LK's BLACKBELT JAPANESE for Fans of Pop-tarts
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LK's BLACKBELT JAPANESE for Fans of Pop-tarts

A community for ALL students of Japanese who want to keep studying at their own pace with Onikyoushi as fellow student/administrator/facilitator.
 
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 Last updated 10/20/2019

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Onikyoushi
Pop-Tart King
Onikyoushi

Posts : 149
Join date : 2014-06-04
Age : 48
Location : Cheney, WA

Last updated 10/20/2019 Empty
PostSubject: Last updated 10/20/2019   Last updated 10/20/2019 EmptySun Oct 06, 2019 9:17 pm

The Rule Book

General Language Study Guideline s (1~20)
 
1.  You have to get out of the water before you can know what it’s like to be in it.
There’s probably a lot you don’t know about your own language and culture.  I’m not only referring to the terminology, but the idea of how English works in general.  How do English speakers think?  What are their priorities in regard to communication?  And, how does this affect their choice of words, sentence construction, verb conjugation, etc.?
 
2.  Learn why you think how you think before you can learn to think differently.
In order to understand a language, you must understand the people who speak it, which includes yourself.  It’s hard to alter what you don’t understa nd.  And, yes, to learn a foreign language you will have to alter both WHAT you think and HOW you think.
 
3.  If I just tell you, you may never truly understand. (You need to find your own answer.)
An alternate way of stating this is: “Even the wisest teacher cannot tell you your own answer.”
A given answer posts barriers to one’s understanding; it is like giving someone a map or maybe a recipe. The map will lead you someplace. But there are many interesting places along the path that you could have experienced had you stumbled through the journey on your own.  And in the end, if you followed a map, do you really know how to get there?

A recipe may enable you to create a delicious entrée or dessert. But there are many subtle variations of flavor that you may never discover.  Likewise, a borrowed answer comes at the price of surrendering a deeper understanding that can only come through experimentation.
“If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don't bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”
― R. Buckminster Fuller
 
4.  Some things cannot be taught; they have to be acquired.
To learn to ride a bicycle, you had to master balance, turning, and stopping — and that only comes about after repeated failed attempts.  In order to DO, you have to get out and TRY, and that will mean that you have to be willing to look foolish and stumble time and time again.  But with practice comes improvement.  You’ve got to be willing to lose in order to be able to eventually come out a winner.
 
5.  Keep making new mistakes. (While trying not to repeat the old ones.)
Mistakes come as you learn simply because you don’t know better.  A teacher cannot — and should not try to — remove all potential stumbling blocks out of the way of the student.  In fact, I will often deliberately set them in front of you.  Making your way through the obstacle course of learning to manipulate the elements of a new language strengthens your mental muscles.  Receiving feedback or corrections enables you to alter your course of thinking and make faster progress.)
 
6.  Be a baby.
Babies and little children listen and imitate. And, believe it or not, they are constantly drawing conclusions which leads to such understandable errors as saying “go-ed” in place of “went.”
DON’T USE THIS RULE TO SUPPORT THE SILLY EXCUSE THAT YOU’RE TOO OLD TO LEARN ANOTHER LANGUAGE!

You’re never too old, and because you are not a baby (and perhaps not even a child), you will not go about acquiring your next language exactly the same way you acquired your first.  But you must allow yourself to be a like small child again: sponge up everything you can, repeat what you hear out loud and over and over again (like singing a little song to yourself), allow yourself to go back to preschool (figuratively speaking) and then work your way up through the elementary grades one at a time.
 
7.  Never laugh at a fat man running.  (i.e., Never belittle a person trying to improve him/herself no matter where they are in the process. There is no reason to be embarrassed about being a beginner — especially if you are struggling hard to make progress.)
 
8.  The first step to becoming a master is to imitate one.  (More than one is even better.)
Like I have done and continue to do, you should find people to serve as models and study their intonation, their pet expressions, etc. Become an expert impersonator.
 
9.  Language learning cannot be done in silence.
Things don’t sound the same when you just think them as when you actually say them.  It’s like hearing a recording of yourself that causes you to think, “I don’t sound at all like I thought I did.”
 
Talk to yourself.  If it helps, create a sock puppet.
 
10.  If you’re not sure you’re saying it right, then say it louder!
Successful communication is more important than things like proper pronunciation and grammatical accuracy.  Your English skills are probably far from perfect, but you get your point across, right?)
 
11. Your idioms are no good here!
No problem!  You bet!  Big deal! I’m having a hard time because I feel so out of place.  She finally saw the light.  Don’t worry about that now, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
You probably use dozens of expressions and idioms in your first language that either would not be said at all or would not be expressed in the same way in the target language.  Never assume that translation is as simple as looking up the words.  In truth, it requires a thorough knowledge of the target culture and its unique set of idioms.
 
