Sub vs. dub: which works are the exception to the rule?


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    @pleco_breeder

    Also Funi does have an option to remove subtitles from the mobile app at least


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    @yoshken I can remove them on PC or mobile for either CR or Funi, but have yet to find a way to do much on the PS4 to watch on the bigger screen. It's a trade-off which I really wish I didn't have to make, and probably equates to me being overly picky, but want all-the-same. Wouldn't help when watching as a group, but when alone it resolves all the issues I mentioned before.


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    @pleco_breeder got any tips for picking up the language I’m doing my best to learn right now (already have learned all of Hira, and Kata)


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    @yoshken A lot of my answer is going to depend on how much time/money you're looking to invest in the venture. Looking back, I really think I could have done it a lot cheaper and quicker than I did. For example, I started with the Rosetta Stone route. It gave me a good understanding of grammar use, a lot of basic vocabulary, and a start at listening comprehension. However, after I started trying to expand on it, I realized that it was really just "Travel Japanese" (enough to be understood if you're taking a vacation). I later spent a small fortune on assorted textbooks, dictionaries, and language guides attempting to learn enough to understand everything I would hear while watching anime or listening to music. Without making study lists of those words, and driving them into your skull repetitively, it's not really effective for retention. However, there are a couple which provide information which is invaluable, and give a start at understanding the structure of words. These do have to be consistently studied, if they're going to have any lasting effect, but as words jump out at you while listening to anime and music, that recognition is reinforcing the skill. I also recommend the use of spaced repetition programs like Anki, but you have to do it daily in order to force your brain to remember for increasing periods of time.

    Now, as to my recommendations, I would start with a good text book. Minna no Nihongo is my recommendation because I feel it gives the better explanation of word structure (all of the textbooks are going to include vocabulary, but not all cover proper conjugation and transitive/intransitive verbs). I mention these specifically because they are MAJOR hang-ups for new learners and improper use will completely change what is being said. There are textbooks out there which actually teach these things incorrectly, or assume that the reader will catch on based on some sort of osmosis as they get used to using them. This is a very poor way of doing it because the learner has to learn the verb, then get used to using it in a different context for every conjugation rather than learning that it's just a different form of the same word.

    For example, conjugation will change things such as intent, want, ability, negative form, past/present/future tense, and the list goes on. There is something like 16 or 18 of these, and they can be stacked upon each other (in the proper order) to change most verbs. Very important to get used to, but not really explained well in most textbooks.

    Intransitive/transitive verbs are simple to explain, but more difficult to get used to using. Simply put, they're referring to whether something is being acted upon by someone (potentially included the speaker). Transitive, being acted upon, verbs can only use one of two particles (either を or が) and be grammatically correct. Which is used can vary depending upon the message.

    Nearly all the textbooks are nothing more than basic guides, but provide a beginning to read level of vocabulary, grammar, and a slow introduction to kanji. This is important because starting kanji is another major hurdle for most people. However, before jumping headlong into that challenge, I would recommend another series of books.

    This is where it gets slightly more expensive, but still not overwhelming. I strongly recommend studying all three "A Dictionary of ------------ Japanese Grammar", replace the line with "Basic", "Intermediate", or "Advanced". Not only do they reinforce the concepts from the textbook, but will continue to get you used to the use of kanji. There are also quite a few unusual grammatical structures which aren't really covered in any of the textbooks I've seen which are included here. I really liked it because there are a ton of Japanese sentences with accurate translations which allows you to become accustomed to the context where a specific word will be used. That is very important because a lot of words are case specific. For those, exposure to as many uses as possible is important. That means anime, music, documentaries, news articles... literally as much exposure as possible.

    Upon completing that, I would expect to be able to at least understand anything you're going to encounter in writing, or be able to look it up. However, there are a couple of pitfalls I want to point out.

    First is regards to kanji. The joyo kanji list is not static. It is literally only a list which is expected to be used daily, and expected of students taking an entrance exam for college. There is something in the range of 1,000 more which are used on occasion and will throw you for a loop when you suddenly come across them. Most are only used for specific instances like family or city names, but be aware that they exist. Find a couple of good kanji dictionaries, there are apps available, and learn them as you come across them. Most kanji dictionaries use stroke count of either the primary radical or the entire kanji to sort. I also want to mention, since you're just starting, that I don't advise getting too hung up on the specific onyomi/kunyomi readings for each kanji. Reading like that would take you forever as you try to figure out which reading your using, and by the time you figure them out...let me introduce you to ateji. For the sake of your own sanity, learn to read by recognizing the word as a whole, and used in context. I personally think this helps immensely in getting used to parsing words without spaces as well.

    Now, as for reading, do it as early as possible. There aren't a lot of books which use only hiragana/katakana. At best, you're going to find that a lot of shonen manga tend to include furigana which will allow you to figure out the reading of words which you're still not familiar with. However, as mentioned before, frequent exposure is going to be your greatest ally as you're learning. The more often you see words written, and associate them with pronunciations you've heard, the more effective you're going to be. I don't think it matters that you can only catch even half of the words as long as you're hearing/seeing them, and actively trying to make sense of it. As you learn more, you'll understand more, and your perception of what is being communicated will change. Japanese blogs and social media also tend to use less kanji, but not necessarily proper grammar. They can be used as practice material, but you have to realize that not all things are said when writing what's on your mind at the time. Not only are there grammar errors fairly regularly, but it's also fairly common (and accepted) for colloquial writing to omit particles, so it may be difficult to fully understand till accustomed.

    I had studied for years before moving to Tokyo, and thought I was rather skilled with the language. That lasted just long enough to make it from Narita to Shinjuku. At that point, when I got my first real taste of what it was going to be like living there, my brain completely left me and is probably still hiding somewhere in front of Studio Alta (for anybody reading this and doesn't know, this is right outside the Shinjuku station East exit). However, gradually, over the course of the first couple of weeks, everything started making sense again as I adapted to what was being seen and heard.

    I don't think there is any learning method which can prepare you to the extent that just knowing without practical exposure would prevent that kind of shock. However, it is only temporary while getting used to it. Exposure and constantly increasing your understanding are the only way to learn. Just like while learning in grade school, if you don't know it, look it up.


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    @pleco_breeder

    Thank you very much I will start practicing my butt off as soon as I have more time to do so and more than likely getting the books you have recommended above. Now I have one question and one question only... Explos... nah if you don’t mind if I ask for your help in future