Sentence-Picking in Action: Making Lemons Into Lemonade

OK, so Momoko told me that a lot of people might have trouble picturing what the sentence-picking process really looks like. And, now that I think about it, I agree with her. So here’s an example of how I went about picking some sentences just now. The example uses Chinese and Japanese, but I’m sure you can take some info away for use with any language.

I was looking at this sentence:

【明報專訊】美國電影協會大中華區營運總監何偉雄透露,本港點對點(BT)下載猖獗,單是該會2004年便發現有2400宗本港用戶在互聯網上傳送盜版電影的個案,較03年的107宗激增21倍,但他相信這只是侵權問題的冰山一角,因估計全球現時每日有60萬個電影侵權檔案在網上流傳,粗略估計每日損失逾3000萬元。

It’s huge. So I decided to break it up more or less into clauses along comma breaks. So I pick the first clause:

美國電影協會大中華區營運總監何偉雄透露,本港點對點(BT)下載猖獗

But I was still lost; I didn’t yet understand this sentence, nor did I get the clause (“yet” being the operative word). I decided to skip it for now; after a few days or weeks or months of practice, I’ll be ready for it; I may not come back to this exact sentence, but some sentence like it will certainly come up, and when it does, I’ll be ready.

Nevertheless, skipping doesn’t automatically mean nothing concrete can be learned — I can still pick up the two words (in this clause) whose readings I didn’t know or was otherwise unsure about. Those would be:

  • chāngjué【猖獗】
  • tòulù【透露】

I go find these dictionary entries for them, complete with example sentences:

tòulù【透露】
(秘密などを)漏らす,漏れる;(意志・表情などを)現す,現れる.
¶~風聲/消息を漏らす.
¶秘密mìmì~出去了/秘密が漏れた.
¶她臉上~出一絲悲傷bēishāng/彼女の顔にかすかな悲しみの色が現れた.
¶事件的真相~出來了/事件の真相が明らかになった.
¶把這個情況故意gùyì~給某mǒu報社/この情報をわざと某新聞社に漏らす
【関連】liúlù【流露】

chāngjué【猖獗】
(1)はびこる.猛威をふるう.
¶流行病~/流行病が猛威をふるう.
¶這個地區過去風沙fēngshā~/この地區は以前,砂嵐の荒れ狂うところだった.
(2)〈書〉倒れる.傾き倒れる.

In the definition for chāngjué【猖獗】, it turns out I’m not particularly familiar with the Japanese phrase “猛威をふるう”. I can basically tell what it means, but I want more context — a clearer understanding — so I Google “猛威をふるう” and find some sentences [from reliable sources such as online versions of reputable magazines, reputable sites and the like] that use it. These I add into my SRS, like so:

QUESTION:

「2006年末は電話スパムが猛威を振るう」

ANSWER:

もうい【猛威】〔病気や風などの〕激しい威力。すさまじい勢い。

ふる・う【振るう】《他動詞五段活用》
②それが中に含み持っている力を外に出して盛んに働きかける。十分に、また盛んに、その力を発揮する。大いに駆使する。「熱弁を振るう」
《参考》「揮う」とも書く。

QUESTION:

マイクロソフト、猛威を振るうワームの駆除ツールを提供◆

ANSWER:

もうい【猛威】〔病気や風などの〕激しい威力。すさまじい勢い。

ふる・う【振るう】《他動詞五段活用》
②それが中に含み持っている力を外に出して盛んに働きかける。十分に、また盛んに、その力を発揮する。大いに駆使する。「熱弁を振るう」
《参考》「揮う」とも書く。

Now, after adding and clarifying the Japanese that needed clarifying, I’m finally ready to add the Chinese sentences. I won’t show them all, just a couple of examples. Here goes:

QUESTION:

這個地區過去風沙猖獗◆

ANSWER:

liu2xing2bing4 chang1jue2 ◆
流行病が猛威を振るう。

chāngjué【猖獗】
(1)はびこる.猛威をふるう.

もうい【猛威】〔病気や風などの〕激しい威力。すさまじい勢い。

ふる・う【振るう】《他動詞五段活用》
②それが中に含み持っている力を外に出して盛んに働きかける。十分に、また盛んに、その力を発揮する。大いに駆使する。「熱弁を振るう」
《参考》「揮う」とも書く。

QUESTION:

這個地區過去風沙猖獗◆

ANSWER:

zhe4ge0 di4qu1 guo4qu4 feng1sha1 chang1jue2 ◆
この地區は以前、砂嵐の荒れ狂うところだった。

chāngjué【猖獗】
(1)はびこる.猛威をふるう.

