2

Hello friends,

some people ask questions, that are impossible to follow for beginners like me. If there would be some (basic) explanations about them, (or better say, the kanji's) it would be interesting for people who are learning the language too.

For example:
Not beginner friendly:

Somewhat beginner friendly:

Beginner friendly:

Explanation:
== Not beginner friendly == Someone with basic understanding of Japanese, cannot follow the topic, he/she would not be able to learn from that.

== Somewhat beginner friendly == Someone with basic understanding, would understand some parts of it, as it's explained.

== Beginner friendly == As the kanjis or hard parts are explained, it's easy to understand.

If you try to follow the last question, you totally get the idea behind it, even if you don't know the kanjis which would IMHO definitely help this community.

If I'm wrong, correct me. Thank you for reading

  • 2
    Can you explain what you mean by Wrong / Partial right / Right? – Lukman Jun 3 '11 at 15:07
  • 1
    Calling those questions wrong seems, well, wrong. – Tsuyoshi Ito Jun 3 '11 at 15:14
  • I don't call them wrong :) In my definition the missing explanation makes them "wrong". – Herr Jun 3 '11 at 15:19
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    I would categorize them as "Not beginner friendly" / "Somewhat beginner friendly" / "Beginner friendly" instead :) – Lukman Jun 3 '11 at 15:28
  • Edited. Done :) – Herr Jun 3 '11 at 15:31
9

I believe it is the responsibility of the viewers, as learners, to put some efforts to look up for words in dictionary, rather than having the posters to try and explain every single Japanese word they use in their questions and answers. That said, there are tools that will make looking up for meaning of words easier, such as rikaichan plugin for Firefox, PopJisyo, Jquicktrans dictionary software etc.

But if you still don't understand a word or phrase in a question or answer, you can always ask for clarification from the posters by posting comments. You can even post it as a question by itself. A true learner takes the initiative to ask.

  • Thank you, but rather then for the word, there could at least be some hints that would make the understanding a little bit easier. But you're right, too! – Herr Jun 3 '11 at 15:15
  • Well, rikaichan really looks good. I didn't know that such a plugin exists and i'm a techy. Wow. Thank you! – Herr Jun 3 '11 at 15:32
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As a beginner myself and someone with one of their questions tagged as not being beginner friend it might be helpful if I chime in. In general I agree with @Lukman that some degree of leg work is expected from us beginners to put forth some effort to understand the questions although I do add the caveat that I think that tools such as rikaichan should be in the FAQ and that furigana should also be provided on the site in some way.

Phrasing questions to make them accessible to everyone is likely to be an art at best - I actually thought that the kanji for sensei where basic ones that where quickly learned so I didn't even bother to include the furigana for that reason. It's good to have it pointed out though and over the longer public beta we can all get a feel for how to try and make questions accessible by all.

  • Definitely true. Something essential is missing – Herr Jun 3 '11 at 18:13
  • +1. Furigana would help a lot. – Amanda S Jun 3 '11 at 19:20
3

I think that there are two problems for beginners here. The first is getting some support so that beginners (and non-beginners) can read the kanji written in questions and answers. Hopefully the people in Stack Exchange can work out a solution to allow people to type in a furigana reading for kanji. If anyone doesn't bother to type these in, their questions or answers can be edited by someone to include them. Beginner learners should be encouraged to add furigana for words which intermediate or advanced learners wouldn't think of explaining (e.g. 建築, 教育).

The second problem is that some questions are just too difficult for beginners. There's not much people asking/answering questions can do to raise a beginner's level (that's up to the person learning) but putting in example sentences, dialogues, common uses and misuses of the word/phrase and so on can help. If a question or answer is way above your skill level, even the best explanation will require a lot of your own work to understand. For this problem, I'd like to see some good examples of questions, and especially examples of how to give a good answer in the FAQ.

  • 1
    "...some questions are just too difficult for beginners." Thank you for acknowledging the elephant in the room. There are some things we can do to make questions accessible to wider audiences (not making examples harder than they need to be, furigana, etc.), but a beginner should not expect to understand all the questions on the site. – Amanda S Jun 3 '11 at 19:50
  • Cheers! As a beginner, I spent months in a class that was way above my level and I learned very little, no matter how much I studied. It's frustrating to have so much you don't understand, but the walk/run cliches are right on this one. – nevan king Jun 3 '11 at 20:01
  • It's not about learning, it's about at least "understanding". I had mastered the A class and was going for the kaiwa class for 3 months, and it helped for understanding :) – Herr Jun 4 '11 at 6:23

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