the tofugo review of genki said it wasn’t good for self-learners. Im on level 9 and starting to feel frustrated that i know so many words but still can’t construct any sentences. Do you have anything you recommend? Maybe an online course, textbook or website that you think has worked well for you
Genki has some exercises meant for pairs or groups, but plenty that aren’t, too. I self studied with it and found it perfectly suitable, though I also supplemented the explanations with Tokini Andy’s youtube channel. If you think textbooks work for you well enough, it’ll be fine. Alternatively you could look at Minna no Nihongo, depending on how the idea of learning Japanese in Japanese strikes you.
On the other hand, some people swear by just watching Cure Dolly’s videos, which purportedly teach you Japanese without imposing English structures onto it. I’ll – set any thoughts on that discussion aside because the last thing I want is to read it getting rehashed again! But there is a distinct advantage of her teaching in a way unlike most other resources, which has worked very well for some people.
I hear the Human Japanese app teaches grammar well, and it’s made by the same company as Satori Reader so I believe it, but I have no firsthand experience there. If you want the convenience of an app, it’s absolutely the one I think will be best.
There are a lot of other options out there, but these are just a few I’m pretty confident are suitable for different types of people with different needs.
Cannot recommend Bunpro enough if you’re up for adding another SRS system to your study routine. Great community, active forums and responsive staff. They have learning paths for Genki 1+2, Minna no nihongo and even Tae Kim’s guide. Or you can just do JLPT lessons in their order.
And of course, practice with Japanese people Twitch is an easy place to do that, or submit a journal entry on LangCorrect.
I also learn with Genki (by myself), and have a study-group with other Genki learners (via skype) for the group stuff.
I really like it (more than 4 other german-to-japanese-books I had before).
I second the “tokiniAndi” Channel, it is really great. There are also a lot of online test, and other youtube channels, that work well with genki.
If you have a bit money to spare I would like to recomend iTalki, to find a teacher (I use it for explanetions and more group work) or just to search for a study group. (I found mine there)
A lot of people like tae kims guide to japanese grammar.
Or just “a dictionary of basic japanese grammar” (which is a book).
But I haven’t used the later two myself, since I like courses, or books that work well on themself (aka: I don’t enjoy using too many resources, since it overwelms me). But everybody is different, so try out, what sounds good to you.
Definitely agree with everything you are saying, just want to make it explicit for OP: the dictionaries of Japanese grammar (there are three in total: beginner, intermediate, and advanced) are very useful books but they’re really reference guides; they’d be painful to try to first learn all of your grammar from. Tofugu also has a review of them.
Ah! Thank you for pointing that out.
Like I said, I don’t use it myself, just heard recomondations on it, so I didn’t know.
It also has a pc version, but iirc the licenses are separate so no platform hopping. What I remember of it was down-to-earth explanations of somewhat bite-sized topics. For example, HJ1 has 44 chapters with the topics being along the lines of “41. Wanting to Do with -Tai” or “32. Counting Objects”.
It’s very reader friendly in that the examples are full voiced, have vocab breakdowns, and there are built-in translations. Alongside of grammar are a lot of inserts on various cultural topics such bathing… Ok, maybe not the best example. I found it to be a fantastic supplement to read on the commute, but end of chapter quizzes were more annoying than meaningful and people who love exercise material will not be satisfied. Finally, I think this is something that doesn’t matter too much, but the first app was kana only with romaji in the text which might be a dealbreaker for some people.
There’s a part of me that loves HJ, but it’s also a just different enough that I think people should try it for themselves. The people who love it love it. At like $10 for each app and a free lite version to try there really isn’t much to lose compared to most other grammar offerings.
Frankly, you sound like the ideal learner for Jalup. It introduces you to sentences of increasing complexity gradually and teaches grammar while doing it.
Wouldn’t bother with textbooks, too slow. I’m currently plowing through grammar guides with grammar points, explaination and example sentences. If I understand a grammar point i just move on to the next one. I’m willing to bet the most important part is to remember the basics of each grammar point fairly quickly so you can recognize it in the immersion, then if you can’t recall it, you go back to the grammar point and read about it and move on.
