Tag Archives: self-study

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 »

(Foreign) Language fluency at work

Although I’m gradually getting the hang of day-to-day Japanese conversation, I don’t any experience using that language in a work environment. My current workplace doesn’t have many Japanese people, so there isn’t much opportunity to attempt it, either. However, that doesn’t stop me from thinking about what it would be like to attempt using Japanese while working… Read More »

How I learned to read in Japanese, and retain Kanji

Recently a fellow blogger asked me about what study methods I used to study Kanji of retention, so I thought I would write a post about what methods I used to learn to read, including how I learned Kanji. When talking about study methods, it is difficult to state conclusively that a certain way is best… Read More »

Japanese grammar focus: particle “sa” and related words (saa, sate, satetto) 「さ、さあ、さて、さてっと」

In this post I’m going to go over the Japanese particle “さ” (sa) and a few related words. さ is something that took me quite some time to understand, partially because it wasn’t emphasized in any of the textbooks I originally learned Japanese from. I understand authors deciding to avoid this word because it not used very… Read More »

Japanese grammar highlight: Word order in Japanese

According to a poll I’ve been running since August 2014, the number one thing people would like more from this blog is information about Japanese Grammar. Writing about grammar is tricky since there are are many good books and websites about it, and I like to try and avoid duplicating content that is available elsewhere. So… Read More »

Japanese weather forecasts – a surprisingly useful study tool (with weather vocabulary list)

Let’s face it – weather is one of the most boring, hackneyed conversation topics in existence. But when looked at the point of view of foreign language study, weather forecasts become a surprisingly useful resource. To start with, forecasts on professional radio stations (check NHK news podcast out as an example) will have announcers that enunciate cleanly and… Read More »

Japanese site review: Naver Matome (まとめ)

In the age of the internet, studying any major world language should be much easier than it was several decades ago, when technology wasn’t nearly as advanced. We now have access to hundreds of free dictionaries online, sites how to learn our language of choice, and of course web sites written by natives for natives.… Read More »

All about Japanese 後 (“ato, “go”, “kou”): “after”

This time I’m going to talk about the Japanese word 後 (“あと”), as well as compounds which contain 後, where it can be pronounced “あと”, “ご”, or “こう”. I’ll start off with a useful phrase – “後で”. This matches pretty closely to English’s “later” and refers to the future in a vague sense. 後でブログを読んでね。 Check out… Read More »

Japanese verb 切る and related expressions

The Japanese verb 切る, pronounced “kiru”, is one of the verbs typically introduced in basic level Japanese textbooks. This is because it is an example of verb that end sin ‘iru’ but is conjugated as a constant verb, and also because it’s easy to understand conceptually. In this post I’ll show some related uses of… Read More »

Japanese particle combination: への (e no)

Often Japanese particles can be combined, with this example of 4 particles sandwiched together (ならではの) one of the most extreme cases. Usually the meaning of combining two or more particles can be partially guessed by thinking of it as a sum of the meanings of each particle, but there is often some extra nuance that creeps in.… Read More »