Tag Archives: self-taught

Japanese grammar: a tricky passage and morphing adjectives

Reading foreign language material is always an adventure, especially when you come across grammar you’ve never seen before. Oftentimes, you can just figure out the meaning from context, but I’m the type of person that wants to understand the grammar completely so I can grasp any nuances involved and potentially learn to use the patterns… Read More »

Japanese Mobile App Review: Sanseido’s Gendai Shin Kokugo Jiten (三省堂現代新国語辞典)

Recently I went on a long plane trip where I knew I wouldn’t have network for a few hours, and since I was planning on reading and/or translating during the flight, I needed a good Japanese dictionary mobile app that I knew would work offline. I ended up downloading a few, but the one I… Read More »

The Art of Translation: My process for translating from Japanese to English

Starting late last year, I’ve translated as a paid side job at Gengo for a few months, as well as translated parts of fictional stories as a hobby, roughly 25-30 chapters worth. By no means would I call myself a “professional” translator, but I feel I have had enough experience to improve my translation skills significantly. For several weeks now, I’ve… Read More »

Japanese Writing Lab #5: Favorite movie

This is the 5th assignment of a program I am running to help myself and others improve Japanese writing skill. For details, see this post. Also see this post for a list of all assignments. This time the topic will be “好きな映画” (suki na eiga). Write about your favorite movie, or just any movie you enjoyed. If you aren’t into movies… Read More »

Japanese Writing Lab #3: How do you study Japanese?

This is the 3nd assignment for a program I have started in order to help myself and others improve their writing in Japanese. For details about the program, see this post. Also see this post for a list of all assignments. For the first few topics I am keeping to things which are pretty easy to write about, so… Read More »

Japanese Writing Lab #2: Why did you start studying Japanese?

This is the 2nd assignment for a program I have started in order to help myself and others improve their writing in Japanese. For details about the program, see this post. Also see this post for a list of all assignments. The topic of this writing assignment is to discuss why you started learning Japanese.… Read More »

Short essay: Thoughts on learning to speak and write in a foreign language… naturally

When learning a foreign language, I think we all tend to go through stages. First, we may have a mild (or major) interest in the culture of a foreign country, and begin to pick up a few words here or there in that country’s native language. In the case of Japanese, it might be a few… Read More »

Foreign language trick: use misunderstandings as a hint to refine your speech

Once you get to the point in your foreign language studies where you are able to start having frequent conversations, you’ll probably start to notice times where the person you are speaking with has difficulty understanding what you are saying. Rather than say “I don’t understand you”, they may be more indirect and try and… Read More »

Text-to-speech: a useful tool for the foreign language self-studier

Thanks to the Internet, a person studying a foreign language without a formal study program can look up answers to the many questions they will surely have along the way. One place where your typical internet searching doesn’t work too well is matters of pronunciation, since it’s hard to convey sounds using just text. There… Read More »

Japanese phrase: “yokatta” (よかった)

Oftentimes, words and phrases break out of the boxes that define their literal meanings and become something more. “Yokatta” (よかった) is the past test of the word “ii”, which means “good”, and therefore “yokatta” means “was good”. Since subjects are often omitted in Japanese this phrase can mean “it was good” or can refer to… Read More »