Friday, May 29, 2015

About Easy Breezy

Easy Breezy Japanese is intended to be a guide for self-study of the Japanese language, with the intent to help give direction to solo students go from absolute zero knowledge of Japanese to fluency, helping build solid language foundations while teaching you how to teach yourself Japanese in a structured way. The blog can also be used as an additional resource for classroom students who want to better understand their classroom material and make sure they're really learning Japanese and not just completing coursework. I intend to approach Japanese learning from a casual point of view, using personal linguistics knowledge to present a method of learning Japanese without knowing much about linguistics as a student.

I originally started trying to learn Japanese with the intent to work in the video game industry. I quickly found that self-study was incredibly difficult for me. When I was finally able to study Japanese in a formal classroom setting, I learned more in a couple of weeks than I had learned in my five or so years trying to teach myself Japanese.

I quickly became fascinated with language acquisition and wondered why I was able to learn so much more easily in a classroom. While having a teacher is definitely a plus, I'm generally better at learning things on my own anyway. I usually was bored in other classes and found I would learn better if I just studied on my own, but Japanese was the opposite. I wanted to find what made such a difference.

Going on to study linguistics and second language acquisition and analysing the structure of classroom method, I soon began to realize what made classroom learning so much easier for me. Language acquisition outside of your native language requires a great deal of structure and direction that doesn't normally come with self-study in any field.

Using what I learned, I decided to apply these concepts I was thinking about to teaching myself Korean. I was able to learn Korean quickly and easily even without the help of a classroom setting (though I did end up studying Korean in the classroom, which I found to be more of a formality than anything -- I learned more through self-study than I did in the classroom, even).

Normally when you study on your own, you're left to giant labyrinth in which various resources and concepts are hidden. To successfully study Japanese, you need to be able to navigate to the useful resources whenever you need them, and visit all of the concepts in order to really build a solid language foundation.

A classroom is like a map of this labyrinth, with a guide helping you find your way with every step, and helping point out where all the traps are so you don't go the wrong way, too.

That's what I want this blog and site to be. Originally, I had planned on writing a book or book series to help bring classroom structure and direction to the Japanese solo student, but I quickly realized how much better it would be to have this as a resource available online.

I don't believe that knowledge should be something only for the privileged who can afford expensive classroom instruction. I want to be able to reach as many people as possible and give them the most useful tools I can give them. And so I've decided to start this blog and develop it into a full "course" to help solo students learn as much Japanese as they could learn by getting a Japanese degree at a university.

Fortunately, if you're intending to self-study Japanese to use in a career, a degree is not as useful as ability. With a high Japanese proficiency and something like JLPT certification, you'll be much more qualified than someone with a B.A. in Japanese who fumbles over their words with a thick accent, and employers will realize this easily.

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