Core2000 progress step 4 finished

Okay so I just finished step four of the Core2000. I had recently slowed down the pace a bit, at 50 new words per day. So at this rate if I am consistent, I will finish a step every four days since there are two hundred words/sentences per step.

Thoughts on Step 4

There are definitely some terms used in these steps that i’m a little worried about, mainly because they are listed as “very frequent” words, but I am thinking… “How do I use these words in speech?” I am still trying to setup a regular routine of talking, and reading alone won’t help me get forward.

Some words I can see I might see around in reading stuff like 事故 (じこ)accident、実行(じっこう)performance execution、発生(はっせい)occurence、警察(けいさつ)police、招く(まねく)invite、課題(がだい)task problem.

What is tricky is that a lot of these words represent shades of meaning. Because 起きます means “occur” and 発生 means “occurence”. So I  try and play out the differences.

as in “私の近所で、大事件が起きました。” - In my neighbourhood, a big event occured.

私の近所で、事故発生があった。— In my neighbourhood, an accident occured. 

I’ll have to see more examples, but I understand the relative meaning… but there are tons of these kinds of words floating around to express shades of things, which again, can be tricky. This I believe had to be reinforced through conversation with a very very specific focus on what you are trying to say.

There were some “flower based Kanji” and a few things relating to “experiments” like 装置 (そうち)device、実験 (じっけん)experiment、計算(せさん)calculation, and so on.

As I’m learning more of these words, there are some I’m not 100% focusing on… because I keep forgetting them and i’m not sure when I’ll be in a situation to use them frequently. Stuff like 具体的 (ぐたいてき)concrete.

私は具体的を教えてください。- Please give me/show me a concrete example.

I’m remembering it now because I just finished my SRS, but how often will I ask for a “concrete” example of something?  I looked up a few differences fort the word and i’m also seeing 具象的 (ぐしょうてき)which also means “concrete” but i’m sure with a slightly different shade of meaning. This isn’t bothering me so much, because these are useful words to know and be able to read, and i’m sure as I keep working on extensive reading I will run into them more and more, but most likely not in kids stories.

Have the sentences started getting simpler from step to step ? 

It’s a mixed bag. Some sentences are just way too long for reasonable comprehension, and I tend to just look at the word only, and not the entire sentence. Now I 100% understand why some people rearranged the order of certain decks to make it easier to learn. But, since I’m at the point of 800 sentences and words, I’m already pushing through some of the toughest steps. A lot of sentences are quite simple and easy to follow, which is cool, even though the Kanji might seem dense. Stuff like.

警察を呼んでください!— Please call the police!

Some are pretty long, but most of the sentences seem to be getting shorter, and reuse Kanji that i’ve already learned or pieces of Kanji i’ve already learned, which helps.

What’s happening with Kanji readings after 800 sentences? 

As predicted, some Kanji meanings are repeated quite often, and now I can intuitively read some Kanji without looking them up, or guess at how they are pronounced. Many Kanji might have a slightly different pronounciation than what you think, but its good to be able to take a logical guess.

like the word 取引 is 取る (take) and 引きい (pull) so when I saw it I said to my self

“tohii”? then the reading was “torihiki” which isn’t very close but at least let me know I at least sort of knew the Kanji. It’s also cool to start seeing Kanji in longer groups that are obviously parts of other learned Kanji.

For example 運動 (うんどう)means “move” and then when a new Kanji came up saying 自動車 (じとうしゃ)I recognized this because it looked pretty similar to   自転車 (じてんしゃ)so I was able to read it easily because I assumed the meaning for 動 was どう。It was also nice to see longer Kanji that connected like

自動車産業 (じとうしゃさんぎょう)(auto industry)

Is this getting more complicated with more Kanji? 

Well, the shades of difference become obvious for certain Kanji especially with increased exposure. I’ll use the last example to show how what I mean. Now

業 (ぎょう)(gyou) means “business, or company” and i’m seeing that things that relate to some business also have this Kanji, and the reading stays the same.

