found it to be just like Genki but in a format that I immediately knew I would stick with as a self study-er with no tutors. You can choose a path that gives you just language skills or you can learn to use those skills while also getting info about culture.

A2 ramps up the difficulty but is still engaging enough for me to continue. So much grammar has become clear to me in this section. The end point unfortunately is A2-4. ( I do not know where Genki II ends so I can’t compare.) There is a dynamic mix of all areas of language learning and you have the option of paying for a tutor.

Summary: if your grammar and speaking are at a beginner level and you get bored with textbooks, Marugoto may be right for you. (I’m not a paid spokesperson). if you like textbooks and have support +/- money to pay for it, the Genki series may be right for you. There is no harm in doing both if you have the time.

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SO I took the placement quiz and it put me at A2-1/A2-2, but I feel that my skills are too all over the place to skip A1. Does the course level really stretch out for six months??

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Nope. You go at your own pace. Six months is the maximum time limit at which point I guess they make you start over.
Once you finish a course, you can go back to review as often as you want even after six months. You could do A1 over a long weekend.

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I started self studying Genki I and then II after learning hiragana/katakana, I found its format beginner friendly and the audio was useful. It is separated by chapters starting with a (usually very) short story using the grammar points in that lesson and some of the vocab, followed by vocabulary lists written with hiragana and sometimes with an additional kanji writing, and after that several grammar points.

There are some practice examples in the main book but you can get the workbook for much more practice. You dont need to know kanji for Genki, I started it before wanikani.

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Did you do it by yourself?

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Yes, completely.

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I too have tried genki several times and would never be able to see it through. Right now hesitant to try any courses though, right now I’ve just begun my grammar practice by reading picture books without looking things up (mostly), renshuu.org (trying to get used to the UI lol), and watching ammo misa on yt

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I started Genki 1 with no japanese knowledge except for hiragana and katakana. I think it works pretty well but there are definitely some issues I noticed and some things I think should have been explained more in depth. For example the ます form of some verbs such as あそぶ was not explained and it was frustrating when I was asked to give あそびます when it wasnt taught through the books. Another example is せがたかい is only taught as meaning tall but it is never broken down as せ ,が and たかい . Also the listening comprehension in the workbook can be a little advanced in my opinion and does not equal the difficulty you will see in the writing questions.

I still think Genki is a great book but these are some things I think should be known before buying the books.

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I think I intuitively figured this out… but does せ mean height?

Am processing those te-form chapters and this came up for me recently…

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Yeah so I just learned せ means height and せがたかい literally means height is tall or maybe status of height is tall. It isnt a HUGE deal you still get the meaning from what Genki teaches you but I still think simple breakdowns like this are important so that you can understand Japanese sentence structures more in depth

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This is really helpful! Thanks a lot. So, if I read a few of these daily and put a few words in Anki decks do you think that my grammar would improve? A big problem of mine are particles and getting used to the sentence order. I’m at lesson 9 of Marugoto A1 at the moment meaning I can create basic sentences and tell a few things about myself / my family / food etc but I can’t really stray from those topics. Thanks again for your time, this goes for everyone that responded :smiley:

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The only way to get better at reading is by reading. :slight_smile: The more you see how particles are used in context, the better your brain will subconsciously relate certain words and speech styles to particles. It sounds weird, I know, but it works! You do it all the time without thinking about it. Some day you will just have it click and won’t even notice until you’re so far along you naturally compose your own sentences correctly. Nobody’s perfect, not even Japanese people, but it’s an intuition.

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se means back or spine, segatakai…tall spine or long spine = tall (person)

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While that makes sense, I think it is just literally a separate definition.
As you can see, the third definition on jisho is ‘height’

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As a teacher of Japanese who utilizes the Marugoto Curriculum and who has also worked a little with the Genki curriculum, I can tell you that, by far, Marugoto is the more natural way to learn Japanese. Plus, it’s fun and tends to have a modern feel to it. Genki, in my opinion, is kinda outdated and really should be revamped.

Anyways, you can check out some free lessons that I do with Marugoto on a Facebook group that I help run. We normally do in-person classes, but with the whole Corona Virus thing going on, we have switched to streaming on Facebook live. I recommend giving it a try! :grin:

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