I don't think there's anything more complicated than learning a foreign language, and Japanese is one of the most complicated languages out there. I think you'd need about a year of studying 2 or 3 hours every single day to be able to even begin to read manga, and even more than that for novels. So are you sure you're up for it?
If you can't study on your own, enroll in a class. That's usually slower than doing it on your own though. If you can, there are plenty of free beginner resources out there, although eventually you will have to buy some books. Start by learning hiragana before you do anything. If you find it too difficult, then give up on the idea of learning Japanese, as all of hiragana amounts to probably around 0.1% of what you will need to memorize eventually.
There aren't any class I can enroll in right now since I'm barely in middle school and Japanese is a rare language to learn in my area and learning a foreign language at a young age is better than learning it when I'm an adult.
I'm learning hiragana right now and it's quite easy but of course there will be some mistakes here and there.
my sincerest advice:
_ Take up your pen and start writing. 2 or three hours a day, constantly over a year, then you can do it.
_ Drill as hard as you can, please, I myself am a slow learner so I made up for it by increasing the time I learn to 6-7 hours a day (I even purchased an e-dic and a simple manga to read on the train / bus...), constantly in a year and 3 months (up to now). I gave up my favorite Call of duty, and even deleted my Paladin in Wow. Some people called me weird, since it's not normal. Screw that, a year later, i'm way better than those who laughed at me.
So, it's all about your efforts.
P/s: Just reading manga and watching anime simply never mean to be good at learning Japanese. They are good for memorizing the language though. Anyways, good luck
How can I learn by writing when I can't really understand sometimes what I'm writing? XD; And there are some really confusing ones that just seems like they are the same?
For some reason, I'm really freakin' excited to learn the language because I will be able to read what's in manga but it's taking too much time it's wearing out the excitement. XD
Yeah, before you write, learn to read a little. So once you're comfortable with hiragana (forget about romaji, never ever use them or think about them until you know how to read at least at a basic level), learn katakana, and then try this: http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar It's a very decent intro to give you a taste of the language and some basic vocab. The examples there use romaji, kana, and kanji. Ignore the romaji and the kanji lines, just look at the kana.
In any case, this should keep you busy for a while. After that, you can try reading some texts for children here: http://life.ou.edu/stories/
If that goes smoothly, you can start on memorizing vocab and kanji. Ask again when you get to that part. Kanji in particular will determine if you learn Japanese to some usable extent, or quit. Since you don't live in Japan, reading will probably be the most important aspect of the language for you to master. To master speaking, you'd probably need to actually go to Japan. Or just find lots of native speakers to victimize... I mean talk to wherever you live.
I actually read that already since I was looking at other posts. I was reading the intro and hiragana. There were ways at the end on how to memorize hiragana and I followed them which lead to smart.fm which I'm doing for about 2 hours each day. I'm doing 5 items at a time which last about 5-15 minutes depending if I'm reviewing or starting a new lesson or I'm becoming tired and lazy. XD
The only ones that are actually drilled in my head are only あ、い、う、え、お、か、ぉ、く、け、こ ん and some random others. I barely started actually memorizing hiragana when I started the thread. XD
I'm also learning Japanese right now. I'm still working on my katakana and am reading Tae Kim's Guide to Japanese Grammar (as recommended by cmertb by many of his posts).
The way I memorized hiragana was by learning to write it using Tae Kim's trace sheet. Also, before I went to bed and when I wake up I use flashcards to review all 47 hiragana. I was able to memorize all 47 hiragana in 2 days this way. But also, we all have different ways of learning things. Right now, I'm reading some Japanese short stories in hiragana from life.ou.edu (again, a recommendation by cmertb) so all the hiragana I learned will eventually be embedded into my long term memory.
I'm using the same method to learn katakana right now.
Best of luck to you!
Other resources I use are Anki and Taigani Jisho.
I think the best way to learn hiragana/katakana outside of actual classes is to read manga. You can memorize them and write them down, but if you don't have the practical application of the knowledge you're gonna forget them all in a week.
I'm already reviewing a few flashcards I made and I'm also writing down 5 hiragana a couple times before I go to bed. I'll keep doing this then, so it can be drilled into my head.
I actually have a few japanese manga with furigana that I'm dying to find out what it's saying. XD;
Last edited by Kazekeshi; January 01, 2011 at 04:39 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
Do you have a textbook?
Trying to learn Japanese simply by studying hiragana is not sufficient; keep in mind, Japanese is 根本的に fundamentally different from phonetic (Western) languages. Hiragana/katakana is the phonetic component of Japanese, but, as a previous poster mentioned, is a tiny fraction of the language. Japanese is a symbolic language, as it is derived from Chinese roots... in other words, you need to learn to read and write kanji. If you do not learn kanji, you will not learn where the words break off in a sentence.
Same sentence, but now you see where the words end.
Yeah, watching anime etc is nowhere near enough to learn a language; formal study is required, especially if you are trying to get to a level to read material that was written for a native speaker. These activities are great for supplementing your education, but cannot ever replace it--if you believe they're good enough, you are only fooling yourself.
