Japanese-Japanese. Going monolingual. Using only Japanese to learn Japanese. This is a defining moment in any Japanese learner’s path and is what will either propel you into the elite, or leave you stuck and struggling to fight never ending losing battles. It’s challenging, time consuming, and often seemingly futile.
The methods on this site go into incredible detail on how to handle the situation through branching, or a way of wading through Japanese-only definitions. The Branch Annihilator further refines the multitude of techniques you have in your arsenal to fight with.
Branching still remains hard, no matter how many clever analogies I can provide. The first 500-1000 cards can really push you to the edge. You have to get used to Japanese definitions, see how words define each other, get used to the definition words, and learning how branches actually interact with each other. All at once.
But what if there was a better way?
I originally started the Jalup Beginner 1000 deck because the more I worked with beginners, the more issues I noticed in creating your own deck. Providing the 1000 J-E cards for the start of your study (hopefully) solved most of these problems. It wasn’t providing an easy cheat or shortcut. It was giving you a trainer from the start, preventing you from wasting your time on things that were unnecessary and would get in the way, making sure your form and technique were right, and making your training regiment as efficient as possible.
After multiple requests/wishing that the Jalup Beginner 1000 extended into J-J and branching, I figured that it was worth it to at least see if anything could be done. I try very hard to not be the teacher who is so far removed from the learner due to the length of time since he was the learner. I’m still always learning new Japanese, but my struggle with branches is many years behind me.
So I decided to try out a few branches, allowing myself only to use the vocabulary, grammar, and phrases from the Jalup Beginner 1000. No outside knowledge that I had was allowed.
And then it came back to me and what made J-J branching so difficult:
1. Time fruitlessly spent and never-ending expansive branches
You start a branch looking for only one unknown word. But to get to that word, the branches get longer and longer and longer, and you still can’t complete a set to get to that original one word.
2. Definition circles
You look up a word. It gives you a definition to another word, which gives you a definition to another word, which gives you a definition of another word, which gives you the definition of the first word. These 4 definitions will all define each other, with each other, but not actually go outside themselves.
3. Finding good branches to start
Finding sentences to add, with only one unknown is easy. But even the simplest of words often have long and painful definitions. It can be hard to choose which words to add. You want easy branches. But a lot of time is spent starting a branch, and then after looking up a number of words deciding it is too hard and dropping it.
4. Multiple definitions
One definition gives you a lot of meanings. Choosing which meaning is correct can be confusing, especially when you don’t actually understand any of the definitions unless you branch further.
5. Unnecessary information
Definitions often have a lot of unnecessary information, symbols you don’t know, and clutter that gets in the way of the simple thing you want.
6. Efficient time failure
There is a lot of time spent on struggling with all of these and the results may seem lackluster. Inefficient time is the biggest motivation killer. Nothing feels worse than sitting down for a few hours to do branching, to have only gone around in circles, spinning your wheels, and ended up in a few tentative additions.
So these memories all came flowing back to me. I still stand firm at the power of J-J branching (as I know what it has done for me and countless others here). But I’m in the business of problem solving, and there has to be a better way to get through this.
What if I could just simply eliminate the need for branching, yet provide the same J-J results?
What if you finished the Jalup Beginner (your 1000 J-E sentences), and you could seamlessly flow into J-J sentences. Without even a change of pace. Without requiring you to come to a near halt. Just smooth transition, all the way through. And you continue at the same fast pace of the Jalup Beginner.
And so comes Jalup Intermediate 1000, with the ultimate goal to solve every problem here. After endless days, weeks, and months, of trying to accomplish the above…
I’ve finally managed to eliminate the need for branching.
Here’s what I’ve been able to do, hopefully making your life a whole lot easier:
1. You don’t branch, you just move forward
Similar to the Jalup Beginner, every sentence builds off one another. I’m only using what you already know to expand your knowledge. So right from sentence one, the only thing you have to do is understand that one specific sentence. And the definition will only contain words and knowledge you already have. Every single card’s definition will be understandable based on your current ability.
2. I’m doing all the incredibly complex work so you don’t have to
To take away the need to branch, a lot has to go into what, how, and when things are added. I have:
– Gone through thousands and thousands of sentences and definitions to be able to go directly from the Jalup beginner to here.
– Manually checked to make sure every word is found in the Jalup Beginner.
– Started countless branches only to cancel them because they lead to dead ends that didn’t allow me to work with what I had.
– Reversed every branch to create the proper order of always knowing each card by itself without relying on something after that card.
– Made it look easy. Trust me, you’ll wonder why anyone thinks J-J and branching is difficult.
Normally, you start off with something you don’t know, and branch through more stuff you don’t know, until you find stuff you know, that allows you to understand what you originally didn’t know.
Simply put it looks like this: Unknown > Unknown > Unknown > Unknown > Kinda know > Kinda know > Kinda know > Know
Until you finally get to know, you often don’t understand any of the “Unknowns” or “Kinda knows.” Reaching the “Know” allows you to work backward to understand the “Kinda knows” which allows you to work backwards to understand the “Unknowns.”
In doing branches normally on your own, this is the order you have to take. However, once a successful branch is finished, it is easy to flip the order. You start off with the Know. Since you have the Know already, the Kinda Knows are transformed into knows. Which allows you to transform the Unknowns into Knows.
Since I am looking at this from the outside, I am able to reverse the branches. Which means that every card builds off each other, in the exact way it did for the Jalup Beginner 1000.