Doing exercises are massive waste of time.
Unless you’ve seen research I haven’t, frankly you don’t have any basis to make such a claim. For immersion to be worthwhile, you have to have a solid basis of things LEARNED. You don’t have to know every nuance and remember them perfectly, but they need a pretty solid foundation. A very common complaint for people using methods without exercises is that the information just won’t stick. In my own experience using Genki, I admittedly was a bit choosy about what exercises I did, but spending the time re-referring to how they phrased the grammar over and over felt useful to drill in a better understanding of this totally foreign sentence structure, to make something like なければいけません which looked a big arbitrary clump of sounds actually stay in my head, and to simultaneously reinforce the words Genki wanted to teach me at the same time through repeat exposure. I remembered the vast majority of it so… felt like a good use of my time to me.
The real question becomes is there a more optimal way to reinforce and memorize that stuff? Maybe. But if you’re not devoting a big chunk of time one way or another to making the grammar actually stick, “recognizing” is the best that’s going to happen, in that you’ll go “yep, I learned about this, and now I’m frustrated that I have no idea what it is!” When we’re dealing with grammar this foundational, those instances that might be ok when isolated are going to pile up per sentence.
I’m not sure I’d even argue for sure that people SHOULD do exercises! But random Youtubers who know absolutely nothing about education whose own success at learning a language proves nothing but that being highly motivated and spending a lot of time leads to success love to make sweeping claims about what does and doesn’t work in a field that has a lot of disagreement among real researchers. At least, that seems to be the origin of most of these claims to knowing that every single instructor on a topic is terribly wrong.
The funny thing is, there are so many people who would tell you you are being terribly inefficient and wasting all of your time using Wanikani too.
Edit: Just want to add, because this feels like I dumped a lot on you – the only reason I press on a topic like this this hard is I know there are quite a lot of people who do prefer doing exercises and, at least subjectively, feel like they need/want them to help their learning. I promise you, if they stick with it, they’ll be fine. When you’re a beginner, one of the worst things about the Japanese learning communities is the tendency for a bunch of people to (even if inadvertently) make you feel like what you’re doing is terribly wrong and going to sabotage you.
日本語to旅 is so amazing, best grammar resource for me
He’s so great! Glad there’s another person here that watches
I second @Daisoujou about Genki. I’m currently going through Genki 2 after finishing up the first volume. I find that the exercises in the textbook itself aren’t as interesting, but the separate workbook offers plenty of practice on different grammar points, without the need for a classroom setting whatsoever ( + there is the answer key booklet that allows you to study fully independently).
I enjoy using a textbook over an online grammar guide/list, but that’s personal, and you might prefer, like some people said, Tae Kim, Cure Dolly, Imabi… the list goes on and on.
I think that choosing one or a couple of resources you deem reasonable (even if you still can’t assess if it’s the “most effective”, or “best” ones out there) and actually sticking with them is the way to go. Later on you can always go back and check out other approaches to grammar, but with a new mindset. I intend to do that myself with Imabi at some point — yes I just said I’m not that big of a fan of online guides, but I still want to see some change of scenery.
I’m doing everything (Genki, you tube videos, bunpro, credit courses, conversational Japanese courses, and watching anime) and still haven’t learned Japanese, though of course I know more (and am better at it) than two years ago.
Just wanted to give a shout out to one grammar book in particular (I’ve read about 15, or at least the beginnings of them!): Total Japanese Grammar by Maki Hayasaka. It’s so clear and straightforward, explains things beautifully, and introduces vocabulary along the way nicely. I urge interested people to try a sample (I have it on my Kobo) and see if it speaks to them.
Awesome thread, will have to review some of these recommendations later myself.
But I used “Japanese the Manga Way.” For me, this was the greatest resource I could find since it was the only thing to give me the depth of explanation for certain things that I was craving. Things like Tae Kim’s guide, imo, were more or less just lists of grammar rules that were difficult to learn from as they were more telling resources than teaching resources.
If that book is still on Amazon it was only like $20 and the best resource I’ve found so far. Highly recommended.