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The Japanese Language Learning Thread

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Quite a few people on SF are learning Japanese, and I thought it would be nice to have a place where we could all get together.

We could help each other out if we're not sure what a word or sentence means, and maybe review each other's translations, that kind of thing. Basically just learning from each other.

This thread isn't really for translation requests, though, so I'd like to keep those to a minimum. Exceptions may be made for Fire Emblem related content, like the recent FE3H scans, but that's not a guarantee. :P

What do we discuss? Examples

  • Tips on how to learn/get started
  • Applying to English teaching programs like JET.
  • Resources that are helpful
  • Questions about specific words and phrases you have trouble understanding

All abilities welcome, whether you're just a beginner or almost fluent!

Edited by snowyglacier

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@Flying Shogi Wow, N1? That's awesome. I'm not taking the JLPT, but I doubt I'm anywhere past N4. 

So, why did you start learning? Maybe thinking about that will motivate you?

I started because I want to become a translator. Japanese was a language which interested me because I've been listening to Japanese music and watching anime for a long time,  and the other language I know doesn't have much demand for translation.

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Honestly, don't pressure yourself to take the JLPT. It's an unnecessary pressure. I took it because I knew I wanted to and it might come in handy for my job. 

My reasons for learning Japanese has evolved over the years but like you, I started out watching anime and it sounded cool(not to show off but Japanese legitimately is pleasing to my ears) so I wanted to learn it since it shares a connection with my first and weakest language, Chinese. I wanted to learn Japanese in high school but only 2 high schools in my city offered it and I wasn't enrolled in either so I took Chinese to brush up on it. Learning Japanese officially started in college and was I lucky to study abroad for 2 months in a homestay focused program that my school wasn't partnered with. The more I learned about Japanese, especially from the linguistic perspective, the more I wanted to know how my language learning process differs from others so I've been maintaining my Japanese proficiency in ways that I enjoy. I somewhat don't have time to devote more time to Japanese right now until my work schedule becomes more stabilized so I'm not stressing when I'm learning Japanese.    

Growing up, I've been conditioned to take the safe route and while I majored in computer science, my heart lies with Japanese and (Japanese linguistics) because it's the one of the things that I picked out for myself and genuinely want to be good at it. After college, I was never far from Japanese. I started using Facebook in Japanese and I'm subscribed to Japanese FEH Youtubers so I get my daily dosage of Japanese in an area that I enjoy spending my time engaging in. I like to joke with myself saying that my Japanese has been slipping given my life does not require me to communicate in Japanese.

I pursued translation for a short period of time and from the people that I spoke with, you should look into an area/field(medical, legal etc.) to specialize in and consider if you want to if you want to be an interpreter or document translation, and maybe both. I didn't look too much into translation jobs but in the US, it doesn't look like it's in demand, at least in the locations I searched in. Please do not let this deter you but I do want to offer one perspective on it. If you're still in school, I would suggest you to reach out to teachers/professors and do some information gathering. 

While my field doesn't cross paths with Japanese directly, I plan on going back to school for natural language processing to see what new roads will open up for me. 

Edited by Flying Shogi

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I bought Rosetta Stone many many years ago and never used it after about 2 weeks. Not that I had a problem with the program but I didn't have time when I bought it. I just managed to snag it when it went on sale. Maybe if I talk to others here ill get started again.

Maybe we can discuss what apps people use or how they learn too?

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@Tediz64 Sure!

The most important one for me is Jisho (https://jisho.org/). It's a dictionary where you can copy and paste whole sentences to look up the meaning of each word. I know people use apps to learn how to read/write hiragana, katakana, etc, but I personally used flashcards on the Anki app.

What I did was learn the really basic grammar (and I mean, really basic - just the first few chapters or so) from Tae Kim's guide (http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar) and then immediately start reading stuff in Japanese using Jisho. If there was grammar that was new, or I couldn't understand/remember it, then I looked it up in Jisho, which will provide links to Tae Kim's guide on grammar along with vocabulary. I put any new vocabulary into a flashcard deck which I go through from time to time. I don't go through it very often to be honest. ^^

By "stuff", it could be literally anything. I recommend NHK Easy News,  song lyrics, and any manga that you enjoyed in English. At the early stages, don't try to read whole novels or anything, since that would be a little too overwhelming. (I know, I tried. :P ) Keep in mind that this approach is quite relaxed since I'm not learning Japanese for a class, it's just a hobby in my free time right now.

