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For beginners-Some little tips for studying Japanese

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?

For beginners-Some little tips for studying Japanese

Postby SerpentPanda » Mon 12.24.2007 2:23 pm

Now this is really for beginners o_o.

こんにちは, みなさん! はじめまして。

WHAT TO DO

I've only been studying Japanese for about a month, unless you count watching Japanese anime for about a year as subconscious learning. Anyway, this is just a few tips for some people who want to start learning, but don't know where.

Learning may not always be the problem, but you may find out that you don't know what exactly to learn.

If you're just starting, you probably want to know how Japanese sounds. Watch a few episodes of non-dubbed anime, or even listen to some dialogue. Soon, you'll start to feel the gist of how it sounds, and you may even learn a few words from watching anime.

Then, you should probably learn the basics of Japanese. Know the basic word order, what desu is, and a little bit of other grammar points.

You may be thinking, "How do I study Japanese without knowing how to write it?" Romaji is helpful, but you probably should start to learn Hiragana soon after learning a few grammar points. Hiragana is one of the three writing systems Japan uses. The other two are katakana and kanji, borrowed from the Chinese. Hiragana is very useful; you can construct sentences and speak with only hiragana.

After learning hiragana, you can learn katakana. Then, go learn a bit of Kanji. However, don't load up on learning Kanji at first. Learn a couple (contrary to the 110 I learned) and go on learning more grammar points.

[That's where I'm at now. I'm not sure about much further.]

STUDY TIPS

Hiragana/Katakana:

You can learn however many symbols a day you want. You could do 2 or 3, or 10 to 20. Whatever makes you feel comfortable. After learning the 46 (I believe) basic symbols, the other ones you can make (such as じゃ) will be a snap. A good amount to learn would be 5 a day. You could do a i u e o one day, then the next do ka ki ku ke ko.

Kanji:

Again, learn as many a day as you feel comfortable. However, many beginners just learn the kanji, the most common pronunciation, and the meaning. Don't do that, or you'll make mistakes, like pronouncing 三人 as sanhito. Learn the on-yomi and kun-yomi pronunciations. For example, you may usually say ki if the kanji is by itself, but with other kanji, the pronunciation can change to moku. Also, learn the words that use the other pronunciations (like nihongo).

Grammar:

Make multiple sentences with a certain grammar topic. That way, you can retain it in your memory.

BASIC STUDY TIPS

You can't learn by only flashcards.

Flash cards are great, and you may think you've learned 20 new kanji because when you look at it, you can list what it means and all of it's pronunciations. However, if you made 100 kanji flash cards and quizzed yourself, you may only be able to write 10 of them. You may be able to read kanji or hiragana, but you can't write it.

Always write examples and many sentences with a new kanji you're going to learn. Otherwise, you would know it just by how it appears. I have a fat lil' Mead notebook I use to write stories in Japanese in. I try to use 5 kanji and 5 new vocabulary words that I may know, but don't use often. That way, I can actually know each word and each kanji.

If you want to learn anything from a new particle to 10 new kanji, write write write! Flashcards are great if you're busy and you use them as a quick memory check, but writing helps the best.

Study consistently! Don't just study 3 hours one day, say you studied a lot, and not study again for two days later. Even if you only have so much time each day, try studying each day consistently for 30 minutes or an hour.

Studying for 2 hours straight is less effective than studying 45 minutes in the morning, 30 during lunch time, and 45 minutes at night. Study in blocks of time rather than one big block. Your brain learns even if you don't think of the thing you learned at all.

The above is why it's best to study in the mornings and at night. If you study at night as you sleep, your brain will think about it when you're sleeping. If you study in the mornings, your brain will think about it the entire day.

You can cram Japanese studying in random places. On the school bus? Study your new vocab words. Waiting for lunch to be cooked? Study those 5 kanji you wrote down that morning. You don't have to have a huge block of time to study Japanese.

