View Full Version : whats language course works........

Peter Adams
29th June 2000, 09:01
Id like to poll a recommendation of language courses - ie.
whats worth splashing the dosh on?

Japanese for Busy People seems quite comprehensive...

I intend to use it to supplement direct guidance from a native speaker.

( objective is to be fluent - read/write/oral )
have the rest of my life to polish it up...hopefully.


Adam DArcy
29th June 2000, 19:26
I think if you focus on the basics, and use the "Memorize-everything-you-can-get-your-hands-on-then-speak-as-much-as-you-can-with-a-native-Japanese-speaker" technique, you can get pretty fluent.

I studied formally at a university and then went to Japan and studied at another university. However, in retrospect, it seems like most of what I was doing was memorizing vocabulary, Kanji, idiomatic expressions, grammar patterns and so on, and then going to class to use them on the native Japanese instructors. Now I memorize things, and try them out on my wife :). Just vocabulary, not waza :)

Anyway, if you keep it simple, I think you'll see the best results.


Alex Miller
30th June 2000, 13:11
Peter - there is, as I am sure you know, an extraordinary variety of Japanese langauge textbooks. Adam's right about simply putting a lot of time and effort into it - there are no real shortcuts. However, it's always useful to know whether you want to have a very solid grammatical understanding, or are happy with just being understood in a daily conversational context.

For what it's worth, I would recommend a book published by the Japan Times called "An Introduction to Modern Japanese", written by Makino (I think). It brings in formal and informal Japanese in very systematic way (you'll notice a marked improvement) and really is helpful for just sitting down at your desk and getting on with it. As with all these things, though, it depends on the person!

Best of luck!


Joseph Svinth
30th June 2000, 17:12
An allegory about both swordsmanship and learning language from Sir Richard F. Burton:


Every day's work would be divided into three sections, each of eight to ten and even fifteen minutes, and later on I should even allow the patient to sit down before this term has elapsed...

"Would you give your half hour at once, or separate it by long intervals?" asked Shughtie. "I'm certain that the latter is the best plan when learning the elements of a language -- a pure work of memory. A man who labours two or three successive hours at his vocabulary is to me like a school lad of eight, who studies throughout a third of the day."

Your rule is good for languages, and you have founded it upon the best of reasons; but swordsmanship has little to work the memory. My practice is never to let the pupil go on fencing when I see that he is fatigued. But I also never let him sit down till he requires rest.


The source is "The Sentiment of the Sword," the Fourth Evening.

9th July 2000, 21:31
I recommend "Japanese for Busy People", which is put out by the Association for Japanese Language Teaching (www.ajalt.org). It's how they teach Japanese to military members on Okinawa.
It is available through this web site:


[Edited by yamatodamashii on 07-10-2000 at 08:32 PM]

11th July 2000, 05:08
I myself greatly enjoyed "J for Busy People," yet I read above that you're hoping to be a "writer" as well as a reader/speaker. I think "J for Busy People" might fall short here, although the dialogues are both realistic and easily built upon. Upon first arriving in Japan a decade ago, I picked up kid's comic books as they had all the furigana written. I found I could both read faster and test my own on-yomi and kun-yomi skills by covering up the furigana as I went.

For true writing practice, there are a few decent books on the market, the better of which are fully in Japanese and assume you have the reading comprehension to make it through them.