3. I can slightly alter definitions to make them easier
Definitions in dictionaries try to use the “best” and most efficient words to provide meanings. However, just because it is the most best and efficient, doesn’t mean it is the only way to define a word. Words can be defined in many ways and sometimes less precise and efficient is just as good and gives you the same meaning you are looking for.
This allow me to make minor adjustments when there is an unknown definition word that would result in more endless branching. I can use a synonym. Or a description of that word in terms you already know. Or define it through an example that is easy to understand. Same meaning expressed, just a different way to do it that you already know. Say goodbye definition circles.
4. No more conjugations getting in your way
Verbs and adjectives in many natural sentences often appear in conjugated use. This can be a pain to look up because you can’t just enter them into the J-J dictionary and get the definition. It has to be entered in its original (casual or dictionary) form. And you may not know its original form just by looking it. All definitions in the Jalup Intermediate will appear in dictionary form. So if the sentence card has 走らせる, the definition will have 走る. And if you don’t remember what conjugation this was, you can go to the Jalup Beginner to check conjugation patterns.
5. I can cover slang, abbreviations, slurs, and modern talk easily
If you came across the word できん in a sentence and looked it up, you would find 0 results. However, I can easily make a definition letting you know that できん is slang for できない (which is a fairly simple word covered in Jalup Beginner). You’d be surprised on how much common language won’t appear in a standard J-J dictionary (especially if you are watching a lot of anime or reading manga), yet you would easily be able to learn it.
6. I can use my fluent knowledge of Japanese to make the right choices
What definitions are easy? Which are more difficult? Which definition is correct when there is a long list? Which words are common? Is it worth the time to learn this word? To go on this branch? I am able to answer and incorporate this through massive experience.
7. I do not make you rely on pictures
A technique you can use to easily get through certain types of words is Google Images, or any kind of pictures. This can be useful for physical nouns, and sometimes other words as well. But this isn’t really J-J. Technically you could do this in the J-E phase as well. I don’t discourage this at all, and definitely think it’s a great support method to use. But I feel I would be cheating you out of the J-J process if I included this technique, so I don’t use any picture reliance in this deck.
8. Edited by native Japanese
I know you trust me. But it is nice to know that there was a second pair of eyes on this (note: Jalup Beginner also had a native editor).
9. You can ask questions to the creator of this textbook (me – Adam)
How often if you have a problem or question with a textbook can you ask its creator?
I want it to be as clear and easy to use as possible. So if you have a question about a word or sentence, ask me by email. I will answer.
10. Yes, there is audio! Every single sentence is read by a real Japanese native speaker.
Get some extra listening practice. Who is reading the sentences? Our very own Japanese native writer here on Jalup: Yuki
Keep in mind
1. The Jalup Intermediate requires completion of the Jalup Beginner. However, as you may not remember every single word in all 1000 sentences you just finished, you are not only allowed, but highly encouraged to make full use of searching through Jalup Beginner.
If you don’t know a word in a sentence, or a definition, look it up in the Jalup Beginner (it will be there). This isn’t cheating by using English. This is using your knowledge base that you already have (where you were allowed to use English). This need for searches through your old deck will fade away though soon.
Important search tip: when you do a search for words in the Jalup Beginner, make sure to enter the root of the word, not the word as it appears in your new J-J sentence or definition.
Example: the word 食べなかった appears in your new sentence. The word 食べなかった may not necessarily appear in that form in the Jalup Beginner. Just enter the kanji 食 (or possibly with an additional hiragana 食べ), so that you can find the meaning of words that were taught to you in a different conjugation.
2. While I’m aiming for perfection, people are different, people understand slightly differently, and some things take a little longer to click depending on the person. Most sentences you will catch on immediately. Others will take a little thinking time to put it all together. Some you’ll get, but won’t have that full grasp.
But this is normal. As you see the words used over and over again in other unrelated sentences (branches) and in real media, they become clearer, without any required work. This is a natural process. The worst case scenario where for some reason you absolutely just can’t figure out the meaning at all, despite knowing everything, is to give yourself some leniency with the J-E-J boost for the first 500 cards. This is okay.
Finish Jalup Intermediate and then what?
How far will this take you? Probably close to Proficient Level (level 30). So what will you do after this?
Continue to your next round of training with the Jalup Advanced 1000.
What’s inside each stage?
1,000 Japanese Level Up original J-J cards, split up into stages.
What if you want to do the Jalup Intermediate 1000, but haven’t done the Jalup Beginner 1000?
I know there are plenty of people here that would love to be able to eliminate branching, but used other beginner textbooks/resources instead of the Jalup Beginner 1000.
You have a few options:
1. Buy and complete the Jalup Beginner 1000. Review never hurts. Solidify your basics. You’ll discover a lot of simple building blocks you missed or may have gotten wrong.
2. Buy the Jalup Beginner 1000 and use it as your source to look up words for when you don’t know a word in the Jalup Intermediate. This will limit the English words you are allowed to use, and make sure that you are actually getting into full J-J experience.
3. Just try the Jalup Intermediate without anything else. The Jalup Beginner covers the same core grammar and vocabulary that many regular beginner textbooks cover. Which means that even never having touched any part of the Jalup Beginner, you may still be able to get by mostly fine (with maybe slightly more reliance on the J-E-J method required.)
*See comments below for users who have experience of skipping the Jalup Beginner.
Want to give it a try first before buying?
Continue your leveling!
No more excuses. No more delays. Moving forward at record speed has never been easier. Let your legend enter the next world.
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.