Read PDF Encouragement of a smart middle class (Japanese Edition)

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And in the fairly infrequent cases when pitch is used to distinguish meaning, the context will almost always do the heavy lifting for you. A lot of digital ink has spilled in the blogosphere bemoaning how difficult it is to learn Kanji.

The joint venture is aiming to open their first store in the New Delhi region sometime next year.

Armed with the right attitude, methods, and materials, a motivated adult learner can master the meaning and writing of all standard use Kanji in a matter of months, not years or even decades as is usually the case with traditional rote approaches. They have only to learn how to read them. In fact, Chinese grammar and pronunciation have about as much to do with Japanese as English does. It is their knowledge of the meaning and writing of the kanji that gives the Chinese the decisive edge. Contrary to popular belief, most Kanji are not pictographs.

This may sound complex, but is actually very good news for language learners!

Differences between the U.S. and Japanese Education Systems

These chunks also give you valuable story points that can be used to craft super sticky mnemonics. A massive cloud of multicolored insects butterflies to be exact are crafting a magnificent double rainbow across the entire sky. Once you know the meaning of all the standard use Kanji, you can usually guess the meaning of compound words they combine to create. Know the character, guess the word. An equivalent power in English would require extensive knowledge of Latin, Greek, and a host of ancient Germanic dialects. It must mean foreigner! We can thank the Japanese themselves for helping to perpetuate the myth that Japanese is a vague language.

As Dr. Jay Rubin recounts in his excellent book Making Sense of Japanese , a member the Tokyo String Quartet once shared in an NPR interview that English allowed him and other Japanese members of the ensemble to communicate more effectively than in Japanese. They had begun speaking in English once a non-Japanese member joined the group and were amazed how much easier it seemed to communicate in English despite not being native speakers.

Rubin points out that the problem is a matter of culture, not linguistics:. The Japanese language can express anything it needs to, but Japanese social norms often require people to express themselves indirectly or incompletely. Anyone who has lived in Japan or done business with a Japanese company knows that this difference in communication style can be a major source of frustration and cross-cultural miscommunication.

With the exception of purposefully designed languages like Esperanto, languages evolve organically over great expanses of time, inevitably leading to some strange exceptions and goofy contradictions.


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Hamburgers are not made from ham, English muffins were not invented in England, and French Fries were not invented in France. Sweetmeats are confectionery, while sweetbreads, which are not sweet, are meat. If the plural of tooth is teeth, shouldn't the plural of booth be beeth? And then there are incredibly weird English pronunciations, as Benny has read a poem about! One could of course compile such a list for any language, including Japanese.

My point is simply that Japanese is no less logical than English. Both have their quirks, but both also have a finite set of rules and exceptions easy enough for even a child to master. Bottom line: it is perfectly natural to compare and contrast Japanese with English, but avoid making value judgments.

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Languages are the way they are; why they are that way is an interesting question for historical and comparative linguists, but has little to do with acquiring a language. If you believe Japanese is difficult, vague, and illogical, it will be for you. But if you focus on the easy, concrete, logical bits first, you will learn much faster, and have a hell of lot more fun along the way. It certainly will. But so does Spanish. And Pig Latin. And Klingon. Small wins early on help build the confidence, motivation, and fortitude you will need to carry on when the path up Japanese Mountain grows steep.

And finally One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language. Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Click here to see the comments! I learned this lesson the hard way six months into my stay in Spain, with barely any Spanish to show for it before I changed my approach. Nowadays, I generally recommend people get virtual immersion and learn a language online.

But there is something to [ Having a friend by your side as you learn a language is the best and most fun way to succeed. Think learning how speak Italian means breaking the bank? Think again. The internet is teeming with Italian language lessons that cost nothing. The only problem? Japanese students study very hard in high school, so they can pass the entrance exams to get into a reputable national or private university.

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Once they get into their dream college, things become more relaxed as they are almost guaranteed to graduate. This is the opposite of many American universities where the entrance is easy but graduation is difficult. University students in Japan often skip their classes to party and have their classmates sign the attendance sheet but instructors in America would not tolerate their students faking their attendance.

So it is understandable why many Japanese students want to focus on having fun rather than actually studying. I secretly envied my sisters in Japan talk about their college life. It sounded like they were having a blast meeting new people, finding baito part-time jobs and going to go-kon group dating when I was having a mini nervous breakdown preparing for my next presentation!

In general, one of the biggest differences I found between the American and Japanese education systems is that students in America are expected to actively participate in their own learning. Thus, American universities are generally much more rigorous than Japanese universities. I went to an academic high school that focused on preparing students for Japanese university entrance examinations, so I knew that I would be working my butt off if I decide to go to American college.

It was never easy but I am glad that I chose this route. Some professors were really hard because the university that I graduated from had many world-renowned scientists, medical doctors and professors. But I took so many interesting classes and learned a lot. Would I do this again? I love studying!

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If you are a foreigner and have experience attending Japanese college, I would love to hear your story! Japan born, US educated, language teacher. More articles by Yumi Nakata. It seems like you are repeating a rationale behind the Japanese school system, but I would be interested in seeing your sources. In American schools, students also participate in a variety of after-school activities to express themselves. The difference is, Japanese schools seem to place tremendous pressure on success and performance during these activities, and also require students to focus on only one club.

Some Japanese schools require students to join at least one activity, and these activities often have long hours and punishing schedules. Combine this with long, lecture style classes and you have students who cannot stay awake during class. It results in long days full of tedium, social pressure, and stress, often resulting in depression or suicide- enemies to learning, all.


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Students have no choice but to desperately cram to memorize information, spit it out under tremendous pressure during entrance exams, and forget it forever.