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Should you ask What a J-J Sentence Means in English? — 15 Comments

  1. I dont believe I’ve ever asked for a translation from someone. I believe you when you say it will work itself out. However, a few times in the past I have caved in due to frustration and Google translated. The good thing is, most of those translations I didn’t even remember. Also, Google translate can suck sometimes.

    I have noticed some words clicking lately that I felt never would.

    • I have strived to do this as well but also failed a number of times so far and looked at Google. Mostly though not for the sentence but for the definition part only. The definitions are just so hard to decipher sometimes. I’ve been doing it less and less as I go through intermediate and understand the structure better.

      I am going to try to make it super limited in the back half with the goal of never doing it again by the end of intermediate.

      • And just remember that struggling through the definition is you learning how Japanese definitions work (and not just the Japanese found within them)

    • I think Google Translate is fine, as long as it is kept to a bare minimum. Think of it as a panic button that you can use when desperate.

  2. “The other variant to someone giving their best guess is “I think it means A or B.” If one of them is correct, great. You allowed them to internalize the possibilities and merely just push them in the right direction.”

    When you said this, I couldn’t help but think you wrote that with the emails I’ve sent you in mind! That happens a lot to me: being on the fence with two possibilities, not knowing which one might be the correct one.

    • Hahaha, yes your emails perfectly fall into this category, and were a bit of inspiration for this post. So you are doing things right :)

    • Hahaha no, I’m happy to answer emails and have done so without a second thought for years. I’m just saying that you might just get a translation from me if you catch me at an off time, when it would be better for me to just give you assurance of your own interpretation.

  3. What are your thoughts on this situation: doing J-J and a new word is introduced but I don’t understand the definition at all. Using the RTK keyword though, the sentence makes perfect sense (however I still don’t understand the definition so I feel like I’m going to miss out on the nuance of the Japanese word).
    So far what I’ve been doing is just pushing on provided I understand the sentence even if I don’t understand the definition.

    • Using the RTK keyword (or Kanji Kingdom keyword for those using that) is fine. However, you should still spend the time to try to work through the definition. You don’t have to understand the definition 100% but work for a general grasp where possible. And if it is completely beyond your reach right now for some reason, try coming back to the definition later when the card returns to reviews.

  4. Adam, it has been so helpful when you’ve asked me what I think a sentence means. When I guess correctly, I feel great, and when I’m close to correct, I still feel great.

    It reminds me of how I practice psychotherapy. I always ask the client, “What do you think you should do?” They either know the answer and they feel great. Or if they don’t know, I ask them to give several possible solutions to their problem, and they finally figure out the correct one for themselves.

    • Glad to be of assistance :)

      It definitely feels better to know you were correct/near correct all along, rather than someone just giving you the answer.

  5. I know this is an old post, but I’ve been trying to understand the way these definitions work and I’m not sure how much sense they are supposed to make at my level. I don’t want to look up translations, but I’m having to memorize the translation that I’m not able to understand in order to clear the card. For instance:

    怪しい:本当かどうか分からないと思う

    which roughly speaking is you don’t know if it’s real or not

    疑う:本当かどうか怪しいと思う

    uses the same form as the previous word but replaces a word with it and builds on the definition recursively.

    i cant help but think, you dont 怪しい if it’s real or not, but that makes no sense to me.

    Another example would be

    やり通す:最後までやる。
    やり遂げる:最後までやり通す。
    成し遂げる:物事を最後までやり遂げる。

    The one thing I think I’ve really learned about these definitions is that I can’t substitute the definition for the word in a sentence, but at the same time i haven’t confidently clicked the green button in a while since my lack of understanding forces me to base that success it on whether I memorized the definition as opposed to understood it. I’m a bit behind on the kanji cards, so hopefully catching up on those will shed light on some of the harder to grasp concepts.

    I’m hoping that these cards become more clear as I go on, as well as the way some of these words are defined, but at the moment, it just feels like I’m piling on cards that I don’t understand and memorizing the sounds of the sentence as opposed to their meaning.

    • In the beginning of Jalup intermediate, it’s more about getting a feel for the card, rather than memorizing it, or being able to replace English words with their equivalents.

      Over time, as you see them more and more in different situations, you’ll get a feel for the nuanced differences.

      But try not to let a “perfect understanding” keep you from pressing the green button if you generally get the card.

      • That makes sense, and right after I posted this I hit a string of cards that I realized were all synonyms and it struck me how if asked to tell the difference between certain synonyms in english, I would only be able to do so by giving a situation in which one would be used over the other and what implications would follow. Ill save the greens for “generally get it” over definitions for now, and then try to evolve it’s usage as I get to the end of intermediate

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