産業 (さんぎょう) 産 業 product business = industry

作業 (さぎょう)  作 業 make business = workplace, work environment

企業 (きぎょう)  企 業   undertake business = foreign company

Obviously the meanings aren’t exactly logical all the time, but the commonality is the 業 part which at first was difficult for me to remember, but now I remember it as a ‘business kanji’. This has happened with a few other Kanji including the following :

材料 (ざいりょう)ingredients 料理 (りょうり)cooking

I can’t remember all of them off the bat, but a lot of meanings are repeated with new words, which means that I have to focus less on the reading and more on the meaning which is a good evolution. So when I mentioned 具体的 (ぐたいてき) earlier after a while I could read it, particularly 的 because that Kanji is quite common I realize, but I couldn’t remember it meant concrete. So I just made a story about a person using a TOOL to bury a BODY that was the TARGET of an assassination in… CONCRETE. This helped immensely to remember the meaning, and I hope it sticks.

After four steps Have you learned “day to day” useful words yet? 

This is funny, I have to say not really…. in what we called “operationally functional words” like verbs and adverbs. But I doubt that’s the point of a vocabulary based course, and each sentence is chock full of verbs (which I assume will be explain later down to unlock the final box in the Core2000 equation).

In the earlier steps you learn a few colors and stuff like 晴れる(hareru) sunny day and maybe 汚い (kitanai) which means “dirty”. But as i’ve explained massively at length, those simple words in step 2 leap into stuff in step 3 like 政府 government、開発 development、計画 plan、関係 relationship, and so on. But all words are good words yeah?

As much as I love being able to read stuff like 機械警察纏める種類自動車専業、 and so on, these are very dense words that maybe I’ll see in the paper, or in articles. I haven’t learned many verbs or anything yet… Based on other re-organized decks I skimmed through, I can see that easy stuff like “slipper” “cake” even “scarf” come up but way down in like Step 9 or something. I am assuming this is because after putting in the monstrous effort of learning about political terms, the weather, certain scientific and chemical terms, then a lot of the verbs you’ve been hearing in the dense sentences will be like a cakewalk compared to the monsters I’ve been seeing pop up in Anki.

How do you remember the words? 

Anki, Anki, Anki.

Plus whatever media you passively listen to and read.

It’s a pretty tricky game, and I don’t have 100% recall of every word. There are a lot i remember, and some that are hard because the context is hard for me to hang on to. But if you do Anki everyday, then the words you have trouble remembering will keep popping up so… after a while if you keep tweaking the story it will settle in. Its like the word 能力 from a sentence that is something like…

彼は、能力の社員です。 ー He’s a resourceful/capable employee. 

Sometimes I remember this immediately and sometimes I just remember the pronunciation and not the context so  I guess that will change with time. I’ve had a hard time with some company based words that I  can read by not remember in context… but again doing Anki reps each day should reinforce these.

I only started the core2000 on August 2nd, 2011. That was only 11 days ago. I set a pretty brutal pace of about 100 words per day, but I had to slow that down because I was getting quite burnt out. But for me to have read and have a decent understanding of 800 sentences/words is pretty crazy. Of course I am not at 100% comprehension, but I was watching some Political Japanese commentary two days ago and a ton of words I had learned popped up on screen. Stuff like 判断、代表、選挙、政治、政府、会談、会議、会社、首相、and all that government stuff. NOTE: I was passively listening to the program while I was working on something else, but I definitely got a few pieces here and there. Someone’s opinions on a judgement, another person winning and election, the representative 代表 for a political party 党 speaking his thoughts on something. I didn’t understand everything, but that kind of stuff was complete noise for me only weeks ago. COMPLETE NOISE! hehe

But it is tiring, and it is a battle and a challenge.

私はこの戦争に勝つでしょう!(I will win this war!)

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About marcusbird

Writer, Designer, Filmmaker
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9 Responses to Core2000 progress step 4 finished

  1. John says:

    +100 per day sounds pretty brutal over the long term.

    I think I remember that the corpus that the “6000” words were taken from included newspapers, which is probably why a lot of those dense stuff is ranked so high.

    Also, children’s stories often use more uncommon words, with respect to day-to-day speech. How often do use the words Tiger or Prince or Sword or Castle? Yet these types of words often show up in children’s books.

