Best way to learn Japanese?

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Best way to learn Japanese?

Postby AnimeGirl » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:44 pm

I admit, I have slacked off on my self-study (I have a program that's really good called Japanese in 30 Days, and it's helped me alot, but because of sheer laziness, obviously I have not learned enough to hold a decent conversation in Japanese yet XD!!!). But, I'm going to start learning again, and I also want to learn to memorize Hirigana so I can read my Japanese Bible (even though I won't be able to understand it yet, at least I'll be able to recognize sounds so I'll be ready when I can). But my question is; what's the best way to learn it besides how I have been doing it? Now, I know having a teacher IS the best way, but I don't really know any Japanese-speaking people, and lessons costs money. Know of any good products, such as books, or places on the web I can go to learn? Or know of any online communities willing to teach me a little bit for free? (At least to check if I am pronouncing what I know right, haha). Thanks in advanced!
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Postby KougaHane » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:58 pm

I would recommend Rosetta Stone (what I use) under two circumstances:

1. You have to be REALLY serious about learning, because it is VERY Expensive. you can get a pretty sweet deal from Amazon though.
2. It's actually better to use Rosetta Stone if you've never studied the language before. I got it for Japanese when all I knew was how to read Japanese and didn't know the meanings of any words. I admit it does take a long time on the basics, but the basics are important.

Above all, with any language, remember not to get in a habit of teaching yourself to pair English words with Japanese words. If you teach yourself to picture a chair when you hear "isu" instead of teaching yourself to picture the English word chair, you can leanr the words more quickly. It's important to know how to think in another language rather than just learning to translate in your head.
That's how my Japanese teacher learned English and it's how I'm learning Japanese. It also got me a B on a final exam from a teacher that I was told you had to impress to get a B.
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Postby AnimeGirl » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:16 pm

Yeah, when I heard a Japanese word, usually what it is automatically pops up in my head, not the English. For example, if I heard "neko" I automatically think of a "cat". If I hear "Asa gohan" I think "breakfast". Rosetta Stone I sadly cannot afford, though I have been thinking of getting Instant Immersion (I have the old version, but this newer version has it all in levels from 1-3 and is MUCH cheaper) so I might wanna try that one first before getting anything more expensive. And yeah, translating in your head is much harder. The picturing thing works so much better. That's probably why I haven't forgotten too much of what I learned.
"For what use is there in praying if you will only hear what you want to hear." - As I Lay Dying *The Sound Of Truth*

Let's make an AMV together!

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Ooh look! I have fanfiction! YAY!!!!!!!
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If you like Tsubasa and Cardcaptors, then you might like what I've written (if I didn't slaughter the series... XD)

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Postby Rusty Claymore » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:49 pm

If you find a cure for the lazyness, shoot me a PM! I find the hardest thing about keeping on is that I don't have anyone to practice with. My only motivation is that some day in the future perhaps I might possibly get to visit Japan on the off chance, and I could perchance need to say something in Japanese. As you can guess, the fire dies out easily, no matter how much fun saying "Suberiochite imasu" is. Although I now have a perminent image of a guy falling off a bull for that word... Rosetta Stone is definately a good set up... XD
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Postby KougaHane » Mon Jan 10, 2011 2:02 pm

Also my teacher told me to make Japanese friends and have them speak to you as if you were a native of Japan, even if you can't understand them you'll just get used to hearing Japanese. Watch Japanese TV, but please don't try to learn from anime. You more than likely already know this, but Anime Japanese is extremely informal and often very, VERY, rude. I learned that the hard way when I pulled a word I heard in anime with a Japanese friend and He just stared at me like I'd just slapped him.
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Postby Nanao » Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:10 pm

so far i've used a combination of textbooks and Rosetta Stone. the new TOTALe version is amazing because you get unlimited access to tutoring sessions with native speakers. the drawback is the cost though. because they've added the tutoring element, you can only buy Rosetta from licensed distributors, and you can't sell it later. but, if you're really serious about learning the language it's probably the best way to go.

