Back at Last (Status Update April 2015)

It’s been nearly 3 years since the last substantive update. Yet Google Analytics tells me that traffic has roughly tripled, and in the last year I’ve been starting to get quite a few emails from visitors. My apologies for disappearing so long, and many thanks to those who left kinds words via blog comments and email.

I will avoid the mistake I made in some previous posts about future plans by keeping this one short. I have started to do some cleanup, eliminating broken links and relegating the Kanji section to a subsection of the Lessons. New lessons are still mostly on hold until I decide exactly how I want to handle finishing the Beginning Lessons and revising the completed portion. In the meantime, o-tanoshimi ni!

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Construction Planning (May 2014)

I’m currently planning an overhaul of the site. I’ve learned a lot more about Japanese from a linguistic perspective in the several years since I wrote the bulk of the existing content. Now, I’m in a position to greatly improve what was effectively the prototype.

I’ve also changed my mind regarding the best way to organize both the existing and planned material. I think that the current “verbs late” organization of the Beginning Lessons makes sense for a classroom curriculum, but it makes it difficult to write about certain topics while maintaining a flexible ordering, which is ultimately what I’m striving for. For these reasons, I’ve decide to revise the existing Beginning Lessons before I add much of anything new.

In addition, I have a better sense now of what I can realistically do with the time I have for In particular, I plan to reduce the scope of the Kanji section, putting it on par with the Beginning Lessons and covering just the basics. Likewise, I don’t think I can pull off a comprehensive intermediate language course at this time. Instead, what I’m considering is to do a course in basic Japanese linguistics (with the amount of general linguistics TBD), and some selected topics in grammar and usage that draw on a linguistically-informed understanding of the Japanese language.

Before any of this, I need to do some general maintenance. During this time, you may notice some inconsistencies in formatting across pages; these will soon be ironed out. When I get to the revisions, I will try to go about them least disruptive way that I can, but in the meantime I ask that you forgive the unevenness between the old and new pages. Most of the individual page addresses and topics will be unchanged, but the conceptual ordering and the content will change somewhat.

I will continue to keep you updated as I go about all of these changes, which will be carried out graduate over the next few months. I will also mark recently revised pages as such in the contents pages. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if anything breaks in the process!

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Still Here (Status Update Dec. 2013)

For any visitors who are wondering, I’ve been extremely busy with work and various other things for the last couple years and haven’t had time to work on this website, hence the lack of new material. Things are finally winding down along with the last year of college, so I should be able to resume progress soon.

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Lesson Update: Japanese Verbs and Conjugation

Rather than creating a separate lesson, I've added a section on verb arguments (subjects and objects) and case particles (ga, o, and ni) to Japanese Verbs and Conjugation.

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New Vocab Page: Beginning Verbs

Beginning Vocabulary: Verbs is the fourth big vocab page for the Beginning Lessons.

Next up:

  • Talking About Hobbies
  • Talking About Languages and Countries
  • Particles for Location and Direction: De, Ni, E
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New Lesson: Masu Form and its Conjugations

Now out: the second introductory lesson on verbs, Masu Form and its Conjugations. The next few lessons will focus on usage.

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New Lesson: Japanese Verbs and Conjugation

This is another long one – Japanese Verbs and Conjugation sets the stage for Part 2 of the Beginning Lessons. This section of the site will be my focus for the next couple months.

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Lesson Update: Editing

I'm doing some moderate editing of the Beginning Lessons written so far. There are also a couple places I'd like to make some additions and rearrange things to make them a bit more logical. New lessons will resume afterwards.


The lessons that received the biggest changes are:

I'm very happy with the way they've turned out.

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New Lesson: Talking About School Subjects

Talking About School Subjects is the first lesson in the “Talking About…” series of the Beginning  Lessons. This particular topic is great for practicing with adjectives, comparatives, and conjunctions.

The formatting of the example sentences in this one is a little messed up, but I got sick of fighting with the WordPress editor, so it will have to do for now.

Coming up next:

  • The Particle “Mo”
  • Japanese Counters
  • Talking About Shopping 
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Tango Builder: Academic Subjects

 This is a relatively comprehensive list of academic subjects in Japanese. Most people learn words for the basic school subjects like math and history at some point, but I’ve never found a good complete list anywhere, so I decided to make one.

The character 学 (gaku), which means “learn” or “study”, appears in many subject names. (In this use, it’s equivalent to the suffix “-logy” in English.) Longer subject names are often abbreviated by leaving off the gaku.

人文学 / Humanities (i.e. Non-sciences) 

  Kanji Kana Romaji English
  哲学 てつがく tetsugaku philosophy
  歴史 れきし rekishi history
  文学 ぶんがく bungaku literature
1 語学 ごがく gogaku language study

1 Not to be confused with 言語学 (gengogaku) “linguistics” (the study of language in general).

社会科学 / Social Sciences

  心理学 しんりがく  shinrigaku psychology
  社会学 しゃかいがく  shakaigaku sociology
1 言語学 げんごがく  gengogaku linguistics
2 人類学 じんるいがく  jinruigaku anthropology
  地理(学) ちり(がく)  chiri(gaku) geography
3 経済(学) けいざい(がく)  keizai(gaku) economics
4 政治学 せいじがく  seijigaku political science

1 Not to be confused with 語学 (gogaku) “language study” (learning a particular language).

2 人類 (jinrui) = mankind

3 経済 (keizai) = economy

4 政治 (seiji) = government/politics

自然科学 / Natural Sciences

1 生物(学) せいぶつ(がく) seibutsu(gaku) biology
2 化学 かがく kagaku  chemistry
  物理(学) ぶつり(がく) butsuri(gaku) physics
  天文(学) てんもん(がく) tenmon(gaku) astronomy
  地質(学) ちしつ(がく) chishitsu(gaku) geology
3 環境科学 かんきょうかがく kankyou kagaku environmental science

1 生物 (seibutsu) = living things

2 科学, also pronounced kagaku, means “science”

3 環境 (kankyou) = environment

その他 / Other Subjects

  数学 すうがく suugaku mathematics
1 統計(学) とうけい(がく) toukei(gaku) statistics 
  工学 こうがく kougaku engineering
  医学 いがく igaku medical science

1 統計 (toukei) = statistics (the actual numbers, rather than the subject)

See Also

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