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Unread 12-03-2014, 08:25 PM   #1
whatwitch
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Learning Japanese

I am actually really out of practice because college and all of the work that comes from that. But is anyone else working to learn the language, and what sort of study habits have you come up with that are successful?
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Unread 12-03-2014, 08:50 PM   #2
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I am actually really out of practice because college and all of the work that comes from that. But is anyone else working to learn the language, and what sort of study habits have you come up with that are successful?
I've been studying it for a good amount of years now. I have like 20 books on it [I didn't mean to I swear], a DS game [that's actually VERY useful], an audio book thing, Rosetta Stone [though I really don't like it], about 5 of those books are children's books, etcetc.

Personally, I like using my books and taking notes and practicing my handwriting. I pick up things slowly so doing them myself and practicing at my desk helps a lot. My friend recently gave me her old version of the Genki text book so I got the work book and I've been slowly going through that myself. It's working out pretty well.

You kinda just need to keep at it and keep practicing. I personally wanna find someone to talk in Japanese with but no one wants to be weeby with me.
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Unread 12-03-2014, 11:29 PM   #3
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I started by taking a two-week summer camp course, then got my hands on a textbook and some dictionaries, and then declared a minor in Japanese at college. Right now I'm in my second year studying it properly. I also like finding untranslated Vocaloid songs online and translating them into English to test my abilities.
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Unread 12-04-2014, 10:39 PM   #4
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I have been studying Japanese for four years now and the first thing I did was learn how to read and write Hiragana. I think the most difficult part I had with Japanese was the grammar but grammar was never my favorite in English class. I never liked learning on the computer so I was glad that I was given the textbooks (which I still have and I graduated high school!) when I studied in high school. I still read over my notes I took because I'ma be honest, I only really went to school everyday because Japanese was my favorite subject. I even enjoyed studying for the tests. (okay got really off topic here)

I learned katakana and kanji in my second semester.

Another things I find somewhat useful was not to rely on watching anime when trying to learn Japanese. A lot of people failed in my first year of Japanese because they would watch anime over reading the textbook to learn the basic sentence. I had a really tough teacher.

You want to keep practicing. It helps me to pretend I am talking to someone and talk with what I learned in a chapter.
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Unread 12-05-2014, 04:14 PM   #5
whatwitch
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I have been told to begin by learning the kanji, but I think it would deter me to learn that right away because I'm not that good at characters outside of the roman alphabet. So I've just been studying in romanji so far. I've also been listening to some J-pop and animes for the sound, instead of sentence structure. They probably are saying stuff in a really complex way.
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Unread 12-05-2014, 04:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by whatwitch View Post
I have been told to begin by learning the kanji, but I think it would deter me to learn that right away because I'm not that good at characters outside of the roman alphabet. So I've just been studying in romanji so far. I've also been listening to some J-pop and animes for the sound, instead of sentence structure. They probably are saying stuff in a really complex way.
Learning the Kanji first is usually a bad idea for people who are used to languages with an alphabet. As for Japanese, Katakana and Hiragana, especially the latter, are a solid base. If you memorized those, you can start adding Kanji to your writing bit by bit. Just writing romaji won't get you that far, so go start with Hiragana and Katakana. The more you write them, the easier they are to memorize ^^

I study Japanese at university. It's a somewhat tough schedule with classes almost everyday and loads of homework, but I noticed that it's rewarding. Personally, I think it's extremely important to surround yourself with Japanese, like in listening to it as often as possible. And not just textbook texts, but music and authentic dialogue like on drama CDs are a good choice to listen to when you're on the go. I also watch a lot of Japanese shows. While I still usually watch subbed versions, I try and watch some episodes without them before or after watching the subbed version, so I can practise listening comprehension. As for beginners, it's always good to watch shows aimed at kids, because they use easier language.
I'd also suggest you speak a lot to improve your pronounciation, even if you just try to imitate things you heard.

