Who Did What To Whom?
Ever feel lost on what a sentence means from Jalup Beginner? I purposely made it challenging by leaving out all translations, and a lot of thought went into this process. But when you are stuck, you’re stuck and some people don’t like the unsettling feeling of not understanding something 100%, yet still moving forward. So they either ask someone for a translation, or they throw it into Google Translate.
I’ve gotten many “Adam! What does this sentence mean?!” emails over the years. I usually respond with “what do you think it means?” and 9 out of 10 times the person is correct. I don’t like just giving out translations. Learning how to piece together a Japanese sentence is essential and too many resources rob you of that experience by giving you an English translation.
It has been a long-term dilemma for me as to what to do. Do I continually press my beginner sentence philosophy? Or do I give in to the people that want answers now? How about both? That is what this new highly experimental product is going to try to do.
Who Did What To Whom (WDWTW)?
Learning Japanese sentences as a beginner is mainly tough because of the different sentence structure found in Japanese sentences vs. English sentences. The longer the sentence and the more moving parts it has, the worse it gets. This leads to the “I understand all the words but not the sentence” phenomenon.
Answering the question of “who did what to whom?” is at the center of confusion. My plan is to answer that without English translations. How? With Japanese that is given English structure and occasional English booster words. Consider them like training wheels.
Original Japanese sentences in Jalup Beginner
Who Did What To Whom Restructuring
The point is to read them like you can in English, without English. Another example:
Original Japanese sentences in Jalup Beginner
Who Did What To Whom Sentences
Is this a good idea?
The greatest thing I’ve learned from Jalup is that people study Japanese in very different ways. I’ve talked with people that were spending way too much time seeking out English translations. At the very least I thought I could give them the Japanese they already know and keep the English to an absolute minimal. This was the best middle-ground I could find.
You might be thinking “won’t this give me bad habits since it is not real Japanese sentence structure?” I don’t think so, because all your learning and reviews are the actual sentences. This is just a one-time quick peek to understand troubling sentences. I believe constantly looking at English translations will give you much worse habits. Kanji Kingdom created English sentences out of Japanese kanji in a similar Japanese-English collaboration without any problems.
However, I could be completely wrong about this approach, which is why I mention that this is experimental. I only created stage 1 and am not yet committed to all 1,000 cards. If people find this useful, support and buy it, I will absolutely continue through the rest of the 1,000 cards. If it sounded like a good idea in my head, but turns out to be useless in practice, I’ll stop, and no hard feelings.
This definitely isn’t and shouldn’t be for everyone.
How to use this?
This is a companion guide. To make use out of it, you need to have purchased Jalup Beginner Stage 1. It is meant to be a reference when you have trouble organizing a sentence in your head, and to prevent you from searching for an English translation.
You could add these as an extra field to your current Jalup Beginner cards. I’m not sure if I recommend this, as this would cause over-reliance. But at this point, if you are interested in trying this, you also have to experiment with how you want to use it.
What’s inside Stage 1?
- PDF File with Jalup Beginner Stage 1 restructured sentences
- Excel File with Jalup Beginner Stage 1 restructured sentences
- Word File with Jalup Beginner Stage 1 restructured sentences
The first stage of WDWTW does not have 250 sentences, like Jalup Beginner Stage 1 does. This is because there are a lot of simple cards in Stage 1 (especially in the beginning) that don’t need restructuring. The focus is on sentences where there is a person and an action. For this first stage, there are probably around 125 restructured sentences. For later stages, this will increase significantly.
● Buy WDWTW : Stage 1 – $5.99
Didn’t like it? Send an e-mail within 30 days after purchasing and ask for a 100% refund.
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.
Interesting idea. I finished Jalup Beginner a recently, and I didn’t struggle with very many of the sentences once I put my doubts aside. Personally, I think this could prevent learners from figuring out the meanings on their own, which is where a lot of the learning comes from. I can understand you not wanting to reply to hundreds of emails though.
As you point out, not everyone struggles with Jalup Beginner, and even when there are sentences they have difficulty with, they move on. But other people get caught up in it, and I wanted to provide an alternative source to just getting the English translations.
It looks like a great idea for those who are struggling figuring out the meaning of the sentence, we always stick to the conventional arrange of words. I’m near the end of jalup beginner and I haven’t had any issues, one thing that I do is to focus on the particles that accompanies the words, words can be arranged in any order but particles gives hints about the function of each word in the sentence. With that information and some guessing I try to puzzle it together. However, one thing that I always have struggle is that for some sentences I had to translate some words to english to puzzle it together. I hope that at Jalup Intermediate I drop that habit.
Yes, the habit will definitely fade as you go through Jalup Intermediate.
If you haven’t, check here for reference: https://japaneselevelup.com/stop-translating-english-head/
This is exactly what will help me overcome my insecurity. I’m always wondering if I’ve actually understood the sentence. Even though I’ve already passed the examples you’ve given here, I see that I misunderstood one of the sentences. Thank you so much for this boost in confidence!
I’m glad it could build some confidence :)
At first I just thought “ehhh, don’t like it” but then again it might work pretty well for beginners when you are just starting out and doubting everything.
I’m not even sure if it’s necessary for all 1000 cards. But just some reaffirmation at the start can help erase peoples doubts, so just having the 125 cards, could already work out pretty well!
It’s hard for me to say if this is a good idea on the whole or not. I was one of those people who got frustrated with a good number of sentences in the beginner deck because I felt my understanding of them wasn’t complete or precise enough, and I wasn’t used to it. The thing is though, I think it was just inexperience on my part. It was the first time I’ve tried learning a new language from zero as a fully grown adult. The sentences do begin to just become clear over time and now that I’ve experienced that happening, I have no problems encountering new sentences in Japanese that I don’t fully understand yet. It doesn’t frustrate me anymore. I know there will come a time when I would just smile at how simple it is to grasp that sentence after all.
That said, I think you should get this if the frustration becomes too much to handle that it impedes you from studying with a peaceful mind (it was the case for me at some points, admittedly). That will surely be more hurtful to your studies than reading english hints. Otherwise, it’s also good to just let things happen naturally.
Today I saw “実体のない可能性感じる”.I thought “real bodies not possible like that” maybe the meaning is “bodies don’t work that way” complaining about anime boob physics or a photoshopped picture.
I look at the definition, real shape, not real body. If the meaning is someone compaining a bout a photoshop picture- close enough.
Maybe the meaning is ‘something can make you feel, even though its not real’. This J-E-J-E is a terrible habit for someone on card 2643. Now if next time if I remember 正体 from the definition I’ll count it as correct, even if I guess the meaning is “your feelings are valid, even if they aren’t rooted in reaity”
At this rate I’ll finish Jalup Master in 1,000 days. I bought Jalup 607 days ago according to anki