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永鈞

Japanese materials and classes for Chinese speakers

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永鈞

There have recently been some threads about whether or not knowing Chinese helps you learn Japanese. I have a separate but related question about how Japanese is taught to people who have a high level of familiarity with the Chinese script, including people who've studied Hanja, native Chinese etc.

 

I totally accept that Japanese is not easy to learn even if you already know Hanzi, but that being said surely the learning process or learning materials should be slightly different for people with knowledge of Hanzi? When I look through Japanese learning resources, the introduction of characters is painfully slow, and a lot of things about strokes or radicals are unnecessary for me to learn. Of course, I can just skip through sections like that if I self study, but i would have to endure it in a class aimed at westerners.

 

Another possibility is that classes aimed at westerners would require students to write the English for a word beside the Kanji, there is not one for one correspondence between Kanji and Hanzi, but it would be much easier to do that for me than for someone who has never studied Chinese characters.  Fair enough, this is not a very effective teaching method and is probably not used in Japan much, but based on my Chinese learning experience I guess you might be asked to do these types of exercises if you learn Japanese in an English speaking country.

 

Does anyone here have experience learning Japanese in a Chinese-speaking environment? I live in Taiwan and am considering going to a buxiban here to learn Japanese with Taiwanese adults. I know someone who took a Japanese class in a Mainland language school and the school was really hesitant to let him sign up even though his level is Hsk 5 or 6 (i can't remember which). He said the class was OK, but at first the teacher was really awkward with him and kept saying that it was much harder for him to learn Japanese than for a Chinese person to learn Japanese, but he left the class because progress was slower than self study and there was no chance to speak in the class apart from drilling as a group. His teacher was Chinese.

 

In Japanese language schools based in Japan, are Chinese (and maybe Koreans) ever taught separately from other foreigners? I am aware that this is not the case in all schools and probably not the norm, but I am curious if it's done at all? If so, would they let a non native learner of Chinese into one of these classes? I am also aware that once the level is high enough the distinction between Japanese students with and without prior knowledge of Chinese becomes unimportant.

 

Has anyone here used teaching resources meant for Chinese speakers to learn Japanese? There are some fantastic supplementary resources available in Taiwan, I borrowed  book of ghost stories presented bilingually in Chinese and Japanese from a friend before. This friend used an all Japanese language textbook that was printed in Japan as her primary textbook though.

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NinjaTurtle

 

9 hours ago, 永鈞 said:

surely the learning process or learning materials should be slightly different for people with knowledge of Hanzi?

 

Yes, it is. Chinese students learn “Japanese characters” quickly, whereas learning “Japanese characters” is a slow and laborious task for English-only speakers

 

9 hours ago, 永鈞 said:

When I look through Japanese learning resources, the introduction of characters is painfully slow, and a lot of things about strokes or radicals are unnecessary for me to learn.

 

Exactly,

 

9 hours ago, 永鈞 said:

Does anyone here have experience learning Japanese in a Chinese-speaking environment?

 

I do not, but I used to teach English at a university in China that also had Japanese classes for Chinese students.

 

9 hours ago, 永鈞 said:

the teacher...kept saying that it was much harder for him to learn Japanese than for a Chinese person to learn Japanese

 

My reaction is that learning ‘Japanese characters’ would be easy, but learning to speak Japanese and comprehend spoken Japanese is just as hard for Chinese people as it is for English speakers.

 

 

9 hours ago, 永鈞 said:

there was no chance to speak in the class apart from drilling as a group.

 

There is an important point here that needs to be made here. In Mainland Chinese classrooms, the method of instruction is usually lecture, where the teacher goes on and on talking about the topic while the students sit and listen in silence. One time I was actually criticized by a Chinese teacher for letting my students speak English too much in class! If you ever have a chance to attend Japanese class in a classroom in Mainland China, be ready to face the possibility that this is how your teacher might conduct class. Speaking ability is very much downplayed in classrooms in China.

 

9 hours ago, 永鈞 said:

In Japanese language schools based in Japan, are Chinese (and maybe Koreans) ever taught separately from other foreigners?

 

Offhand I don’t know, but you may wish to contact my former school in Tokyo, Nichi Bei Kaiwa Gakuin (日米会話学院), which has an excellent record of teaching Japanese to people from different countries.

 

9 hours ago, 永鈞 said:

I am aware that this is not the case in all schools and probably not the norm, but I am curious if it's done at all? If so, would they let a non native learner of Chinese into one of these classes?

 

I think you are asking about classes in Japan that are mainly for Chinese people and are conducted in Chinese. I personally do not know of any such schools in Japan, although they probably exist.

 

9 hours ago, 永鈞 said:

Has anyone here used teaching resources meant for Chinese speakers to learn Japanese?

 

I have not used them, but I have looked at them. They are pretty much as you would expect. However, one thing I did notice is that some of these textbooks written in Chinese often make mistakes as to how Japanese is pronounced. (This is similar to the problem of how students in China learn 'Chinglish' not English.) I have never looked into the possibility that "Japanese Chinglish" exists, but I would imagine it does. (This reminds me of the phrase "Fighting! FIghting!" which all Chinese students are familiar with, which means nothing similar to the original meaning, and is actually "Korean Chinglish".)

 

 

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NinjaTurtle

I suddenly remembered why textbooks written in Chinese often make mistakes as to how Japanese is pronounced. Chinese textbooks use Pinyin (instead of "Romaji") to pronounce Japanese in "ABC's". This does NOT work, and causes various pronunciation mistakes in Japanese textbooks in China.

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Publius
4 hours ago, NinjaTurtle said:

I suddenly remembered why textbooks written in Chinese often make mistakes as to how Japanese is pronounced. Chinese textbooks use Pinyin (instead of "Romaji") to pronounce Japanese in "ABC's". This does NOT work, and causes various pronunciation mistakes in Japanese textbooks in China.

I don't remember Chinese textbooks using pinyin to spell Japanese words. They don't use romaji, that's for sure. They just use kana.

I don't see a big problem if they do use pinyin. Because that would be a more accurate representation of the actual sounds than romaji. For example,

さ、し([ɕi])、す([sɯ])、せ、そ

sa,   xi ([ɕi]),    si ([sɯ]),   se,   so

sa,   shi ([ʃi]),   su ([su]),   se,   so

た、ち([t͡ɕi])、つ([t͡sɯ])、て、と

ta,   qi ([t͡ɕʰi]),  ci ([t͡sʰɯ]),  te,   to

ta,   chi ([i]),   tsu ([tsu]),  te,   to

Some Westerners speak very fluent Japanese but with a distinct foreign accent because they pronounce でした like "deshita". No Chinese speaker would make that mistake.

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