あれくる・う【荒れ狂う】《自動詞五段活用》
★②波・風などがひどく激しくなる。「荒れ狂う波」

So there you have it. I’m always working to expand my knowledge, but only ever by one small step — one small quantum — at a time. Never too much, never too big a jump.

As you can see from this example, learning Chinese by laddering through Japanese offers a lot of opportunity to improve proficiency in both languages. [Although, I still think it’s better to use the target language as its own base language…laddering is my little experiment in doing two things at the same time].

FYI, I didn’t bother with the rest of the original long sentence. Although suddenly it looks much more do-able now than it did earlier…


This blog post was brought to you by the generosity of AJATT's patrons: Luke, Charlie, Nathan H, Other Nathan, Kyle, Aujury, Riad, Robert, memo, Nico, RK, Phillip, Mike, Henry, William, DaiSaka, Russell, remy, Adam, Michael, Jinette, Josh, Kent, Elin, Mairo, Christian, npkdyrpubfr, an.selenium, Squishyface, Diogo, Jeffrey, Nicholas, Wong, Toucan, vvv, Stefano, Chris, TMeurs, David, Neito, Quinn, Roodolph, Roger, dm, Lukas, Nenjya, Tom, Daniel, Francois, Richard, Amir, Matt, Hadi, Jace, Jean-Felix, Luke, Stijn, Nicole, Walter, Ian, nathan, May, Nyagasaki, Daniel, Emily, Coolbgdog, Cush, Erin, Stian, Christopher, Celia, SoloTravelBlog, Rob J, Jan, Tony, Avtar, Angela, Allen, Analisa, Eric, W, emk, Radek, Zach, Matt, William, Sarah, Jamie, LS, Nico, niin, Russell, Tawfiq, Jenny, Caleb

You guys are the best and I want to have your babies.

So...Let me have your babies.
Please? :D

Wait, what? All uterine humour aside #StopUterusShamingMeBro, seriously, your support means more than you know and I (Khatz ← that's me) am deeply grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you so, so much. Thanks for believing in me, thanks for taking action, thanks for being there.

If you would like to support the continuing production of AJATT content as well as two adorable cats (yes, actual cats) please consider making a monthly donation through Patreon. Right there. Go on. Click on it.

  42 comments for “Sentence-Picking in Action: Making Lemons Into Lemonade

  1. quendidil
    December 1, 2007 at 17:25

    Hey Khatz, since you helped me break apart that sentence from 涼宮ハルヒ some time ago, I’ll try to return the favour here.

    A)美國電影協會大中華區營運總監何偉雄透露
    i)美國電影協會大中華區
    ii)營運總監
    iii)何偉雄
    iv)透露
    “美國電影協會大中華區” is basically the name of the department of this organization.營運總監 is the man’s job title. The whole chunk is referring to this guy 何偉雄、his job title and that he is 透露ing something.

    B)本港點對點(BT)下載猖獗,
    i)本港
    ii)點對點
    iii)下載
    iv)猖獗

    C)單是該會2004年便發現有2400宗本港用戶在互聯網上傳送盜版電影的個案,較03年的107宗激增21倍,
    i)單是
    ii)該會
    iii)2004年
    iv)便發現有2400宗本港用戶
    v)在互聯網上
    vi)傳送盜版電影的個案

    i) introduces the clause, emphasizing that it’s “only” something
    ii) to vi) talks about what the group has done.

    D)較03年的107宗激增21倍,
    i)較
    ii)03年的107宗激增21倍,
    i) compares ii) with what was said in C), namely the “2400宗本港用戶” part.

    E)但他相信這只是侵權問題的冰山一角,
    This should be trivial.

    F)因估計全球現時每日有60萬個電影侵權檔案在網上流傳,
    i)因
    ii)估計全球現時每日有
    iii)60萬個電影侵權檔案
    iv)在網上流傳
    i) introduces the reason for E)
    iii) is a relatively long sub-clause. “60萬個”,”電影侵權”, “檔案”. With 檔案 being the main topic.

    F)粗略估計每日損失逾 3000萬元。
    trivial

    Chinese syntax is relatively easier than Japanese I think. While it is technically possible to form long clauses, a long chain of modifiers on a single noun is not as common as in Japanese (except in compound nouns like 美國電影協會大中華區營運總監 but compounding verbs and other modifiers on top of that is not common); the individual clauses each at least talk about an action and are quite self-contained.

  2. khatzumoto
    December 1, 2007 at 17:53

    My hero! Thank you, quend!