for katakana and hiragana, i really like the workbooks by Anna Matsumoto Stewart. they come with study cards and activities.

smart.fm is a Japanese owned site originally intended for Japanese students learning English. now they have added English students learning Japanese (and a lot more). the study focuses on an interactive flash card type approach. i've used it a lot for my kanji study in addition to some other things. they offer katakana and hiragana as well.

a bit later on MyLanguageExchange was recommended to me as a good place to find people to practice with. i haven't used that myself yet though.
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Postby AnimeGirl » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:24 pm

@Rusty; I'd be happy to be your learning-Japanese partner! It's true people tend to study better when it's more than yourself!

@KougaHane; Yeah, I'm aware it's best not to learn Japanese from anime. I didn't know it was informal, though, I just was told it was different. Wonder why....oh well, besides, I'll be able to understand it anyway once I learn it the proper way, I'm sure. And I can see the point why it'd be a bad idea. I mean, imagine if people learned how to speak English from the shows on Adult Swim or even Sponge Bob O.O

@risa; Thanks! I gotta check those out!
"For what use is there in praying if you will only hear what you want to hear." - As I Lay Dying *The Sound Of Truth*

Let's make an AMV together!

Kokoro no Uta The thoughts of an aspiring mangaka (yeah...this is my blog >.>)

Ooh look! I have fanfiction! YAY!!!!!!!
http://www.fanfiction.net/~sevencandlesticks
If you like Tsubasa and Cardcaptors, then you might like what I've written (if I didn't slaughter the series... XD)

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Postby Atria35 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:31 pm

Byki isn't too bad. I've been learning basic words/phrases through that- and it's free, and I can download as many languages as I want to.
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Postby AnimeGirl » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:56 pm

Atria35 (post: 1450507) wrote:Byki isn't too bad. I've been learning basic words/phrases through that- and it's free, and I can download as many languages as I want to.


Ooh, sounds cool! Is it a website?
"For what use is there in praying if you will only hear what you want to hear." - As I Lay Dying *The Sound Of Truth*

Let's make an AMV together!

Kokoro no Uta The thoughts of an aspiring mangaka (yeah...this is my blog >.>)

Ooh look! I have fanfiction! YAY!!!!!!!
http://www.fanfiction.net/~sevencandlesticks
If you like Tsubasa and Cardcaptors, then you might like what I've written (if I didn't slaughter the series... XD)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds - Pslam 147:3
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Postby Atria35 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:19 pm

AnimeGirl (post: 1450513) wrote:Ooh, sounds cool! Is it a website?


A website and the name of the freeware. There is a version you can buy, but for the basics it isn't necessary.
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Postby Hiryu » Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:11 am

Nihongoup is a game that helps you retain kana in an interesting way.

Flashcards are the best way of remembering vocabulary and kana.

Check and see if your local library has any tools to help you learn.

Have you heard of the pemsleur technique? http://www.ehow.com/way_5778950_pimsleur-technique.html
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Postby Yuki-Anne » Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:51 pm

I use smart.fm, which is a really great site for learning a lot of things. Once i started using the Core 2000 goal in full mode (which uses kana and kanji), my hiragana was pretty much memorized within a couple of months. And I was pretty lazy about it (still am, even though I live in Japan and hear Japanese every day!).
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Postby Rusty Claymore » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:00 am

Hmm, one way of perhaps learning Japanese is how Nathaniel Bowditch learned french. Bible translation! Of course, this requires having a Japanese Bible... and a dictionary, since Japanese to/from English is a little different than French to/from English... n.n' Oh, and I guess Bowditch was kinda a genuis... But I'm gonna try anyways! XP
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Postby Masaru » Sat Jan 15, 2011 9:58 pm

