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 Best method of learning Japanese?
 
Chrono Valkyrie
 02/01/16 03:48PM (Read 4106 times)  
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Hey guys,

I'm trying to figure out what the best method would be to learn Japanese: book or software. Any suggestions or recommendations?

 
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casbah
 02/01/16 04:09PM  
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Flash cards. Make your own to learn hiragana first, then katakana.

Once you have those mastered to the point where you are comfortable reading them at a decent pace, buy a good JLPT 4 exam prep book. Here's the one I used that was given to me by my Japanese friend in college:

http://www.amazon.com/Preparatory-Course-Japanese-Language-Proficiency/dp/4896894545

This will teach you particles, adjectives, and basic grammar and vocab, as well as introduce the first kanjis you need to know. Flashcards also help with kanji; again, make your own (it's fun Razz)

P.S. If you are anal like me, you should learn the correct stroke orders for kana and kanjis...trust me, it helps make them easier to write.

"If I wanted your opinion, I'd have told you what it was." -Pemmin, Riptide survivor
 
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SKK
 02/01/16 04:43PM  
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I am actually the opposite.
I learned all the grammar found in Tae Kim's website and then downloaded Kanji Senpai for the phone to start memorizing words.

Since once you know the grammar and a sufficient amount of words, you can start deducing word meanings.

Also, go to Japan and live there for 3 months if you can... you are guaranteed to improve. 1 month is the minimum. Although, prepare for some cringe worthy situations.

>///< https://goo.gl/kdXLSQ https://goo.gl/n20peI
 
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Chrono Valkyrie
 02/02/16 01:25PM  
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I've started doing some of Tae Kim's stuff and it's amazing! I also plan on making flashcards because I know that it's going to be a little challenging memorizing hiragana and katakana. Thanks you guys I really appreciate it!

 
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Arsuru
 02/02/16 03:01PM  
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There really is no best method; what works for one may not work for another. If you have no experience with language learning in general (not to mention such a different language), or self-teaching, you'll just have to figure it out. There are very efficient methods, however, but that doesn't guarantee personal success.

That said, why not use both? In this day and age, it's pretty much obligatory and no one source will be sufficient. Flashcards are indeed essential. Anki and other such flashcard software pretty much all use SRS for rather efficient memorization. Rote memorization is largely ineffective for the long-term.

You will want to start with kana, in any case. Just get it done. It will only take a total of a few hours in general. It's basic enough that you can download a deck, but it's good practice to make your own as well as they need not be complicated.

As for classic textbooks, most will tell you Genki or Minna no Nihongo, but there are other common ones. I'm not much for classic textbooks, so I can't help there. They generally bore me and are largely inefficient, as are classes, at least for me, but the structure can be a great help.

A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar is a good resource. Japanese the Manga Way is another resource that is quite helpful at illustrating grammar with easy to follow context from native material.

I find Imabi to be much better than Tae Kim as far as free internet resources go, and it's more actively maintained/updated, though much less known it seems. http://www.nihongoresources.com may be of interest as well.

Vocabulary is always best to learn by frequency lists, at least at the beginning. Generally, the first 1,000 words make up ~75% of what you will encounter in any language, and just getting that down will help a lot. Just know that the final ~25% is what you will usually need to know in order to understand what is actually being talked about in many cases, but they will usually be easier to learn as they come, in context and/or with a dictionary.

How to tackle kanji really depends on you, but they needn't be as intimidating as they are for many. They are essentially just different ways to write ideas you likely know of already. You will have to learn the jouyou kanji. It often boils down to learning them via radicals/stroke order in increasing complexity, frequency, and/or onyomi.

A lot of people find Remebering the Kanji (RTK) helpful, or at least the principle. 2001.Kanji.Odyssey is highly recommended as well, and it follows a similar principal of repetition building in complexity, and has vocabulary and grammar in addition, at least for much of it.

Knowing stroke order is sound advice, but understand that most complex kanji are composed of simpler ones so taking each kanji as entirely new is going to hinder you. ? is 21 strokes, but is composed of ? and ?, in turn composed of simpler kanji like ? and ?.

This is the stroke order/complexity method, which will not necessarily teach you common kanji first, but as you aren't a child you can understand less common yet simpler kanji instead of mimicking Japanese children learning common but complicated kanji. You can still gain exposure to common kanji and readings through vocab. It's always a trade-off, but breaking it down like this helps many. You may find learning the kyouiku kanji in priority a decent tradeoff.

In the end, what works for you and keeps you going is what will lead to success. I know this may be a lot to take in, but there is a lot to deal with and many ways to go about it.

Kanji Koohi has a lot of tools/advice available. It was built around RTK, but is far from limited to that. Many of the tools available are made to be used with Anki. It will help to be familiar with spreadsheets if you intend to use Anki as it facilitates making decks.

Rikaisama especially, a very helpful fork of Rikaichan, is very helpful. RikaiCake is a nice dictionary to have aside from the main ones for some occasional extra insight.

The tools can be found specifically here: https://sourceforge.net/u/cb4960/profile

This guy tries to sound way too esoteric to be practical and efficient and it can be a convoluted mess, contrary to promoting efficient simple learning, but there is some interesting stuff to be found about further refining some methodology already outlined above if you dig around the multiple sites:

https://darkjapanese.wordpress.com

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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Chrono Valkyrie
 02/02/16 09:21PM  
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Arsuru you are amazing! These resources are the most helpful tools I've used for learning a language. Thank you so much! Smile

 
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SKK
 02/03/16 03:02AM  
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Thank you Arsuru, the Imabi website is something I will save for further studies Big Grin

I find it rather interesting since normal day to day Japanese doesn't require too much (even sometimes bad grammar :O) but when you want to start reading, it starts to get more complicated.

>///< https://goo.gl/kdXLSQ https://goo.gl/n20peI
 
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casbah
 02/03/16 12:26PM  
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Yea, spot-on Arsuru.

I vote that Arsuru's post should just be stickied somehow or hyperlinked somehow on the site so when the "I wanna learn Japanese" threads pop up, they are advised to read that post.

"If I wanted your opinion, I'd have told you what it was." -Pemmin, Riptide survivor
 
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Chrono Valkyrie
 02/05/16 03:40PM  
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For some reason I am unable to access imabi's website... may just be that my school is blocking it.

 
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usagi_niban
 02/08/16 02:04AM  
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Try bilingual sites of what you might be interested in, like

http://www.tokyofashiondiaries.com/

Why not trying your life in EASY MODE first?
 
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