Feedback - Verb conjugations

I’m loving the new detailed grammar points, but I thought I’d give this bit of feedback on one I’m haveing difficulty with.

I’ve started う verb conjugations for past negative, and I’ve found it isn’t really quite enough for studying. Within this one grammar point we have different conjugations across 18 different verb types (both casual and formal), not including the exception. One point of SRS study across all of this isn’t quite enough, and I’m finding it really difficult to learn them all through BunPro. I think it’s quite misleading to suggest the level of effort to learn this is in this condensed to a single study point. This isn’t how I’ve studied this kind of thing in other languages either.

I know it might be a lot of work, but I would suggest splitting each of these out into their own individual points, or at least grouping conjugations are the same. This would apply across other similar grammar points with conjugations as well.

Thanks!

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I’ve read this post a few times and I think I know what’s tripping you up. Japanese conjugation is always taught like this because it follows a generic pattern of changing one thing then adding a base. Perhaps if you saw this visually it’d click in your brain, I know for me it did. I used this exact resource when first starting and I’ve linked it to people here who have found great success with it too. By the end, you probably won’t even need bunpro because you’ll be so good at it!

The first 3 parts of the page are relevant to your question, but the entire thing will probably be relevant soon. There’s limitations when teaching conjugation via text vs having the ability to do it via video. Hopefully this helps, if something is still tripping you up let me know and I’ll see if I can help.

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Thanks for the link, I found the resource really helpful and it always helps to have something displayed visually. It’s been bookmarked! :grinning:

I am familiar with verb conjugations, thankfully Japanese isn’t the first language I’ve learned were this is occurs. I think what I’m trying to say is that the way it’s taught on BunPro doesn’t really work well in my opinion.

It has combined all of ‘Type 1’ or うconjugations into one point (as shown in the link above), and I don’t think that suits the SRS model. As the grammar point shows these have different forms for each ending:

+ らなかった
+ わなかった
+ かなかった
+ さなかった
+ たなかった
+ ななかった
+ ばなかった
+ まなかった
+ がなかった

However, the point gets you to memorise all of them at once and then practice by going through each conjugation as an SRS level in both formal and casual, e.g:

SRS1: 座る (Casual)
SRS2: 話す (Casual)
SRS3: 泳ぐ (Formal)
SRS4: 死ぬ (Formal)
etc…

This doesn’t really work, because each conjugation is a point in itself, and by the time you get to SRS4 you will have forgotten it because you haven’t really been practicing it. You don’t even have a chance to practice them all as it combines formal and casual together as well, which is well more than the maximum 12 levels.

Hence, I’m suggesting these different endings should be grouped into different grammar points. Hope that makes sense!

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This is an interesting point. I’m guessing they made it like this because they figure you’ll get practice conjugating with other grammar points.
I wonder if it’d be worth making some “mini games” to practice things like this that have a bunch of combinations? (I’m thinking about keigo.)
@Asher @Jake

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A verb conjugation practice tool is something we have discussed in the past. While we are not 100% sure how to implement it yet, it is definitely something we want to implement.

Diagrams also teach stuff like this really well, so that could be an option. Perhaps putting a picture of the 五十音図 that is used for learning conjugation in Japan along with the grammar explanations would make it a lot easier.

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Thanks for your response both.

I think the Grammar explanations are well written, but a nice visual aid never hurts! Verb conjugation tool would be very useful, I guess it’s just how it’s embedded into the learning process. Glad to here it’s being talked about, I’ll see if I can use any external ones to support me for now. :slight_smile:

I know there’s a lot of conjugations across many different forms so splitting it out across multiple lessons might not be practicle, but I think my focus would be on ensuring the rules have sunk in.

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Hi there, I am recently returned to Bunpro and really enjoying the new N5 improvements ~ so much has changed and it is motivating to see so much care taken with the platform. I have happily purchased a lifetime membership! :slight_smile: This one lesson is the only time so far in Bunpro were I have wished for more detailed information ~ the Group 1 conjugations are for me a bit impenetrable. Even after watching the Cure Dolly video on the topic.

As for verb conjugation drills, I discovered this site: Don's Japanese Conjugation Drill

I am not sure who Don of Don’s Conjugation Drills is (and I’m sure this may be a well-known resource), but I have found it very helpful to cement some of the more memory resistant verbs in my head.

