I thought I would take a moment to recommend a series of Japanese grammar videos that I have been enjoying for quite some time now. I find them to be extremely valuable, but it seems like the kind of thing that a lot of people might easily skip over if they come across it, so I thought it was worth highlighting. Some of the concepts might be a bit controversial because they go against the grain of what people are normally taught, but if you give it a chance, I think you would find that it makes Japanese grammar much simpler and more logical overall.
The videos are hosted by a somewhat scary looking CG character by the name of Cure Dolly from the website KawaJapa. The basic idea behind these videos is that textbooks and classrooms generally teach Japanese all wrong, introducing a lot of misconceptions and causing things to be needlessly confusing.
For example, one of the core ideas put forth is that the が particle exists in every sentence, although it is frequently just implied rather than actually existing in the sentence. The が particle also just performs one function – it marks the subject of the sentence. This in itself has huge implications for other aspects of Japanese grammar–and in every case, makes things easier and more logical. If you try to study about the が and は particles anywhere else, you will find this huge laundry list of situations and exceptions where you might use one or the other. Situations like if you are trying to show contrast betwen things, trying to emphasize something, if you are introducing new information, if you are using question words… they just go on and on! But it turns out that learning all these weird rules is completely unnecessary when you simply understand what the core function of the particle is. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll also learn about how Japanese doesn’t actually have conjugations, everything that you thought about “passive” form has been a lie, what です actually means, and much more.
I first became interested in Cure Dolly’s thoughts on Japanese grammar when I picked up her book “Unlocking Japanese“, which laid out a lot of the same things that are covered in the video series. However, the videos go deeper, cover more topics, and present things in a better way. I recommend watching all of the videos in order, since they build on each other, and just jumping into later lessons will likely be confusing.
I could keep trying to sell you on it, but, just watch it. It’s free and worth your time. That’s really all that needs to be said.