Also, get yourself some books with various excercises so you can practise a bit more and with some different tasks. It helps to try different books and find the one you can work best with. We used Genki in our university for beginner's class and I highly recommend that one.
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Unread 12-05-2014, 08:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by whatwitch View Post
I have been told to begin by learning the kanji, but I think it would deter me to learn that right away because I'm not that good at characters outside of the roman alphabet. So I've just been studying in romanji so far. I've also been listening to some J-pop and animes for the sound, instead of sentence structure. They probably are saying stuff in a really complex way.
Jpop will mess with sound to make it musically appealing, so don't follow that exactly.

Anime sound wise a lot of them use complex words for Japanese which are usually foreign words so you're not really learning anything other than inflection at this point. Anime is a horrible source for learning the language unless you want to literally memorize lines from it.
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Unread 12-08-2014, 04:05 PM   #8
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Jpop will mess with sound to make it musically appealing, so don't follow that exactly.

Anime sound wise a lot of them use complex words for Japanese which are usually foreign words so you're not really learning anything other than inflection at this point. Anime is a horrible source for learning the language unless you want to literally memorize lines from it.
That depends on the anime though.
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Unread 12-10-2014, 02:04 AM   #9
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I been studying Japanese for over 5 years now and I think that thing that helps the most is speaking to native speakers. If you meet a native speaker through your school and can chat with them for 30 minutes or so a week that will be very helpful. Also if you can find Japanese friends who will chat over LINE or Facebook with you that is also helpful.

I didn't realize how little Japanese I knew until I went to Japan for the first time to study for one month.. I couldn't speak or understand spoken Japanese at all! I met some friends there and continued to write to them and Skype them in Japanese and I slowly improved. Then I went back for a study abroad for a semester and learned to speak better by talking to students

But I think one important thing to remember is to NEVER compare yourself to others especially if you are talking classes.

For studying, I would say to buy some N3 or N4 grammar and vocabulary books and try to review a little bit every day or so.
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Unread 12-12-2014, 05:40 AM   #10
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I started studying Japanese in my freshman year of high school, majored in it in college, and have been living in Japan for the past 4 1/2 years, so about a total of about 12 1/2 years.

Before I officially began studying, I was listening to J-Pop during middle school and beyond and lip-synched using romaji lyric sheets, which I think not only made learning easier in the beginning but also made me familiar with pronunciation. Most people I've met say that they have an easier time speaking but reading and memorizing Kanji is incredibly difficult, but for me it's the opposite, and that came to light when I had my first course placement interview with one of the professors, who spoke to me in Japanese and I couldn't keep up at all.

The easiest way to get better at speaking and listening is really to immerse yourself in it. My Japanese courses were taught in Japanese and we were forced to only use Japanese, which was incredibly difficult for me. Even during study abroad, my classes there were even more difficult, and I often spent too much time taking with my American friends and being too shy to talk to Japanese people.

After I graduated and moved here, I HAD no choice but to become better. Sure, I teach English so I use a lot of English for my job, but my co-workers are all Japanese, and unlike in high school and middle school, elementary schools here often don't have teachers who are fluent in English, so I spoke Japanese with everyone. And the little kids can't really say anything other than what I've taught them, so a lot of them speak to me in Japanese as well. So without really trying, I ended up getting better in listening, speaking, and I can even use some Kansai dialect.

The other thing that helps is if you choose to take the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test). I have really poor study habits and very low motivation to study. I decided a few months back that I would take the plunge and register for the Level 2 test, and finally started using those study books I bought years ago when I first moved here. Unfortunately having a full-time job and home matters to deal with made it difficult for me to keep up, but the fact that I had a test that I had to take helped me get to my feet, at least.

And it also helps to have a fun and easy way of studying. Sitting and reading a textbook is incredibly boring. Try reading manga in Japanese, or watching anime without subtitles and see how much you can pick up, or playing a Japanese video game (this is probably hard if you're not into video games). My way of studying for the JLPT, as weird as it may sound, was inputting the grammar and vocabulary I learned into my computer and tablet to make flash cards. Previously I was writing down words and making a list in a notebook, but I started realizing that it didn't help because I would just write the word and never look at it again.

I use an app called Anki on my phone and my Android tablet, as well as my computer, which helps me create decks of flash cards, and then every day you'll be presented with a few cards a day to test your knowledge. You can check it here if you wanna know more. Since I'm always carrying my phone or my tablet around, and since I love using them, it motivates me to open up the Anki app and study.

Sorry for the super long post, but I hope someone was able to get something useful out of it!

EDIT: I should emphasize that there's nothing that beats actually talking with a native Japanese speaker!!!
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Last edited by sooyong : 12-12-2014 at 05:44 AM.
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Unread 12-14-2014, 07:46 PM   #11
whatwitch
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This is all going to be really helpful! Luckily I only have one full week left of classes, and then I have a month off for break, which I hope to get back into studying!
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Unread 01-03-2015, 11:35 AM   #12
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So specifically, what's the best way to learn the counters? I'm struggling with the different counters for different categories.
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Unread 01-03-2015, 09:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whatwitch View Post
I have been told to begin by learning the kanji, but I think it would deter me to learn that right away because I'm not that good at characters outside of the roman alphabet. So I've just been studying in romanji so far. I've also been listening to some J-pop and animes for the sound, instead of sentence structure. They probably are saying stuff in a really complex way.
No, don't begin with kanji. Not even kids in Japan start out learning kanji first. Start with hiragana, then katakana, then once you've mastered those start with basic kanji.

My Japanese teacher really does not like people to use romaji for very long, because it's easy to use that as a crutch. Try starting out learning a few hiragana at a time, and review them every so often. Then do the same with katakana and eventually kanji.

Learning the stroke order and practicing it is also a good idea, since eventually your muscle memory will kick in and writing will get much easier.
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Unread 01-04-2015, 09:00 PM   #14
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So specifically, what's the best way to learn the counters? I'm struggling with the different counters for different categories.
Practice, lol. Even now I struggle remembering which counter to use for what, and even then a lot of counter pronunciations change the first consonant sound depending on the number. While you're trying to learn them, using hitotsu, futatsu...etc. is a good generic way of counting objects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilLittleKiss
My Japanese teacher really does not like people to use romaji for very long, because it's easy to use that as a crutch. Try starting out learning a few hiragana at a time, and review them every so often. Then do the same with katakana and eventually kanji.
Agreed. When I started in high school we went straight for trying to read and learn Japanese through reading. When I entered college, we were using the JSL textbook by Noda and Jorden and I HATED IT! It was ALL in romaji and the written component was a separate textbook. I can understand it being helpful for those who can't read Japanese very quickly in the beginning, but for me it was very frustrating.

What's even worse, the author used her own system of romanization, AKA "romazi" instead of "romaji," and "densi zisyo" instead of "denshi jisho." I used the book as seldom as I possibly could.

Everyone seems to talk about how "difficult" it is to read Japanese, but all it takes is practice and effort. A lot of hiragana and katakana are pretty distinct from one another, so in a way it's actually easier to read than Hangul and Chinese.
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Unread 01-06-2015, 12:12 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by sooyong View Post
Practice, lol. Even now I struggle remembering which counter to use for what, and even then a lot of counter pronunciations change the first consonant sound depending on the number. While you're trying to learn them, using hitotsu, futatsu...etc. is a good generic way of counting objects.

Agreed. When I started in high school we went straight for trying to read and learn Japanese through reading. When I entered college, we were using the JSL textbook by Noda and Jorden and I HATED IT! It was ALL in romaji and the written component was a separate textbook. I can understand it being helpful for those who can't read Japanese very quickly in the beginning, but for me it was very frustrating.

What's even worse, the author used her own system of romanization, AKA "romazi" instead of "romaji," and "densi zisyo" instead of "denshi jisho." I used the book as seldom as I possibly could.

Everyone seems to talk about how "difficult" it is to read Japanese, but all it takes is practice and effort. A lot of hiragana and katakana are pretty distinct from one another, so in a way it's actually easier to read than Hangul and Chinese.
That book sounds horrid!

I'm always disappointed when Japanese books use a lot of romaji. I have a vintage Japanese dictionary that's only in romaji. Not a single kana or kanji character in the entire book. It's harder for me to read a lot of romaji than to read a lot of kana, so that book's a pain in the ass.
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