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Learn Japanese Through A Game Or As A Game? — 9 Comments

  1. I was going to make a game that would act as an interface for Anki. It would be a classic final fantasy style jrpg, where the user could “load” an anki deck and it would be used during random battles in dungeons or the overworld. I had a nice design for the whole game, a good battle system etc. But I don’t want to delay my real goal (to master japanese). Maybe some day in the future, when my japanese is good enough.

    • Sounds like an interesting idea. If you do ever decide to create that come back here and let everyone know.

  2. Something I’ve been thinking about but never seen: a novel series, e.g. Harry Potter, where the first page is in English. Then the next page they introduce a Japanese word and from then on whenever that word appears in the series it is in Japanese and the rest is in English. Each page a new word or grammar point is introduced. Half-way through you would have a very weird and garbled ‘language’ which might be part English set out in weird order and part Japanese not quite right. By the end it’s proper Japanese.
    The idea being that interest in the novel sustains you, you get exposure to bits of Japanese in deep context, and natural repetition.
    The downsides I can see is that the rate of material would be slow, only 300 points in 300 pages, and you have a very strange jumble of a language partway through.

    • Since English and grammatical structures are waaaay different this would fail really quickly. At most you will have 貴方 です 太い けど あたし 好き 貴方。This literally says “You are fat, but I love you.”, but doesn’t make any sense in Japanese, not to mention that it encourages bad habits. Automatically switching from this to proper Japanese would confuse Readers. So, I think it’s not possible.
      The closest thing I could imagine as working is if Adam decides to turn Beginner’s deck into stories :P.

      Anyways, I agree with this post. The summary is : You don’t want to study Japanese for the rest of your life.
      You want to enjoy media available IN Japanese, and reach a point where enjoying=studying. So it doesn’t matter HOW you reached that point (by “cheating” or brute force) , because the real journey starts after that point

    • Someone once mentioned a few years ago about a French novel that did close to what you are saying. Can’t remember the name now.

      Also I’m not sure if you were visiting the site at the time, but a few years ago I was working on creating a novel where the goal was to have the main character naturally learn Japanese through the story which would allow the reader to do the same. Unfortunately after a few chapters, interest for it kind of fizzled out, partially due to the reasons I mention in this article.

      • Are you talking about Legends of Japanese? I understand why it stopped but I still have it and I think it was well done, considering the problems mentioned in this article :p

        • Yeah that’s it. Thanks for remembering it! It was fun trying it out, but just wasn’t turning out the way I imagined.

    • I’ve only been with Jalup and learning Japanese one year so I didn’t see that before.
      If you watch Star Trek you learn vocabulary like Phasers, Klingon, Tricorder without any effort. And I remember playing a RPG where you were on an alien world and learned another language. Again, without any conscious effort you just picked it up.

      Here’s an example of what it might look like:
      the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
      (no articles)
      quick brown fox jumped over lazy dog
      (fox = キツネ)
      quick brown キツネ jumped over lazy dog
      (sentence order, verb goes at the end)
      quick brown キツネ lazy dog overjumped
      (to jump over = 飛び越える)
      quick brown キツネ lazy dog 飛び越えるed
      (dog = 犬)
      quick brown キツネ lazy 犬 飛び越えるed
      (direct object particle を)
      quick brown キツネ lazy 犬 を 飛び越えるed
      (topic marker particle は)
      quick brown キツネ は lazy 犬 を 飛び越えるed
      (polite past tense …ました)
      quick brown キツネ は lazy 犬を飛び越えました
      (connecting particle の)
      quick brown の キツネ は lazy の 犬を飛び越えました
      (quick = 速い)
      速い brown の キツネ は lazy の 犬を飛び越えました
      (etc.)
      速い茶色のキツネは、怠け者の犬を飛び越えました

      Maybe I got the Japanese wrong – sorry. It’s true that in the middle you have a garbled mess. But in theory at no point is there a lack of comprehension, someone could follow an engaging story easily, and you are genuinely picking up and reinforcing vocabulary and grammar rules.

      I know there are serious criticisms to be made of the idea. I just thought I’d throw it out there. As the article says, if you’re learning Japanese there is no ultimately getting away from having to learn Japanese!

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