  3. Potemayo
    December 2, 2007 at 02:04

    But what about stuff like Mangajin and Japanese in Mangaland? You said it was best to switch to J-J ASAP but they’re both mostly English. Should I use them for sentence picking then?

  4. khatzumoto
    December 2, 2007 at 03:06

    Good question. They’re both really good book series, among the best ever written for learning Japanese.

    Haha…I don’t know the answer to that question.

    Personally, I did try to sentence-pick from both those books, but I didn’t get very far [I was trying to strip-mine them of sentences and got bored, not because the books were boring — they’re absolutely not — but because it was just too, much…drudgery? I don’t know…it’s hard to explain].

    Um…in the larger scheme of things, I think you’re better off going J-J than staying J-E, even with the best J-E books ever made.

  5. nacest
    December 2, 2007 at 17:29

    As a matter of fact, I’ve been thinking for a while, why don’t you suggest some books and sites in Japanese, instead of (or in addition to) the English ones listed on this site?

    Right now I’m in need of some fuel for my switch to J-internet and J-reading only, but it’s hard to replace all the fun things I usually do in English (or Italian).

  6. Gavin Tommy
    December 2, 2007 at 19:48

    hello!

    i’m very interested in the SRS, and i think that it would be great to have a SRS on the go, like on the nintendo DS for example. do you know any nintendo homebrew programs that would have SRS with the heisig method, or even a SRS with a diy..?

  7. ModishMinuet
    December 3, 2007 at 04:35

    So I’m a slow learner…

    This is great for those in the further stages of sentences, I’m sure, but right now, the idea of sentence-mining seems virtually impossible! I still don’t get how a beginner would start the process of entering sentences into an SRS (like I said, I’m a slow learner) and I don’t understand how you would use this process for audio/visual Japanese material (i.e. movies and podcasts in Japanese) Is it impossible to do this for those things? Maybe I’m just not understanding the whole process…Right now, I’m just finishing Heisig’s book, and I’m almost scared to finish it because from the looks of it, I just think I’ll be entering the whole process only half-understanding what I am doing!

    Maybe a question would be better: How does a beginner, still in the J-E stage of things do this same thing? And how does this process work for movies and the like: do you just get the scripts from online or what? I just feel so confused about the whole process! Is it all just supposed to fall together when you finish Heisig’s book? Ahhhh, I just don’t get it!! *shakes head mournfully*

    Is there any way you could answer this question?

  8. khatzumoto
    December 3, 2007 at 06:21

    1) Finish Heisig
    2) Finish Heisig
    3) Finish Heisig
    4) Start with J-E

    >only half-understanding
    Perhaps. But without kanji knowledge, you’ll have about ZERO understanding.

    >still in the J-E stage of things do this same thing?
    Generally, she doesn’t.

    >how does this process work for movies and the like: do you just get the scripts from online or what?
    Read this.

    If you still don’t get it, don’t worry about it. Just focus on the task at hand. Just because you don’t get it now, that doesn’t mean it won’t be crystal clear for you later.

    Anyone please feel free to chime in with advice for Modish.

  9. Wan Zafran
    December 3, 2007 at 12:34

    ModishMinuet,

    The fact that you’re near-completion of Heisig’s book is admirable already, so please, do continue working on the book, and try your best to complete it! Once you begin your Japanese studies, you will be happy that you did.

    First of all, I agree with Khatzumoto entirely on this matter. Once you begin with your actual Japanese studies, the ability to recognize kanji (and produce them, as Heisig’s book espouses) will help you immensely. The biggest benefit is that you will not need to pick-up new kanji as you go — you will only need to attach readings to kanji compounds and sentence structures. Secondly, as you already know what meaning a kanji carries, associating a new one to it would become much easier.

    On Learning Through Movies and Shows

    With regards to movies and the like, Khatzumoto’s example should be quite clear-cut, but here’s how I do it, as an example, nonetheless:

    1. I open a video in a movie player like VLC. I change the settings, and set the video-skip jump length to a very small number (1-second).

    2. Now, if I miss a scene or did not hear something clearly, I can repeat it by using the shortcut key to go back to the one-second before (which is usually more than enough.)

    3. My video-player is sized to take up only one-half of my entire-desktop. On the other one-half of my desktop, I have my Firefox on. (In other words, there are two windows running concurrently right next to each other.)

