I’ve wanted to ask you guys about one thing. Is it beneficial to learn small texts by heart?
Here is the short story:
When I was learning english a decade ago I was forced to learn A4 page sized texts by heart. Then years later I did that voluntarily when I was self studying german. I can’t really judge how this approach impacted my english since I wasn’t even analyzing what the hell was going on and just did what I was told to, but with german I think I acquired and solidified some ready-to-use phrases. I even remember different parts of some of those texts. End of story.
So as far as I understand it, by learning texts by heart you can acquire some useful phrases and parse them instanteniously if you encounter them in any other text or during conversation. Also you can use them in your speech without effort later. After all when we get to the advanced level of some language, we start speaking with some premade phrases or their parts and don’t struggle much or don’t struggle at all, isn’t it?
So what do you all think? Should we spend time on such things? I’ve never discussed this with anyone.
Personally, I go for a little rote memorization in my mix. For me, it balances out spaced repetition, where you are always kept just on the verge of struggling to remember. Repeating a text until it is totally memorized is kind of peaceful and settles my mind. I would say to make sure that you work on understanding it at the the same time. In a way, it is like playing a musical piece from memory.
All of the WK radicals I have learned that way, because I find them so useful for remembering the makeup of new kanji that I encounter, WK or not. Also one Buddhist text I am memorizing right now.
I would say to be very selective about what you spend your time memorizing – perhaps choose a text that Japanese children learn by heart in school, and for sure choose something that you really enjoy.
I personally think that memorisation in and of itself can be really quite irritating, even if you have a good memory. (I like to think that my memory is decent – e.g. I memorised 200+ digits of pi for fun, along with the periodic table –, but I hate pointless rote memorisation, especially when it’s imposed on me.) However, I once had to memorise chunks of Chinese text for oral exam preparation, and by the time I went for my exam about a year later, I knew the texts so well that I could mix them up however I wanted, which made me sound really fluent. In actual fact… well, I really had just memorised a set of words that were extremely useful for the oral exam format. Still, I guess my experience proves that it can be effective, even if those words might not stick forever.
I personally think that this is important if one chooses to try memorising chunks of text, especially the second bit (emphasis added). It’s probably going to be painful or unmemorable otherwise.
Yeah, me too! In my case though, I think I only know two songs by heart: one anime ending theme song (the 1:30 anime version of あたしが隣にいる – I haven’t had the time or desire to memorise the full version), and Lemon. I studied both songs thoroughly as I memorised them though, because I tend to choose songs based on their meaning (provided they sound good). Some of the words are useable in real life. Others are a bit less useful, but interesting to know nonetheless. I think songs are a little easier to memorise than other chunks of text because they have a tune and a rhythm, which is helpful.
I don’t think I can specify what kind of text it can be. I think it can be anything but most of the time it is a standart text from a textbook with some a conversation on some topic or some narrative about some random subject.
I think some basic topic texts from textbooks should suit for starters. Especially when they contain all the grammar from the lesson.
I think songs are a bit too obscure for that. But who knows…
My friend who’s majoring in biology at university in Japan used to credit ‘anisong’ (aka anime music) for a lot of his Japanese proficiency, so you might be surprised at how useful it is. He did study Japanese formally in school by the way (I did French instead), so it’s not as though he found it helpful for a lack of other sources of knowledge. For that matter, sometimes, when I ask him if a certain structure is acceptable, he brings up a song for reference, without which he wouldn’t have an example sentence on hand for me. Also, if you choose slightly more mainstream songs that tackle real life topics like love and loss (Lemon is one of them, and it’s pretty famous in Japan), you’ll definitely find more useful, realistic vocabulary, even if anime songs and other hard-to-understand-IRL music honestly contain a lot of usable words too.
Japanese music does use a lot of things that would sound weird in real life though (like using the ゆく reading of 行く) and, of course, like any language, language rules are broken to better match the flow of the song. I think listening to music is good for learning listening skills, but not grammar or how to sound natural, which seemed to be what the OP was going for.
I’ll admit that this is true, just like when a female singer says ぼく. It’s definitely true that some rules are also broken or skimped on (e.g. particles being removed), and that some unnecessary syllables are added to match a certain rhythm.
