LWT: Tricks of the Trade

Part 3 of the ongoing LWT posts. If you haven’t heard about LWT check these posts out: Part 1 (Intro) ; Part 2 (Guide for Japanese-Mikoto).

If you’re like me, and you’ve done a good bit of Japanese, or you know a great many vocabulary words, or phrases, you’ll be at a disadvantage in a way, simply because you’ll have a lot of grunt work to do, so that you’re up to date on your particular knowledge. Here are some tips on how to address it in a fast as possible kind of way.

  • create a new text, and within it add in any vocabulary you know really well by do any combination of the following:
  1. taking your anki lists, surusu lists, or other exportable files into a spreadsheet and merely copy and paste
  2. look up websites that will have common phrases (like beginner sites)/word frequency sites (if you learned this way)/jlpt vocabulary lists/or vocabulary listings of text books you use. Websites make it easier because you can just copy and paste
  3. or manually type in words/phrases you know
  • Once you’re done stuffing this text (save and open), you can do either
  1. go word/phrase by word/phrase adding in definitions/pronunciations, marking how well you know it, and make a time of it
  2. or just click the “I know all” at the top. This will not put definitions or pronunciations on the words, however, if you know them already then it might not bother you for them to not have it, but clicking all words known means that they will not show up as new/unknown words in the future, and will not bother you. You can always go back and add to it later if you forgot, or need a reminder.
  • From there, you can start with a pretty solid base of words that you wont have to worry about, and doing it all at once can help prevent your flow from being stopped.

I did this, in fact the example pictures is taken from a beginner phrases text I made. I went scouring on websites out there for the basic phrases that I’ve known for a long time, and it helped me get rid of a ton of stuff. Its annoying, but the ‘i know all’ is pretty straight forward way to get it out of the way.

If you’re new you will not have this problem all that much. Adding a separate text for phrases might be helpful, but otherwise, the purpose of LWT is learning with texts, not arbitrary lists, so leave the vocabulary lists at home.

So if you’re new, or now you have your base vocabulary/phrases done, and ready to start, now you have to find the texts to learn with! Here are some great resources to use!

  • Learn Japanese By News: This site is awesome! Not only do you get small, easy to digest articles, but you can view the kana and kanji forms of it, and you get native audio. This site is screaming, USE ME!
  • Wikipedia in Japanese: This site my be bashed for its academic uses by naysayers, but for learning Japanese, this is the mother-lode. You can learn about anything you want while learning Japanese! What is better than that?
  • GOO Lyrics: Do you love to learn with music? This is the site for you! Tons of Japanese lyrics to solve all your lyrical needs (and maybe discover more songs and artists)

Beyond these few that I recommended don’t forget:

  • News sites in general: Sometimes these can be a little difficult to learn with, kanji heavy, but a lot of sites out there has audio to go with it, so its worth looking into.
  • Children’s websites: These sites tend to have less kanji, but are simple to understand.
  • Books: Kinda…self explanatory : Sites like those Liana lists, or Aozora Bunko are useful.
  • Blogs: Perhaps another giant resource of texts, from subjects about animals to food, from sports to technology, blogs are a new medium. The draw back to blogs however is there can be typing/grammar errors.
  • Educational sites: (Japanese for Japanese People) There are tons of epic sites out there that are focused on teaching fellow Japanese people about things. Whether its about how their public systems work, or their taxes, there are lots of sites out there.
  • Official guides for fellow Japanese people: There are tons of traveling web sites out there meant for Japanese people and not just foreigners.

Popular News sites include:

Popular Children’s Websites:

Popular Blog Websites:

Helpful Search Terms: If you’re a beginner, your text that you will be using is sort of limited. I would limit my texts to maybe things like Chokochoko’s library, or perhaps a site like Erin’s Challenge (you can copy and paste scripts and add audio) alongside children’s websites. However if you’re getting into it, or feeling adventurous for websites, then the following search terms could come in real handy:

  • News: ニュース
  • Children/Child/Kid: キッズ, きっず, 子供
  • Blog: ブログ
  • Lyrics: 歌詞
  • Tales/stories/lore: ストーリー, 昔話 (folklore), 物語 (legends or fairy-tales), 恋物語 (love story), 奇譚 – (mystery stories), 推理小説 (detective story), and so on

Finally you have your sources, which well, I went out of the way to link a bunch! hahaha! If you have some useful broad search terms or sites that you think is particularly cool for LWT, then put them down below. You’re now ready to put it into a spacer program. I recommend:

Dani’s Space Inserter!

This is an awesome tool to space out those Japanese words, though not always completely correct and accurate, its pretty darn close and can save you lots of time! It helps with LWT very much! I personally use the MeCab setting myself.

Supposedly there are others out there, but I’ve never heard of them, or seen them, or apparently used them. So if you have any to recommend, plug em down below.

More Random Tips:

  • do as much Japanese – Japanese as you can. The more you can limit English the better! I personally try and show the kana readings for the kanji first, followed by any Japanese explanations, and then only followed by English explanations if necessary. If you’re just starting out, this is not really practical, as English is still your primarily used language, but when you can start switching into Japanese only, I recommend doing it. Use JP only dictionaries in your options, and so forth.
  • Keep one large story by itself, or group small texts according to themes: Blog entries about Cats for instance, News about Technology, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Haiku…
  • utilize the exporting feature with sentences for anki, or use surusu’s browser mcd maker alongside lwt
  • choose stories that are within your realm of learning. Sorta how you go about choosing things for Tadoku, you choose for LWT. You do not want to pour into a text where almost 100% of the words are unknown (unless of course you absolutely have to because you’re a beginner). Aim for about 75-80% of words known. This helps you guess the other words in context, and allows you to not feel like you’re being bogged down.
  • read through text several times before doing anything
  • First try to guess what something means based on surrounding info, then look it up.
  • For phrases/words/sentences that are giving you a hard time to say, plop that into rhinospeak or a similar site
  • don’t forget the wonders of Speech to Text programs for transposing books you own into written format in half the time!

Got any other words of wisdom? Let us know below. I’m still starting out in my discovery of the cool features of LWT and how to manipulate it best for Japanese, and the most effective way of putting into my daily schedule, so all experiences are welcome!

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  1. […] are already a great deal of excellent webposts discussing the benefits, usage, and installation of Learning with Texts. So, with this post I hope to merely introduce the use of […]

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  • Read More or Die! 2011

    _2011 End Results_
    Total read for Tadoku:
    __433.3 pages!__
    Placement: 115/188
    October 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 97/120
    End Tally: 59.2
    July 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 86/142
    End Tally: 195.6
    April 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 62/106
    End Tally: 154.5
    January 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 84/99
    End Tally: 24
    August 2010 Contest:
    Placement: 20/41
    End Tally: 160

  • Read Or Die 2013

    Goal: 600
    Total: 906.26
    blew my goal outta the water!

    March 2-Week:
    Goal: 125

    Goal: 250
    Total: 314

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