One more thing - http://maggiesensei.com/ is a great site that explains grammar more in-depth than Tae Kim. If you need extra explanations after looking at something in Tae Kim, I recommend this site. However, I don't think it's laid out like a textbook, so it can't be used to learn from scratch like Tae Kim's guide can.

@Flying Shogi 

Haha, your struggle does sound familiar. My family also want me to take Computer Science, despite me not being very interested in it. 

My experience relearning (to speak, I could always understand it fluently) my first language is also what pushed me to learn more about how people learn languages, and it's helped me a lot in understanding how to study stuff in general. I personally don't want to take classes because I feel like I would get bored and the class might move too slowly, which is what happened with French. The truth is I'm just too lazy for a disciplined class. :P

My instagram is flooded with Japanese food/study accounts, and so when my friends look at it they're often quite confused. Most of the time they just assume I'm a weeaboo who has looked at so much anime that Instagram thinks they're Japanese, and move along. I was also considering watching NicoNico streams, but I'm never around when my favourite streamers are so I decided against it. Could you recommend some of the youtubers you watch?

I've seen similar advice from other translators online, but I have no idea what I would specialise in. Based off what I've enjoyed so far, I seem to like doing literary translation the most. But I don't think that's a reliable source of income compared to say, medical translation. I'm hoping that I can become an interpreter, which seems to have better pay and stuff. I don't mind moving to Japan for work, either, so hopefully I will find something there. I'm planning on doing JET after university.

 

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@Tediz64 

Apps

Spoiler

1. Takoboto: a dictionary app. You can use ? to substitute for a character/kanji that make up a word. Ex: Typing 友? into the app's search bar will return results like 友達、友人、友好、友情、友軍 etc.

2. imiwa? : another dictionary app but for iOS only.

3. Google Translate: Its handwriting recognition is really good. They also have an image scan function that utilizes your phone's camera to scan an image and highlight words that you can interact with.

4. https://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/jn/ is an online dictionary website that returns the meaning of Japanese words in Japanese(think dictionary.com for English speakers). You can also have it return English definitions too; just click on the 英和・和英 tab.

Websites

Spoiler

1. https://japanesetest4you.com offers various things but I mainly use it to look up grammar. I usually type the "grammar structure[in Japanese] grammar" into Google and I get a result from this website. You have to click to the other tabs to access their search bar though.

2. I visit it from time to time but you also check out the LearnJapanese subreddit, specifically their weekly question post for small questions. 

Learning Style

1. I still remember when I first started learning Japanese, I had trouble hearing the difference between the the k line & g line and the t line & d line so I've been marking my vocabulary list to help me remember them. Here's a sample:

Spoiler

cLYlfRb.jpg

I put circles around the k & t lines and a box around the g & d lines as visual reinforcement

2. Another thing I had trouble with is recalling if a word has an extra う. Ex: ゆうじん、こうはん etc. so I underline the う if it's in the word.

 

@snowyglacier 

I personally like a structured class so it's all about what works for you. Maybe you just haven't found what works for you yet. Don't just limit yourself to textbooks though. Anything can be used to further knowledge of Japanese. When I watch anime, I usually look up words/phrases that are new to me. Ex: I watch Detective Conan and Ace Attorney so I know some words used in the legal field. I'm also interested in linguistics so I know a couple Japanese linguistic terms here and there. 

I mostly watch Japanese Youtubers that upload Fire Emblem Heroes content but I've watched a couple other Japanese channels over the years

FEH

Spoiler

はぐれメタル

桃頭あると

Wohko/オーコ

サイコカス平岡

Life

Spoiler

Street interviews about various topics:

  • That Japanese Man Yuta
  • Ask Japanese

Anime related

  • Reina Scully - she works at Crunchyroll as a VA the last time I checked
  • The Anime Man

Life vlog/comparing cultural differences 

  • Bilingirl Chika - She mostly uploads Japanese only videos looking at her upload history
  • Rachel and Jun

They all talk about Japanese(the language) so it depends on what you like to watch. I haven't watched most of these channels in a good while so it might take some exploration on your own.