I’m sorry, but I think I have to disagree. First of all, OP mentioned ‘useful phrases’ that you can ‘parse instantaneously’ since we all speak with ‘premade phrases’ to some extent when we’re fluent. Songs do offer that. Secondly, if my friend who’s in Japan uses them as a means of reference for certain structures even though he has a wealth of other Japanese experience, there has to be a reason. By the way, he once had a very proficient but crazily otaku classmate who drove him nuts because he spoke like an anime character, so I sincerely believe he has a good grasp on what’s weird and obscurely colloquial in real life, and what is acceptable. Finally,
I think this is true. If you have a grasp of what ‘normal’ (or at the least, formal) Japanese should sound like, then it shouldn’t be hard for you to convert whatever you see in informal Japanese into polite Japanese. Also, even if certain songs are too romanticised or lyrical to imitate wholesale in real life, they still teach us valuable things which we can imitate in small chunks or modify for our own use.
Here’s what’s probably the most intimate stanza from Lemon (which is thus completely unusable in its original form in real life):
暗闇であなたの背をなぞった (In the darkness, I traced your back)
その輪郭を鮮明に覚えている (I remember that outline clearly)
受け止めきれないものと出会うたび (Whenever [you/I/we?] ran into something [you/I/we?] couldn’t completely accept}
あふれて止まないのは涙だけ (What overflowed endlessly were tears alone)
However, what this stanza gives me is an entire framework for at least three sentences: I now know that 背 can be used alone, and doesn’t have to appear as a part of 背中. I can now use the verb なぞる=to trace. I know how to express the fact that I remember something clearly, as though it happened yesterday (鮮明に覚える). I know how to use the potential form of 切る when it’s used to express that something is done completely, and that 受け止める means ‘to accept’ or ‘to take in’, and not literally ‘to receive and stop’. I learn that 度 can be used to mean ‘every time that’. I learn how to use 止む, which is quite a rare verb in lower-level Japanese textbooks. I haven’t even considered the benefits of seeing how authentic Japanese sentences are constructed, along with how その can be used in this fashion, which isn’t all that natural to an English speaker, since we rarely use ‘that’ to refer to something related to someone we’re addressing in the second person. Songs teach us so much if we study them seriously, but only – granted – if we have grammatical foundations that allow us to filter usages that are inappropriate for real life and transform them into things we can use.
To be fair, 僕 isn’t that rare among young Japanese women. In a 2001 study, they found 23/136 female college students use 僕 at least sometimes (I link to a study that references it since I can’t find a digital version of the study). A 2009 study (Wikipedia overview for the same reason) indicated that outside of classrooms (emerge 僕 was used by 22%) and family (that saw 5% usage), 僕 saw very minor actual usage. Of course, this all changes when you go outside college students and other young adults, but it indicates a general trend of 僕 shifting away from its primarily male focused nature.
Wem sprichst du ? Wenn du mich fragst, denke ich, dass mein Deutsch ist leider nicht so gut. Ich habe fast keine praktische Erfahrung, und ich habe fast alles, was mit den Deklinationen zu tun hat, vergessen. Damit mache ich wahrscheinlich viele Fehler, wenn es darum dreht. Selbst jetzt, wenn ich diese Sätze schreibe, brauche ich noch ein Wörterbuch, um die Wörter die ich suche zu finden. Ich schreibe schon lange nichts auf Deutsch, und ich habe jetzt keine Zeit, um die Zeitung zu lesen. Ich möchte etwas tun, um meinen deutsche Niveau zu unterhalten, aber jetzt ist es nicht die richtige Zeit, da ich noch viele Arbeit von der Uni habe. (Jetzt bin ich in Frankreich in einem Kurs, das „Prepa" genannt wird. Das ist ein Kurs, das Studenten auf Ingenieurwesenstudium (sagt man das?) vorbereitet. Am Ende des Kurs gibt es eine Prüfung für die Aufnahme in Ingenieurhochschulen, wie zum Beispiel die École Polytechnique und CentraleSupélec.)
Ich denke, dass ich hier aufhören werde. Ich bin zu langsam, wenn ich auf Deutsch schreibe, besonders wenn ich viel schreibe. Nach der Prépa werde ich Deutsch weiter lernen, aber jetzt werde ich mich auf Japanisch konzentrieren.
