First let me explain a bit about myself. Currently I have 6 month in a japanese academy where I learn with the book Minna no nihongo. The book looks fine and already learned a lot of particles and some of the use associate with each one. If someone know the book, my class currently study the leasson 9 and we will finish on May until the leasson 13 and the next year on May until the last leasson.
In other hand, with Wanikani I learned until know almost 500 kanjis and more than 1K of vocabulary. Also, when I have time, I try to read the Tae Kim’s guide in order to learn more things about japanese grammar.
So now my question is about the japanese reading, if I open NHK easy news website and try to read any article, normally I can understand the context of the situation, but actually it no feel like reading, is more like look the kanjis and verbs and try to figure out what the word or the combinations of kanjis + hiragana could mean and also one of the problem (that porbably is normal when someone strart to read in japanese) is how read a language how japanese when the concept of “space” between words dissapear. So is this normal? sometimes I feel very frustrated because I consider that I have until now a decent level of Japanese… Maybe should I wait until reach level 20 and know more kanjis and vocabulary?
Also more than mangas or news I would like to play japanese game in japanese, (like visual novels) so if any of you guys know any good sugesttion please let me know.
Reading Japanese is always tough at the start. I think it’s important to think of 2 things:
Your current level of Japanese.
The level of what you’re trying to read.
The bigger the distance between those two points above, the tougher it will be. Some people are willing to struggle with this more than others, therefore some start earlier than others. So what people usually try to do is:
Increase their current level of Japanese.
Reduce the difficulty level of what they’re trying to read.
My 2円 is… just keep giving it a try until you find some type of content (either easy news, manga, JP tweets, etc) that’s comfortable enough for you to stick with.
In a way to give you more practical advice, are you aware of the bookclubs that exist around the forums?
Basically, the community gets together to read a book at the same pace We open threads so that people can ask questions and do general talk about what’s being read with everyone else participating. We’re currently reading books, but it’s not late at all to join So I’d suggest you to give it a look
For words that I see through exposure, I just use the dictionary feature on Kitsun (think Anki, but with the user-friendliness of WK), as it has Jisho integrated and allows me to add words to my SRS routine in seconds. I see a word that interests me, I add it to Kitsun and I SRS it.
Perfectly normal I still get weird situations once in a while, when they mix words together in hiragana xD
The more vocab you know, the less this will be a problem.
The more grammar you know, the less this will be a problem.
This is a difficult question to anwser without sounding like trying to totally change the way you’re doing things and shoving in my own way…
The first thing that surprises me is … they plan on doing the first book in 2 years … (there’s a second book too, also basic by the way, and then the intermediate ones too). It seems a pace that at least for me sounds very slow, since there’s not much you can do without covering the first basic books… so extending that phase sounds like an endurance test already (sorry if that sounds too blunt).
I know the book, I did the first 8 lessons alongside with Genki in the first 3 months I started learning. That was enough to pick graded readers, the first volumes in any case; and at that point neither grammar or vocab were an issue… so I can say with confidence, you’re already set to go (with that material anyway).
As for games, maybe following some Gamer Channels in youtube would be a nice start… the content it’s very graphic, and there’re some youtubers that speak very clearly… so I would give it a try (plus you can have the transcrip to follow along, and review what they are saying). I actually did that for some time (but it became too addicting… and I wasn’t even aiming at playing in japanese tbh ) …
By the way, If you prefer on line content procure to have Yomichan with you, It will help you to keep a fluent pace when reading those articles, and also you can quickly throw new vocab to SRS as well (via ANki ).
Another big tip I would give based on my own discover last weeks is… read ebooks. Kindle (and most likely other devices) allow you to search words on the spot (and that can even be throw at an SRS app later) … it’s been a total saver of time, besides it has brought reading to places and moments where I wasn’t too comfortable to bring my books while searching new vocab with my phone. And in the end reading is a skill in itself… read, but read constantly for really notice significant progress (all things that allow you do that will contribute at getting better)
Reading gets a lot easier the more kanji and vocab you know. I’m only at chapter 13 in Minna no nihongo and am missing a lot of grammar, but once you get used to the sentence structure and know more vocab reading gets easier. I found Minna no nihongo + Wanikani actually go really well together so just keep going and be consistent and in a few weeks-months you will definitely notice results.
In my opinion reading is always the best way to practice a new language because it’s always idiomatic and you can do it in your own pace but in Japanese it’s so hard because of kanji…
I think exactly the same, for that reason when I have time try to see the Tae Kim’s guide because the academy could be ok but is very very slow.
I agree, I don’t know why but my level here in Wanikani is actually 14 and no 7, while more kanjis and vocab I learn easier the way is. And of course the reading help a lot in order to imporve more a new language.
The grammar is maybe the main point to understand more the language, if you know any good source please let me know.
After basic grammar (the first MNH book), you can just stop looking grammar like a different thing… progressively it’s more and more like vocab… you get the meaning with a quick review and as you go along you get the subtleties of it, for the when and where it will fit.
This book (A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns) will allow you to search grammar as you encounter it, and then you can SRS it too if you want (anki decks, bunpro, etc…)
Progressively try to focus more on reading (if that’s what you’re aiming), and then review new vocab and grammar (that you bump into).
If you start with graded readers this road will like pretty much be like following a JLPT oriented textbook (like MNH)… but then when you start with native content, then the JLPT path will be blurred (and is every man for himself )…
If you’re wondering how to read words when the spaces have disappeared, that’s what the particles and most of the grammar points are for. Particles, especially, are like tags that tell you what a word is and what it does. For instance, in this sentence:
I will go study Japanese at the library at 1 P.M.
The は particle tells us that “I” is the topic, the に pariticle indicates the specific time of 1 P.M., the で particle tells us it will take place at the library, and the を tells us that the verb is acting directly on the noun “the Japanese language.”
My advice is to pay attention to where the particles are. They help organize the sentence and give you a point to base around. That being said I’m no expert on my reading either, so if anyone else has something to add or change, go ahead.