13 responses

  1. Lars
    August 24, 2011

    i tried NOT studying grammar for a long time, because i suck at grammar and hoped i can “immerse” it. but it just doesn’t work. not in japanese where everybody speaks different and there is no real way to study japanese. it’s taihen. :(

    • Mac
      August 24, 2011

      My thoughts exactly. But, there are people that swear by this method. I find it to be far too difficult. As much as I’m not a real big grammar fan, it is good to look back and realize you can naturally use all of the grammar that you struggle so hard to remember. :)

  2. Barbara
    August 26, 2011

    Personally I think grammar books are great as long as you ‘use’ what you learn. I always split a chapter in Minna no Nihongo over a few days to make sure I ‘understand’ the grammar and not just conjugating verbs or whatever is the focus. Then I use the language. For me this includes keeping a hand-written Japanese diary everyday (great for practising kanji), posting on Lang-8 and e-mailing Japanese friends. But I do believe in immersion – just a balance between reading, writing, speaking and listening is bound to be good and keeps it fun and not a chore.

    • Mac
      August 26, 2011

      Good advice Barbara. I try to do a good balance like that myself. I think it helps you sounds more correct. I have to admit I do a lot of writing on my PC and smartphone so I’m not great on writing kanji. I need to do more hand-writing like you do. :)

  3. サラちゃん
    September 30, 2011

    Grammar is good. Grammar is great. If you don’t understand it, no one will understand you.
    I started learning japanese from an antique grammar book from the 1950’s. (i.e. watakushi ha isha ja arimasen)I never use that kind of language, but it was the foundation of my Japanese. I understand the modern way of speaking better because I began with its roots. And anyway, if one were to be in a business situation, that kind of grammar-based japanese is required.
    When you read grammar books, though, you always have to form your own sentences out of it or you won’t remember. It’s not too hard, just change the subject and object of the sentence (and learn new vocabulary as you do it)
    I think a better way to immerse yourself in the language is to use skype or some sort of chat-thing to chat with native speakers. Make as many friends as you can on language exchange websites, get a microphone and talk as much as possible (after you learn at least some basic grammar) Movies and such are good, but you need some participation and motivation for anything to really stick. There’s a big difference between repeating what you learn from anime to your friends, and actually having to put it into context in a real japanese conversation.
    I think the most important grammar to learn though, if you dont like grammar and just want a short-cut, is the particles (no, ga, ha, wo, ka, ni, he,…) and verbs.
    One final word, you don’t have to have good grammar really… but if you don’t understand the verbs… it just won’t work. verbs are the building block of a japanese sentence… sometimes the only part of it. (i.e. nomu? nomu. taberu? taberarenai)
    ok im a nerd..

    • Mac
      September 30, 2011

      I don’t think you’re a nerd!

      This is great advice. Interaction is absolutely key to learning any language. There is some new research that is coming out that points to this actually. They did some research on how babies pick up a language and discovered that babies only learn from another human being, not a TV, not a book, not even a video conferencing lesson, but someone physically in the same room as them. So, you have to make the language your own, you have to play with it, mold it, and experiment with it. That’s definitely the best way to learn.

      • Jordan C
        October 23, 2011

        I think you are right about babies, but after humans advance far enough to understand concepts through spoken or written language they can begin to learn from other sources, derived of course from the human mind. You explained that you have to learn to make the language your own, playwith it, and mold it. I believe that a language follows a set structure and the way you leave your impression in that language is by personal choice of vocabulary. With the exception of slang expressions, and partial information carrying phrases, motos, and logos. There is a proper and improper usage of a language and breaching those lines is inventing your own language with a large sum of loan words. =) Language does evolve over time. My preferance with language is to learn proper grammatical form and create unique expressions through use of vocabulary and choice phrases. I don’t try to change the rules of soccer, but prefer to use unique strategies.

      • Mac
        October 25, 2011

        That is an excellent analogy. Speaking a language is a lot like playing a sport. They both have rules but everybody has their own style.

  4. Jordan C
    October 23, 2011

    I have been studying Japanese for a little while and so far I poorly understand the grammar. If I had a book full of examples and easy explanations of how to create somewhat educated and structured sentences, I would be very happy. Why do I have to play Sherlock with Japanese sentences until I pick up on shitty spoken grammar? Why can’t I learn proper Japanese and use proper language? It isn’t a waste of time if you want to speak proper Japanese and sound educated. If you want to just speak the language and be limited to what slang expressions and grammar you have heard go ahead. I have heard my fair share of foreigners and I would prefer to use better grammar than them. It is my preferance.

    • Mac
      October 25, 2011

      Yeah you definitely need a good basis in grammar. I’ve heard a lot of foreigners who can speak really good slang but can’t string sentence together to save their lives.
      The flip side is also true though. I feel like sometimes I need to learn small pieces of slang to talk fluently. Otherwise I end up sounding like a book

  5. caramel
    July 29, 2013

    I have tried immersing myself with the dramas, movies, animes, talking to twitter and skype. I did not learn grammar for years but now I am trying to pick it up. I think I understand why you have to do it. It’s the foundation, just like learning English. If you don’t know where this thing comes from and originated it would be hard to be flexible with the language. By knowing grammar you are able to switch into the informal and formal mode without having much problem. Although, I am not yet even at 1% of the grammar rules in Japanese, I am seeing how different it is.

    • Clayton MacKnight
      August 4, 2013

      I think grammar really helps you to see the patterns of the language and the different styles of getting the message across. These are things that even native speakers don’t really pick up on.

  6. NinKenDo
    July 14, 2014

    I don’t know why everybody seems to think that we didn’t learn grammar in School… Sure you don’t study it like a foreign language, but you definitely got taught grammar for your native language…

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