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Easy texts for students.
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ncc1701



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2004 6:03 pm    Post subject: Easy texts for students. Reply with quote

Hello!

I am looking for web pages with easy japanese texts for students. I have finished a year in a institute and now I would like to practice reading some texts.

The level I am looking for is 4kyu of Noken or easier, with little kanji and easy grammar.

I have some texts for japanese children, but it is hard for me to understand them.

Thanks a lot!

Best regards.
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tony
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Joined: 27 Nov 2003
Posts: 750

PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2004 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also tried reading children's books, a strategy which worked well for me with other languages. I had the same problem you had-- the really elementary texts for children are hard to read because they use a lot of sentence fragments, and what I can only guess is a sort of baby talk, none of which looks anything like the language one learns from a textbook or in a course in school.

I don't know of any web sites with reading texts graded by JLPT level (or any similar difficulty ranking). If you find any, please post them here. A site with folk stories written with furigana is at
http://www.digital-lib.nttdocomo.co.jp/kikakuten/mukashi/mukashi1/
It is worth a try; the language is fairly simple but more standard than in the elementary children's books.

Offline, of course, there are several texts with graded readings; one is Chaplin and Martin's "Manual of Reading and Writing," and another is a book by O'Neill the title of which I've forgotten. But these are artificial texts; perhaps you are looking for something a little more real.

I have been using two strategies for reading practice: One is reading poetry (haiku and tanka, mostly) and folk song lyrics. One would expect poetry to be iffy, since poetic diction in many languages is quite different from ordinary speech or writing. But I have actually found most of what I have looked at pretty straightforward as far as grammar and sentence structure goes, and in surface meaning, at least. And the shortness of the poems and songs, despite expressing complete thoughts, is helpful. But I have a special interest in this kind of literature, anyway, so this strategy might not be as appealing to others as it is to me.

The other is the sentences database which WaKan accesses. Just reading through a lot of those sentences has been great reading practice, as well as providing invaluable pointers on usage. It's a mixed bag, of course; sentences at all levels of difficulty-- but it can be useful trying to glean what one can from a sentence which is too difficult to understand completely, especially with judicious use of the popup tool.

Good luck in finding suitable texts! Anyone else have suggestions?

--Tony
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wakan
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Joined: 18 Oct 2003
Posts: 923
Location: Prague, Czech Republic

PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2004 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Until you're familiar with most Japanese grammatical forms and structure of longer sentences it is indeed very hard to read even children's books. I had a very hard time trying to locate some Japanese reading materials directed at language learners.

The best site I've found is a bank of reading materials from Ken Ijikevich: http://home.wlu.edu/~ujiek/1.jpn.html. They're not that artificial like typical textbook texts, are concerning Japanese culture/daylife and they're very easy to read (besides you can paste them all into Wakan). On the page, click on the first link (「日常生活に見る日本の文化」読み教材) and there on any except the top link. Each link leads to some story. Another good bank of texts is http://contest.thinkquest.gr.jp/tqj1999/20190/.

But I must admit that in the end I've given up searching, bought two books about Japanese grammar ("All about particles" and "Handbook of Japanese verbs") and a very helpful "Making Sense of Japanese", learned all the verb forms and particles and ended up reading Sherlock Holmes in Japanese which I rented from the local library (also downloaded english translation for bilingual reading). It's not that childish book (like most of the fairy tales) - uses kanji (with furigana) - which is good because you're not that easily lost within the sentence. Also the sentence types used are quite standard (except Sherlock's jargon Wink ).

Familiarizing with various verb forms does not take so much time (but needs a lot of practice) - you can look for example at Jim Breen's grammar summary http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/j_gram_summ.html. It is short but contains most of the important verb forms.

There is an awful lack of "graded" texts, but there are loads of bilingual Japanese literature everywhere ("bilingual" - you buy the Japanese & the translation). For example manga (fan-translations are easy to find, in some cases you can even locate commented translations) - but it hasn't worked for me - manga is abundant in abbreviations and slang forms, very tough for beginners. Like I already pointed out, I feel that the best choice are translated books for school children (authors like Astrid Lindgren, etc.) - they use simple but not childish language with only few kanji (with furigana). Sentences are moderately long, and often well structured (divided by commas, etc.) And the translations are often very literal (you can compare the Japanese sentences with English original). However you must be very brave when reading anything in real Japanese, you almost certainly won't have the required vocabulary - but the trick is to concentrate on being able to decipher the structure of the sentence - being able to tell "who does what". It is surprising how little vocabulary is needed to be able to discern the general meaning of the sentence - and the english translation will fill the missing bits. In most cases doing too much dictionary hunting is slow and boring.