Hello. I am like Kazekeshi--I would like to learn but I also want to help translate
I an American but I don't know where to go to learn. Can someone put me on the path To learning? I am a mother of three so I can't really go to college right now (don't trust daycare with my youngest) how and where do I start?
You start with hiragana and katakana that's the first step...memorize them well...I'm learning from Minna no Nihongo...you can search for that, there are lessons in it and all...but I'm certain the web is full of japanese lessons
So when you memorized hiragana and katakana start the grammar, and as grammar progresses develop UR kanji vocabulary...
Just remember back when you taught UR children how to speak english...U had them read and write and while learning the alphabet and basic grammar they become accostumed to it, so they were better...
Same here...don't forget to write everything down...the best practice with all the kana and kanji is to write them down, individually or just write down words that come to mind...write a lot and read a lot...
So, I have to memorize hiragana first before I start writing?
no. i memorized hiragana and katakana while writing -- reading and writing reinforce each other. i strongly suggest at least a good text book or even better, an entire study course for beginning japanese. since this is your first foreign language there are a lot of acquisition skills you do not have yet, and working them out at the same time as studying the language is not efficient; it'll handicap you. a textbook or course gives you a framework within which to learn the new language. now, if the first book/course doesn't work well for you, dump it and try another one; don't stick with something that goes against the grain. also, distrust anyone who tries to sell you on their method by claiming that this is the only way, or the best. not all methods will work well for you, and an important skill is to figure out which ones WILL work for you (that'll come in handy for other education as well).
it also depends on what you primarily want to learn the language for -- a person who must travel to japan for business has less need for reading and writing and much more need for listening and speaking skills. if you want to fansub anime, you need listening skills very early on. you want to read manga, so reading is the largest component for you. look at a lot of different study materials at the start -- there is so much on the web now that this need not cost you a lot of money. me, i do best when i learn to read, write, and listen at the same time, and delay speaking until later -- it slows me down in the beginning, but in the long run this really gets a language into my head in a way that no longer relies on crutches. i got away from romaji as soon as possible because it started to hinder me, made me lazy, and from what i can judge of other learners, this seems to be common. so my recommendation would be to pick a book/course that gets you off the romaji crutch as soon as you have memorized the kana well enough so you no longer need a second to think "umm, is this chi or sa or ki".
i agree with those who said to practice writing the kana a lot -- for me this worked well, though i didn't write each x times a day; numeric goals like that stifle me. but i wrote kana every day twice for about 20 min each time (i do kanji more often). keeping practice short but frequent works best for me. i started by learning to write a few at a time, first each alone on paper made for the purpose, then in short words which i got from children's books. that kept it from being boring because i learned real words pretty much right away, and because i followed instructions meant for japanese children, i learned proper writing right away as well. i believe this has helped me in reading kana in vastly different fonts quickly (which really helps with reading the covers of manga magazines).
something else that works for me is to immerse myself as much as possible in not only the language but also the culture. listen to japanese music, to japanese drama CDs, watch anime and jdrama in japanese. let it drone on in the background while you study other things. you won't understand anything at first, but it will slowly sink into your brain, and after a while you'll catch more and more expressions. when that started to happen for me, i looked those expressions up, practiced writing them in kana, and also tried to look for them in manga (i got the raw manga which the drama CD is based on). japanese is relatively easy to do that in compared to english, because it is mostly pronounced like it is written, and has few exceptions, and it also has a huge number of "set phrases", expressions that are used because they are expected in certain situations. and again there was the reinforcement between listening and writing and reading. i could scanlate some parts very quickly that way. pick manga that has a simple vocabulary; kids manga, and much shounen does -- but stay away from the samurai stuff at first, because that often uses archaic terms, and yakuza dramas aren't that good either because gangsters usually speak in dialect.
you don't need kanji right away because that type of manga has furigana. i put off learning kanji until i was as fluent in kana as i am in the english alphabet, except for some really common ones which i learned as i encountered them in manga (pronouns, greetings).
Last edited by pleochroic; January 17, 2011 at 06:50 PM.
At first, before I go to bed and wake up, I used to study Kana. I stopped doing it since I got bored and lazy. >_<; I think I'll start to do that again since it really helped me in memorizing hiragana. I'm taking a much longer time on katakana right now because I'm not really studying them (like I used to).
Btw, I use smart.fm to memorize kana. I read this site [ http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar ] first which was recommended in other threads. I read in the site that it's better to learn kanji already than later. Right after kana is fully drilled in my head that I don't have to stop and think which character it is, I think I will start learning kanji already or just skip kanji for later and start learning how to form sentences and expand my vocabulary using kana (I will only retort to this though if I think kanji is too hard for me). (This is my profile [ http://smart.fm/users/Kazekeshi ]. )
English is not my first language and it took me 6 months to learn the language and with the help of special classes to teach kids English, I became almost fluent in the language in year or so. After I moved to the next grade, (I think halfway the grade), I stopped going to those classes since I was deemed enough to know the language.
Hmmm, well, I'm learning the language because of manga and anime. Once in a while, I read Japanese novels. Oh and also... to learn a language the people around me don't know... for personal reasons.... LOL. XD