How to use Free Software to learn Japanese, and more.

Sentence mining

November 30, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Sentence mining is a process of extracting sentences that contain unknown words from the content you read, watch or listen to in your target language and adding them to Anki in a form of targeted sentence cards (TSCs). You put an example sentence in the question field and the definitions, pictures and pronunciations in the answer field.

Sentence mining and immersion are the two most important components of our method. Immersion provides you with new vocabulary to be mined, and mined sentences become fuel that advances your language learning.

Finding your own sentences is much more fun than learning from a premade deck, or, god forbid, a textbook. Because you're creating Anki cards out of vocabulary found in your immersion, you're always learning what is relevant to you. Once you reach this stage, it is way harder to quit Japanese, as the foundation is already in place.

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Retiming subtitles

October 13, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Japanese subtitles can be found in many places. Often after downloading an archive with subtitles for your show you find that the subtitles are not in sync with the video files you have on your computer. In this article let's discuss what you can do to sync them.

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One target sentences

September 10, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Let's define a "target" as any unknown piece of information in a given sentence in a foreign language. It can be either a word or a grammar structure. We can divide all sentences we encounter while immersing in our target language into three groups:

  1. 0T, zero-target. Sentences that don't contain anything you don't already know.
  2. 1T, one-target. Sentences that contain one unknown piece of information.
  3. 2T+, MT, multi-target. Sentences that contain multiple unknown pieces of information.

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FAQ

June 17, 2021 — Tatsumoto

This is Tatsumoto's AJATT FAQ. You can search questions you're interested in if you press Ctrl+f. I'm going to update this article as I receive more questions. If your question hasn't been answered, ask it in our chat.

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Mining from movies and TV-shows

June 05, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Sentence mining is the process of picking sentences from your immersion and making Anki cards. Each sentence has one unknown piece of information, which is referred to as target word.

To mine sentences from movies and TV-shows you are going to need the mpv video player, and a plugin for mpv called mpvacious.

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Learning Kanji

May 25, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Unlike kana which you can learn in a matter of few days no matter what method you pick, learning kanji is apparently more difficult, and there are many methods of doing it.

To pick the right method you have to understand why you want to learn kanji in the first place. The "practice how you play" principle applies here as well. Kanji do not exist in a vacuum, instead they're used to writing Japanese words, so in order to "learn" them all you need to do is learn words. To learn a word means to memorize how it's read and what it means. Over time as you keep learning words you unconsciously get better at recognizing the kanji.

We advise against learning kanji readings in isolation. Very often a kanji character has a number of completely different readings. Not only learning all of them is an enormous task, but it's impossible to apply the knowledge to real native content when reading.

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Resources

May 17, 2021 — Tatsumoto

This is the Ajatt-Tools Resources List. With the help of our community we've gathered the links to help you in your Japanese studies. We prioritize libre software and content that you can download for free. Everyone is welcome to suggest more resources in our chat.

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Foreword

May 03, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Congratulations! You've taken your first step towards learning Japanese!

I'm Tatsumoto. I'm primarily known for a Telegram channel with focus on helping foreigners learn Japanese language.

This site is a quickstart guide for the subscribers and anyone who wants to build a solid understanding of the Japanese language. We focus on understanding before speaking, or input before output. We believe doing so is the shortest path to fluency, because you avoid whole groups of problems that come with premature output, such as foreign accent and grammar mistakes. This approach makes the journey easy and fun because from day one you are encouraged to learn from compelling content made for native speakers of your target language. Most people who persevered and reached fluency watched their favorite TV shows in Japanese and read lots of books and manga every day. No amount of brute force can get you there, so forget about traditional approaches such as taking classes or hiring a tutor.

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Setting up Yomichan

April 24, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Yomichan is a browser extension with a pop-up dictionary that allows you to look up unknown words with the hover of a mouse. On top of that Yomichan can be set up to create Anki cards from the words which you look up.

The process of picking sentences from your immersion and making Anki cards is called sentence-mining or sentence-picking. Each mined sentence has to contain one unknown piece of information, which is referred to as target word.

You don't necessarily have to pick an entire sentence, but if you're a TSC user it is not necessary to keep mined items short. When you're out in the wild picking sentences, select the ones that are interesting to you. Your goal is not to mine every word.

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Passive listening

April 13, 2021 — Tatsumoto

When we talk about immersion, we usually divide it into active and passive. Active immersion requires full attention to the content and can be practiced through reading and watching content in the target language. Passive immersion means listening to the language while in idle activities. When listening passively you're not fully focused on the content, instead you're doing something else while having the speech in your target language play in the background.

We do passive immersion during times in a day when we can't actively engage with the language, such as when cooking, cleaning or commuting. Although your attention is divided during passive immersion, because you're left with no other choice, it is still better compared to no immersion at all.

As noted in the introduction article, there are countless opportunities to do passive listening throughout the day. Make passive listening a habit. Every moment of your life has to be spent interacting with Japanese.

Passive listening is one of the key components of the AJATT method, so it is important to make it as convenient as possible. If preparing immersion content is tedious, you are not going to do it.

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Mining from manga

April 01, 2021 — Tatsumoto

When we read manga, sometimes there's a need to quickly OCR a portion of the screen to look up new words and add sentences to Anki. To do so, you're going to use an optical character recognition program and a few helper tools.

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Table of Contents

March 22, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Tags: guide

Writing Japanese

March 16, 2021 — Tatsumoto

After you've got a few thousand hours of input and can read content made for natives relatively effortlessly it makes sense to start practicing writing Japanese by hand. Bear in mind that being able to do so is not necessary unless you plan to live in Japan. Nowadays writing is done on a keyboard and doesn't require recalling characters from memory. However, writing practice has the potential to improve your overall reading ability.

write japanese

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Introduction to learning Japanese

March 10, 2021 — Tatsumoto

The AJATT site is great. One thing it is bad at, however, is telling up-to-date information about technology and tools one may use. I've got you covered on the tools, and more.

Below is a quick rundown of a typical Japanese learning journey that should get you to basic fluency in less than two years.

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