    4. I usually have 1-4 tabs open in my Firefox, and these would normally include: 1) a dictionary (amongst many, I use Denshi Jisho, ALC, or Yahoo, and I switch between them as much as I need), 2) the Japanese script/subtitle of the movie/TV show (with RikaiChan open), 3) the Study portion of the Reviewing the Kanji website (which helps with quick kanji look-ups and review), and 4) Google.

    5. Thereupon I go through the movie, and repeat parts of the show as many times as I need, always reading/glancing through the script to try and understand it (and the English subtitle playing under the actual movie always helps here too). If I don’t understand something, I would immediately pause the movie, and read the RikaiChan definition, and then search for a sentence using that word in Denshi Jisho, and ALC, or Google.

    6. Now this is the part where I break off from Khatzumoto’s method: While Khatzumoto, if I am not mistaken, immediately searches for a word, and subsequently a sentence, based on the dialogues of the movie, to input into an SRS program, I would only do the same AFTER I finish that particular learning session. The reason being that I would like to understand everything first, and only come back to it immediately after. (Essentially, it’s the same thing, only that my review is delayed.)

    I wouldn’t mind forgetting a few (or many) things, because at the very least I have already become accustomed to a scene and the Japanese used in it, and re-learning it won’t take that much effort (provided that I do it on the same day, of course) as it had been in the beginning.

    (I will try and include a screenshot later, that is, if Khatzumoto permits me to.)

    I hope I’ve helped.

  10. nacest
    December 3, 2007 at 16:14

    Wan Zafran,
    I haven’t tried it yet, but doesn’t that method make watching a movie or video boring and tiring?
    On my part, I just watch them without pausing and look for words and sentences that are repeated often and write them down. Then, later, I look for sentences based on those words on the internet, if I’m still interested. So essentially, I focus a lot on the “have fun while doing it” part. Of course, even “fun” and “boring” are subjective things.

    Another thing: unfortunately Rikaichan only has English definitions (or has it?), so it’s counterproductive to the total immersion env. (as are the English subtitles), isn’t it?
    I’m asking because I’m having a hard time trying to solve this problem. I’m addicted to Rikaichan because it’s SO handy, but now I’m entering the J-J era! I’d give my reign for a J-J dic for 理解ちゃん!!

  11. Wan Zafran
    December 3, 2007 at 16:57

    Nacest,

    From my personal experience, if I peruse a video I have much interest in, say, for example, any episode from the Tiger & Dragon series, I do not find endless repetition to be a boring process; rather, I am able to derive much pleasure from it. I think repetition only becomes boring when you are 1) using material you are not very interested in, and 2) being passive, by just looking at the screen and listening.

    So instead, I do all that I can to find interesting material, and then, make it an interactive ‘mimic-and-understand’ process. For example, I continuously shadow all words and sentences that are being said (e.g. if Tora, the yakuza character, says この野郎, I would try to mimic him exactly, right down to the accent, pitch and timing, and I even slack my jaw the way he does it in an attempt to acquire the natural (though seemingly vulgar) accent), I keep looking up words in the Firefox tab with subtitles and RikaiChan, every few minutes I review sentences preceding and following where the dialogue is currently, and I try my best to understand what is being said and what is happening (and why that is so) at all times.

    Eventually (at least, after many repetitions), I discover that I am able to understand whole scenes without glancing at the English subtitles. (Reaching that point seems to be a gradual process, however.) Still, once I reach that point, that is when I would attempt to watch the video in its raw form — if I understand everything, I would feel very satisfied and be compelled to work harder, and even if I don’t, it motivates me to do the same nonetheless to achieve greater fluency. (It’s like doing mathematics; if you succeed at an extremely difficult problem, you will feel immense joy, but even if you don’t, you’d still be working very hard to get to an answer, during which the feeling of being focused seems to be a very addictive one.)

    (However, I must realistically admit that even though I understand the scenes, if you ask me to write out the dialogue by hand I’d probably be able to attempt only 50% of the dialogue or so, or less, as I am always forgetting kanji compounds and confusing them. Personally speaking, my output ability at this point is still very weak.)

    While I am also in favour of the total immersion environment, I don’t think it is wise to attempt it if one’s vocabulary, like mine, is too small to cope with it yet.

    After all, as Khatzumoto had said, a dictionary is always a desirable tool to have as a beginner. Indeed, it would be pointless to try and walk when you cannot even stand without a crutch, no? So what you need to do then is to get as much of the dictionary into your head, that you may proceed to function without it. (And that is exactly what I am trying to do right now too, so let us both work hard!)