You can also try bilingual books (like "The Japanese Written Word" or "Breaking into Japanese Literature") - however there are few of them and they're in most cases intended for advanced students. If you would like to read manga, an excellent source of information are "Mangajin's Basic Japanese Through Comics" books - all translations are well commented here. Or the "Nipponia" magazine whose Japanese version comes with furigana (but it's quite advanced).

Filip
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ncc1701



Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello.

Thanks for your replies. I have read some texts and most of them are too hard to read for me. Others (in the web with a mouse) with one star may be OK with some effor.

I have printed some pages and I will show them to my teacher, so she can tell me if they are OK to practice in the summer (in the time between studing kanji and studing vocabulary hehe).

Best regards!
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wakan
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Joined: 18 Oct 2003
Posts: 923
Location: Prague, Czech Republic

PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2004 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If by any chance you stumble across any easy and entertaining texts or texts with detailed translation explanation, let me know. I like reading (contrary to talking - where I constantly embarass myself Embarassed - I know I know, one shouldn't expect to become fluent unless he talks all the time, but... Razz). Also a good source of reading excitement might be Japanese computer games. Or stuff for kids - for example at kid's goo (http://kids.goo.ne.jp) - but most of these are unfortunately too "high-level" too.

Filip
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rossfeld



Joined: 27 May 2004
Posts: 29
Location: Los Angeles, CA USA

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2004 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately, there's a shortage of good reading material to practice with online. I've known about that reading bank link though for a while and it's pretty good.

Here's another one to check out.
http://www.indiana.edu/%7Ejapan/kamishibai/index.html

Mainichi also has a couple of different versions of its newspaper for elementary and junior high students. There's no translations, unfortunately, but it's good material to mess with.
http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/edu/maishou/
http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/edu/maichuu/

[edit] Oh yeah, this site has some interesting stuff too. It even has some quicktime video and audio.

http://www.ak.cradle.titech.ac.jp/Rise/top.htm
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tony
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Joined: 27 Nov 2003
Posts: 750

PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2004 11:23 pm    Post subject: A couple of graded reading passages... Reply with quote

Among the links which were posted recently by Rossfeld, there is one which gives some one or two paragraph reading passages which are at specified levels of difficulty. There aren't a whole lot of elementary ones, and they're not the most exciting reading in the world, but I think they're worth the effort of reading through. They provide information on words spelled with kanji when you click on them, so using Wakan's popup tool is not necessary. The link is:

http://www.geocities.com/easykanji/

Too bad there aren't more.

--Tony
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Tom Hodgers
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Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 253
Location: Valencia, Venezuela via Liverpool and Manchester, England

PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2004 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Guys,

Ive just been checking out an old site I used to follow quite a time ago.

http://www.all.co.nz/

This is the web page for Able Language Laboratories in New Zealand.

For beginner level go to the box named Japanese Courses and click on No.8 - Web based Japanese Self-teaching materials for Beginners, if a pop-up identity box opens, sign in as Guest Student. This course has 30 lessons each starting with a dialogue in Japanese (at the bottom of the page is a button for turning on Rubies to show Furigana).

For Intermediate/Advanced level look at No.9 Japanese Modern-Life Stories, an on-going collection of essays and No.7 Edo Castle (its history - still under construction). Both of these collections also have the Ruby button at the bottom of each page.

Ill keep on rummaging through my large collection of files and links to see if I can come up with some more.

Bye for now,

Tom
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tony
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Joined: 27 Nov 2003
Posts: 750

PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2004 4:41 am    Post subject: Japanese Self-teaching materials for Beginners Reply with quote

Thanks, Tom.

The Beginners' course is exactly the same material as in the first volume of the published book "Japanese for Busy People." I wonder in which form it was published first, and whether the web site might be in violation of copyright. My copy of "JBP" is in Roumaji, and some time ago I went to the trouble of making a kanji and kana version of the texts for myself; and here this was probably available at the time, had I only known it.

--Tony
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rossfeld



Joined: 27 May 2004
Posts: 29
Location: Los Angeles, CA USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 27, 2004 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tom, listed that jbrowse toolbar thing, and on that site were some more links to reading material. These are a bit more advanced though.

http://aozora.gr.jp/ - apparently the largest online japanese text repository
http://www9.big.or.jp/~tobira/story/ - some smaller stories that might be easier
http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/japanese/ - University of Virginia texts

Also, I wanted to link this before, but for some reason the japanese section is down.

http://momiji.arts-dlll.yorku.ca/japanese.html

This has some great study material (including videos) for each of the classes at this Canadian university. Unfortunately, the sections have been down the last few days. Hopefully, it's only temporary.

