Japanese Material on University Level

As self learners, sometimes my approach give me confusion which material i should absorb first and later. While in university, they already have some guidelines from standardized material (writing, reading, listening, grammar, kanji)

As comparison, at early times I’m tackle kanji first with approximately 40-50 kanji each week, grammar sporadically, listening sporadically, while writing keep at same time depending what kanji learned at those time, and start reading after knowing basic kanji from kanji kentei level 8-10 first.

Sometimes there some gap between people who studying themselves and people who taking formal Japanese class.

Example : University student knowing much more academic vocabulary or such which sometimes I don’t know yet, but they don’t know when it comes to zokugo(slang/informal words) or some proverbs, while I’m already learn and knowing some of them first, due random pattern and nature of self learning.

Example above discovered when we talking some Japanese related topics randomly, when sometimes they gave me new knowledge, sometimes they also don’t understand what I’m taking about until I’m describe it.

I’m don’t ask directly because sometimes I’m feel inferior, so I’m refrain from asking material directly to them.

I wonder how studying material from student who taking Japanese course on university looks like? (what method their used, their books etc.)


I took Japanese lessons in university (it was not my major, I did maths) and we just did Genki… so apart from the opportunity to do presentations etc. where you can practice speaking and the opportunity to ask your teacher any questions I think consistent self-study won’t lose to lessons.

Hi Yurc
I studied Japanese at university many years ago, when there were fewer standard textbooks and (as hard as it may be to believe) no internet :open_mouth: so much of my learning material was created by the lecturers at my university. So I imagine the content I learned would be different from what students at other universities learned, but over time everyone acquires more of the same grammar and vocabulary.
We learned Japanese language while also studying Japanese culture, history, geography etc, and things like family and seasons and hobbies etc, but it was quite general. As a solo learner I imagine you would be more likely to focus on areas of your own particular interest. We learned polite forms but not much in the way of slang.
Within our class there were students who had been to Japan on student exchange (including me), and some who worked part time in Japanese businesses where they had learned aspects of oral language without always understanding the grammar behind it. Those students tended to find it easier to speak in Japanese, but not necessarily correctly.
The advantage of a university course is that there is a structure and you can just follow instructions, while as a self-learner you have to rely on your own enthusiasm. (This is why I like Wanikani, which I am using to relearn kanji and vocabulary I originally learned a long time ago. Yes I could just read things and reteach myself for free, but I know I would get distracted!)
So I can’t answer your question about how Japanese courses at university look now, but I encourage you not to feel inferior. Use opportunities to learn more. I am not sure where you live, but perhaps you can find a library with Japanese textbooks. In my city, there is a Japanese cultural centre with many language resources which can be borrowed at very little cost. Any beginners textbook will give you some ideas, and help reassure you that you’ve learned the basics and can move on to more advanced material. Don’t be afraid to ask - you may meet some very helpful people. :slight_smile:

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I think there’s a wider variety of things that self-studiers may lose out on, such as social cues and when to use certain phrases. (Of course, there’s some that we all have to learn the hard way anyway)

Most of my time in Japanese classes has been textbook based (Genki, Tobira) but having a native speaker to guide you through the material and correct your unnatural speech is priceless. Of course, you can get the same experience with language exchange but for me I usually require a little more motivation (like a grade). Right now I just finished a more business-level course which had a focus on presentations and ビジネス会話/敬語. In my time abroad in Japan, I went to ICU which makes their own textbooks as well as had a culture class where we had to write a lot of essays, interviews, and presentations, which all helped a lot too.

So I think you can get a lot of a classroom setting for more formal and business/academic Japanese especially, but I think you can also find the same resources outside the classroom as well. I also think it takes much more work to pick up natural sounding speech on your own (not that it’s impossible by any means) but the routine-ness and motivation of a class can really help.

Thank you for response. It gave insight how university level works, so it’s well structured. Actually I wanna do some Japanese universities, but due financial problem there’s no option. I’m decide to learn myself, and that’s why it’s like studying without path and guidance, and I’m afraid it’s not efficient and sufficient enough to cover when it came to actual experience.

So far I only can read (not fast), talks with limited vocabulary. When it comes to writing I must admit my writing style is wrong, because actually I’m copying how kanji font looks instead of natural, handwriting like.

Formal and business is actually still out my range because my keigo is limited. I was trying to listening keigo conversation, but my brain still couldn’t catch. I will searching some polite Japanese at least, even is rare when I can used it, but it quite fundamental to be learned.

Also congratulation for your finished business class.

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