  12. nacest
    December 4, 2007 at 02:28

    Zafran,

    I see your point about “mimicking” very carefully the speech. I do want to try the method you are proposing (after a few minor personal changes, maybe).
    A small problem I see is that for this you need a movie/series with subtitles and/or of which you have the exact script. On top of that, you must be very interested in it. You’ve gotta be really lucky to find a lot of material with those requisites!

    About the English crutch thing, I understand your point of view, because, I think, it’s what anybody would be inclined to think. What I mean is, that’s how I felt too.

    Only, what I think Khatzumoto is trying to tell us is that, actually, you don’t REALLY need English in any case. That you can learn to walk without weakening your legs with a crutch. That you can do it the hard way, which is also the “native (kid)” way, fast and natural.
    This is what I read in the AJATT posts, but I may have mistaken the message. So Khatz, if you feel like it, could you give us your opinion on Zafran’s method and on what I just wrote?

  13. JDog
    December 4, 2007 at 06:03

    OK, I have a question and I need to give some background first. I have to admit that as long as I have been reading and enjoying this blog, I have not DONE much of what it says. After about 75 or so kanji into Heisig’s book, I decided to scrap Japanese altogether in favor of Korean. This was because I thought that it would be so much easier because I knew that Korean has an easy alphabet to learn. This was after quite a few months of being lazy with Japanese and just getting overwhelmed by the whole thing because I am a “language freak” and since I learned Spanish so easily and I LOVE languages, it became my dream to tackle an Asian language with characters because that would be so much cooler and the culture is so different and blah blah blah. Anyway, I still wanted a language with characters to impress people and because it looks really awesome, etc…I wish I could articulate this more clearly (please bear with me). This was great and grand and I actually started entering stuff by the boatload into my newfound SRS (Anki), and it was great because I like my palm and it makes great use of it. I also got some Korean music so that was great. Then yesterday I was looking at some stuff on Korean politeness levels when I came across this page: how-to-learn-any-language.com/e/languages/korean/index.html
    It scared me (particularly the section on “Difficulty.” It says that “if you want to be able to read Korean on the Internet, send emails and have basic oral fluency, the language is much easier than Japanese or Chinese and can be rated **** (4 cactuses) – difficult to learn.”
    OK, great, but I want fluency not just basics, so THEN it goes on to say that “if, however, you want to read newspapers, books, street signs and have complete fluency – the language is probably the hardest you can find, harder than Chinese or Japanese. It deserves ***** (5 cactuses) – very difficult to learn.
    So I want someone’s opinion on just exactly if this is true or not. I think the “article” mentions that it thinks Korean is harder because of there being many different sounds that are almost identical to each other when heard and cannot be distinguished from each other. It also mentions that conjugation is complex blah blah blah which I assume is the same in Japanese. I know that it is against Khatz’s method to look at crap like this that talks ABOUT a language instead of just delving in, but it is important to me to know some of the hurdles I’ll have to jump while I’m learning a language. I feel dumb even asking this, but what language should I learn? So I know about 75 kanji and the hiragana and katakana. Thanks for reading, whoever reads this!

  14. JDog
    December 4, 2007 at 06:38

    I have been doing some thinking mostly about what Khatz has said lately to other people, and I think with Anki and with more daily reps, if I just suck it up and finish Heisig, learning Japanese will be so much easier. So on the SRS side of things I should concentrate solely on kanji but keep up with the listening, right? That’s about all I really can and should do at this point, right?

  15. James Stuber
    December 4, 2007 at 06:54

    That sounds about right.
    I found www.kanji.koohii.com was a huge help in motivating me to finish Heisig.
    がんばって

  16. khatzumoto
    December 4, 2007 at 09:00

    JDog…stop letting idiots and their language ghost stories run your life.
    Every language comes out the same. Chinese has kanji and they take time, but once you know them, you can basically know or easily figure out what ANY word means, plus you never have to conjugate a verb for the rest of your life. Korean is hangul-centric right now, but you have all these words that sound the same and you have to figure out what they mean. English is English — an alphabet too small to represent its actual sounds, lots of dialects and subdialects. German uses the Roman alphabet, but you do need to learn to think differently…Some languages are unwritten, good luck confirming what’s being said.

    For every apparent “hard” thing about a language there is something “easy”, for everything you “have” to do in a language, there is something you don’t need to do, such that they all come out equal in the end. All languages are equal in the end. Every-natural-language-works-the-same. Sounds in ear. Text in eye. Sound out of mouth. Text out of writing implement. That’s it. Just learn how to say stuff. Just copy people. COPY! IMITATE! You don’t have to create or invent anything new, it takes ZERO creativity, NORMAL intelligence, and some persistence — not even the Tom Cruise getting a Meiji imperial butt-whooping in Last Samurai and standing up each time he falls persistence; just the “don’t get distracted by other crap” type of persistence.

