So I’m like 2 months away from finishing Minna no Nihongo Shokyu 2 and was wondering where to go from there. The obvious option for me would be to go for Minna Chukyu, but I’ve read that it’s very confusing and all over the place, so I don’t know anymore.
Anyone care to share your opinions on Minna Chukyu and/or give me some good books/resouces for self-study?
(NihonGoal on youtube has been my lifesaver for Minna , so plan B is pretty much to continue binging her videos hahaha)
I would recommend to go without structured textbooks going forward. Jumping into lots and lots of (native, Satory reader, bilingual, etc) material and therefore getting used to all the grammar you already learned.
You are over the big hump. You know basically all the verb conjugations you will need (save for some ぬ and other older/rarer grammar stuff) and most grammar going forward is mostly nuance or arguably just words that have a little special usage.
Get some reference material you feel comfortable with (Dictionary of Basic Japenes Grammar, Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns, etc) or the Shin Kanzen/Sou Matome for N3/N2 to look up grammar you stumble over.
The hardest part going forward will be to learn tons and tons of unknown words. Grammar going forward isn’t that hard if you are steadfast in all the basics and know your particles reasonably well.
If you absolutely need a Textbook I’ve read okayish reviews for the Quartet set of books. They are also reasonably modern with all the other Intermediate books (Tobira, Chukyuu, Intermediate Japanese) being pretty outdated by now. Otherwise I enjoyed the Try! N3 book (as well as the whole series) for a bit of structure. It gives you a pretty good overview over around N3 grammar, although that is also mainly aimed at JLPT preparation. I haven’t used the Chukyuu line of Minna no Nihongo, but I heard they are better used in a classroom setting.
After you have the N3 material down, at the latest, there will be no more textbooks to guide you. So I think now is a good time as any to work out how you will tackle the higher levels more on your own.
EDIT: Ah one area you might actually need some structured book for is Keigo. I’m not too sure if MnN2 does cover sonkeigo and kenjougo. These I feel like would be pretty hard to pick up just from reading? As far as I know it is definitely part of N3 though. But maybe I’m overestimating the difficulty of picking it up just like that too.
I am currently halfway through Chuukyuu 2, and I STRONGLY recommend to do these books if you can.
If you’ve had enough with studying using textbooks, which I wouldn’t blame you for, I think you can get away with just dropping your textbooks studies after finishing Shoukyuu 2. You have learnt the majority of the grammar you’ll encounter, and a solid foundation of about 2000 vocabulary. You can go heavy on immersion instead, consuming as much native material as possible.
But in my personal opinion, from my personal experience, the Chuukyuu books are just so incredibly good for you. You learn an extra 3000+ vocabulary, the listening and reading exercises are incredibly challenging, and there’s a lot of useful grammar not included in the Shoukyuu series. These two books give you so much confidence that you feel ready to tackle ANYTHING in Japanese. The headstart you get in comparison to people who stopped studying early and immediately went to immersion is literally unbelievable. I don’t regret any second I’ve spent on these books.
Besides, continuing on with another textbook is not very smart considering Minna no Nihongo knows exactly which grammar and vocabulary you know, and will not teach you the same again or require you to know what you haven’t learnt yet, as other textbooks certainly will. And also, while I haven’t used any other textbooks admittedly, I cannot imagine them standing up to these books. I wish these existed for every language I want to learn.
The layout is different, but it’s not any more confusing than the original ones. You’ll get used to it by the second chapter.
There are a couple of “discussion” exercises that are hard to do on your own. But in all seriousness, I don’t think you need these anyway.
It’s not about quality though a more modern layout doesn’t hurt in my book. Tobira for example has a companion website with video and audio. They tout themselfs as “multmedia” book. But the videos on the website are in real bad quality and the rest of the website has miniscule utility. AFAIK it’s from 2007.
Now the grammar is still solid and you wouldn’t expect to have big changes there. But you won’t find more modern words like スマホ and people are in situations that are pretty uncommen by todays standards or articles about modern technology that’s already out of style again. In intermediate level slang and current usage of words (e.g. something like マジ) also get more and more important if you ask me.
As a negative example I still remember that MnN for example taught you ワープロ which is something that’s so outdated today that you probably get the same reaction as if you show someone a floppy disk (the save logo in most applications)
You can still use these books and they are valuable but I feel if you have the option to go for something more modern you will be more engaged and learn probably more currently applicable words.
I can understand that opinion and it probably depends on the person what style they prefer. It is probably faster with a textbook but the enjoyment from native material (compared to canned textbook reading) and seeing the grammar in a context which is interesting to you are plus points for me.