How To Read Manga Better, Part 5

Part 5: The Right Kind Of Practice

As long as you are conscious of sound effects, basic grammar, whole words instead of just kanji, and the role of loan words and colloquialisms used by even young children, you’re good to go. From this point onward, it’s all about practice, but notably, the right kind of practice.

Some easy tips:

Read something you enjoy. You’re never going to be committed to finding unfamiliar kanji and looking up unfamiliar terms, and putting them together in real, coherent sentences, if you are not emotionally committed to what you are reading.

Understand the genre. If you’re reading a sappy romance, expect to encounter a lot of subtle terms about love, emotions, and general feelings. Treat “love” as a core concept, not just a character, and it’ll make things easier.

Know your limits. You can’t possibly know everything in advance. No one does. Know when to take a break and come back to something later. Speaking about that…

Re-read as you make more progress. Some of the greatest joy I have ever obtained comes from reading something a couple of years later and understanding far more of it. This is so that you can feel your progress in your own heart.

Better to learn a small thing completely, than a large thing half-way. If you can understand one small, but complete sentence, you will feel as if you are making progress. More importantly, you will be making progress. Finally…

Connect what you learn to your own thoughts. You won’t retain nearly as much if you aren’t thinking actively. If you remember a particular phrase because of a particular manga situation, all the better. You have likely formed a long-term memory.

In addition to all of this, Japanese is truly reinforced by using it!! I cannot stress this enough. This is something I have learned the hard way. The best way to turn what you learn from reading manga into active, living Japanese is to find a friendly environment to use it, to receive positive, constructive criticism and reinforcement, and to get a greater feel for the language through using it.

Of course, this is something I emphasize in my own Japanese tutoring at Learn Out Live.  I seek to extend to others the knowledge I have gained from hard personal experience and a great deal of experimentation. I did not have enough help when I was learning. I hope I have done my small part to help you.

This concludes “How To Read Manga Better.”

Article first published as How To Read Manga Better, Part 5 on Technorati.

J Sensei

About J Sensei

Blogger, writer, linguist, former Japanese> English translator, rusty in French, experienced in Japanese, fluent English native. Writing for and various blogs. Skype: jeremiah.bourque (messages always welcome). E-mail: [email protected]
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