[edit] nevermind, some of the course materials are functioning again. Just click on the lecture note sections.
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juha
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2004 8:37 pm    Post subject: easy reading Reply with quote

Well, the mileage of "easy" varies enormously with the reader, but why not try http://www1.cncm.ne.jp/~hhanda/horizon.html?
Two other novels can be found at http://www1.cncm.ne.jp/~hhanda/novel.htm.
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juha
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 5:25 am    Post subject: more shousetsu Reply with quote

This site has a collection of 小説:
http://www.japanpen.or.jp/e-bungeikan/novel/novel-subhome.html
I stumbled across it a few days ago and so have read just this one:
http://www.japanpen.or.jp/e-bungeikan/novel/araiman.html
I liked it a lot. Here's a short passage:

西暦二〇〇〇年の大晦日を、柊真一郎は写真スタジオの中ですごした。どこにも出かけなかったし、誰も訪ねてはこなかった。

 写真スタジオの一角が応接コーナーになっていて、テーブルや椅子、ソファー、オーディオ・ビデオのセット、観葉植物といったものが置かれている。その日の午後、柊はソファーに座り珈琲を飲みながら一ヵ月分の新聞に眼を通し、たまっていた雑誌や郵便物の整理をした。

 分厚いコンクリート壁に囲まれた写真スタジオの中は、しんと静まりかえっていてもの音ひとつしない。南洋の海底に沈んだ潜水夫みたいな気分だった。ジュール・ヴェルヌの『海底二万哩』に出てきそうな、古いタイプの潜水服を着た年寄りの潜水夫だ。彼は今、改訂の岩に腰かけて、じっと助けを待っている。命綱が切れてしまい、身動きがとれないのだ。しかし、誰も助けにきてはくれなかった。耳をすましても、聞こえてくるのは自分が呼吸する音だけだった。その上、だんだん眠くなってきた。酸素がなくなりかけているのだろう。このまま眠ってしまうと、永遠に眠りつづけてしまいそうな気がした。それは、まずい。しかし襲いかかってくる睡魔だけは、どうすることもできなかった。柊は、整理していた郵便物をテーブルの上に放り投げると、身体をソファーに横たえた。それからゆっくり目蓋をとじた。

 目蓋の裏のスクリーンを、熱帯の魚たちが通りすぎていった。子供の外套ほどの大きさの真赤な魚が近づいてきた。長く伸びた背ビレや尾ヒレをひらひらさせながら、優雅なダンスを踊った。水中で燃えあがるたいまつの炎みたいにきれいだった。電話のベルが鳴ったのは、その時だった。

 柊の眼前にあるテーブルの上には、電話機が二台、置いてある。黒いやつと灰色のやつ。黒い方は以前からつかっているもので、写真スタジオの専用電話だった。仕事上のうちあわせは、全てこの電話で行う。灰色の方は、プライベート用につかうために、つい三日前にとりつけたものだ。
________________
(BTW, typos like 改訂 instead of 海底 (as in 改訂の岩) are quite typical.)

The short stories/novels are in .html/.pdf formats; be warned that about half the .pdf files cannot be read properly with the latest Acrobat plug-in.
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manekineko



Joined: 29 May 2004
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 8:43 pm    Post subject: another children story page to you Reply with quote

Take a look at this page http://www.his.atr.jp/~ray/stories/ it have classical stories with literal translations, and it seems that they are the online version of the printed books.
You can also try the two volumes of the Dictionary of japanese grammar (basic and intermediate) of Seiichi Machino and Michio Tsuitsui, published by The japan times. And I agree that trying to read children books is a good beginning, you just have to select them very carefully, as others have told you, try bilingual or, as in my own case, by at amazon.co.jp for example, clasic english children books, lets say a Rudyard Kipling story, and then download the web version on any electronic library and compare both texts, and like the japanese has very few kanji, rewrite the story using the kanji and you will see that being this now contextualized, you will find very easy to memorize it, whether it is form your jlp list or not.
I hope this will help you.
manekineko
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tony
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Joined: 27 Nov 2003
Posts: 750

PostPosted: Sat Oct 02, 2004 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you-- these should be fun to go through.

--Tony
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spurrymoses



Joined: 18 Mar 2004
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found a nice site for JLPT level 4 standard (or there-abouts) - I'm just starting to use it now.

It's actually a site set up for Australian High School Students (final year). It has quite a few readings (in PDFformat) using only basic Kanji. I'd say the Kanji use is about JLPT 4 equivalent, because I can read almost all the Kanji and I only know about 150. There's streaming audio with exercises as well, so quite a useful site.

http://hsc.csu.edu.au/japanese/
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