12.  Keep your definitions flexible.
Meanings change.  They also branch out and expand. Sometimes a word will come to mean its complete opposite.  Language learning is a never-ending process because languages are constantly changing.  Think of all of the words, acronyms, and expressions in common use now that did not exist at all just ten years ago.

Do you know what inflammable means?  It used to be the opposite of flammable, but now it means “even more flammable than flammable.”
 
You will learn a word, a particle, or a grammar concept as a beginning student.  Later you will learn that there is more to it.  And the more fluent you become, the more you will come to discover that there are perhaps various additional usages and nuances to it.  Always be ready to add to or adjust your understanding of anything you may think you already know.
 
13.  Don’t trust the dictionary — They lie more than your teachers!
Learn to use a dictionary, but never trust it. Perhaps a better way to state this rule would be “Equivalent doesn’t mean Equal.”  The equivalent word or phrase in the target language will likely have more or less meaning (or even a different meaning) than it does in the original.
 
14.  Your smart phone is a tool, not a substitute brain!
As a teacher, I have had students who think that if they find it online it must be true.  These students also tend to want to impress by attempting to use words, grammar, and Kanji that they have not formally studied. There are a couple of points I would make in regard to this.
 
(1) Just because a word has Kanji doesn’t mean that you should use it.  You might be wasting your time writing Kanji that even the Japanese rarely use.  And if you haven’t mastered the simpler Kanji, you are not likely to write the more complicated Kanji very well.  While there are no real shortcuts to learning, some practices are more effective than others and overindulging in Kanji at a beginner’s level may prove to be a waste of time.
 
(2) Don’t trust an online translation to be more accurate than what you have been formally taught.  Think it out, apply what you know, and keep your answer at your level — don’t overshoot.  A good guideline is that if you haven’t been taught it or you haven’t at least spent the time to study it in detail on your own, then you shouldn’t use it.  In other words, online dictionaries and translators should not be used in composing sentences unless you are looking something up that you have learned before and will recognize it when you see it.  This applies to words, to grammar, and to Kanji.  Of course, such resources are handy when looking up words that you encounter in the speech and writing of others.
 
Instead of insisting on getting a sentence exactly the way you want it (as in something on par with how would answer a question in your native language), challenge your imagination to come up with a way to say what you want to say with what you already know.  It might not seem as clever to you, but most of the clever answers students present me with are actually somewhat nonsensical.  Even when I do know what they were going for, it’s really not worth the time it would take to make the corrections because they are reaching beyond their grasp.

15.  You can’t use it if you don’t understand it!
If you don’t really understand the meaning of a word or a particular grammatical concept, it will be very difficult for you to smoothly work it into a conversation.  Unless you are the kind of person who just goes around spouting phrases you’ve heard just to see what kind of response you get, you are very unlikely to have the confidence to make use of the word or grammar in any conversation with a native speaker.  Do your best to get the full scoop on everything you learn.  Always try to learn WHY words and expressions mean what they mean.  The more in depth your understanding is, the more likely you are going to be able to make that word or concept work for you!

16.  Answers never come without questions.  ASK!  People tend to like to talk about what they know well so most fluent speakers are going to be happy to play the expert and give you a free lesson.
 
17.  If it doesn’t make sense, make it make sense!
You need to give organization and meaning to what you learn.  Your teacher can often help you to make sense of difficult or confusing concepts.  If your teacher doesn’t manage to clear something up for you sufficiently, you may have to do some further study on your own.  (By the way, it’s not always the teacher’s fault. Some concepts simply will not make much sense given one’s limited experience, but will make more sense over time.)

Sometimes you just won’t be able to find your answer.  That is when it is time for you to create one that works for you.  You may have to adjust it later on, but you should have a temporary working hypothesis.
 
18.  There is no shortcut!
Time and time again people claim that they’ve developed a new language-learning system that could have you speaking a second language within a week.  That is true, but you would only be speaking like a complete beginner.

You get nowhere without practice.  Practice all of the skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.  The more you practice, the better, but it’s even more important that you practice at least a little every day.  Half an hour a day is far better than three and a half hours one day a week.
Just like buying books is not the same as reading books, activities like making flashcards are only ways of preparing to practice.  Real practice is thorough engagement with the language.

The good news is that eventually—and it doesn’t take long—you will become aware that you are speaking the target language in your sleep!  This will double your study time!
 
19.  Make lists!  Keep track of what you know.
Fill notebooks.  Organize them to some extent. Processing, categorizing, and listing on paper are likely to help you process and organize mentally as well — not to mention that you will have a ready resource to remind you of material that you’ve studied previously. But even if you never take the time to look back over your notebooks, the process of making them is what is most important.
 