Use it! Even if you study, if you never use the things you learn, you won't become fluent. If you learn 10 vocabulary words one day, each day you see the things, say the word out loud. Murmur random Japanese words and sentences if your in class or in the library. People may look at you strangely, but it helps.

Disclaimer: Forgive me if I say something wrong in this little guide. I'm still a beginner in Japanese. However, a lot of my other friends are just starting Japanese and needed to know what to do. I half made this for my friends in real life, because I was too lazy to tell them, lol. Now they can just read it and not forget.
Last edited by SerpentPanda on Thu 01.03.2008 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: For beginners-A little tips for studying Japanese

Postby saraLynne » Mon 12.24.2007 2:29 pm

Why don't you mention textbooks? You won't make as much progress through haphazard study as you will with a textbook that was written by people who teach Japanese for a living.
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RE: For beginners-A little tips for studying Japanese

Postby SerpentPanda » Mon 12.24.2007 2:33 pm

I haven't used textbooks at all (yet). I can't reccommend any good textbooks because I just don't know any. I'm only 12, and I'd have to buy them with my own money...which I don't have much of.
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RE: For beginners-A little tips for studying Japanese

Postby yukamina » Mon 12.24.2007 2:56 pm

You're only 12? XD

Also, don't just study kanji by themselves; learn the words that use the kun-yomi and on-yomi. Otherwise you'll struggle to remember all that information and not even know how to use it.
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RE: For beginners-A little tips for studying Japanese

Postby SerpentPanda » Mon 12.24.2007 2:58 pm

Thanks, I forgot about that part.

[Yes, I'm 12. XD]
Last edited by SerpentPanda on Mon 12.24.2007 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: For beginners-A little tips for studying Japanese

Postby Kisshu » Mon 12.24.2007 3:45 pm

SerpentPanda wrote:こんにちわみんなさん! はじめまして


You should probably try to get it correctly before you try teaching beginners.

こんにち

Wa is a particle, and when it is written, it is は

なさん!

Minna is informal and cannot be used with -san. If you wish to use -san, use みなさん without the double n.

Anywho, good luck with your studies.  I know a couple of people who started studying when they were 12, and now they are awesome!
Last edited by Kisshu on Mon 12.24.2007 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: For beginners-A little tips for studying Japanese

Postby Wakannai » Mon 12.24.2007 4:57 pm

'm only 12, and I'd have to buy them with my own money...which I don't have much of.


Welcome to the forum! You now the new record holder for youngest, but still coherent person here :)

I just wanted to add to Sara's suggestion about a getting a textbook. I understand how at 12 that can be pretty difficult. There are cheap books available that can give you a structured way to learn. Colloquial Japanese and Japanese for Busy people 3rd edition are some of the better cheaper books.

As for getting money. One thing I did when I was in school was run errands. Every time someone asked me to run an errand, I'd charge a small shipping and handling fee. It would add up. I also saved my allowance for weeks until I could afford whatever it was I wanted. You can also ask your parents that you are trying to save up for a textbook and ask them to give you extra chores for a little bit, for the extra money.

It took me months to save up for a $100 cassette player and $50 headphones. But I was happy with them. Then I made the mistake of loaning them to a friend, that loaned them to a friend, that loaned them to a friend that broke them. So I learned two lessons for the price of only $150.
Last edited by Wakannai on Mon 12.24.2007 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: For beginners-Some little tips for studying Japanese

Postby nabilahforever » Tue 12.25.2007 12:01 am

Actually,i will be 13. It was also hard for me to buy some textbooks to learn japanese. But,at least i've bought two japanese mini dictionaries. :) It was really helpful. And to Serpent Panda you really gave me encouragement to learn japanese although you and me are still young. Arigatou for the useful tips. :D
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RE: For beginners-Some little tips for studying Japanese

Postby sugoiaisukurimu » Sun 12.30.2007 9:37 pm

I think the best method for Kanji is just to learn what it means in English and then get reading material with Hiragana pronunciations. I use Furuba (Fruits Basket) manga. It shows how to pronounce the Kanji and you get to see where it goes in the sentence and how the pronunciation changes.
I heard textbooks were pretty dry. And manga would be cheaper. Just buy in in Japanese. When you find a word you don't know, look it up online or ask a native speaker friend (if all else fails). You also have pictures to give you a jist of what is going on, and it's motivation for you to learn it.