    Another approach is, if you can find the text of a book that you want to read online as a text file, there are applications that can deliver a list of words and how many times they appear. Shove those into Anki and 500 words later you probably have a pretty good shot at reading most of it. Of course, it depends on the difficulty of the book, but still, that might be worth the up-front effort. You could download one of the 10k decks, Suspend All, then unsuppend the top 500-1000 words for your book-of-interest.

    Anyway, that is something I’ve considered trying at some point. Though I plan to wait until I’m more comfortable with more grammar.

  2. marcusbird says:

    I’ve heard of that technique. I think that’s a pretty good way to attack a specific book, but again its a matter of time versus interest. For now I think the immediate side benefit of doing this program aren’t just the 2000 words, it’s the familiarity i’m building with the common readings, that’s what I like so far. Realting to grammar… I don’t like “studying grammar” because I find that if I approach grammar academically, I don’t remember it that well. I tend to remember grammar if I use it, which is why I am still trying to figure out a regular speaking arrangement/writing arrangement through skype, etc. I think I wrote about this a long time ago on earlier posts, but when I was in Japan I wasn’t as gung-ho as I am now for many reasons. But on many occassions, if I had to chat Japanese, and got stuck, it would always be because I didn’t know a specific expression, or grammar point. At that point, I’d try and learn it, then reuse it. The next time I got hit with a certain situation, i’d be prepared more than the last time.

    I’ve done grammar excercises in textbooks but I never can recall them because the examples are so isolated. What i’ve found sort of works for me, is I read through the grammar point, check examples and then go into regular immersion after I have a general idea of what it is. I tend to fail grammar tests because the questions are a bit vague, always have answers specific mostly to the course or the chapter in a book or something. But I think I will only get solid at grammar through speaking.

    and grammar is so fluid too its crazy. I did a language exchange a few weeks back and there are SO many ways to express things with various shades of meaning. The shades of meaning only are obvious in context, when you personally are in the situation. So for me anyways I feel i can’t really get solid with grammar unless I start chatting a lot with a language partner on top of reading. I am not worried about it yet, because I can’t read intensively until I do a lot more words and sentences, but at some point I have to start speaking Japanese for several hours each week as part of my routine.

    I’m testing out an experiment with some grammar excercises though, will post my findings depending on if it works for me or not.

    • John says:

      My first attempts at Japanese were failed attempts with Textbooks/Grammar.

      The Core sentences are fairly basic but I’m beginning to get used to things like sentence fragments as modifiers.

      1. I find that where Grammar works best for me is:
      2. I “Read Through” similar grammar multiple times.
      3. I have a sense of *what* it means from context, but not *why* or *how*.
      After I start to recognize it, I go to my “Dictionary of Japanese Grammar” and look it up, and end up saying something like “ahhh, ok, now I get it”.
      4. I Don’t try to memorize any grammar.

      This leads me to being able to understand things that I’d never be able to produce. But I’m ok with production lagging behind comprehension.

      I figure that by moving through all 6000 Core vocab, the exposure and re-exposure to sentences (even if they are rather simple and contrived in many cases) will provide a good foundation for ‘passively’ getting a feel for very basic grammar.

      • marcusbird says:

        I definitely agree. I was just about to post on the blog that I finished reading my first Manga. It was about 200 pages and even though I can’t orally reproduce what the characters are saying yet, I am understanding most of the grammar and the nuances of different phrases, and a lot of the Core2000 vocab is helping me already. I totally see that doing the Core6000 is a massive base that will boost general ability to read, etc. Let’s see where we reach!

  3. John says:

    I’m only at 1100 started and doing +20/day, but I’ll be right behind you.

    Also, although I’ve not gotten very far through it yet (only about 250 cards), the Kanji Odyssey 2001 Anki Deck w/Audio is absolutely excellent for learning Kanji readings, as well as pronunciation. I like the sentences better than Core as well. It isn’t focused on Vocab, necessarily, like Core is, but it is definitely worth using in conjunction.

  4. John says:

    Wanted to make sure you were able to get it at that link. If not let me know and I’ll get it to you in a better way.

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