20.  If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right!
Find a method that you enjoy and establish a routine that you can maintain.
Like anything rewarding, it is a challenge and a struggle, but the payoff is huge and multiplies exponentially the longer you continue.  It changes you. It opens doors both in your life and in your mind.  It connects you to ideas and people and experiences in ways that could never have happened otherwise.

Language is fun!  It’s an art, it’s a game, it’s a mystery, it’s an adventure, and it’s a friend.  Make the climb; it will tax your muscles, but it’s definitely worth the view!
 
Japanese Language Specific Guidelines (21~32)
 
21.  There is more than one version of Japanese.
 
22.  No articles, No plurals, No gender.  But, yes, there are exceptions.
 
23.  Longer = more polite
 
24.  Avoid stating the subject when it is obvious.
 
25.  In a question, the question part of the question comes at the end of the question.
 
26.  There’s a counter for that, too.
 
27.  PP times are 1, 6, 8, and 10.
 
28.  Boys and Girls are different!
 
29.  Never be respectful OF your own family members.
 
30.  Japanese don't play instruments, don't play sports,
and don't play games; They just play.
 
31.  We come when called, but Japanese go.
 
32.  Sounds speak louder than words (Don’t say it, onomatope it!)
 
Basic Japanese Grammar Guidelines (33~38)
 
33.  “So the last shall be first and the first last…” — Matt 20:16 (Describing Japanese sentence order and particle placement.)

Alternate version:  “The Japanese do not act fast; they always hit the action last.”  This description applies to the culture as much as it does to sentence construction.
 
34.  A General Rule Regarding Ko-So-A-Do Words: If it ends in れ or の, it becomes the subject; but if it starts with ど or ends with こ, then it’s part of the predicate.
 
35.  Modifiers precede Nouns.
 
36.  Just change One or the Other but you can’t change them both!

37.  Choose from the ます-Box OR the です-Box, but not both.  (In other words, “To-Be or Not- To-Be.”)
 
38.  In Japan, the present is the future.
 
Particle-related Rules (39~50)
 
39.  An exclamation mark doesn't have to be loud.
 
40.  In Japanese, there are no PREpositions.
 
41.  There’s more than one way to use Particle で.
Many particles have multiple usages.  The English definitions will overlap, so be careful.  For example, eating with a friend requires Particle TO, but eating with a fork requires Particle DE.
 
42.  Use で for Location of Action.  Sometimes it is not a physical location but more of a scene or a setting.  Examples: at a party, on a trip.  And if a motion verb is involved, Particle を may be used.  For example, birds do not fly IN the sky, they fly THROUGH the sky.  Thus、空飛びます。
 
43.  Use に for Location of Existence.  This is usually done with the existence verbs います and ありあります.  However, there are a few other verbs that are considered to be more existence than action such as to sit, to stand, and to live.  It can be confusing to think that waiting is considered an action but standing is not.
 
44.  No を with Go.
 
45.  に or へ to it, but を through it.  (Use を for moving past, along, by or through.  Rule #41 still applies.)
 
46.  In time expressions, particle NI replaces the English AT, IN, ON or FOR (the latter is used for meals only).
               
47.  Line up biggest to smallest. (Using の to link time words)
 
48.  Whether speaking of times or places, from comes before to or until.
 
49.  In Japanese, you meet to a person and you return to home, but you don't listen to music.
 
50.  -KA means one; –MO means all or none.
 
Intermediate Japanese Grammar Guidelines (51~69)
 
51.  “E-1’s” are the Easy Ones!
 
52.  Drop the ます, change I to U!
 
53. “No Da!” said the I-adjective.
 
54.  gA-pI-fU-mE-kO
 
55.  The Mother Verb sets the mood (and tense).
 
56.  Mada is in front of you and Mou is behind.
 
57.  Sukoshi imasu and Sukunai desu.
SUKOSHI means “a few” and SUKUNAI means “few.”  すこし [or 少し] is an adverb/noun and すくない or [少ない] is an adjective.  Adverbs should be used with verbs.  Therefore, to say “There are a few men,” one can say「すこしの男の人がいます」or「男の人がすこしいます」.  You cannot substitute SUKUNAI for SUKOSHI in these sentences.  However, you could express pretty much the same thing with「男の人がすくないです」.
 
58.  When there’s a て-verb in the middle the events occur in order, but when it’s a verb+前に, they happen in reverse.
 
59.  Please, Permission, Prohibit, Procession, Present Progressive, Preparation, and Probe (the 8 P’s of the TE-form
 
60.  Wakarimasen means “I do not understand” and “I do not know.”  Shirimasen means “I do not know” and “I do not care.”
 
61.  Te shimatta is an imaginary line.
 
62.  Always think last.
 
63.  You ageru, they kureru.
 
64. Two Negatives make a good Japanese sentence.
 
65.  Tokoro is a place in time or space.
 
66.  Japanese love sentence softeners.
 
67.  If = Nara-tara-TO-MO-eba  (sing the word to the tune of the first line of the chorus to
Rudolf, the Red-nose Reindeer)
 
68.  A transitive verb is used to state that someone did something, and an intransitive verb is used to state that something was done.
 