    Stop learning ABOUT Korean. Stop reading Korean urban legends about the guy who used the wrong politeness level with his father-in-law and was summarily drowned in kimchee sauce for offending the nation. Just LEARN Korean. Just BE Korean.

    Listen to this:
    “Position multi-digital appendage (MDA) perpendicular to rotary device. Use MDA to apply counterclockwise torque until such time as the barrier section is released, followed by horizontal force while maintaining torque…”

    You can make any thing sound hard. You can make ANYTHING sound complicated if you reduce it to some form of meta-explanation. That there is how to open a door. FORGET the stinking instructions. Ignore the wives’ tales. Just open the freaking door. There are no ghosts behind it.

  17. suffah
    December 4, 2007 at 09:06

    Wan,

    I’m going to actually try something similar to your method with the same series (Tiger & Dragon). Do you happen to have a site with the 日本語 script?

    JDog,

    I think you need to suck it up and just choose a language. But the key point here is to choose a language you will genuinely have interest in. You will need this for motivation. Learning any language, especially an asian language with a different writing system, will be tough without the proper motivation. Personally, I don’t think it would be enough to learn a language to fluency just because “it’s cool” or to impress your friends. You’d better have a serious interest because you will burn out.

    Think about the reasons you quit Japanese and decided to tackle Korean.

  18. khatzumoto
    December 4, 2007 at 09:11

    @JDog
    suffah’s right…you’re going to have to find more joy in actually doing Japanese/Korean than in being cool, because it will be a while before you get to be cool, before you get to be impressive, and before that happens, your friends are going to make fun of you and accuse you of trying to be Japanese; you won’t be able to watch all the English TV shows you used to love, and cetera!

  19. JDog
    December 4, 2007 at 10:08

    Thank you James Stuber, Khatz, and suffah. Just to let Khatz and Suffah know, I would not be learning Korean or Japanese to be cool. I do have a great interest in them. I am kinda pissed right now about a “time management” speech I just got from my parent that had a little bit to do with “wasting time with Japanese,” but I will finish this post later if I think of something else to add. Anyway, I have decided on Japanese. I loved your comment, Khatz. Thanks.

  20. Wan Zafran
    December 4, 2007 at 10:20

    Nacest,

    I think my method is similar to Khatzumoto’s; there’s not much, if any, difference, to the way Khatzumoto himself outlined. After all, it’s still movie/film-mining as it is. Although I’d like to have confirmation too: Khatzumoto, did you do it this way too when you were studying?

    suffah,

    I use the Tiger & Dragon scripts found at Dorama Note. (However, I usually view the pages through Google XHTML in my browser, which cleans up all the unnecessary tags, and breaks up the pages into more digestible chunks.) Be aware however, that many of the scripts are neither perfect nor complete; some dialogue parts and scenes are skipped (especially minor ones); also, I’ve seen some of the scripts contain the narrations and personal opinions of the transcribers. (This is particular to Tiger & Dragon; the quality of the transcribing varies from one show to another, if I am not mistaken.)

    A tip I would like to give is to have a Google Translate tab at the ready; so that, if you get lost, you can use the translated version to quickly compare and correctly position yourself wherever you need to be in the Japanese script.

  21. Yorkii
    December 4, 2007 at 12:29

    Quick question,

    Are you using the Yahoo dictionary for the Japanese entries there?

  22. Tony
    December 4, 2007 at 14:52

    I was using the Yahoo dictionary to mine example sentences but my friend said the examples are wrong. I also used the Denshi Jisho for a few hours before I started reading about why there were tons of examples sentences and found out that there’s no guarantee that they’re right either! So, I’m really interested in hearing what the online resources you mentioned in the article are.

  23. suffah
    December 5, 2007 at 01:17

    Wan,

    Thanks for the link and tips.

  24. lloyd
    December 5, 2007 at 09:03

    hey, khatz. two quick questions that me and my friend came up with while discussing your last blog entry…

    1) has you’re laddering up to chinese, are you trying to use a heisig-esque method on chinese kanji or does your knowledge of the composition of kanji that you picked up from japanese all the new chinese kanji to “stick”?

    2) how much time every day are you spending on the SRS and how much were you spending everyday when you were learning Japanese?

    thanks!

