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 Best method of learning Japanese?
 
Chrono Valkyrie
 02/11/16 06:34PM  
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That's a good idea Usagi Smile

 
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canogj
 02/12/16 12:51PM  
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If you want to take classes with a teacher, try to find a native speaker.

The place where I grew up had a big Japanese community so there was a Japanese cultural center where retired Japanese teachers (mostly retired grandmas) would teach Japanese the way they teach it in Japan.

First semester (4.5 hours a week for 5 months) we used mnemonics like http://www.learn-japanese-adventure.com/image-files/japanese-hiragana-mnemonics.jpg to learn Hiragana, Katakana and the most basic kanjis. The teacher was really nice and would even bring us Japanese sweets for each class. Activities where varied and always fun. Some of the highlights include one class watching Doraemon and Pythagoras switch.

Semesters 2, 3 and 4 were more serious (no more candies and documentaries instead of doraemon) but we learned atleast 1000 kanjis while going over the grammar, formal speech (Keigo), Japanese culture and even writing short essays. All of us passed the official basic Japanese knowledge test (JLPT 4) and some of the more applied class members even passed the next level of the exam (JLPT 3).

For a book we used minna no nihongo and additional materials that the teachers would bring to class.

A few years later I tried to continue with the courses my college offered but I found the courses and the non native speaker teacher to be extremely lacking next to what I had learned at the Cultural center.

This was more than 10 years ago so there was no access to many tools and e-learning courses mentioned on this thread.

 
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Chrono Valkyrie
 02/15/16 08:18PM  
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Canogj thats a great idea! I never though of using mnemonics like that.to learn the written language. I'm currently looking into where I can get a copy of the book you recommended as well. Thank you so much I really appreciate it! Smile

 
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usagi_niban
 02/16/16 02:30AM  
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Try to get a "???? - hanshi aite", e.g. a tandem partner for conversation practice.

But best idea ever:

Marry a japanese rock star! Cool

Like:

http://image.search.yahoo.co.jp/search?ei=UTF-8&fr=top_ga1_sa&p=japanese+rock+stars

Why not trying your life in EASY MODE first?
 
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Meera
 02/16/16 12:12PM  
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This was probably mentioned before, but I highly recommend the Genki books for Japanese. These are the books we used in my Japanese classes and they are excellent especially if you get the workbooks with them. They have a lot of exercises and tons of audio. This is one of my favorite language textbooks I have ever used.

http://www.amazon.com/GENKI-Integrated-Elementary-Japanese-English/dp/4789014401/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455642436&sr=8-1&keywords=genki

You can also try memrise:
http://www.memrise.com/courses/english/japanese-4/

Erin's Challenge:
https://www.erin.ne.jp/en/

Other books I really liked for Japanese:
Japanese the Manga Way
Japanese from Zero
Living Language Japanese

And I loved this book for Kana:
http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Hiragana-Katakana-Beginners-Mastering/dp/4805311444/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1455642706&sr=8-1&keywords=hiragana


 
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Chrono Valkyrie
 02/17/16 06:40PM  
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I'd been wondering if the genki books were good, my school uses them for the Japanese classes. Hearing someone recommend them makes me want to get them that much sooner now.The other books look really helpful too, especially the Kana book. I'm having trouble learning how to write the Kana so that should be helpful. Thank you so much Meera! Smile

 
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Arsuru
 02/17/16 10:41PM  
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Most schools in the US seem to use Genki. Are taking classes at your school not an option? If you're there anyway it might be worth it, especially if you go with Genki anyway.

Genki is known to be boring though, so you may need a lot of motivation to learn outside of a classroom, though it's always well-regarded as a foundation text. If you're ecstatic/willful enough it mught not matter. For comparison, MNN is used often in Japan where they have different nationalities in class, so the book is in Japanese. You'll need an accompanying handbook that translates grammar, but you will be working in Japanese, which may or may not appeal to you. It's just as well regarded (but probably not any less boring). Genki is generally more accessible though, and both are intended for a classroom, so again, self-learning may be harder no matter what book you use in general. You'll need the answer keys in any case.

