Planning for the JLPT? Learn about the new JLPT test levels N1, N2, N3, N4, and N5. The JLPT is a goal for many students of the Japanese language - whether for university entrance, a job in Japan, or just personal motivation.
Hello everyone!! Interesting thread, indeed!! If we can help you with something, please feel free to let us know!
And, Ogemaniac-san, YES, very true. There's no short-cut for ANY language learning, I must say. Japanese might take quite a lot of time to acquire, but it's not because difficult, it's because different Think that way, and it'd become slightly more fun As to 解釈, I'd never give explanation as its translation. Like you said, "interpretation" is a lot closer, and it's actually also "understand(ing)". 解釈する means you understand something.
One very important advice for anyone who's studying Japanese at this level (from me) would be "you cannot really work on language if you're relying too much on translation, because the languages are different". This means that, if you want to know the name of a fruit in front of you, for example, let's say it's an apple, and someone gives you the name in Japanese りんご which can be literal translation. This works. Fine. But when it comes to more "conceptual" and/or invisible words, languages (ANY languages) usually involves its background, nation's point of view, culture and even history. So you need to understand more like "concept" and/or "idea". Am I making sense? Hope so. And, this proves why "anki" with simple translation sometimes doesn't work
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I signed up just to answer this post for whoever might read this thread afterwards.
I don't think it's impossible at all. It took me only two weeks to learn all the Japanese grammar. I could learn at least 10 kanjis per one hour. If you are putting your life and soul into it you can learn up to 50 kanjis per day. For me, what I found hard in Japanese isn't understanding the grammar, interpretting a sentence or memorising words&kanji, it's the sound of these kanjis when I read a passage and learning the actual way of pronouncing words in a conversation. I could read simple text passages or listen to simple conversation within a month (like in anime).
Since I spent so little time in learning grammar, the rest of my learning process is only about learning words and their usage. When I am learning a new language, I don't usually wait until I learn enough words to actually try to read or listen to something. After a couple of months I bought a japanese novel to read and it was ubume no natsu. (I am very fond of Natsuhiko Kyogoku's works) It wasn't easy but actually it improved my understanding a lot; especially in learning new expressions and the natural flow of conversation. This might sound redundant but it also helps a lot to watch a tv series with subtitles (try not to look at the subtitle, and only look at it when you don't understand what the actors are saying. It helps to actually replay and break down their sentences just to capture the way they speak. Therefore I suggest that you choose a series you seriously are infatuated with. Otherwise you might want to burn down your telly at some point.) Ultimately I think you definitely need passion or otherwise you'd have given you from the second week. I also don't 'skip' something when I don't understand something. I have heard a lot of people suggesting that people should guess the words within the context and move on, and I highly disagree. It's better that when you are not sure of what the word means, you should look it up and spend your time memorising how it's used and pronounced. This way you won't waste your time on it again and simply remember it forever. Try to make a good friend whose native langauge is the language you are learning, because that's your light when you need to know if what you understand is truly correct. (of course if you are going to a language school, you probably can ask your teacher, but I learned it by myself so it was easier to just ask my friends anytime)
I am an autodidact and this isn't the first language I learned so I may be biased on how easy it is due to my collective language skill (I know five languages fluently: 3 asian languages--one being chinese so maybe that's why it is easier for me to memorise characters; 2 european languages; I know more languages but I am not fluent in them--when I say 'fluent' I mean I can read, write, speak and listen perfectly or almost perfect including advanced literature and technical textbooks) but I want to assure you that it is not impossible to master Japanese within 6 months (or passing N1) if you pour your life and soul into it. I learned Japanese "leisurely" and I managed to read short novels and watch anime/tv series within a year. I am not even a language student or anything. Whoever think this is an impossible feat, I assure you it's not true. Just don't give up. :>