Sep 23, 2008
The JPPGG System For Learning Japanese is now Japanese Grammar Plug and Play so JGPP
If you are studying Japanese right now, and are desirous to improve your speaking ability, then this article is for you. In this article, I am going to share with you my Japanese learning method called, JPPGG or Japanese Plug and Play Ghetto Grammar.
The benefit of using this system is that while you are building up your vocabulary you will be given the power to create exciting sentences which serve to reinforce the retention of your vocabulary and significantly increase your Japanese speaking ability. The only thing holding you back, is the amount of vocabulary that you yourself commit to learn, and memorize.
Towards the bottom of the article, I give 10 commonly used Japanese grammar constructions that you can manipulate to 'drill and kill' your way towards better Japanese. All you have to do is plug in your favorite verb, and play.
Plug and play style of learning Japanese is a lot of fun. When first learning Japanese it seemed like an insurmountable task because Japanese is such a different language from my own (English). So I took everything I was given to learn with and purposefully made it interesting in any way possible. I wouldn't practice this way in front of everybody, but when I was alone or with a good friend, I always had a good time making interesting word combinations.
One word which delighted me, no matter what sentence I used it in, was the word onara suru or "to fart". Knowing that single word made the dull process of learning boring grammar fun. Instead of yawning during study time, learning Japanese and Japanese grammar became exciting because each new grammar meant new and funny sentences that I could create, make and test on the Japanese people themselves. And let me tell you, I would be making funny sentences all year long. This is what eventually was the real determining factor, that helped me get better at Japanese.
For example, from the constructions below you could say, "I eat beans in order to fart." - onara suru tame ni mame o taberu - This type of sentence makes me laugh; its fun and helpful to my Japanese language learning. I mean the verb, to go, is fun and all, but other verbs, like fart, burp, burp, belch, squeak or whatever other interesting words I find make sentences that make sense, are useful and really come to life. All the tediousness of second language learning fades away. I hoot and laugh just contemplating the potential meanings of the new, clever sentences I can construct.
But seriously, there was a time that I would do whatever it took to improve my Japanese. Using my JPPGG in this extraordinary way certainly helped me achieve my Japanese language ability and Japanese language goals. I now boast a vocabulary of over 7000 words using my plug and play system or JPPGG.
Below are just 10 Japanese grammar principles for you to start plugging your vocabulary into. I will give more in later articles, but for now here are 10 really basic ones. These construction all use verbs in their plain form or Base (III).
If you aren't familiar yet with these terms, Base (III) verbs are your every day action verbs taken straight from a dictionary. They have yet to be conjugated or altered in any way. To use the JPPGG, just pick and choose some Japanese verbs that you know or look them up as you like, then plug them into one or all of the 10 constructions below and start making your own unique Japanese sentences, for use in typical Japanese conversations.
*If you are serious about learning Japanese, I recommend getting a dictionary. If you are unsure which kind to buy, I recommend dictionaries from Sanseido Press.
There are basically two types of dictionaries. The Wa-Ei (Japanese to English) dictionary, or, the Ei-Wa (English to Japanese) dictionary. Larger dictionaries that contain both the Ei-Wa and Wa-Ei in a single volume are also available. The average Wa-Ei dictionary costs around US $14.
Also called plain form verbs, base (III) verbs always ends by itself or in some sort of u vowel ending syllable cluster like, u, ku, gu, su, zu, tsu, tzu, bu, fu, mu, nu, yu, etc. Feel free to plug any verb that you like into these JPPGG constructions. Using 'off the wall' verbs like skate boarding, surfing, frying, laying, squatting, will help you retain the essential Japanese grammar longer over time in your long term memory. In this way your vocabulary will have time to develop without being stagnated by your grammar ability. I guarantee that you will not only have fun making Japanese sentences, but you wll also remember your vocabulary words faster, and retain them longer.
Don't feel obligated to use common verbs. Instead, think of some neat, obscure verb that you would like to use then look it up in the dictionary and go for it! Be a rebel! I dare you to get out of that old school mentality and utilize some word like, onara suru (v. to fart). Nobody will ever know what you are saying unless you take it outside and use it on somebody but hey, even the great Tennoheika, or Emporer himself has occasions where he will honorifically fart.
**Preliminary one point ghetto advice from a plug and play master **
- wa is the particle that I have always defined as , "As for ~" where ~ is anything at all, even nothing. Although there is not always an exact equivalent for a Japanese word to some words in English, I have found that thinking of the Japanese word, 'koto' as "the thing of ~". So koto ga and koto wa together, its meaning does sound weird to the ears of a gaijin (foreigner), as tripped out as any English we have ever heard might be, but you learn to accept these kinds of differences between languages because we know that a little disregard for proper sounds will help with our eventual improvement in our Japanese speaking ability.
As of yet I have found no better way of describing these Japanese words in English, and they seem to be sufficient interpretations in the situations in which they were used. Again, although they might at first sound a little awkward, we overlook the formalities for our long range goals of Japanese language mastery, and we get over it. Koto wa or koto ga could roughly be translated as "As for the thing of~ ".
1. Verb(base III) koto ga, koto wa - the thing of verb, the thing of verbing
2. Verb(base III) tame ni - in order to verb
3. Verb(base III) mae ni - before I verb, before verbing.
4. Verb(base III) koto ga arimasu - Sometimes I verb
5. Verb(base III) koto ga yoku arimasu - I do a lot of verb or I often verb.
6. Verb(base III) koto ga amari arimasu - I don't often verb, I rarely verb.
7. Verb(base III) koto ga dekimasu - I am able to verb, I can verb
8. Verb(base III) deshou - I will probably verb, or the verb will probably happen, or it might verb.
9. Verb(base III) koto ni suru - decide to verb, I resolved within myself to verb, I have chosen to verb, etc.
10. Verb(base III) hou ga ii desu - Its better to verb, or you should verb
11. Verb(base III) yo(u) ni - so that verb, like verbing, in similitude of verbing
In the old days, when the grammar-translation methods of foreign language teaching were king, my JPPGG and other similar methods were known as, substitution drills. I prefer to call this way of studying Japanese JPPGG, or, Japanese Plug and Play Ghetto Grammar. Instead of substituting, we plug and instead of drilling, we play. I prefer playing to drilling any day. Hopefully by now you understand the idea behind JPPGG and that my goal in creating this language learning system is to help you get better at Japanese in less time than it would take traditionally.
I'm big on multitasking and didn't want to see young Japanese language learners held back by the amount of vocabulary they know. Instead, my hope was that while the Japanese language learners learn more and more vocabulary (nouns, verbs, adjectives, expressions, salutations, adverbs, particles etc.)
The amount of grammar knowledge they have wouldn't prevent them from being able to say at least some simple sentences. Once they understand how the constructions of the grammar principles are made, they can then make altogether new sentences, drilling home Japanese into the fibers of their being making them capable Japanese conversationalists.
The system works no matter what the name you substitute and drill or you plug and play new words into the grammar constructions as you learn them. Go ahead, drill and kill your way, or should I say, plug and play your way towards better Japanese, I dare you.
As always do your best!