Removing Conjugation Barriers

If you've been browsing around NihongoShark for any length of time, then you probably know that I think learning vocabulary is just about the best thing that you can do in order to improve your Japanese.

The more words you know, the more you can understand various forms of Japanese content. The more forms of Japanese content that you can understand, the easier — the less painful — it becomes to get high volumes of level-appropriate exposure to Japanese. 

Reaching a high level of comprehension is pretty amazing because it skyrockets your progression from "kind of advanced" to "very advanced." For example, learning 20 new Japanese words was a lot of work when I was just a beginner. Nowadays, it happens without me noticing because I'm just reading books and articles, watching TV shows and YouTube videos, playing video games, etc.

So, yeah, increasing vocabulary is awesome.

Verbs are special, though. If you don't know all of the many ways that a verb can be conjugated, then you might not understand a Japanese verb that you come across, even if you've learned its dictionary form already.

This is especially a problem with listening. You hear some unfamiliar string of kana attached to the end of a verb stem, and, since you're unfamiliar with it, you get tripped up. Next thing you know you've failed to keep up with the speaker, and you miss the meaning of the entire sentence. It used to happen to me a lot when I was at a lower level.

Long story short, we can't just learn verbs. We also need to learn the many ways in which verbs are conjugated.

Usually, books and classes do this by gradually introducing various verb conjugations and their meanings/uses over an extended period of time — years, in most cases.

I say we do something different: Let's learn 95% of Japanese verb conjugations right now.

I say "learn" in the sense of "learn of" or "find out about." I do not mean "learn" in the sense of "master," which, I'm sad to say, will take a considerable bit of time and effort.

That's fine.

We can master verb conjugations as we make our way through the hundreds of lessons that are waiting for us after completing Bunkai Beast.

For now, we can just get to know verb conjugations a bit better. That's what we'll be doing for the next two sections of this course.

I'm tempted to repeat this 345 times:

Please do not try to memorize conjugation patterns as you read the following section of the course. Our goal is not memorization... yet.

Have you ever heard the following age-old advice about giving a speech?
Tell them what you're going to tell them. 
Tell them. 
Tell them what you told them.

We can make our own version for learning Japanese conjugation patterns:
Learn what you're going to learn. 
Learn it. 
Re-learn what you learned.

We're just in the first part of that series. The intro. So there's no need to worry that maybe we're not retaining every single thing we're seeing here.

I'm going on and on about this because I'm about to hit you with A LOT of information. Some of the patterns we'll see are JLPT N4 grammar, some are N5, and others aren't likely to show up on any level of the JLPT, as they're too conversational.

There's nothing wrong with taking your time mastering the verb conjugation patterns we're about to cover. That goes for anything in this course, really. There will be hundreds and hundreds of Japanese lessons we can go through after Bunkai Beast. Somewhere along the way, things will begin to click. 

Anyway, one thing is pretty cool:

Although many people spend several years learning Japanese verb conjugations, it's possible for us to skim over a large percentage of them in this one little section of Bunkai Beast.

Well, two sections. But more on that later.

Lets dive in...

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