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I will be making use of the JETS program as soon as I get my degree here in the states.
get a textbook, take classes, study abroad
The study abroad part is the best way.
From anime and manga I've learned only separate words. For grammar and stuff I use the info in this site: http://www.freejapaneselessons.com/
You just gotta keep pushing. Every day is another chance to live your life, and since our common goal is mastering the language we are learning, a step in the direction of success in life means having a strong hold on what our passion is.
Sometimes I feel as if I am wasting time, but don't let this get you down. You'll truly be wasting time if you don't push forward and live the life you want to live. There will be times when money isn't coming in, and you still have your language study.
There will also be a time when your language study will pay off, and people will come to you for help. Money will come. The time you are putting in right now will be paid for.
Keep pushing forward.
If you are a complete beginner, learn hiragana and katakana before you do anything else, and learn them well. That should really be your first step.
If you can't get a class in RL, I'd recommend the website Textfugu. Sadly it has a price, but I tell you, it's absolutely not a scam (like Rosetta Stone, what a waste!) and totally worth it. It is a site specifically made for self teachers. And some lessons are free, so you can browse a bit and see if it's for you.
Up until a few weeks, I would've recommended smart.fm to practice vocabulary, but they lost my trust after they shut down the free site and took all my vocab lists I took hours to write to a new webspace that has a fee. So I'd say use the programme Anki for vocab and kanji training (it's free).
Once you know your way around a bit and can write a few sentences, open an account on Lang-8 (also free). You'd be writing a blog there, in the language you'd like to learn. Then, the people who speak the language as their native tongue read your entries and correct them.
All of this of course is no good when you wanna learn how to talk to people. Watching Japanese shows definitely helps, a lot, and there's lots woth English subtitles around nowadays. Without a real person to talk to, though, it'll be hard. So if you really can't find a real life teacher, try EduFire. It's a website chuck full of online tutors, who'll work with you one on one at the level you're at. There's even reviews from students so you know which tutor is good. But of course, them tutors wants to get payed.
Last edited by Tanne; May 01, 2011 at 11:27 AM.
I took classroom lessons, helped me alot...yet at the same time it was hard to pay attention, maybe it was my ADD but really just reading manga and anime along with self taught sites, but you need to practice daily and want to learn, with that you should be fine.
I learnt it by simply watching anime. this process took me a year of watching subs before I finally started to be able to point out mistakes in the subs. I dunno whether this helps, but try go to Japan for a holiday
The hiragana and katagana is pure memorization unfortunately. However, I somehow started with romanji. I recommend not to do that because it makes everything pretty difficult.
As for learning kanji, it wasn't really that difficult, i may not know exactly how to read it, but I can understand it since I also know chinese. If you know chinese i really helps memorizing the kanji since a lot of the words are the same.
Basically if you know chinese you are pretty much prepared to learn Japanese. Chinese and English were my first languages, and then I learnt Japanese as a hobby. I can currently translate stuff that people say, im not so good with the reading though so i like to read Japanese blog posts of voice actors from an anime I like (they say really interesting things) But if you want formal you can just buy a japense book. If your willing to pay, then you can get a tutor, but since i am a cheapskate, I had to self learn.
Last edited by TunaSFX; May 23, 2011 at 05:45 AM.
Like many have said watching anime/jdrama and listening to japanese music has helped me with learning the language. I've also used a site called japanesepod101.com, there are primium versions where they give you transcriptions on the podcasts but i just download the free ones to get used to hearing the language being spoken. Also some books that i've used while i was taking college courses were the Genki series which is pretty good, details a lot of the grammar points, and the Japanese for Dummies book. They can't teach you everything but they provided a good basis for me when i was trying to learn it on my own. hope this helps!
Well, when I was last here about a year or so ago, I could translate, but mostly due to understanding particles quite well. Now that I'm back, I am actually starting to comprehend some verbs and sentences with simple nouns without using my trusty dictionary. I also learnt to recognize all the major verb conjugations, as well as finally memorizing all the katakana. I have also started learning some kanji as I go along.
Looking back, I was a noob, and I probably still am. I am however, much better read on japanese. I will outline a way to learn japanese that you may, or may not, find useful, as well as offering some resources I have found invaluable along the way.
First of all, my main criticism is that online lessons and tutorials invariably start by giving you a list of nouns and desu to make sentences with. Why, when japanese is a verb based language, are we being taught how to say a noun exists, or even more absurdly that the noun is 'pretty'. Although it is a great place to start when teaching english, and can form the basis for many sentences, I feel that this is a farcical place to start teaching japanese, especially considering that the nouns aren't always necessary in japanese.
Another problem I have is that most tutorials introduce が and は at the same time, which as I recall, confused me a little bit, and probably confused others to a greater degree. I feel that particles should be introduced according to what types of words they modify, and preferably when that type of word is introduced.
I think it would have been much easier to understand japanese later on, if I were given a bit of background and then given a sheet of useful verbs to memorize, as well as conjugation rules as an introduction into japanese. not only that, but it would have allowed me to say sentences I could actually practice in real life, such as 見る or 行きました, '[I, you] see' and '[I, you] went' respectively. Anyways, here is the basic outline of what I was thinking:
Basic Foundation for Sentences (no extras, just necessities):
Simple sentences (no clauses):
Regrettably, beyond this is where I lack the skill necessary to be a reliable in judging what is more important. I do encourage that you seek out learning materials that do not use romaji (I avoided them except when I needed convenience or was learning vocab). I also encourage that learning materials use kanji with furigana, except for the simplest verbs which should encourage them to be memorized. I also would recommend that comprehension testing materials be used along the way (no answers on the same page) and that new nouns be introduced in any materials (with translation visible on the page to prevent interruption of thought).
I hope this list can be used to further your language studies, or, if you happen to have mastered all this, that it can provide a useful outline for teaching materials you might produce. I also encourage that you seek out good reading material early, as it will aid you in learning much faster.
Also, please note that my outline is created with the goal of teaching how to read japanese (writing it is a different monster that is relatively easy to practice at the same time), not japanese communication/speech, so I omitted many of the 'basics' of written japanese tutorials.
If you can recommend any other good resources, or perhaps changes, I am willing to consider your opinions and look up the resource, as I am still learning japanese and am in need of japanese reading materials (preferably with furigana and of intermediate level), not lessons. In short, I am happy to hear feedback.
Also, is there any good way to gain vocabulary? I find that things written in kanji only are very difficult to gain vocabulary from, due to how often I have to take a 10 minute break to find the kanji. Preschool level books rarely challenge me anymore, except with an occasional word that I need to look up, and I have had a lot of trouble finding them written in kanji with furigana, which would be perfect for picking up vocabulary.
Last edited by Aarowaim; March 07, 2012 at 08:36 PM.