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From having a quick look at this, it is actually a really really good tool! (very similar to the type of thing we would want to build here)

I for one didn’t know it existed. Thanks for the link! I am sure lots of people will appreciate it :bowing_man:

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This is a lovely little tool. Thank you for linking it, I really appreciate it.

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Thanks for this (and for your first post on the forum)!

I was doing some research today and I found a few that I think might be good as well!

  1. Don's Japanese Conjugation Drill

Mentioned by @gasshou above, this was created by someone on WK, it has multiple options, and you can pretty much customise it to practice whatever conjugations as you like. Tries to get you to understand and comprehend the change it’s asking of you and also includes trick questions.

  1. Japanese Conjugation Practice by Bailey Snyder

Slightly more barebones than the above, but is more of a quick and dirty approach to practicing.

  1. WaniConjugation

Really useful for those with a WaniKani account, this links to your API and asks you to conjugate verbs / adjectives you have learnt through the tool. You can select which types of conjugations you would like to practice as well. Good for those focused on specific vocab practice.

@Asher I’m not sure how you or the BP team feel about it, but it might be worth considering to add the first one as a study resource on the BunPro conjugation grammar points?

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Great idea! I think until we get around to doing it ourselves, then adding it to resources is a good interim :ok_hand:. I will add it to a few of the different conjugation heavy grammar points today.

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The nice thing about those kinds of conjugation drills is that - and maybe this is a bit of anathema to a site that is literally drilling grammar, but - it eventually gets you so familiar with the conjugated verb that you stop conjugating it and simply employ the word/phrase/sentence as its own stand-alone entity. To wit: I heard the theory a long time ago that in our native languages, while we start by conjugating things (I hear little kids say things like “I eated it” or “I knowed it”) we eventually get so familiar with the conjugated forms in context that we simply treat the conjugated words as vocab (so we don’t think of “ate” as eat-past-tense, but as its own vocab word to describe when eating occurred), and eventually whole phrases as vocab (Which is why the homonym “eight <-> ate” would never trip us up, because we know the phrase “I eight it” isn’t part of our vocab, except in puns, which is what brings humor to such things). So, like, we develop a “vocab of phrases”, or a “conceptual vocab”, like, vocab to convey an entire concept instead of a single definition, until we can treat nearly complete sentences as vocab. In theory.

(Incidentally, jazz/improv training is supposedly similar; virtuosos get so familiar with how notes sound together and how chord changes progress that they don’t think about individual notes, or even how one chord moves to another through harmonic theory and cadences, but can craft an entire melodic phrase - a whole, complete, developing thought or motif - that resolves and interacts with the harmonic base ((or even purposefully doesn’t)). In other words, they’ve experimented and played so many notes so many times in so many iterations and against so many harmonies, that they don’t need to think about “a-7 → D7 → GMaj7”, and you’ll hear anyone with jazz training speak in a shorthand - “two five one turnaround” or “tritone sub” or “rhythm changes” - to describe jazz grammar or patterns or entire formats that they expect other players to have fluency with. Then they can simply play/speak fluently, and at that level of proficiency the artistry is not who can play the most correct notes, but who can truly craft something new out of the notes/words everyone’s speaking.)

This is why I love the Custom Sentence and Cram so much on this site, because while I like the puzzle of thinking through the grammar and watching things change, I want to get to that level of fluency where I have entire phrases/sentences at my disposal, and am not slowed down by thinking through “how do I say ‘I didn’t eat?’ taberu → tabenai → tabenakatta”; I want the entire lick/phrase/motif at my disposal. And so drill games like that, where I’m being exposed to conjugated forms and their concepts over and over again (as opposed to having the grammar point and then being left to work through it myself), are ideal. I’m hoping to eventually develop ‘an ear for things’. Like, in English, I never even heard of ‘adjective order’ until a year or two ago, but it I am so familiar with English that I know saying “old, blue, big house” sounds off, and the natural way to say it is “big, old, blue house”. This is why I’m always like “more sentences!”, even on the ‘easy’ stuff, and would love if we could dictate our review cadence on sites like this and WaniKani. I want to develop an ear for Japanese, not just the tools to craft it.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk. Like and subscribe.

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