Regarding translation, there's someone by the name of Kirokan(he/she has a web site that you can check out) here on SF that you might want to consider contacting that does great work on bringing FE related material to the English audience. If you're considering JET, I know a few people that taught for them and one of my friends is currently teaching in Japan so I can ask if they're willing to speak about their experiences. Can't make any promises though since you guys don't know each other :lol: and they don't really dabble in sites like Discord. I've also applied to JET and gotten an interview but was not accepted so I can answer some questions to a certain extent. 

Edited by Flying Shogi

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See with what you two have posted, anyone can go in a good direction and learn. Finding that motivation and setting aside the time is all that is gonna be left up to the individuals.

Me personally, I learn best when I'm getting hands on experience. When I was a teenager my mom choose two days a week to only talk to me in Spanish. At first she allowed me to respond in English but after a month she made me also speak it back. Now my vocabulary is decent, my grammar isn't too bad, but I should probably practice my pronunciation of words. 

What was the hardest part for you @Flying Shogi and @snowyglacier? I think that for most people learning a new language, that hardest part is pronunciation of stuff. Expanding vocabulary just takes time as well as as getting the grammar right. 

Also have you gotten to the point where you studied or learned specific phrases or pronunciations based off dialect? I often see in anime characters will comment if they know someone is from the Kansai region or various other ones. Like I forgot which one is the country bumpkin dialect (I'm thinking the friend of Umaru for that Imouto anime) that some people are shy of revealing. I know for sure as a English speaker I can tell if someone is from the south or if they come from somewhere like New York. 

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20 hours ago, Tediz64 said:

Me personally, I learn best when I'm getting hands on experience. When I was a teenager my mom choose two days a week to only talk to me in Spanish. At first she allowed me to respond in English but after a month she made me also speak it back. 

This. Practice makes a difference. Before I went abroad, I understood most things that I hear in real life but responding took a little while. The program I attended had a Japanese only rule so it really helped my speaking skills. It might be a hard mental hurdle to get over but don't be afraid to make mistakes. A tip is to immediately ask for the correct usage/explanation if someone can offer it. It quickly shifts the attention away from the mistake and redirects it to the learning aspect to deflect the embarrassment(if any).

20 hours ago, Tediz64 said:

What was the hardest part for you @Flying Shogi and @snowyglacier? I think that for most people learning a new language, that hardest part is pronunciation of stuff. Expanding vocabulary just takes time as well as as getting the grammar right. 

Other than speaking, believe it or not, it's Katakana. If I've seen the word, my brain reads the first 2-3 character and just skips the remainder of the characters but if it's a new one, it takes me a couple seconds to even read it because I don't know where the "word" ends when it's a compound word. I was mad it took me like a good minute to read "acquaintance" in Katakana one time because I'm so use to seeing 知り合い :facepalm:. I also don't see Katakana enough so I'm rusty. Not sure if other people have this problem but I have trouble remembering where the long vowel are in Katakana. 

20 hours ago, Tediz64 said:

Also have you gotten to the point where you studied or learned specific phrases or pronunciations based off dialect? I know for sure as a English speaker I can tell if someone is from the south or if they come from somewhere like New York. 

Can't say I've studied any dialects but I've heard things like 分からへん、あんた、and いいじゃん enough times so I've absorbed them. I watched a video on the Akita dialect once and the words they picked out sound the same to me. Take a listen for yourself:

Spoiler

 

 

Regarding US accents, I have a couple friends from NY but they just sound normal to me. 

Edited by Flying Shogi

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I wrote this this morning, but it didn't post then so I'm posting it now. It's really long.

----

As Flying Shogi said, hands on experience is the best way to learn once you've gotten a hand on basic grammar. I would like to practice speaking, but I don't think I'm good enough yet since my grammar/vocab knowledge is pretty low.

 

@Tediz64 Two more things I want to tell you about:

Rikaikun/rikaichan/yomichan: These are all Chrome web extensions which do the same thing - if you hover over a Japanese word, they will give you a dictionary definition of it. It's incredibly useful because you don't need to keep copy/pasting into an online dictionary.

Japanese Ammo with Misa (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBSyd8tXJoEJKIXfrwkPdbA) - A great channel which explains grammar nuances that's not always covered in a textbook, and tells you how Japanese speakers natively express things. Her videos are quite long though. She has a website too.

