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I don't know where to start first...

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

I don't know where to start first...

Postby Tsuchinoko » Mon 06.26.2006 4:30 pm

For the last two days, I've been studying Hiragana, and writing down each symbol, practicing writing them (Not sure I'm doing that part right at all.) and memorising them.

But after I learn the handful of Hiragana, then what?

How am I supposed to evolve as a Japanese language learner? (I know there isn't any 'set way' to do things, but I like some organization when learning... And I am not good at organizing plans myself.)


Can someone direct me a bit, so I know how to begin and continue my lessons, and learning?

Thank you, in advance.


Oh, and before I forget... I was wondering, what does a normal, run of the mill Japanese sentence include? How is it built?
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RE: I don't know where to start first...

Postby Infidel » Mon 06.26.2006 4:33 pm

err, do you have a Japanese textbook? I wouldn't recommend learning piecemeal if it could be avoided.
なるほど。
さっぱりわからん。
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RE: I don't know where to start first...

Postby paul_b » Mon 06.26.2006 4:46 pm

Textbooks, as said.

You don't have to buy them though - most of the Western world you'll be able to find them through libraries. Also some people work well with computer programs - there are free ones for vocabulary and kanji as well as non-free ones that cover pronunciation, grammar etc as well.
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RE: I don't know where to start first...

Postby Deo » Tue 06.27.2006 4:23 am

Here's what I ended up doing:

1) I started memorizing Hiragana and then Katakana and just practiced reading Kana sentences to practice my character recognition, speed, prononciation, and word parsing. (Final Fantasy III Video game for NES oddly enough as it contains no Kanji). Although not as much focus on the writing aspect (guess because for now all my japanese is done on the computer)

2) Learn basic sentence structure (particles, etc.)

3) Slowly built up some vocabulary recognition as I encountered it (そうび | てき | みぎて | etc)

4) Learn kanji after kana (both reading and writing characters) was mastered. Although paying little attention to how kanji is written for now as that would be sensory overload. Just recognition and prononciation for the time being.



Nice resource for reading about grammar and some other things:
http://www.guidetojapanese.org/index.html#contents

Not a bad site for seeing how Hiragana + Katakana is written and pronounced:
http://www.learn-japanese.info/indexw.html


My advice would be to find some learning software or a learning video game as they seem to make the learning process less frustrating and more fun.
Last edited by Deo on Tue 06.27.2006 4:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: I don't know where to start first...

Postby Ryno » Tue 06.27.2006 7:01 am

get a book called "Instant Japanese" ..it was an EYE OPENER for me !

Then AFTER that get a descent textbook that covers everything in great detail :):D

But get the INSTANT one first !
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RE: I don't know where to start first...

Postby CajunCoder » Tue 06.27.2006 8:10 pm

Text Books are only a hinderance. They're too integrated, and never give you a "large" view on the language allowing you to study on your own. You will never become fluent through only text books, or anywhere close for that matter.

You must be hungry for knowledge, and go searching for it. The internet is a wonderful tool with all of the information you could ever want, so do some searching! However, here are some of the sites that helped me out a lot:

http://www.guidetojapanese.org/
Probably the best grammar guide on the web, also has some good forums.

http://www.timwerx.net/language/jpverbs/
Simular to the above, but its a little easier to "look up" things. Unfortunately this site mostly uses romaji, but more than makes up for that in content. I strongly suggest reading through the entire site - note that the link above is just to the verb section, though.

http://www.alc.co.jp/
This site may not be very useful until you know more grammar, but it is amazing. Basically, it has a large database of examples in both english and japanese, so you can figure out how to say things by searching in either language.

http://www.his.atr.jp/~ray/stories/
Japanese Children's Stories, very good reading practice. You probably won't get much out of them yet, but save them for later. Also, you could practice reading the hiragana, even if you don't understand what is being said.


Most importantly, you will need to use the language. Once you get the basics down, try using it as much as possible - read web pages, books, manga, games, whatever your interests may be. Even if you don't understand a lot of it, immersing yourself is important.
Also, you'll need to find people to practice with. This can be rather hard of course, but instant messengers make it much easier to find people to practice with.
If you like, you can add me to any messengers you have, and I'd be happy to help you out. I should have most of my messenger usernames in my profile - if not, just PM me.

じゃあ、がんばって!
Last edited by CajunCoder on Tue 06.27.2006 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: I don't know where to start first...

Postby Infidel » Tue 06.27.2006 9:20 pm

Text Books are only a hinderance. They're too integrated, and never give you a "large" view on the language allowing you to study on your own. You will never become fluent through only text books, or anywhere close for that matter.


err, no one was saying to only use textbook. We were recommending he start with textbooks BECAUSE they are integrated. You need to learn to sit up before you try to sit, before you try to crawl, before you try to walk, before you try to run

Structure is important early in a study program. People who learn piecemeal like you suggest are less likely to stay the course than someone who follows a structured course.
Last edited by Infidel on Tue 06.27.2006 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: I don't know where to start first...

Postby Schattenjedi » Tue 06.27.2006 9:50 pm

I don't get why he listed Tae Kim's grammar guide if he's against textbooks. That guide is structured very much like a textbook.
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RE: I don't know where to start first...

Postby CajunCoder » Tue 06.27.2006 10:52 pm

Tae Kim's Grammar Guide is nothing like a text book. It covers a lot more grammar, and introduces informal conjugations very early on. It also is nicely organised, doesn't waste time with exercises, and gets straight to the point - allowing you to choose what to study, and see what else is out there.

I've read over several textbooks, but never actually used them because I didn't like the content, nor how it was structured. I can teach myself better.
But then, I'm used to studying by myself, so I don't know. Different people learn better by different means, sometimes. I do not learn through slow, integrated text books, but instead learn best when I'm just presented the big picture, and can go about tackling it as I see fit.
Last edited by CajunCoder on Tue 06.27.2006 11:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: I don't know where to start first...

Postby kanadajin » Tue 06.27.2006 10:55 pm

I did pretty much what deo did, I have a textbook but it's REALLY boring and REALLY usless..
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RE: I don't know where to start first...

Postby Deo » Wed 06.28.2006 3:20 am

mmm.. been looking for some simple Japanese stories.. will definitely check out http://www.his.atr.jp/~ray/stories/

Thnx.
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RE: I don't know where to start first...

Postby CajunCoder » Wed 06.28.2006 5:24 am

Yeah, those are very good to print out and read when you're away from the computer, since they have translations (thus eliminating the need for a dictionary.)

どういたしまして!
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RE: I don't know where to start first...

Postby becks23 » Wed 06.28.2006 6:11 am

I recommend げんき(Genki) It's a fantastic book to kick start your Japanese and teaches you Kanji along the way.
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RE: I don't know where to start first...

Postby p2dski » Wed 06.28.2006 5:44 pm

Yea, genki is good. Just start working your way up from level 4 of the JLPT up to the top. It's actually set up brilliantly for students learning Japanese.
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RE: I don't know where to start first...

Postby Mr Hensha » Wed 07.12.2006 12:36 am

I wish I wasn't poor so I could get me the Genki textbook. :(

コンピューターで日本語を習いますよ。TJPとTJPのチャット。:) Chatting in the chatroom is a good place to practice too.
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