My goal is not to be able to converse with a native speaker by the end of the year, but to have an understanding of the language, so I can really get comfortable with it eventually. I want to feel like I have a grasp on the language, as opposed to knowing a few useful phrases and being able to not get lost in Japan. I've always had a hard time learning languages, and the essence of the language is what interests me, far more than the simple vocabulary or stringing words together.
Monday, February 3, 2014
Getting back on track
My new workbook is here, and I'm saddened to discover it's not much more helpful than the last one. Even though the reason is entirely different this time. The book teaches Japanese as if you're in a rush to learn the language because you're being carted off to Japan against your will in a month. It teaches basic phrases and ideas like how to count money, the names of occupations, and basic greetings. It doesn't give any analysis on HOW the language is structured, what the underlying ideas are, or the significance of the grammar. In any Romance or Germanic language, that would be fine. The structure of Spanish, German, French, or almost any European language is similar enough to English that an English speaker can pick them up fairly easily, because the concepts behind the language are similar. Japanese is built on an entirely different philosophy, a different outlook on the entire concept of language. The sentence structure is different, but more importantly, the USE of verbs is entirely changed. Some sentences don't even have or require verbs, the verb often being contained or simply IMPLIED by the subject. And some sentences don't have a subject, but it is implied by the verb. I found a guide that I think will be more helpful learning the core elements of the language.