Rusty Claymore (post: 1450997) wrote:Hmm, one way of perhaps learning Japanese is how Nathaniel Bowditch learned french. Bible translation! Of course, this requires having a Japanese Bible... and a dictionary, since Japanese to/from English is a little different than French to/from English... n.n' Oh, and I guess Bowditch was kinda a genuis... But I'm gonna try anyways! XP


I've attempted this too, although it's a little tough because there isn't furigana, so it's slightly more difficult to look up kanji.. xD Anyway, I thought I'd share that there's a version of the Bible in Japanese online: http://www.youversion.com/bible/ja1955
It's old enough to be in public domain also if that matters to anybody. o3o

And as for a E-J:J-E dictionary.. http://ejje.weblio.jp/
The page is entirely in Japanese, but it's pretty straightforward.. the only thing about this dictionary is that it won't accept romaji.

As for additional learning methods.. personally I just try to come into contact with Japanese as much as possible and.. well, try and look up/learn as much as I can. xD Of course I'm taking classes as well which helped.. build a foundation, I guess you could say. And to echo what some others have said, having people to practice with is definitely a plus.. I'd also be willing to help people practice if they want. xD;
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Postby AnimeGirl » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:56 am

Rusty Claymore (post: 1450997) wrote:Hmm, one way of perhaps learning Japanese is how Nathaniel Bowditch learned french. Bible translation! Of course, this requires having a Japanese Bible... and a dictionary, since Japanese to/from English is a little different than French to/from English... n.n' Oh, and I guess Bowditch was kinda a genuis... But I'm gonna try anyways! XP


I have a Japanese Bible. It has Furigana, so it'll be easier to read the kanjii. I bought it as a goal to reach and a reminder of why I am learning Japanese. ^.^
"For what use is there in praying if you will only hear what you want to hear." - As I Lay Dying *The Sound Of Truth*

Let's make an AMV together!

Kokoro no Uta The thoughts of an aspiring mangaka (yeah...this is my blog >.>)

Ooh look! I have fanfiction! YAY!!!!!!!
http://www.fanfiction.net/~sevencandlesticks
If you like Tsubasa and Cardcaptors, then you might like what I've written (if I didn't slaughter the series... XD)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds - Pslam 147:3
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Postby Rewin » Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:34 pm

Rusty Claymore (post: 1450385) wrote:If you find a cure for the lazyness, shoot me a PM! I find the hardest thing about keeping on is that I don't have anyone to practice with. My only motivation is that some day in the future perhaps I might possibly get to visit Japan on the off chance, and I could perchance need to say something in Japanese.


I definitely agree with this. I was wondering if starting an all Japanese thread in this forum would work to give us all people to practice with.
As for the original question, I use "My Japanese Coach" for the Nintendo DS. It works pretty good, but it does tend to get you into the habit of thinking of the english word rather than what the word actually is. It also has some mistakes in it (wrong conjugations in the examples) but it was cheap, so no complaints here :dizzy:
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Postby daturaonfire » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:17 am

If you're still looking for new ideas, in my last class a lot of us studied with this:

http://genki.japantimes.co.jp/self/self.en.html

It's based on the Genki textbook we use, but some of the resources stand pretty well on their own and they're available to everyone. I'm still awful at speaking, but I've found for memorizing hiragana/katakana/kanji I tend to do best by repetition. I write the character and usually say its sound out loud each time. It can be a bit tedious, but it does work.

It's especially important when you start tackling kanji--the way my textbook sets it up it's way too easy to look at a kanji and know it what it means in translated to English, but forget the word that's actually supposed to go with it. Hope that helps. = )
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Postby DangoDaikazoku » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:29 am

A fun way to pick up vocab is watch anime in Japanese, ya know, with subtitles. And use Japanese whenever possible. I think I have driven my family crazy saying daisuki, and other words from my limited vocabulary. Speaking in context helps to get you thinking of a picture rather than a word, and you have to know what your saying, because you have to explain it to everyone else in the room, every single time. Also listening to Japanese anime give you a really good accent (I was actually complimented by native, for my "good pronunciation" of, yet again, my very limited vocabulary). Hey, I said it was fun, not fast.
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Postby Neko-Hime » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:57 pm