 

Pronunciation is definitely the most difficult part, but once you've mastered it, you start to realise it's your intonation that really needs work, otherwise, your sentences will all sound monotone and flat. Like. This. Sort. Of. Like. A. Robot. And-If-You-Speak-Fast-It's-Like-This.

What I did for pronunciation was to record myself making a specific sound, say, the Japanese R, and compare it to a native speaker. Then I would try again and get as close as I could. It took me several months of doing this each night for around half an hour, but now my pronunciation is pretty good. 

I wouldn't stress yourself about it though. As long as a native speaker can understand you, you're doing something right. I used to feel so upset and stressed out when I was recording my pronunciation since there were some I just couldn't get right. What I'm struggling with the most right now is that I want to spend more time reading Japanese things and learning/practicing it, but I can't because I have exams in my school subjects... (and kanji, god I hate kanji sometimes)

 

I can't currently recognise Japanese dialects, even the most common ones like Kansai. I am just a beginner after all! I do love Ebina though. :P A lot of dialect-learning is just memorising that some people say things a bit differently, like how you already do for vocabulary. I don't think it's possible to learn it entirely through exposure if you don't live in Japan.

I live in the UK, where we have a huge variety of accents for the tiny amount of space. However, I'm not too familiar with them all. This is because I don't watch British TV much, and I have no relatives native to the UK who would be comfortable with all the crazy accents and dialects. 

- Also, katakana is difficult once you're comfy with hiragana. I recommend playing video games which use it a lot (like Pokemon, where all pokemon names are written in katakana) to force yourself to learn it. Without doing that, I wouldn't have learnt it at all. :P

@Flying Shogi

Kirokan is great, I've checked out their website a lot of times. I love seeing their comparison posts and reading the 4koma. (Hey, maybe reading those in Japanese would be good practice? And I can use Kirokan's translations to check if I understood it or not.)

Just wondering, how hard is it to get into JET? What kind of things do you think increases your chances? Kind of stupid of me, but I didn't realise it was so competitive. Of course it would be, it's so popular.

I'm probably going to check out those YouTubers sometime after my exams (but here I am, not studying, and typing away at what is essentially an essay...)

Thanks for your offer to contact your friend, too, but I'm kind of shy about things like Skype, haha. It's really nice of you though!

 

In my head I've been making lesson plans of how to teach people English. One of them was to bring English-translated manga of really popular series like Sailor Moon, Fruits Basket, Naruto,  Devil is a Part Timer, etc, because the short sentences in manga are usually great for people to practice a language in a fun way without being overwhelming. I would ask people to read a chapter or two for homework, with the help of a dictionary, and then we can discuss the grammar and vocabulary together in the lesson. It would be impractical for an entire class though...

I might also bring cheap DS games, such as Animal Crossing (this DS game is less than 10 dollars on eBay, I think) and maybe Pokemon, but that's usually a lot more expensive (unless you buy pirated GBAs. DS Lites, here I come...) If the child has their own DS, I think would give them the game to play at home, but might also ask for a money deposit in case the game gets lost or isn't returned. I don't know how I would ask for that without coming across as rude though. I'd probably use this as a reward or as "fun" homework to do over the holidays.

Edited by snowyglacier
replied to some stuff

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On 4/29/2019 at 1:47 PM, snowyglacier said:

I would like to practice speaking, but I don't think I'm good enough yet since my grammar/vocab knowledge is pretty low.

I think it's never too early to practice speaking. Speaking can be one of the hardest parts of the language learning process if one doesn't live in an environment that require it or isn't in contact with someone who can consistently speak the language. One of the traps of learning a language people fall into is "I'm not good enough to do X yet." That's true to a certain extent but even the smallest things like verbally repeating something correctly (hopefully) count. One lesson I learned when I took my Japanese senior seminar in college was learning to let go of the (unrealistic) bar that I've set for myself. It's something that each person should to come to terms with if you feel like you're not "reaching" a specific level of proficiency. I came back from abroad thinking that I've already got a decent grip on reading/writing/speaking/listening but was disappointed when it took me like an hour to read one page of a short story. The reason why it took so long was because I was in the mindset of "I should know every word on the page so I understand everything on the page." It was REALLY time and mentally draining because it felt like I wasn't making any pogress fast enough towards the level of proficiency I wanted to be at. It wasn't until I graduated and spoke with my professor that it was one thing he wanted us to reflect on: you shouldn't be that binary when learning a language. You have to practice learning how to deal with text that you don't know. It's tempting to just look it up but when it's 50-60+% of the page in a 10 page short story, it's going to be a LONG day for people like me that tend to handwrite definitions down. One thing to keep in mind is that vocabulary will always be a struggle because not even you know all of the words in your native language/field of study and yet we are(at least I am) okay with that in my native/primary language so why expect otherwise of a language that you're not a native speaker of? I watched a TED talk once and the speaker made a really good point that language learners should not compare themselves to native speakers, not even a 5 year old kid from that country. Why? Because that kid is surrounded by that language and you're more likely not so saying that you're not as good as a 5 year old from that country is an invalid comparison given the differing level exposure to the language. 

