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i have just had an academic insight. i've figured out why i'm having… - love like me ・ 日記
non solum memento mori, memento vivere sed etiam
気持: bitchy
音楽: Trigun - Opening (Destroying Angel Mix)
i have just had an academic insight. i've figured out why i'm having so much trouble remembering all these damn grammatical structures in Japanese. well, other than the class going at breakneck pace, anyway.

it's the teaching method. it's very different from the way i was taught any other language, in fact it's more like the way i was taught math than anything. they say, "you say [x] in this situation, just like you would say [x'] in English" and my brain, ever interested in grammatical nuances and such, asks, "why? what's the structure? what makes it mean that?" where in Spanish or Hebrew class i usually at least got some sort of answer relating to the grammar or was told it was an idiomatic expression, my Japanese teacher says, "don't worry about it, you just have to know what situations to say [x] in."

this frustrates me greatly.

if it's based on a construction i don't know yet, fine, tell me. if it's an idiomatic expression that doesn't make any grammatical sense, tell me. and for crying out loud if it's actually something i can grasp, fucking tell me.

i realize this is probably a cultural thing, but for me to learn effectively i have to know background information like this, or stuff just doesn't sink in. if this is the way they teach English in Japan, i'm not surprised people have trouble with it.

geeky afterthought, added later: this teaching method is one that, in my applied linguistics classes, we were told is one of the most ineffective for achieving spoken fluency, after the grammar-translation and audiolingual response methods. hmm...maybe after i learn the language myself i can change that....
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hnpcc From: hnpcc Date: Sunday 14th April 2002 18.48 (UTC) (Link)
I have huge trouble remembering gender in Dutch. Mostly because there are no rules (and apparently no logic) as to when it's male or female or neuter. (Well, none that I ever discovered anyway.) Every time I or my friend Simone asked we'd get "Dat moet je leren" (You need to learn that). Very frustrating. Once we both discovered how to make male/female words neuter, we just neutered everything in sight and made life much simpler.

Actually I would probably find it easier to learn grammar as if it were maths. :-)
valamelmeo From: valamelmeo Date: Sunday 14th April 2002 21.11 (UTC) (Link)
i struggled a lot at math until i finally got a teacher who would explain to me *why* things were a certain way, and *why* certain things worked when others didn't. i have a lot of trouble remembering to do things if i don't know why they have to be done. this isn't only in academics, it transfers over to the rest of my life as well, as i'm sure people who know me well can vouch.
hawkida From: hawkida Date: Sunday 14th April 2002 23.48 (UTC) (Link)
On a not exactly related note, I often get the "But WHY?" feeling when reading instructions. Things like hair dye that says "Do not leave on for longer than the prescribed colouring time" for example. I can't think of any more off the top of my head, but they're usually things where you don't want to face the consequences of trying to find out. But I want to know what will happen if I don't comply. I mean, I've figured out with the hair dye that it will start to burn if left too long, but why don't they SAY that? Or say that it will explode, or it will turn your hair purple or say that the fumes will suffocate you or the dye will dry out and won't take properly? Why the mystery? Why the "Do not" rules with no explanation? I want to know these things!
valamelmeo From: valamelmeo Date: Sunday 14th April 2002 23.52 (UTC) (Link)
well, with foreign languages the penalty is usually nothing more severe than not making any sense, sounding dumb, being misunderstood, or possibly offending someone. i just, in general, want to know WHY everything. ^_~
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