DangoDaikazoku (post: 1460310) wrote:A fun way to pick up vocab is watch anime in Japanese, ya know, with subtitles. And use Japanese whenever possible. I think I have driven my family crazy saying daisuki, and other words from my limited vocabulary. Speaking in context helps to get you thinking of a picture rather than a word, and you have to know what your saying, because you have to explain it to everyone else in the room, every single time. Also listening to Japanese anime give you a really good accent (I was actually complimented by native, for my "good pronunciation" of, yet again, my very limited vocabulary). Hey, I said it was fun, not fast.


Caveeeaaaat from a 4-year learner! ;D Don't learn it exclusively from anime. It's great for learning the accent and supplementing your vocabulary, but you need to get a firm grounding in the basics first-- especially with politeness levels. Japanese is notoriously finicky with those. I hear so many people parroting Japanese words that would seriously offend a native speaker; I just wanted to warn you all! (Friendly-like, of course!)
I tried to do this before getting a tutor, and it was pretty interesting to find out how much I'd missed and how impolitely they all talk... >v>
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Postby KougaHane » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:31 pm

well with any language if you don't use it daily you will gradually forget bits of it. just practice practice and more practice. The best (and most fun) practice is to have a native speaker talk to you in their language, even if you can't understand them. A lot of Japanese I've met here in the U.S. want to practice English though, students especially, so some of them take a bit of convincing before they will speak Japanese to you. Just make sure and let them know that you won't be offended if you can't understand what they say, because some only speak English to me because they feel that it's rude to say something to me that I can't understand.
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Postby AnimeGirl » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:11 pm

Man, I forgot about this thread. I should re-read all the suggestions and get back to learning!
"For what use is there in praying if you will only hear what you want to hear." - As I Lay Dying *The Sound Of Truth*

Let's make an AMV together!

Kokoro no Uta The thoughts of an aspiring mangaka (yeah...this is my blog >.>)

Ooh look! I have fanfiction! YAY!!!!!!!
http://www.fanfiction.net/~sevencandlesticks
If you like Tsubasa and Cardcaptors, then you might like what I've written (if I didn't slaughter the series... XD)

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Postby Neko-Hime » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:53 pm

AnimeGirl (post: 1521094) wrote:Man, I forgot about this thread. I should re-read all the suggestions and get back to learning!


Yes you shooould <3 I can honestly say it is one of the most rewarding pursuits I've ever... pursued. xD As an anime fan, it's so thrilling to be able to watch or read something in Japanese and go "Pfft, they translated that wrong!" or "WOW that is so much funnier in the original language."
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Postby Otaku Jordan » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:25 pm

It's really weird, but lately I keep finding CAA threads on topics that I've been thinking about.
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Postby Lynna » Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:37 pm

My mom is friends with a Japanese woman, and I keep bugging my mom to invite her over. But noooooo, the house is never clean enough!
Anyways, I was wondering if any one knew of a Japanese manga for children that is mostly hiragana with very, very simple sentences. I just keep thinking about all those super-simplified stories I used to read as a child. If I could get my hands on something like that, it would probably be very good practise!
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Postby Otaku Jordan » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:04 pm

Lynna (post: 1521305) wrote:practise


Are you a Brit, Lynna?
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Postby Masaru » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:11 pm

Lynna (post: 1521305) wrote:My mom is friends with a Japanese woman, and I keep bugging my mom to invite her over. But noooooo, the house is never clean enough!
Anyways, I was wondering if any one knew of a Japanese manga for children that is mostly hiragana with very, very simple sentences. I just keep thinking about all those super-simplified stories I used to read as a child. If I could get my hands on something like that, it would probably be very good practise!


I don't know for sure, as I've never actually read/watched it myself, but I imagine that Doraemon would probably be a good one to try for that, since it's a kid's series.