Of course, this is me talking about my experience keeping up with Japanese after I've been out of a school environment. When you're just starting out, try to get the basics down but don't be afraid to explore anything that is of interest to you. 

On 4/29/2019 at 1:47 PM, snowyglacier said:

Just wondering, how hard is it to get into JET? What kind of things do you think increases your chances? Kind of stupid of me, but I didn't realise it was so competitive. Of course it would be, it's so popular.

In my head I've been making lesson plans of how to teach people English. One of them was to bring English-translated manga of really popular series like Sailor Moon, Fruits Basket, Naruto,  Devil is a Part Timer, etc, because the short sentences in manga are usually great for people to practice a language in a fun way without being overwhelming. I would ask people to read a chapter or two for homework, with the help of a dictionary, and then we can discuss the grammar and vocabulary together in the lesson. It would be impractical for an entire class though...

I might also bring cheap DS games, such as Animal Crossing (this DS game is less than 10 dollars on eBay, I think) and maybe Pokemon, but that's usually a lot more expensive (unless you buy pirated GBAs. DS Lites, here I come...) If the child has their own DS, I think would give them the game to play at home, but might also ask for a money deposit in case the game gets lost or isn't returned. I don't know how I would ask for that without coming across as rude though. I'd probably use this as a reward or as "fun" homework to do over the holidays.

Personally speaking, I don't think it's that hard to get in but like you said, there seems to a hidden layer of competitiveness that I am not seeing but based on my experiences and things that I have gathered talking with people who have taught for JET, it seems like they want someone who want who wants to focus on teaching English. It may seem obvious but some people like me are more interested in learning Japanese than teaching English so my goals didn't really align with their goals but I'd avoid mentioning reasons why being Japan is beneficial to you and instead focus on how your presence will be of help to them. It's unfortunate but that's the impression that I got. Don't just take my word for it though. Talk with other people and gather more perspectives so you can make a more informed decision. 

But I do have to say that the habit of making plans to teach English is an excellent example that you should capitalize on in your application and interview. They want someone who wants to teach English to the Japanese students. The fact that you're introducing another lens into something that they are familiar with(manga) via a fun and educational way while considering how the students will be able to absorb what you're trying to teach is great. Definitely make sure to mention that. 

Things that involve money are tricky and some students might feel left out if they don't have the means to access such method of teaching so I'm a little hesitant to go down that route. An alternative might be to record you playing it and showcase the video or pictures of the gameplay as part of your lesson plan so it doesn't require monetary investment on the students' part. Since you're interested in translation, you can also talk about localization differences if you've looked into it and/or have the time to incorporate it. Just my 2 cents but do what you feel more comfortable with. 

On 4/29/2019 at 1:47 PM, snowyglacier said:

Thanks for your offer to contact your friend, too, but I'm kind of shy about things like Skype, haha. It's really nice of you though!

Sure thing. Let me know if you change your mind. I was thinking more along the lines of exchanging emails between you guys since Skype is a tad bit personal :XD:

Edited by Flying Shogi

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Ok, question for everyone here - I was reading some song lyrics and came across this. From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBLkfdQsXLw

崩れていく城を駆け扳け

偓った手 逸る心

Confusing bits are bolded. It's ok if you don't have a definitive answer, just discussion would be fine.

- What is the verb ending on the first one? I thought it's an imperative, but I can't find anything like it in the inflection tables on Jisho. Is it an old fashioned ending? The character saying this is a prince in a Cinderella like story.