(PS: Wenn du auf Deutsch antwortest, werde ich vielleicht verstanden, aber ich weiß nicht, ob ich wieder auf Deutsch antworten werde. Leider ist es mir ein bisschen schwierig, weil ich Deutsch schon lange nicht nutze, und ich werde vielleicht nicht die Zeit haben, um im Wörterbuch die Wörter, die ich nicht kenne, zu suchen. Verzeihung.
PPS: Ach, übrigens, wenn ich schreckliche Fehler gemacht habe, könntest du mich korrigieren ? Ich danke dir vielmals.)
That’s really interesting. I wasn’t expecting that. Thanks!
I‘ll just go ahead and correct your written text in its entirety to start, not trying to be rude in any way, shape of form.
Mit wem sprichst du? [More advanced and appropiate and generally helpful a phrase would be „Auf Wen beziehst du dich?] Wenn du mich fragst [Again, a nicer/more well-mannered way of speaking, although perhaps seen as overly polite would be „Falls du mich fragen/meinen solltest…“], denke ich, dass mein Deutsch leider nicht so gut ist. Ich habe fast keine praktische Erfahrung, und ich habe fast alles, was mit den Deklinationen zu tun hat, vergessen. [I do have to applaud you for your commas, 'doin it better than most natives!] Damit mache ich wahrscheinlich viele Fehler, wenn es darum dreht. [Not sure on the meaning of this, suspect the correct form, and the one you mean is „wenn es sich darum dreht/wenn es darum geht.“] Selbst jetzt, wenn ich diese Sätze schreibe, [Nitpicking, but you’d probably not use „wenn“ in this context, as native at least, but instead „während“. Now I‘m also not helping myself since it makes me aware of what language fluency is and how truly hard it is to attain.] brauche ich noch ein Wörterbuch, um die Wörter, die ich suche zu finden. Ich schreibe schon lange nichts [nichts mehr? My suggestion would be appropriate, if you had written in german at a past point in time] auf Deutsch, und ich habe jetzt [jetzt generally means „right right now“, so I think „momentan“ which is ~currently is more appropriate] keine Zeit, um die Zeitung zu lesen. Ich möchte etwas tun, um mein deutsches Niveau zu unterhalten [I‘m sorry, „zu unterhalten“ brought me so much out of my rhythm that I can’t find the correction of it just now], aber jetzt ist (es) [looks better without „es“] nicht die richtige Zeit, da ich noch viel Arbeit von[/an, matter of preference. Think natives would say „Uniarbeit“ instead to your suggestion though.] der Uni habe. (Jetzt bin ich in Frankreich, in einem Kurs, der „Prepa" genannt wird. Das ist ein Kurs, der Studenten auf Ingenieurwesenstudium (sagt man das?)[Sagt man!] vorbereitet. Am Ende des Kurses gibt es eine Prüfung für die Aufnahme in Ingenieurhochschulen, wie zum Beispiel die École Polytechnique und CentraleSupélec.)
Ich denke, dass ich hier aufhören werde. Ich bin zu langsam, wenn ich auf Deutsch schreibe, besonders wenn ich viel schreibe. Nach der Prépa werde ich Deutsch weiter lernen, aber jetzt werde ich mich [erst einmal; an addition most would write in this case] auf Japanisch konzentrieren.
(PS: Wenn du auf Deutsch antwortest, werde ich vielleicht verstehen, aber ich weiß nicht, ob ich wieder auf Deutsch antworten werde. Leider ist es mir ein bisschen schwierig, weil ich Deutsch schon lange nicht [mehr?] nutze, und ich werde vielleicht [maybe mix it up, „eventuell“] nicht die Zeit haben, um im Wörterbuch die Wörter, die ich nicht kenne, zu suchen. Verzeihung.
PPS: Ach, übrigens, wenn ich schreckliche Fehler gemacht habe, könntest du mich korrigieren ? Ich danke dir vielmals.)
I think you did a good to great job. Issues lay mostly with articles and the weirdnesses and quirks of the german language („Kurses“) is a good example. However, I’ve seen teachers that have been permitted to teach german kids in german schools do the same mistakes, both in writing and speaking.
Wish you the best of luck in your studies, open to help, and hope you might be the same, I was thinking about starting french, too.
Are you french, or is that simply the 3rd (or more) foreign language you speak/engage?