  25. khatzumoto
    December 5, 2007 at 09:34

    @lloyd
    1) I originally learned kanji with the intention of using them for Chinese first, applying the Heisig method to www.zhongwen.com; I just happened to end up focussing on Japanese instead. So…my knowledge of kanji was acquired with Chinese in mind from the beginning. Having learned about ~4500 kanji…I find that I can kind of learn more sort of “by osmosis”, like, it takes very little effort to pick them up; there must be a threshold somewhere, after which anything else is easy to pick up…

    2) As much time as necessary to do 100+ reps and 30+ new entries. So, as long as it takes to do the basic minimum for the day, and beyond that I continue until I get bored of it. It was the same then and is the same now. Anything from 90 minutes to 4 hours(?)…I don’t like keeping track of numbers, I find it distracting to the task at hand, so I just focus on getting it done: it takes as long as it takes. My policy with language is to give it any and all time available; everything revolves around the language and not the other way around; everything else gets scheduled to get done is as little time as possible, the rest of the time all goes to language…So, maximize Chinese time and minimize everything else. If it’s not SRSing it’s TV/movies, if not that than music/talk, if not that then books…whatever.

  26. Nivaldo
    December 5, 2007 at 10:23

    Hey, Khatz. Maybe you don’t remember but some time ago, I came with a somewhat stupid question about problems and you answered pretty energetically. Thanks for that. Now, going to the subject, I’m DYING everyday. Yep, really dying. My family is killing my Japanese, I don’t have headphones so I’m forced to listen to music in a very low volume, result = “almost nothing is caught” and I have to listen to Portuguese every f*****g day, from waking up to sleeping due to this problem. After thinking for a long time, I came with the answer. Switch to a Japanese person’s house literally, I mean, waking up, doing things and sleeping in a Japanese person’s house. I’m really tired of being killed everyday. But, I don’t know if this is the right thing to do, I mean, is it polite to come out of nothing and say “I want to live with you for some time.”? I guess not. But, that would be ideal. What do you think, Khatz? Is that too drastic? If it is, what course of action should I take? BTW, there are only 100 immigrants here in Mozambique. They are VERY rare. Thanks for everything! See you

  27. khatzumoto
    December 5, 2007 at 13:49

    It’s actually a genius idea. Try it…there’s no guarantee of agreement from the either side, but you don’t know these things until you try. Maybe you can…have your parents help negotiate, and figure out a way to offset costs [food, utilities]. Japan has a tradition of students (弟子/でし) living with their masters (師匠/ししょう) in some craft, as part of becoming a student (弟子入り/でしいり). Also, maybe, those Japanese people in Mozambique need help with Portuguese? And you know English and Japanese, and many people from Japan know Japanese and some English, so…it seems like it could potentially work out.

    Also…you could try to talk to your fam and have them get involved in your Japanese project?

    Also, what is it you did with English to get it to this level? Try that.

    Let me know what you work out…I think that’s a really cool idea, though…

  28. khatzumoto
    December 5, 2007 at 14:55

    @Nivaldo
    I was just thinking, you could suggest it as kind of a “homestay” arrangement. A lot of people in Japan host students of Japanese in their home, and that’s exactly what you’re suggesting…The only difference is that yours is in Mozambique…

  29. Jimmy
    December 5, 2007 at 23:24

    I am having no trouble at all finding sentences, but I am finding that it physically takes a long time to make entries in my SRS. It’s not that I am bored (I actually enjoy the process quite a bit); I just want to get in as many sentences as I can. Do you have any suggestions to speed up the process? Also, I’m planning to get a cell phone soon. Which one do you think is best for using khatzumemo (I live in Japan, so I know it comes down to three companies)?

  30. Nivaldo
    December 6, 2007 at 02:30

    Wow, thanks Khatz! I didn’t know I had such a great chance(some 60% based on their student-master culture) of success. Well, the people I found here are near my house so I hope they accept the suggestion. However, they look busy but yep, my brother said that once, one of them got out for a lunch while reading the “Domingo(sunday)” newspaper. It could mean that at least one of them is trying to learn portuguese. To be honest, I was thinking about talking to them today, but I was waiting for your reply to see if it was correct. My father doesn’t even want to know about Japan but kept reading some magazines about Japan I had brought from the ambassade for 3 HOURS. I don’t really understand him but I don’t care, I’m going and that’s all. My brothers aren’t going to collaborate either as the computer is near the TV, **Conflict**. So, I began thinking about all possibilities(almost scientifically), and this one came up. I’ll let you know about the result.