69. The verb that ends in –eru is transitive unless it’s the one that ends in –su.
 
Advanced Japanese Grammar Guidelines (70~72)
 
70.  In order to be able to work there I have to pass this test because one has to pass this test in
order to work there.
(Demonstrating the subtle difference between the usage of ように and ために in which both of them is translated as “in order to.”)
 
71. The passive verb occurs to the subject and the doer is by the BY.

72. Cause for allowance.
 
73. Coming soon!
 
74. Coming soon!
 
Japanese Culture Specific Guidelines (75~88)
 
75.  Learn to bow.
 
76.  Apologies and “Thank you’s” should come in threes.
 
77. Carry cards!
 
78.  Japanese is scripted — like Karaoke. (There’s a proper line for every occasion.)
 
79.  Seek a consensus — Bowling not Tennis.
 
80.  “The protruding nail gets hammered” — Japanese proverb
 
81. That shalt not cause loss of face.  (i.e., never hurt feelings, cause embarrassment, or create an awkward moment.)
 
82.  You gotta know when to Honne…and when to Tatemae.
 
83.  Don’t misinterpret an indication of understanding as an indication of agreement.
 
84.  Always prepare for a quick getaway.
 
85.  Slurping is not rude.
 
86.  Moss is a good thing.  [ころがる石 は こけ むさず。]
 
87.  Process takes precedence over Product.  (i.e., “Doing it right is more important than getting it done,” combined with “The journey is more important than the destination.”)
The truth is that the journey determines the destination: you may not accomplish what it is that you intend to accomplish if you do not focus on doing it the right way.  Allow me to illustrate with a story from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The dark horses from Japan pulled off a massive shock by upstaging North American sprinting giants (US and Canada) to win silver in the 4x100m relay.  On their own, the sprinters did not stand a chance against the likes of Jamaica’s Bolt, American Justin Gatlin or Canada's Andre de Grasse.

None of the four Japanese men has run 100m in under 10 seconds, nor had a sniff at an individual Olympic final.  But what they lack in raw speed, they made up for in seamless baton changes on Friday as they broke the Asian record with a time of 37.60sec.  It was the best Japan has ever done in the event.  The Japanese team had been working on their baton handovers since March.

"We've been practicing all the time for about six months," said Iizuka, who ran the second leg. "That's why we've done a pretty good job."
 
88.  They do what they do because it works for them.  We do what we do because it works for us.
 
Rules that relate to the Writing and Pronunciation of Japanese (89~98)
 
89.  Always kiip a fuw extra Oreos!  (Imitations are unacceptable!)
* I do know how to spell.
 
90.  A kid said to nine hens, "My yellow ribbon was new!"  (I know this sentence is hen, but it works.)
(Alternative:  “A kind, strong, tanned neighbor has married your roommate with nothing.”)
 
91.  Never do in Rōmaji what you could do in Hiragana.
(This applies from Day One.)
 
92.  “Ted Sez Keg” (of rootbeer!) and “HaPPy Birthday!”
 
93.  U and I are weak.  (But don’t take it personally.)
 
94.  It must end in I to add a Y. (If you really think about it, they are really kind of the same letter!)
 
95.  Small TSU says, “I need two!”  (Look to where it’s pointing!)
 
96.  (No matter what they tell you,…) Katakana isn’t English!
 
97.  Kanji are pictures!  (Or combinations of pictures—like Rebus Puzzles!)
 
98.  Don’t try to catch them all!
Don’t think that you have to learn all of the On (Chinese) and Kun (Japanese) readings for a Kanji. In fact, why should you even care if a reading is On or Kun? Do you research the root origins of every word you learn in English? Leave that sort of thing to the people who are fascinated by meaningless trivia.

Learn Kanji as you learn vocabulary. When you see a word used in a sentence, learn the meaning and the reading for the Kanji as it is used in that sentence.  Don’t think that you have to learn all (or any) of the other meanings or readings until you encounter them. Some may be very rare and it is almost a waste of your time to try to commit them to memory. Besides, learning words and Kanji in context helps to more deeply embed them in your mind.
 
Good to Know Info. (99~100)
 
99. Calpis tastes much better than it sounds, being called “Saikou” is generally a good thing, and there's nothing dirty about Kinki.
 
100.  Onikyoushi’s way is better!
GaPiFuMeKo, E-1 Verbs, Gusto form, and some of the other terms I use are only used by me and my students (and other people who steal my ideas).  My goal is to make the language more accessible, and that means coming up with ideas and names that really help the learner to grasp meanings and to catch on faster to grammar patterns and concepts.
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