- And how is ni being used in the second line? The translation given was "With your hand clasped in mine, my heart dances"  (taken from a translation at https://youtu.be/lUEUbwMBoWw?t=27)

===

@Flying Shogi

I would want to practice speaking more if there was a Japanese speaker I was friends with, because then I would feel more comfortable asking a lot of small questions like "What does ____ mean?" or "How do you say ____?"  which get annoying quickly.

I personally disagree that native speakers are "imperfect" speakers of their own language because it's not really true - it is in a technical sense because as you say they won't always know every word in the language, but a native speaker's overall abilities are quite different to a second language learner's IMO. A native speaker will still recognise grammar patterns properly even if they can't tell what a word means, for example, while a learner will just be confused and will find it harder to infer meanings of words from context. Of course like you said, it is silly to compare a foreign learner to a native speaker because of differences in the amount they've practiced, but I also think it's pointless to call a native speaker "imperfect" when they're essentially the best level of speaking the language that we have. 

That might have sounded angry - I'm not, don't worry. What exactly a native speaker is is a question I'm very interested in, since I seem to fall somewhere in between the two with regards to my first language. ^_^

Personally I speak to myself in Japanese from time to time, which I think for the time being is a good enough substitute for speaking. I plan to find a penpal in the holidays, or write a lot on Lang8.

 

Thanks for your feedback on JET! I think it will be quite hard to play up the "I'd love to teach!" side since I don't want to become a teacher, and so my JET motivation is really just to interact with Japanese on a daily basis. This might be kind of weird, but I want to see if my ideas about how languages are learnt and what strategies I have for learning will be useful for other people, too, so JET is almost like a linguistic experiment to me. If they like my manga/video game plans, though, they might overlook that and let me in.

You know, I didn't realise that some students won't have the money to pay for a game, although that was fairly obvious now that you mentioned it. After reading what you wrote I considered maybe playing it on an emulator on my computer and projecting it so that they can all see, so it's kind of like a video stream, but I think that might be boring if it's just me talking since they won't be involved much. I was considering allowing the students to have a go themselves - 15 minutes at a time, say, and have them hold small polls on what to do next (Go to the next city or catch a new Pokemon?) so that they're more involved and have more time to practice/play the game. I'd use a rota so that each student has a fair amount of turns. The only concern is that students will not discuss what's happening on screen with the class, but I guess I can prompt them (What do you think that word means, class?) to circumvent that.

There's a few things which make me unsure about going down the video games route, though. Firstly it's most likely I'll be a teaching assistant, so I won't be conducting a whole class. Secondly, using class time, even just one class a week say, for language practice means that I'll have less time to teach them grammar and vocabulary needed for tests, which Japan is big on. But even with manga, it's likely I will have to spend part of my classes discussing whatever they find difficult to read. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.

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On 5/1/2019 at 4:26 PM, snowyglacier said:

What is the verb ending on the first one?

The base verb here is 駆ける, with the auxiliary verb 抜く tacked on, which is then turned into its imperative form so: 駆ける -> 駆け抜く -> 駆け抜. I'll link the explanation for 〜ていく since it was used here and its counterpart, 〜てくる just in case.

I've linked explanations to each part of the conjugation but here's a summary of the first line: 崩れていく城を駆け抜け:

Spoiler

Let's start with the ていく grammar pattern. To add onto the linked explanation, the Tobira textbook provides an excellent insight:

Quote

ていく often express an action or state that will continue from the present into the future

so basically 崩れていく城 can be translated as "the crumbling castle" with an emphasis on the continuous state of danger.

Moving onto 駆け抜け, we have the verb 駆ける so we know the subjects are running, presumably to the outside of the castle given the context. By adding 抜く, we know that they are trying to get out of the castle with all of their might or simply put, to do some with a lot of effort (すごく〜する as described here) since they're trying to make out of the castle alive, hence the word choice "raced."

Lastly we have the imperative form. I'm use to it being used when someone is angry but we see the other usage in this case when the speaker lets out a desperate cry of appeal to tell the other person to run for it. 

Moving onto the second line, 握った手に 逸る心, the に particle here refers to "in" so translated literally: "(my) restless heart grasped within (your) hand" can be taken as the speaker's nervousness/excitement when his hand is joined hand in hand with the girl. The translator went with a more neutral word in "dances" to capture the excitement but left room for the other definition of "restless" feeling of fear in a situation like a crumbling castle. 

