Recently I posted my second poll, “What would you like to see more of from this blog”, and was very delighted to get such a great response, with over 60 people chiming in on their opinions.
First let’s took at the most common answers:
- Grammar constructs and usage, with example sentences [16% 10 votes]
- Detailed study exercises for improving Japanese skill [16% 10 votes]
- How I’m studying personally, day to day [13% 8 votes]
- General posts about linguistics and foreign language learning [13% 8 votes]
- Japanese cultural notes and thoughts [13% 8 notes]
When I started this site I had the impression there was a wealth of resources out there for learning Japanese grammar, as well as sites that have exercises galore for eager students. So when posts about grammar and exercises came up as the top two answers, I was quite surprised.
Now I know these types of resources are really out there, not only have I seen them in other blogger’s posts, but I’ve mentioned a few myself. But I think the reality is that Japanese grammar really is hard, regardless of all the posts out there that say it’s not because of a simple set of tenses and conjugation rules (compared to something like Spanish or English). Verb conjugation is really just the beginning – Japanese has a seemingly limitless set of constructs needed for true fluency, as well as many slang abbreviations, different terms for politeness, particles embedded with tons of meanings, and the list goes on and on. And for people approaching Japanese as a way to improve the spectrum of entertainment they can enjoy (as I started years back with Anime and Manga), they don’t want to have to spend thousands of hours to learn basic grammar.
As my blog matures I have been writing more and more about grammar, and I hope to continue that trend going forward. Also I’ll do more posts on study exercises, and hopefully I can get some people actively participating in solving various questions I pose.
I was happy to see people were into general posts on linguistics and foreign language learning (13%), as I really enjoy those posts myself. So I’ll keep churning those out for the foreseeable future.
Now for the bottom of the barrel of answers:
- Reviews of Japanese Manga, Movies, Novels, etc. [6% 4 votes]
- Lists of vocabulary words by category [6% 4 votes]
- Information about useful websites and apps [6% 4 votes]
- I’d much prefer a video / audio podcast [1% 1 votes]
The first one (about reviews of entertainment products) was a bug shocker to me. I have already done quite a few reviews, and was hoping people were enjoying these. But it turns out it’s only a very small audience yearning for these. It makes sense in a way, since after all the title of blog is ‘Self-Taught Japanese’ and reviews is only peripherally relevant to learning Japanese.
The lack of interest about posts on other websites and apps was also somewhat of a surprise. Either people have already found those resources, or just want to get all their material about Japanese study here, which is fine with me.
I had also considered doing a video or audio podcast more than once, but with a 1% interest level I think I’ll be permanently putting that on the back burner (:
One final thought on this poll’s results is the difference between the most popular answers and the least ones (excluding the very lowest at 1%) is not that big, at only 10/4 = 2.5x. Based on this I don’t want to ignore the less common answers, only give them less priority.
Getting a few more answers would also make more valuable results, so if you are interested don’t hesitate to put your word in here.
Given your affinity to Japanese grammar and manga I think a lot of people would appreciate posts in the tradition of MangaJin. Are you familiar with it? It was a magazine that took real Japanese panels and pulled the grammar apart in detail (not just translated them). I found an example online: http://img440.imageshack.us/img440/7559/sumo1rb8.gif
It really was a great magazine (for the niche market of Japanese learners). I’m surprised nobody has continued the tradition.
Actually I have read part of that Magazine somewhere awhile ago. It seems like a great way to learn grammar.
I have considered writing posts like that which analyze sentences, but initially I was concerned about copyright problems. However, after researching it, I don’t think it would be a big deal to quote a few lines if I give proper credit.
Thanks for the idea!
As a magazine, they had to properly get permissions but as long as you’re not doing this commercially (ie for profit) that kind of use would fall into fair-use. If you want sample pages from the magazine for reference, email me. I have just about the whole collection here on my shelf.