As someone primarily interested in reading Japanese media, would there be any significant gain from practicing text conversation (like say in an online chat room with other Japanese learners and/or native speakers)? Does synthesizing your own sentences in addition to reading other people’s words help any more with reading comprehension, or is it best to just stick to finding reading material?
most definitely. production helps with recognition. You get a much better understanding and link to the words if you can produce them.
If you are comfortable with simple sentences, then by all means talk to people, they can help you learn to read and anticipate written text. Keep in mind though, online chat-room text will definitely be different than text written for books, and other structured material.
I can pretty easily get through Level 0 Graded Readers, so I can at least understand pretty simple sentences.
I’m aware of that. Chat room stuff will likely be much more colloquial, just like how it is in English, but I guess that’s a good opportunity to practice reading “imperfect” Japanese text. You will inevitably come across stuff in the real world with typos, grammar structures getting shortened or left off entirely (which I’ve been told is common in colloquial speech), slang words and phrases, etc. so I don’t think it can hurt to get some exposure to it (especially if you already have a good grasp of basic Japanese structure.)
Echoing what @lucon1 said: you need to practice production if you ever hope to have functional Japanese and not just watch anime/read manga. Not only does production help you better speak the language, it’s a huge boost in recognition as well.
That’s why you should take advantage of WaniKani-supported production apps like KameSame to become a better language learner in general!
I’ve heard of KameSame, never used it before, though. Doing EN to JP exercises sounds like I would be constantly tripping up on Japanese words that can mean more or less the same thing (depending on the context) but can still have subtle differences, but it seems a lot of users have had great success with it so I guess it’s possible to figure out.
Words having multiple meanings goes both ways in Japanese and English:
見る can mean to see, watch, look or observe
To learn can be 学ぶ、習う、or 覚える
Because Japanese and English are two entirely different language subsets the amount of vocabulary that converts over 1-to-1 is very low. Context is the determining factor in which usage any of the above examples are utilizing.
Luckily KameSame is very forgiving. It will recognize if you use 男子 as opposed to 男の子 and will simply ask you to answer it in another way without docking points from your SRS level!
It’s important to get feedback or you won’t improve very easily, you might even end up reinforcing bad habits if you keep repeating mistakes. With my italki tutor I try to write a paragraph a week and she corrects any mistakes or unnatural expressions I might use. You might also have luck using Hellotalk. Some kind of forum or online community is also useful of course, but people won’t correct you as readily.
Yeah something more “structured” or guided with practicing production would be nice. I’ve also heard of iTalki from a resources post somewhere on the forum, but I don’t really know much about it. Is it mainly aimed at speaking and listening skills, or can it be used just for writing and reading practice if you wanted to? Because I’m going to be honest, right now I’m not that motivated to practice speaking or listening since I don’t really have any practical use for those skills. I know verbal skills will come in handy if I ever visit Japan or a Japanese-speaking community somewhere else, but I don’t have any plans for that anytime soon.
I’m also just hesitant in general to try taking up a tutor since I’m not sure what that will entail time-wise. My job has an irregular work schedule, so I don’t have any day of the week where I’m guaranteed to be free to meet with someone.