As you can see, translation isn't easy. You can't just spit back the original meaning; it should be presented in a way that makes sense to the target audience with a few pinches of creative liberty if desired/necessary. 

On 5/1/2019 at 4:26 PM, snowyglacier said:

I would want to practice speaking more if there was a Japanese speaker I was friends with, because then I would feel more comfortable asking a lot of small questions like "What does ____ mean?" or "How do you say ____?"  which get annoying quickly.

Yeah, I tend to Google things first before asking my Japanese friends small questions since these type of questions can get annoying really quick. Luckily there's a weekly thread on the LearnJapanese subreddit dedicated to small questions so it's the perfect place to visit for these situations. I usually only message my Japanese friends when I want their perspective on something or when I want more than just the definition of a word/phrase that I come across. I try to compare its usage in the US so it's a more of a discussion than a one sided nagging. 

On 5/1/2019 at 4:26 PM, snowyglacier said:

I personally disagree that native speakers are "imperfect" speakers of their own language because it's not really true - it is in a technical sense because as you say they won't always know every word in the language, but a native speaker's overall abilities are quite different to a second language learner's IMO. A native speaker will still recognise grammar patterns properly even if they can't tell what a word means, for example, while a learner will just be confused and will find it harder to infer meanings of words from context. Of course like you said, it is silly to compare a foreign learner to a native speaker because of differences in the amount they've practiced, but I also think it's pointless to call a native speaker "imperfect" when they're essentially the best level of speaking the language that we have. 

My apologies, it was not my intention to accuse native speakers of being imperfect at their mother tongue but rather trying to highlight the unrealistic expectations as a second language learner at an earlier time in my language learning process.

Native speakers will have an easier time recognizing new/hard words given their experience with the language and the tools they can utilize to help them to make an (more) educated guess than a second language learner. As such, they are a very good resource when asking harder questions like "what's the difference between X and Y when they seem similar" as are people (professors/people who have lived in the country of the language for a good number of years etc.) with advanced/mastery control of both the target language and source language since they can provide solutions to struggles they have experienced as a second language learner that a native speaker might have not have considered. I was lucky enough to have both native and a non-Japanese professor as my instructors in my Japanese learning process.

On 5/1/2019 at 4:26 PM, snowyglacier said:

Personally I speak to myself in Japanese from time to time, which I think for the time being is a good enough substitute for speaking.

You can also try learning Japanese songs. It's more fun that way. 

On 5/1/2019 at 4:26 PM, snowyglacier said:

I plan to find a penpal in the holidays, or write a lot on Lang8.

Penpals are great. You learn words at a more digestible pace since you talk about what you're interested in. I started with ~400 words in my initial email to ~2300 words in my most recent one with my Chinese penpal. Took me 3 days to respond to him because of my nonexistent vocab :XD:   

On 5/1/2019 at 4:26 PM, snowyglacier said:

I think it will be quite hard to play up the "I'd love to teach!" side since I don't want to become a teacher, and so my JET motivation is really just to interact with Japanese on a daily basis. This might be kind of weird, but I want to see if my ideas about how languages are learnt and what strategies I have for learning will be useful for other people, too, so JET is almost like a linguistic experiment to me. If they like my manga/video game plans, though, they might overlook that and let me in.

I think as long as you spin your interest in a way that suits what they look for someone in teaching English, you don't have to worry about too much especially since your ideas are related to teaching even if you don't want to become a teacher. I'll share with you what one of my professors told me when I asked for her advice on how I should proceed with the JET application. She told me that I was too honest in my application in being interested in translation. I'm not saying you can't mention any of your interests but I suggest you present them in a way that will capture their attention since this is a position a good number of people apply for so you should take advantage of any and all qualities that you possess. 

On 5/1/2019 at 4:26 PM, snowyglacier said:

I considered maybe playing it on an emulator on my computer and projecting it so that they can all see, so it's kind of like a video stream, but I think that might be boring if it's just me talking since they won't be involved much. I was considering allowing the students to have a go themselves - 15 minutes at a time, say, and have them hold small polls on what to do next (Go to the next city or catch a new Pokemon?) so that they're more involved and have more time to practice/play the game. I'd use a rota so that each student has a fair amount of turns. The only concern is that students will not discuss what's happening on screen with the class, but I guess I can prompt them (What do you think that word means, class?) to circumvent that

I like the idea but emulation is tricky since it's illegal, at least to my knowledge so double check on that front. You could try a capture card but that's money you'll have cough up so I'm not sure you want to invest in that. 

