Sunday, August 14, 2016


It's difficult to develop a curriculum for the JLPT. Should I focus on grammar books? Vocab? Read newspapers? Read manga? Watch and transcribe videos? Focus on kanji by school grade? By frequency? By radical? All of the above? I have two sets of kanji flashcards (in addition to those I made for myself, which omit English entirely), but each has the character and then maybe ten Japanese and Chinese readings. So, do I test myself on all readings, meanings, verb forms, and compounds of every kanji? I'd never get anywhere, and anyway recognizing them in a text isn't the same as producing them with a pen, which is far from producing them with a brush, and typing them in a US-based IME is different again. Right now, I'm thinking I'll continue with textbooks—though Genki does tend to focus on the plight of the student abroad, which means a lot of vocab I won't need for newspapers and novels, and Tobira tends to highlight cultural elements that I want to learn about but that won't necessarily help me on the JLPT. It seems like I need grammar and functional vocab, with kanji studies as dictated by the reading, all done with a notebook and pen at hand to help with writing and memorization. I've tutored in French and English, so curriculum is dear to my heart, but Japanese does pose some unique problems, especially when the learning is directed toward a very specific but undefined goal....

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