It Was a Good Weekend

Andrei Marks · June 1, 2008


Well, I got plenty of Japanese practice this weekend. On Saturday night I had dinner with a Japanese friend and one of her family friends, a lady who lives in Beijing with her 12 year old son, and who works at the Japanese Embassy. Aside from an incredible apartment in a great part of town and a really delicious dinner (中国料理), I was treated to quite a helping of native speech.

So I think that I have a better grasp of where my Japanese currently stands in terms of every day conversation. It’s right about abreast with my Russian at this point.

I can manage basic sentences and introductory remarks (introductions, who I am, where I’m from, what I study, etc., the whole ream of basic level tricks.).

Being asked questions directly, I still sometimes need clarification (もう一度いってください!), but they were very helpful with that.

Listening in on native conversation, I can pick out single words with a fairly high rate of recognition, and sometimes even get the gist of what’s being talked about (provided I’ve got the vocab for it), but I’m still at a loss to explain exactly what was said. As in, ask me to repeat a sentence or analyze a sentence that was just said, and even if I recognized a bunch of words, I would not be able to do it.

I also got to help her kid practice English, which was fun. I think his listening was excellent, he was just extremely shy. So if my Japanese after 2-3 months of serious study (I couldn’t quite say intensive) is as good as my Russian after two years of study and four years of attrition, that is good. I think? To be fair, since the Japanese is fresh right now, it probably blows my Russian vocab and grammar usage abilities out of the water. I still feel much more comfortable with my Russian accent, however. Ah well.


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