That's what I'm doing and it's pretty effective! I'm still a beginner too.
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RE: For beginners-Some little tips for studying Japanese

Postby Kisshu » Sun 12.30.2007 9:49 pm

sugoiaisukurimu wrote:
I think the best method for Kanji is just to learn what it means in English and then get reading material with Hiragana pronunciations. I use Furuba (Fruits Basket) manga. It shows how to pronounce the Kanji and you get to see where it goes in the sentence and how the pronunciation changes.
I heard textbooks were pretty dry. And manga would be cheaper. Just buy in in Japanese. When you find a word you don't know, look it up online or ask a native speaker friend (if all else fails). You also have pictures to give you a jist of what is going on, and it's motivation for you to learn it.

That's what I'm doing and it's pretty effective! I'm still a beginner too.


You aren't gonna get very far on grammer though.. you need a textbook or tutor.. you can't learn from just manga... trust me.
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RE: For beginners-Some little tips for studying Japanese

Postby Mike Cash » Sun 12.30.2007 9:52 pm

My eyes overflow with tears of joy at encountering an American youth who uses punctuation, can spell, knows where the shift key is, and writes in complete sentences.

On second thought, a 12 year with that great a command of English composition can't possibly be a native speaker, much less an American. Not on the internet, anyway.
Last edited by Mike Cash on Sun 12.30.2007 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: For beginners-Some little tips for studying Japanese

Postby sugoiaisukurimu » Sun 12.30.2007 10:07 pm

Kisshu: No, you can't learn just from manga, but it's a good place to start, especially with the pronunciation of Kanji and where you find it. It's a good idea to get a magazine or newspaper, and as you begin to understand more, more difficult books. Believe me, you'll pick up on the grammar if you read enough of it.

Mike: That's completely off topic and insulting.
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RE: For beginners-Some little tips for studying Japanese

Postby prep_girl_Nessa » Sun 12.30.2007 11:41 pm

sugoiaisukurimu wrote:
Kisshu: No, you can't learn just from manga, but it's a good place to start, especially with the pronunciation of Kanji and where you find it. It's a good idea to get a magazine or newspaper, and as you begin to understand more, more difficult books. Believe me, you'll pick up on the grammar if you read enough of it.

Mike: That's completely off topic and insulting.


Actually, I think manga is horrid starting place. I'm not much into manga, but I think the speaking patterns are similar to Japanese television dramas - usually very informal and sometimes even rude.

For me, I've been studying about 2 years, and I know the difference between formal and informal speaking. After watching a few episodes of something like 'hana yori dango' I always start talking like Matsu-Jun's character, even though I fully know it's not appropriate. (I've even made the mistake around native speakers, who luckily just laughed it off after I explained what happened.)

Basically, even when you know it's wrong, if you're used to hearing/listening/using informal speaking patterns it's hard to stop using them and go for the formal/not rude patterns. At the beginning stages when you don't understand the difference it's nearly impossible.

And I think if you re-read what Mike said, you'll find it's not insulting to you at all. Actually it's more of a complement.
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RE: For beginners-Some little tips for studying Japanese

Postby skrhgh3b » Sun 12.30.2007 11:52 pm

Wait a minute, you've been studying Japanese for "about a month," and you already have tips for beginners?
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RE: For beginners-Some little tips for studying Japanese

Postby Mike Cash » Mon 12.31.2007 12:02 am

sugoiaisukurimu wrote:

Mike: That's completely off topic and insulting.


I notice you don't contest its accuracy.....

And since I don't believe people have any right being offended at accurate statements, I reject the notion that it is insulting.
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