Thanks! I appreciate all the corrections: I’ll read through them later. (Just felt I ought to reply you first.) How did you know I speak some German, by the way? I know I’ve mentioned it a few times on the forums, but I can’t remember the last time.
OK, so, first off… French is my 3rd language if we’re talking about the order in which I learnt the languages I’m familiar with. I’m actually Singaporean, though I’m studying in France now. I’m presuming you’re German? English is my first language, and Chinese is my second, which I started at about the same time (as a toddler). I speak English more fluently than Chinese because I haven’t had a need for advanced vocabulary in Chinese in a very long time: I stopped studying it formally about 7 years ago, not counting lessons in prépa which are frankly of a much lower level than where I stopped. I started French when I was 13, and my French is probably better than my Chinese now. (It’s been like that for about 5 years now.) I started German and Spanish at the same time around the age of 17? I spent more time on German though. Then I started Japanese about two years ago.
If it’s any reassurance though, I do have a Diplôme approfondi de langue française C2, and I’ve had quite a few classmates tell me my French is better than theirs. (I usually score in the top 25% of my class for French in prépa.)
Thanks! I had a classmate two years ago whose family is German but lives in Sweden, and I’ve wanted to get back to studying German ever since. Pity there are only 24hrs in a day… And sure, I’m willing to help, though I’ll probably have a lot more time to help around late July next year. I can definitely help you with little things for now though (correcting a few short messages, providing a few tips…). If you’re looking for a textbook for self-study, I wholeheartedly recommend the French publisher Assimil. They’re the best, in my opinion. You might want to look at some sample pages first though, because I know not everyone likes their books, which tend to provide a bit less grammar than traditional textbooks. (I personally think it’s enough, but some people need more.)
EDIT(as I read your corrections):
Yes, exactly. Look like I really have forgotten everything. I kept telling myself it should be something like “il s’agit de” in French, and I knew the word meant ‘to turn around (something)’, but looks like I forgot the „sich“. Also, I vaguely remembered that there was another possibility, but I couldn’t remember „es geht darum“. Thank you!
You know, I think I typed „während“ at first, because in my head, I was thinking ‘as I type these sentences’? „Wenn“ felt too much it was for cause-and-effect (‘if’) or sequential actions (‘when’). The problem was that
The dictionary only defined it as ‘during’, so I was a little unsure.
All the dictionary examples used „während” with nouns (während + Genitiv), so I wasn’t sure how to form the sentence.
It seems now, as I search the Internet, that saying „während ich diese Sätze schreibe” would have been just fine. Is that right?
Well, I have written some German here and there, so I guess I should have used „nichts mehr”. I really was wondering if I should add „mehr”, but it’s been so long, so I didn’t want to add words that might be incorrect. „Momentan“ is completely new to me though. Closest thing I know is „im Moment“.
Let me guess: „unterhalten“ is for cars? I’m sorry, I just pulled the word out of the dictionary. I’m really not sure what I should have used.
Yeah, I was hoping there was a word that just meant ‘work from university’ on its own. German probably has more compound words than English anyway.
I asked the question because I never know when to add a genitive S or make the first word plural. I know when to do it in English, but not in German. Hahaha. It’s a relief that that’s acceptable though.
Hm… true. In English, I would probably have said ‘concentrate on Japanese first’. That makes sense.
Yes, definitely „mehr“ again. I kept asking myself if I should put it in. I guess the answer is yes. And thank you for „eventuell“! I didn’t know it existed. Reminds me of all the other little words in German that come from French. (I can’t remember which ones, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the first double L I’ve seen.)
PS: If you’re wondering how I learnt German… Assimil as well. Guess it was pretty helpful, even if I’ve forgotten a lot. And don’t worry: I didn’t find any of your corrections offensive. When I said „schreckliche Fehler“, it was mainly because I felt I shouldn’t ask you to review the entire message since it might be too much work, and so I thought maybe stopping at the worst errors would be fine. Thank you very much for your help.
Why should it suddenly become dated when it was commonly practiced where I studied at least until 2010+ year? I mean, when something becomes dated, something else should have superseded it. What may it be? Better method must have appeared, right? Maybe easily accessible songs, shows and podcasts in various languages by which you can get broader (though slower in acquisition) input of the language while* you listen to all those phrases and stuff in different situations and conversations?