  31. Nivaldo
    December 6, 2007 at 02:41

    Just wanted to say some more things like:
    When I’m listening to japanese music, sometimes I begin not to understand it but to follow the sounds almost fluently and sometimes even without a single break. Everytime it happens, it inspires me to go further and then comes my brother to watch TV **CONFLICT**. Also, about my english, I think you may not remember but I said it was due to many subbed movies, songs and will to speak english. As that kind of material here is almost if not free(on TVs and Radios), I just had to get my ears working and my eyes pointing to the right textual input. But with japanese, it’s been a little more difficult, though not impossible, for example, I managed to get 333 MB of japanese music and some GB of anime. That’s why I’m going for it. It’s my dream since I was 8, damn it. It’s not too late although I’m 19 by now, right? Well, see you.

  32. khatzumoto
    December 6, 2007 at 09:08

    @Jimmy
    >Do you have any suggestions to speed up the process?
    Direct entry into the SRS rather than entry into some intermediate file/format. That’s the main thing. Other than that, just focus on enjoying yourself and “being” Japanese; that’s what this is about. You’re on the right track.

    I’ll find out about the cellphone. BTW, I recommend AU. DoCoMo is overpriced, and Softbank try to wrap you like a warm tortilla in a long, prohibitive contract. Also, Willcom are the runt of the litter with sucky signal and high-priced phones. Go AU…but, just to be sure…test if you can use KhatzuMemo prior to getting the phone, in fact, let me contact you about that…

  33. Jimmy
    December 6, 2007 at 19:07

    >Direct entry into the SRS rather than entry into some intermediate file/format.

    So do you type out the definitions yourself? I’m sorry if you already wrote about this somewhere…

    Oh, and I tried opening Khatzumemo on a friend’s AU phone. I couldn’t get it to work, but I don’t know if that is a problem with AU in general. In any case, thanks for taking the time to look into it for me, as well as the encouragement!

  34. khatzumoto
    December 6, 2007 at 19:10

    >So do you type out the definitions yourself?
    No…copy/paste as far as possible. Typing eats time.

  35. Tony
    December 6, 2007 at 23:12

    Since it looks like you missed my question about the online resources and there’s no bumping: can you put the reputable magazines and whatnot links on the sidebar or post them here? I know how to do the web search on sanseido but that’s it for finding good things not going through advertisements on websites.

  36. khatzumoto
    December 9, 2007 at 20:05

    @Tony
    Will do. Look out for an article soon. Till then, try this to keep you going: www.slashdot.jp.
    By the way, my usual criterion for good website is “looks decent and professional”. Shallow, but works. I generally search by Google Japan www.google.co.jp. I recommend you use the Japanese Google specifically because it seems to be optimized for Japanese websites (I recall reading that Google do manual tweaking on search queries)…

  37. Tony
    December 10, 2007 at 00:49

    Hey! Thanks 😀 I was looking up some things the other day, I can’t remember what the all were but two of them were 合宿 and 飼う, but all I was getting were a lot of websites with advertisements. This will speed things up a lot! I tried to see if there was a way to search through this blog categorizing website (it has different categories of blogs and then links to the top 100 in each category or something) but it didn’t seem to work too well. Much appreciated!

  38. December 10, 2007 at 21:21

    Hey Khatz,

    Forgive me if this is an incredibly stupid question or if you’ve already answered this somewhere (looked for a bit but didn’t see it): Is there a way to strip the subs from a dvd or video ts file? To some format where I could just cut and paste them?

    My admittedly not-a-programmer’s brain feels like there should be a way, and it would really help with sentence-mining. Feel free to mock me if this question is absurdly computer-illiterate or has already been answered.

  39. khatzumoto
    December 11, 2007 at 06:30

    @Saleem
    Fair question. Since DVD subs are stored as images not text, you do require some extra processing (perhaps optical character recognition/OCR) to get it done, but it should be possible in theory. There appears to be some commercial software here: www.soft29.com/dvd_subtitle_ripper.html
    that does the job. The question is whether it handles Japanese text properly right out of the box…

  40. Tony
    December 11, 2007 at 13:53

    There is a way to do it by copying the dvd to an image and making an avi then using vobsub. However, when you try and open that file as a text file to rip it with japanese (it might work for someone using a Japanese OS, I’m using English Windows and it doesn’t) the file with be super garbled. I think there is another way as well but it’s also really difficult. There may be a Japanese version of vobsub which would make it easier but I don’t know of it.

  41. Tony
    December 18, 2007 at 14:47

    Just to come back to this for a second since it didn’t hit me the first time, but if you want to use a TV drama or something instead of a movie you could use drama note at the side which as far as I can tell is accurate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *