That's perfectly normal for bilinguals and shows that you're actually 'in it'. I mix up languages a lot too and sometimes - when I'm emotional - even scold my kids in English or use single words from other languages, which they don't understand. When I still was watching anime a lot, I would even use common Japanese phrases out of reflex x_x
It can happen that I read a article online and think that the grammar is totally off or something else tips me off, till the second or third sentence when I actually realize that I read it in the wrong language. But after a while you get used to it and it also calms down when you switch from actively learning by books to passive learning by using. You will develop a switch for different situations but still fall into traps often enough, especially when getting emotional.
As for a tool to learn Kanji. Our website founder, njt, always used to recommend Kanji Gold which is a freeware. I personally use Anki to learn Kanji. There are also many websites with online tools, Kanji Drill freeware, several Kanji a Day lists you can subscribe too, and of course soooo many books. Just google a bit and try things out since people learn differently.
Something njt also recommends a lot and that I use for learning as well are the materials on this website:
Last edited by eni; October 14, 2011 at 07:35 PM.
Thanks, It's nice to know that it is a sign of me learnrning and that it isn't permanent. I have a bit of second-hand understanding of this idea, as I have a dutch immigrant great-grandmother who we visit occasionally. However, because I'm learning on my own at the moment, I didn't really have anyone to ask IRL. Thank you for the help with finding kanji learning tools.
Anki was a good program, so I'll probably re-download it. I didn't enjoy the timed repetition due to the lack of a manual over-ride, but it will do fine for me otherwise. So far, I'm finding that other than memorizing EXACTLY how a kanji looks, kun'yomi readings are pretty easy to understand so far. According to the readings that Wakan is showing me, it seems that they are simply pre-fix, normal and suffix readings, as well as the occasional odd one out.
Thanks for everyone's support in learning japanese ^,^. Anyways, as I often seem to do, it would appear that I drifted off topic, so I'll just end this post here.
If you study on your own, you should look into audio or video material to catch the right pronunciation. There are some video courses, you may want to try watching parallel to your text studies. You can just go on your own pace and look a couple of episodes after each other, if you already know the basic stuff. But I think the listening and speaking exercises really do help.
There is, e.g. Erin, which is a free online video course for students:
And there are Shin Nihongo de Kurasou and the old but funny Let's Learn Japanese. Both are TV courses with additional workbooks for an older audience. You can buy them or *cough* google them *cough*. There is also a couple of audio courses that teach without traditional lessons, I have e.g. Drive Time Japanese (learn while driving, which is a bit stupid but I drive a lot ) and Learning Japanese from Songs which comes with a workbook. I find those very useful since I'm abroad with my mp3 player a lot.
Aside from that, Japanese music (I highly recommend children songs for the start), audio books (I have a nice tape with short folklore tales and a text book) and of course anime/dorama, help a lot too. Japanese people speak luckily very clearly in anime and movies. I find it much easier to listen to as a beginner than in other languages.
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Oh, I forgot. I have a book called "Kanji Pict-o-graphix".
It doesn't really teach you Kanji, but gives you mnemonics for all Kana and a thousand Kanji, sorted by themes. This doesn't work well for me with many Kanji, but sometimes I catch one (like kawa, which really looks like a river, or mori) and then it sticks.
Last edited by eni; October 16, 2011 at 08:20 PM.
Yeah, I'd have to say, other than the english pronunciation sneaking in, the only time I have trouble with pronouncing japanese (when compared to recordings) is the speed and those pesky Rs. I just finished reading through my copy of Japanese in Mangaland, and the author made a suggestion to learn to associate kanji with their meaning before you start learning the readings. In just a day or two of doing this with anki, I've found myself getting a lot more of them "right".
As for the kanji pictographics, I've found that those kinds of mneumonics only work with simpler, more obvious images. For more complex kanji, I generally look at what makes it and make up a story to go with it, or something it looks like that reminds me of the meaning e.g 見(see) is a robots head with one of those bar shaped eyes.
What I'm most proud of is the fact that after seeing my anki flashcard for 見 only twice, I used its non-verb format reading, けん, to enter it just a moment ago with my IME ^,^. I'm even more proud because I didn't know any of the readings prior to looking at reformatted flashcard.
If you're curious, here is 1 of my reformatted flashcards that are working better. Please note that I reformatted them according to both the advice of Mark Bernabe (Author, Japanese in Mangaland), and Anki's tips for making better flashcards.
I put the readings that don't *seem* important in gray so that they aren't emphasized in my memory.
EDIT: Just looking at this link you gave me (http://www.erin.ne.jp/en) and I think it's great! Their skits are a lot easier to absorb than the plain lessons I've found elsewhere on the web. Not only that but they have that great "subtitles" feature and their manga lesson format is just as interactive. どうもありがとうございました！
EDIT2: Wow, the more I look, the more useful the site becomes ^,^ I just noticed the script function and how it has highlighted, hover-to-translate vocabulary. I lol'd at Let's Try #2 and all the cute foods. I wish my lunch was like that... I might actually try it to see what my family thinks xD
Last edited by Aarowaim; October 23, 2011 at 02:01 AM.
I can't imagine memorizing kanji readings on purpose. It's one thing if each kanji had only one reading. But many of them don't. And the ones that don't are usually the most common ones. The thing is, human memory works great when you need to memorize a 1 to 1 association. If A, then B. If 大 then dai. But this then there's 大きい, then there's 大切. These are very common words. However, memorizing a list of things for a single prompt is extremely inefficient. Your memory will rebel and results won't be satisfying at all.
There are even worse examples. One of the most common kanji, 日. What's the reading? Well, when it's by itself, it's "hi". So far so good. Then you see 日本. OK, maybe it can be "ni". Let's swap these two kanji and get 本日. What's the reading now? Umm, it's "jitsu". Three readings, wow. But wait, there's more. Take 一日. The reading is "nichi". And then there's 日曜日, two occurrences of this kanji in one word. The first is read "nichi" again, but the second time it occurs it's "bi". Five readings, all from extremely common words. Are we done? Not quite. 十日 (reading "ka"), 日課 (reading "nitsu"). What about 今日 (kyou)? What about 明日 (asu, ashita), 明後日 (asatte), 昨日 (kinou)? What's the reading now? Oops, there's none, these are a type of ateji (当て字) where kanji were assigned to a word to fit the meaning, with no regard for their pronunciation. Well, you can also read 明日 as myounichi, and 昨日 as sakujitsu, and then you get the old "nichi" and "jitsu" readings. But are you sure you want to memorize all these readings, and then miss out on the ateji exceptions? This just a single kanji. There are over 2000 you NEED to memorize (but better 3000).
You don't even know in advance which readings of a kanji are common and which are not. And memorizing a list of readings is very error prone and frustrating. So what's the solution? To me, it was pretty simple: don't memorize kanji readings, period. Memorize vocab. Instead of memorizing 日 -> hi, ni, nichi, jitsu, ka, memorize 日->hi (day), 日本->nihon, nippon (Japan), 本日->honjitsu (today), 一日->ichinichi (one day), 日曜日->nichiyoubi (Sunday), 今日->kyou (today), 明日->ashita, asu (tomorrow), 十日->tooka (10th of the month) etc. This way you learn a) a whole bunch of useful words, and not just readings that are useless by themselves; b) all common readings of the kanji you're studying; c) all common exceptions such as ateji; d) some readings for a bunch of other kanji that occur with the one you're studying. Overall, it's a lot more fun and efficient if you goal is to master all of them.
Now, where to get vocab for your list is a separate discussion, but the short answer is, use Anki and download Core 2000 and Core 6000 lists that were ripped from smart.fm. Not the best order of words, but these lists are free and in the end they work just fine. Memorize the words, and kanji readings will come to you without you even noticing.
Yeah, that's more or less what I'm trying to do. At the moment, I'm emphasizing the main reading so that I can type that kanji with the IME in order to reinforce my knowledge when translating. I'm trying to learn enough that I can identify a kanji and then use the kanji in wakan to get it's reading in that situation. I will however try to learn the exceptions in which the reading changes e.g, あめ＝雨 雨風＝あま-かぜ 村雨＝むら-さめ. In essence, I completely agree with you
And as for the flash card, I tried greying out the excess readings that a plugin for anki generated for me, because I was a little too lazy to waste an extra hour or so on getting all the main readings on my own, sifting through them for the ones used when the kanji is not in a compound, and then making seperate flash cards for all the compounds. I'm more worried about getting enough knowledge to reinforce/improve while reading raws and japanese sites than to learn all the extra readings OR spend time on getting all the exceptions.
In short, I'm just doing my best to get to a functional knowledge of kanji without adding too much extra information.
After an umpteenth read through it, I finally see your idea for what it really was. At first, I thought you were saying not to memorize the way I was memorizing. Now I understand that you were just saying to memorize the non-compound reading, and then memorizing the compounds, rather than the reading of each kanji in the compound. That's exactly how I was hoping to learn japanese, but to do that, I needed to start somewhere. I had a preliminary understanding of the idea you generously shipped into my brain's recieving bays, I was just being lazy and letting a plugin do the work for me and then "highlighting" the only important readings.
Thank you for your constructive criticism, and I will make sure I get around to deleting all those excess readings that the annoying plugin gave me.
EDIT: I have been going through the flashcards and deleting suffix and prefix readings that the plugin supplied me. I facepalmed when I realized めい isn't the non-compound version of 名, and then lol'd when I realized that all the online lessons teach that namae means name, when in fact, it means first-name (because that's a pretty good way of making sure we do it right).
Last edited by Aarowaim; October 25, 2011 at 07:35 PM.
So there's always a bunch of learning/help with languages stuff but I think another important (and often overlooked) aspect to all this is just staying motivated! Something that's kept me motivated to keep on learning new languages is the articles at
Don't feel that you need to read all the articles or feel like you have to read them in any particular order but I often find khatzumoto's writings inspiring, especially because he writes out of self experience/success.
Thought this might help all you guys learning/intending to learn any language. And keep in mind that even though khatzmoto talks about learning Japanese, his articles really apply to pretty much any language you want to learn.
Um, so, can anyone recommend any textbooks for learning japanese? I know Genki, anyone knows anything better? Aim is both speaking and writing, and I need it for preparation and during my year in Japan starting in August xD
Oh nice...darj is going to Japan...have fun there!
I learned alone for a while, and I used English material only then...which meant grabbing any information from the net...so that's one possibility...another one could be checking local book stores for beginner's guides to Japanese...that's a good way to start too...to sort of get you in the mood for actually starting to study
What I used when I started formally studying is the Minna no Nihongo book pack...there are two books and lots of misc material, and they are good enough to prepare someone for level 4 JLPT(Japanese Language Proficiency Test), plus a little more...
That's kinda it...I'll search for a good link on the net for Minna no Nihongo and PM to you so you can check it out, and I'll guide you along a bit if you want...it's entirely in Japanese, but you don't have to know everything to get started...just do the exercises and that's it...
PS: if you are searching for any good material on the net, then I suggest searching for stuff that has JLPT in it, or has some connection with JLPT...good luck...and start learning hiragana and katakana...textbooks are worthless without them...write them down too, not just memorize them
Also shoot any questions here...if I see them then I can help, but I'm sure okaachan will help out before me...and see the questions before me as well
Last edited by benelori; April 01, 2013 at 11:06 PM.
Dallie... is going to Japan?! When will it be my turn Congratulations, anyway! <333
Unfortunately I can't mention any good English books to you as I ended up studying using books in Indonesian. I think it'll be best to study foreign language in your own language first to make it easier to analogue structures and such. yuki gave me a kanji book in English, though. Looks pretty good with the images and such to study kanji. Let me know if you want to take a look at it.
So a few years back I was using this site daily which I found very helpful. It was free and had daily lessons which progressed with what you learned. So for example on one day it would teach you a list of kanji and then give you a test. It would give you a 'score' for each kanji and the kanji would still be there on the lesson list the next day if the site thought you hadn't reached 100% score on it.
It didn't only work for kanji -- also for words, hiragana, katakana, etc.
I can't remember the site at all and I can't find it on google with the keywords I'm using to search. If anyone can help me out here, that would be really helpful!
I tried to practice if I can do translation after I learned Japanese in 100/101 classes in Canada and I did it with a dictionary in hand.
I'm wondering if people still use a dictionary at hand in translating? I would have continued to practice the language, but several RL stuff has forced me to hold it for now. I'll probably try to get back and refresh myself with Japanese again.
I've been reading RAW manga for about 7 years now and I still use a dictionary regularly. I wouldn't suggest thinking that that is something your going to grow out of any time soon. Sure, you might go 10 pages without looking up a word, but it's still necessary.
I do use paper dictionaries, since no dictionary has everything you need, but my main dictionary is a software one that I bought a long time ago, and it's freeware now. Here is a link, if your interested: JQuickTrans I recommend typing in Kana and disabling Romanji conversion, it will filter out a lot of garbage results.