You can also pick names out of a hat for chances to play and limit it a certain number of students each lesson so there's still time time for discussion.  

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Don't worry, I wasn't offended at all. ^^

I never considered learning the songs for some reason, even though I realised how much easier it was to remember the lyrics as I started learning Japanese. Of course singing will also help me with pronouncing stuff better :P silly me. To be honest, I'm actually a little scared to go and find a penpal. I should really get one soon, maybe someone with a similar level of English as I have Japanese? That way it won't be too awkward and one-sided, like you mentioned about small questions. I'll definitely check out the Reddit thread, by the way.

Thanks for your explanations of those lines. Jisho was surprisingly unhelpful here, since I checked the inflections for 駆け抜ける and the imperative form listed didn't match up with the lyrics. I suppose Jisho is wrong sometimes... but it's just a very nice dictionary to use.

I'll also keep in mind your advice about JET, and won't write too much about translation in my application. I'll focus on how my ideas to do with translation will help people learn English.

You're right, I should check whether or not emulation is legal in Japan before I write in on my application, lol.

Edited by snowyglacier

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Wow, that looks great! I'll need to set up a Discord account, but thanks for telling me about it, Flying Shogi. It's especially interesting because it's run by a translator, and I'd like to be a translator as I said somewhere in some other post.

I'm not sure if my Japanese is daily conversation level, but that bridge can be crossed when I join the group.

===

By the way, do you think I should update the opening post of this thread with things that have been discussed here? Some of them, such as "How should I start learning", seem pretty well suited to being collated in one place because of how commonly they're be asked.

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51 minutes ago, anti-realist said:

Wow, that looks great! I'll need to set up a Discord account, but thanks for telling me about it, Flying Shogi.

Sure thing. Just looking out for a fellow language learner. 

57 minutes ago, anti-realist said:

I'm not sure if my Japanese is daily conversation level, but that bridge can be crossed when I join the group.

Dug through some old messages on the Discord. Daily conversation is N3 but there are people who are N5 so you can always just join for now if things are little above your level. The creator of the group did say this is for learning purposes so as long you want to learn, you can only get better from there.

1 hour ago, anti-realist said:

By the way, do you think I should update the opening post of this thread with things that have been discussed here?

I'll leave that to you. We don't have that many posts yet so people can read through the thread if they're interested but having an overview of what has been discussed can serve as a nice record. 

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On 6/8/2019 at 10:27 PM, Flying Shogi said:

I'll leave that to you. We don't have that many posts yet so people can read through the thread if they're interested but having an overview of what has been discussed can serve as a nice record. 

Many of the posts are long, so I thought it would be nice to summarise them. Gonna get down to doing it on the weekend!

By the way, do you know any good, around $25 Japanese-English electronic dictionaries? I know most people would use an online one like Jisho but an electronic dictionary really suits my circumstances.

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14 hours ago, anti-realist said:

By the way, do you know any good, around $25 Japanese-English electronic dictionaries?

I don't but I suggest you pose the question to the LearnJapanese subreddit so the question reaches a broader audience.

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As a Korean learner I think I can share some experience here.

First of all, since Korean is not teached where I live I had to found some way to learn it online, lucky for me I found enough resources to get a basic level. I usually find people having trouble memorizing kanjis and other japanese symbols, what I can say is try to practice every week all the content you know, you will memorize it in no time before you notice, of course you can always try some online tools like Memrise

Sometimes when I look for some translation I use both, Google Translate and Naver Papago to check the differences, Naver Papago is more accurate with Korean and I think it is the same for the rest of oriental languages like Japanese and Chinese, I suggest you to take a look at both ^^

Some pictures about my Korean studies~

 

Spoiler

20181109_192858.thumb.jpg.85f98626bcbef2e9839c31ea99f2e151.jpg

 

Spoiler

D0XC-GRWoAUoigU.thumb.jpg.80f5e63dd8b6766e4441ec01af2d262d.jpg

 

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Nice! I'm considering making this a general language learning thread since languages other than Japanese exist ;P

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