Also most manga for the younger age range will have furigana on the kanji anyhow, which is nice.
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Postby Lynna » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:58 pm

Otaku Jordan (post: 1521307) wrote:Are you a Brit, Lynna?


Nope. I'm Canadian eh? and my Mother is a Brit. and thanks, Masaru
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Postby AnimeGirl » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:58 pm

Neko-Hime (post: 1521135) wrote:Yes you shooould <3 I can honestly say it is one of the most rewarding pursuits I've ever... pursued. xD As an anime fan, it's so thrilling to be able to watch or read something in Japanese and go "Pfft, they translated that wrong!" or "WOW that is so much funnier in the original language."


Oh yes, that'd be awesome! I even notice that, too, with the knowledge I already have. I have NO IDEA how Funi will go about dubbing the scene in Steins;Gate when Okarin tries to speak English to this one guy, and finds out he can speak Japanese XD!! From what I remember, subtitles translated correctly.

I can hardly wait for the day I can watch anime in Japanese without subtitles! But my main reason is, for a long time, I've wanted to reach Japan. I know lots of missionaries usually give free English lessons to reach out, but there's nothing like hearing about something wonderful in your own tongue, so I want to reach them with their own language ^.^
"For what use is there in praying if you will only hear what you want to hear." - As I Lay Dying *The Sound Of Truth*

Let's make an AMV together!

Kokoro no Uta The thoughts of an aspiring mangaka (yeah...this is my blog >.>)

Ooh look! I have fanfiction! YAY!!!!!!!
http://www.fanfiction.net/~sevencandlesticks
If you like Tsubasa and Cardcaptors, then you might like what I've written (if I didn't slaughter the series... XD)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds - Pslam 147:3
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Postby Masaru » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:41 pm

AnimeGirl (post: 1521392) wrote:But my main reason is, for a long time, I've wanted to reach Japan. I know lots of missionaries usually give free English lessons to reach out, but there's nothing like hearing about something wonderful in your own tongue, so I want to reach them with their own language ^.^


Aw man it's neat seeing others with the same goal ]Anki[/URL] is a fantastic program to use for memorization, especially for language learning. It's essentially like flashcards on the computer, and you can download decks or create your own. A big difference from regular ones though is that it uses spaced repetition: basically, depending on how you rate yourself on your cards, it will wait a certain amount of time before it shows it to you again, and the more times you get one right, the bigger the time intervals get. This makes it so you aren't reviewing stuff you know too often, and won't get stuff you might be about to forget too infrequently.

One way that I've for something like new vocab is to look it up on a site that has example sentences (I've had good results using http://ejje.weblio.jp ), and then locating one where the new word is the only one I don't know. The card gets the whole Japanese sentence on the question side, and the entire English sentence on the answer side (doing it this way is supposed to make it less translation-y and more getting the general idea.. or something @_@ ).

..although I'll admit I haven't done much of that lately myself. xD

Ok time to end this wall of text x_x hope it's somewhat useful, haha..
Also if you (or anyone for that matter) want speaking practice, I'm up for it.. shoot me a PM or something I guess? v:

..done for real now. がんばって!
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Postby KougaHane » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:12 am

Lynna (post: 1521305) wrote:My mom is friends with a Japanese woman, and I keep bugging my mom to invite her over. But noooooo, the house is never clean enough!
Anyways, I was wondering if any one knew of a Japanese manga for children that is mostly hiragana with very, very simple sentences. I just keep thinking about all those super-simplified stories I used to read as a child. If I could get my hands on something like that, it would probably be very good practise!


I think lots of popular shounen and shoujo manga have okurigana(hiragana above the kanji) try naruto or one piece, althought I'm not sure where to buy them in Japanese other than the internet. :( Alternatively, you can search 漫画を読む and see if you can find any with hiragana and/or okurigana.....
Am I mixing up my terms? is it okurigana or furigana that's what I'm talking about?:bootout:
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