Hey just wanted to post another update.
As i’ve said before, I ran into a few blogs that talk about “Extensive reading” and I liked it. Because I’ve written on this blog before that tackling easier stories is a good idea, mostly because it allows you to feel “successful” with your Japanese, and gives you frequent, regular exposure to common words. Today I read the following three stories:
Which are… the Golden Boy, Tom Thumb (the dwarf) and The man who made Cherry Trees Blossom.
So things of note: Number one.. I’m seeing a lot of words over and over. Particularly “escape”, “handsome”,” grandmother” “grandfather”, “next door”, “troll/demon”, “fight”, “submit”, “famous” and a few others. Since most fairytales have trolls, people fighting, and old men and women that live in caves (or near them), many words repeat. I am finding that reading through the stories isn’t terribly difficult, and a lot of grammar patterns are repeating. Even though I am not a grammar beast, when I am reading the stories, I can seriously understand what is going on. For example, in the story of 一寸法師 (ichisunboushi) I could follow the action. He was a dwarf that was very smart, and one day he asked the grandmother and grandfather for a needle and something else, moved to the forest, had a good ol’ time with a bear, a monkey and a bird (these seems to be common animals in Japanese stories thus far) then he fights an Ogre (鬼）and as usual kicks its butt because it was trying to eat a young lady, then finds some kind of treasure which makes him grow tall and handsome then he proceeds to marry said girl (of course) and become a beastly samurai who exterminates ogres and gets god-like status. I’m embellishing a bit. But the point is, if I couldn’t get basic grammar along with the words, then I wouldn’t know what it going on.
What i’m finding quite curious is that, I am understanding a lot of the grammar patterns without knowing the structure. For example below, copied from the website:
I could read everything up to what is highlighted in bold, which I figured must be “prayer” because the first sentences says something to the effect of “they both didn’t have any kids, so every day they prayed to god for a child.” I found this observation pretty cool, because I didn’t remember the Heisig meaning for “pray” (inoru) right away and I didn’t use Rikaichan to give me the meaning. I also figured that ”神様” was God because I knew the readings and then remembered the Japanese afterwards. It was a very pleasant feeling to figure out the meaning without much effort in that instance.
The other stories I read followed similar lines with interesting new Kanji that I learned, including a way to say “mother” and “father” in Samurai-speak. 父上 and 母上 respectively. Also learned the word for Samurai 武士 and a few other terms. So these stories are all basically Japanese folklore tales and as most folklore tales will go, they will have very common themes and by extension very common words. So this is confirming a thought I had about something called “layering” which basically is your input that you use AFTER doing your daily study/SRS revisions.
Of course, I’m not perfect at reading these stories, but the point as I’ve said before (and i’m realizing is key) is to not sweat it. There are literally hundreds of these kids stories out there, and I’ve only read six in two days. Maybe after reading fifty I will have a completely different idea about the idea of reading in general and my vocab might be beastily solidified. However I don’t want to be premature, but i’m noticing good progress because there are words from the Core2000 that i’ve learned so far that I easily could read which made me go through quite a few sentences without stopping. I still need to get my grammar up, but a lot of the grammar i’m finding you can figure out based on context ( so far). I will keep reading easy stuff and figure out a way to regularly tackle harder grammar later, but i’m guessing if I keep reading I will just learn it while reading anyways.