There is also something out there called Textfugu that is geared toward self-learners. It seems to implement/compile a lot of the methods already mentioned here that self-learners have been using for some time now. It's currently undergoing an upgrade, but it may be worth checking out. The sample chapters seemed more interesting than Genki to me anyway, but I can't comment on the material in full as I've never used it.

Have you been using Anki or other software? Being able to write the kana at least is important, but if you can't even recognize them well yet you may only making it harder for yourself trying to recall how to write them already. Motor memory is important for recall, but even Japanese people forget how to write some kanji now that they write less, for example. Simply writing them out many times at once without any context (like, writing actual words/sentences) generally doesn't help you remember them well for when you need to write them unless you will be writing often enough that you can repeat it in intervals. Intervals can come with SRS too.

Grab this stroke order font (it includes kana) for use in your flashcards: http://www.nihilist.org.uk/

You can either use it as the primary or set an extra field (which I'd recommend) depending on your card layout, but as you review, write them out ó even if you only use your fingers. You can fail the card if you can't write it if you wish, for example. Mnemonics again may help. That is the principle of Remembering the Kanji I mentioned above, and the author has one for Remembering the Kana as well, and these books focus on being able to recognize and write the characters, using stories, which simple picture-based mnemonics alone probably won't help with as much, as those are more for recognition. Kana don't have much in the way of common recognizable parts like kanji to help you either.

Though given how simple the kana are (comparable to the alphabet), I think the stroke order font and flashcards are going to be enough, along with actual usage, so you can probably save yourself the expense. Maybe buy or print some marked Japanese writing paper to get the proportions right if you feel the need though. Even for kanji, the method (or as I specified above, perhaps more so the principle than strict adherence to the book) has become common knowledge so buying the book isn't really that needed, especially as you have to make up most of the mnemonics yourself/use other people's, but that doesn't stop people from doing so, so long as it helps. There are apps where you write with your stylus/fingers as well that may be of interest.

But let me say… if I behave… can you arrange a spacious hole in the ground? Somewhere nice, make it nice, where the land meets high tide.
 
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Crashcat
 02/22/16 12:18PM  
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For textbooks, Genki is more than adequate. It caters to beginners in a way it's easy to understand.

If you want boring, at Sophia university in Tokyo they use Situational Functional Japanese by Tsujuba Language Group. Now those I find a bit incoherent and boring as compared to Genki.

For kanji, in the intermediate class, they'd have you cram Kanji's all week long till you want to go all out at an all you can drink toko. The book is published by Bonjinsha.

Tbh, unless you write a lot of letters or do the JLPT, then learning how to write kanji is really not necessary, because it's all typing on you phone or pc anyways.

With learning a language it's always deciding whether you want to be practical or academic, in the sense you can write full papers in Japanese.

Live from Asia!! Heeeeere's Crash FM!!
 
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Pr0ctor
 02/27/16 03:03PM  
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For getting started on Hirigana, my kids have been playing a steam game 'Learn Japanese to Survive: Hirigana Battle'. My son can already sound out some of the anime shop signs...a critical skill for his future I'm sure...

It's an adventure game like one of the older zeldas. Not bad.

steve

 
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krej_kun
 03/01/16 07:13PM  
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Oh this is such an awesome thread!

My $0.02...

Genki served me well for written learning in Japanese 100.

Pimsleur language learning on audio cassette is NOT a good start for becoming verbally fluent in Japanese - there were a number of things my Japanese 100 teacher had to set me straight on as I did Pimsleur first, then took the course later Razz

And a Steam game like original Zelda game to learn Japanese!!?? I do not have time for this right now, but... dammit Pr0ctor, that sounds too awesome - I might not survive knowing this Surprised! Confused Big Grin

 
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