Sign in to follow this  
nelimw

Learn Japanese

Recommended Posts

I would like to learn Japanese and would like to hear any advice, tools, methods, and sources for learning the language. Any help would be appreciated. Arigato! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First advice: put this into Japan-Japanese discussions - I'll be glad to share my experiences of learning Japanese there

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nelimw is offline right now, but I'd also like to get the wisdom of Akinomaki and others.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@mods - please merge the off-topic thread into this one

Now you have the whole net full of resources to help you, the forum also has some old discussions useful for the task, some with advice from several members

Over 30 years ago  I had to really look around, when I started leaning Japanese to apply for a government scholarship for research in Japan. The scholarship I aimed for had no language education attached, neither in Germany nor on location in Japan, so I had to see by myself how to acquire the skills. I'll give a glimpse of that and some tips how to use the tools available now to get Japanese skills from the net.

Some introduction course is advisable - the net has that as well

I first found a 1h per week course at the local community college - and I started just early enough to evade the rule that you have to be younger than 25 to be able to get really fluent - 6 months to spare. Next I went to a 2 week crash course at the "Japonicum", an institution loosely attached to a nearby university. I chose the option to stay there the whole time, to really concentrate on the language. Later 2 more courses there and then a 4 weeks course in Tokyo, after which I simply stayed there - 3 weeks later in Oct. 1988 my 1 year scholarship scholarship started  - prolonged and extended to 6.5 years in the end.

Languages were not my specialty in high school - English really brought my average down. I only started to learn it properly after school by myself, with BBC radio drama and TV series and by reading books I liked. But what came easy to me in university was another type of languages - programming languages.

When you really like a complicated grammar, Japanese will disappoint you: no illogical word genders, no useless declension, minimal conjugation - it is the most logical language I know. Consequently the best preparation for me was that I had used Prolog for the project of my master thesis.

At the Japonicum I had seen a wapuro - you type in alphabet and the machine converts it first to hiragana and then a proper text with kanji. Now you have that for free as part of the operating system, I was lucky then that for the first time a Japanese OS was available for non-Japanese hardware. Before I went, I already had the complete plan of how I wanted to train (and use) written Japanese - strictly PC (actually mac) based. Now you even have a pretty good Japanese voice input system for free on your mobile device: you can use that to practice your pronunciation - only problem: you have to be able to know at least a little bit how the words look written.

Another way to practice Japanese alone: sing along - many foreign rikishi like that method

That's enough for the beginning - I can extend this ad lib

Edited by Akinomaki
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So much! Thank you! The sing along seems like a good idea. Simple kid songs helped me pick up a little Spanish. Thank you again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like Real Kana better than Duolingo for practicing hiragana and katakana. But Duolingo is nice in that it makes kana compounds to build basic vocabulary, which kind of makes the kana more meaningful. And the new Duolingo update actually adds grammar instruction which is a big boost. My complaint about both is that there is no option to practice 'writing' the kana or kanji; both are strictly recognition only. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Benevolance said:

I like Real Kana better than Duolingo for practicing hiragana and katakana. But Duolingo is nice in that it makes kana compounds to build basic vocabulary, which kind of makes the kana more meaningful. And the new Duolingo update actually adds grammar instruction which is a big boost. My complaint about both is that there is no option to practice 'writing' the kana or kanji; both are strictly recognition only. 

For writing practice of kanji, a load of free (Android) Japanese apps for mobile devices exist - kanji tests from 1st year on - e.g. with APK Pure you can get the apps that from the Google play are only available in Japan - there are many for kana as well. Problem with them is of course that the program interface is in Japanese - there should be some in English as well (hiragana/katakana/moji nazori may be the same as the original versions). Another problem is that the touchscreen input might not properly register all you write - it's a bit tedious.

Edit: the English apps for kana writing are not really satisfying - I recommend もじなぞりand カタカナなぞり, just click on the top red スタートbuton, then the green ふつう and go along

Edited by Akinomaki
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The most important thing is to really grind away at it. An hour or two per day minimum.

If you're not in country and not from China or Korea, this is tough because you won't be able to really use any of it for a year or two. There's too many parts to learn and get comfortable with before surviving through a simple conversation in reality. Personally it took me two years before I could read NHK-easy at a reasonable pace.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Tsuchinoninjin said:

The most important thing is to really grind away at it. An hour or two per day minimum.

If you're not in country and not from China or Korea, this is tough because you won't be able to really use any of it for a year or two. There's too many parts to learn and get comfortable with before surviving through a simple conversation in reality. Personally it took me two years before I could read NHK-easy at a reasonable pace.

I get to similar numbers, but only in total: I had condensed about 3 months of language training stretched over 2 years when I started to live in Japan on my own - 1 month of the 3 was the course in Japan itself in the end. So I spent 1/8 of a day on average = 1, 2 hours, but for most months during the 2 years I did nothing at all - I was busy with other things. I had no problems with simple conversations in Japan from the start then.

If you at first only want to learn to understand, you can do it at your own pace, 3-4 hours on the weekend get you there as well - it only takes longer.

I used manga (with furigana readings) to learn to read and the TV for listening when I was in Japan - all that is available on the net now from anywhere.

My advice is to look for anime with English subtitles - preferably some also available as manga. You can download them and play at reduced speed, when you have problems at first. On YT you have the option for automatically created subtitles in Japanese - when you find an episode for which you also have an English dubbed version, you have a lot to work with - Hinomaru-zumo should fall into that category.

Edited by Akinomaki

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all again for the thoughts. My wife and I plan on going to Japan in the summer of 2021 so I want to no at least a little for that trip. I do enjoy Manga so I'll be watching more with english subs rather than watching the dubbed versions. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This Real Kana is pretty cool too. It's like flash cards so I'll start by using that with Duolingo and keep going from there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this