Tag Archives: self-study

Using parallel texts to study a foreign language

In a recent post of mine about suggestions for increasing reading speed in a foreign language, a reader commented about how using parallel texts in two languages (your native language and the one you are studying) is another helpful technique. Surely, using parallel texts is a valuable tool, and it’s pretty easy to do this by… Read More »

A few tricks for increasing your reading speed in a foreign language

When studying a foreign language, one of the more difficult things to achieve is a reading speed close to that of your native language. Unless you were lucky enough to begin studying the foreign language at a very young age, processing and understanding each sentence will take much more effort and time, even assuming you… Read More »

Expressing sameness and similarity in Japanese (onaji, niru, etc.)

In this post I’d like to go over a few ways of expressing in Japanese that two things are the same or similar. To begin with, the word 同じ (onaji) is one of most basic ways of saying “the same”. Sometimes in spoken language it can be pronounced as “おんなじ” (on’naji). This word is a bit odd grammatically because… Read More »

Book review: Etiquette Guide to Japan (by Boye Lafayette De Mente )

When studying a foreign language on your own, it’s easy to get fixated on linguistic things like vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, because those are your fast-track to being able to actually communicate in that language. But without the well-structured program of a formal class, you may be missing out on some areas like cultural practices… Read More »

Japanese word “koso” (こそ) explained in detail

The word “koso” in Japanese, usually written in Hiragana as こそ, isn’t exactly a frequent word in Japanese, nor is it necessary in order to express most things in the language. However, there are a few common usages which are good to learn, regardless of your level, and you may even be able to employ a… Read More »

** Japanese Read & Answer series ** (Introduction)

With a near limitless amount of material online for studying Japanese, one of the challenges with this blog is to find fresh ways to teach Japanese while providing insights that I’ve learned myself over the years. I’ve also recently begun posting on Twitter, so finding effective ways to use that service is another goal I’ve given… Read More »

A further note on the ~がる (~garu) suffix in Japanese

Last year I wrote about the ~garu suffix in Japanese, and have seen a few hits to that article since apparently it is a fairly common question for student of Japanese. Just the other day I had said to my wife the following phrase: 僕はそれ、ずっと懐かしがってた  (boku ha sore, zutto natsukashigatte ita) Upon which, she showed… Read More »

Japanese podcast review: “Game chomp chomp”(ゲームモゴモゴ)

For quite a while I had been listening to some of the NHK podcasts, which are all great resources to practice Japanese, with the caveat that these are heavily weighted towards polite and somewhat formal language. In many cases the people are talking are professional radio DJs or have refined their skills of speaking to a great extent.… Read More »

The whys and hows of Japanese

In Japanese, there are several ways of saying “why” and “how”. In this post I’m going to go over a few of the more common ones and discuss a few exceptions. Starting with “why”, we have the following expressions, each with it’s own nuance. なんで (nande) – basic “why”, slightly informal nuance (Kanji: 何で) どうして (doushite) –… Read More »

We don’t make language, it makes us (and an incorrect use of the Japanese particle ‘ga’)

When studying a foreign language, I’ve had all sorts of small revelations about how language works, and these are one of the things that keeps me motivated to learn even more. I remember in my first foreign language class, which happened to be for Spanish, the teacher said that “someone just didn’t sit on a hill… Read More »