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Learning Japanese - Recommendations?

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  • Learning Japanese - Recommendations?

    Im 3rd currently a college student, but I dont have the time to take any Japanese courses. Ive been wanting to learn the language for years, and even bought some software (which isnt very great...).

    Does anyone have any suggestions? I probably won't be able to enroll in any formal class or travel abroad for at least a year or so...Is it possible to "self-teach" Japanese through various resources?

    Any input is appreciated...


    EDIT: After some sreaching, I've been eyeing some Language "Immersion" software..Some of the brands out there sound pretty comprehensive...Anyone opinions on these?

    I have another thread kind-of about this, about living in Japan...Give it a read if you have a few =D
    Last edited by Taekwondragon; 04-27-2006, 06:23 PM.

  • #2
    Advice 1 - Self-learning softwares are useless. Discard them.
    Advice 2 - Get a basic grasp of the language first by, for example, watching anime subs.
    Advice 3 - Continuously communicate with Japanese fluent people even if you can't speak 99% of Japanese. That's the best way to learn the language.
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    • #3

      Ive been watching fansubs for quite a while and have picked up a lot of phrases..Ive also dabbled in basic grammar but have not had time to sit down to actually learn anything complex..

      I can say simple phrases..nothing formal really...


      • #4
        Minna no nihongo (みんなの日本語) Japanese for everyone is the best textbook I've ever used or seen outside of a university. I have the english grammar books and main books 1 and 2. anything more and it's enroll at a uni. for fluency on a useable level, i suggest talking with japanese people in japanese and watching movies probably more than anime. lip-sych visuals helps alot when it comes to memorising sounds. Japanese is easy to start. VERY easy to start. also note: it's totally useless outside japan.

        as for me...i'm doing a degree. probably masters in it starting after summer >.<. good part is i get to study in japan! bad part is i have to study in japan ;_;.
        oh..and find something to keep you sane in all the kanji learning tedium that's actually INTERESTING!. mine is engrish

        Last edited by chompy; 04-27-2006, 06:27 PM.

        we must to find out what to do with it


        • #5

          Yeah I realize Anime probably isnt the most accurate representation of everyday use...I made an edit to the thread; I have another post regarding live/careers in Japan...Im hoping to possibly move out there, but since I dont know the language very well Im kind of in a tough spot.

          :: Yes Engrish is very fun hehe
          Last edited by Taekwondragon; 04-27-2006, 06:30 PM.


          • #6
            Yes, basic Japanese is VERY easy to pick up. Just be aware that it gets harder as you move towards intermediate level. My advice is use it often. Whenever you're thinking of something, try to see if you can put it in Japanese. Also, if you have the chance to write something in kanji (once you get there), do so (with the possible exceptions of "bara"/rose, "doko"/where, "nai"/not since most people don't use it anyways) and try not to skim on it.

            Find atleast one person around you fluent or at least semi-fluent in Japanese. A speaking partner helps farmilairize with speaking. You'll also need that person to check up on your stuff from time to time.

            And for many work enviroments, you'll have to pick up some extra honorific and polite speech on the way.
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            • #7
              Japanese for Busy People Volume 1 is a pretty good textbook, I find the problem is it starts very easy and then moves faster, but it is good, though very business centered. It allows you to learn conversation and kana. The benefit of this book is when you complete it you can move on to Volume 2 and 3 which follow the same patterns, a nice structured way to learn.

              A BBC book called Japanese and it's People was very good for conversational purposes and a very small amount of Kani, the book has been discontinued but you may be able to find it on EBAY UK. It came with 5 or so casette tapes for listening excercises, very useful.

              Other than text books, watch Japanese TV shows, anime is fine but uses less common Japanese in my oppinion, drama and even the news is good. And of course as mentioned having actual conversations helps.


              • #8
                actually self learning is far from useless, I managed to learn to speak quite a lot from just one lesson using rossetta stone, and it has bunch of lessons, I treid the spanish and it was verry good too, the Army, FBI, CIA etc cant be wrong. Anyways since this site has torrents then I guess theres no harm in telling you to go grab its torrent, after all knowlege doesnt have a price


                • #9
                  i have the direct download links for rossetta an i'm will to trade them for information about magyar translations


                  • #10
                    I've discovered . They are amazing! Good daily lessons, so far survival, beginner and intermediate lessons. They teach you both the formal japanese and the one that you would use with friends.

                    The lessons are in mp3 and are free, for access to the whole site, wich looks very interesting you have to become a member.

                    I highly recommend this! It's funny and you'll learn alot!


                    • #11
                      depend on your time and purpse
                      anime stuff are for enjoyment only; but ACG alone, as I heard, if you are determined enough to dig into it, can get you pass level one lol
                      But frankly, books + lectures are the shortcuts for exams (in terms of shorter time spent), then you need to communicate like any other language to archieve satisfactory usage level

                      Set a target time interval to boost your motive, like passing level 2 within 1 year or even more aggressive


                      • #12
                        Hey, software can be helpfull to learn kanji, hiragana and katakana (at least that's how i think).
                        To learn grammar you will need to find some articles, books, and other things in the web or bookstores...
                        then listen music, watch movies, and please talk with native people...
                        by the way... that's my opinion, you can just put with the garbage and throw away ^^

                        jaa ne~~
                        Sorry for my nasty english :~
                        anyway... i try do my best =\



                        • #13
                          while for me i stoop to using a eng-jap dictionary and some books on speaking japanese and the usual watching anime
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                          • #14
                            Best adivce for learning Japanese:

                            1. Be born in Japan.
                            2. Live in Japan all your life.
                            3. Be raised by a Japanese family.


                            • #15
                              It is best to learn via a mixture of methods.

                              A textbook + audio lesson approach is the best you can do outside of a classroom environment. Audio for communicative Japanese, textbook for grammar, reading and writing.

                              Things to try and get an early grasp upon:
                              - Basic conversational skills
                              - Hiragana
                              - Katakana

                              The advantage of learning Hiragana early on, is you pick up the Japanese syllabry, thus when watching or listening to something, you will have a pretty good idea of the syllables used to construct it, as you'll be able to rule out impossible syllables.

                              Personally I have gone through all the Pimsleur lessons, levels 1-3, lessons 1-30 and have begun from lesson 1 on, my reasoning behind this, and the formal beginners classes I start in October, is to ensure I have a 100% grasp of the basics of the language. Once you have mastered the basics of a language, it is possible to use you intuition to further your learning and vocabulary.

                              Good luck with your studies.