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What now???

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

What now???

Postby yeste » Mon 08.07.2006 4:44 pm

Ok guys, I need some help!!! ( I bet you just love it when you see this sentence in someone’s post… :D )

Huh, well here’s how it is for me… I’m done with Hiragana and Katakana. The whole deal: reading/writing/pronouncing!!! ( took me a week, I’m actually getting quite good at this?!) And I ask you now, what to do next??? I don’t know any words, tried to learn some regular phrases to begin with, but I’m having trouble separating one word from the other in a sentence…

Should I just start learning Kanji or what??? Grammar??? Help… Plzzzzz!!!!:D
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RE: What now???

Postby ComradeJoe » Mon 08.07.2006 5:19 pm

IMO you should start with the Fast Track Grammar (http://www.thejapanesepage.com/grammarpage.php) which tells you enough to be able to sustain a basic conversation. At least that's what I did at that stage.
Last edited by ComradeJoe on Mon 08.07.2006 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: What now???

Postby punkgrl326 » Mon 08.07.2006 6:32 pm

Then once you've learned the basics of japanese grammar, you can move on to this site:Tae Kim's Grammar Guide Very good site. Or you can just go there without any prior japanese knowledge too ;)
Last edited by punkgrl326 on Mon 08.07.2006 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: What now???

Postby yeste » Mon 08.07.2006 7:42 pm

Thaks a loooooot guys!!! Much apriciated!!!;)
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RE: What now???

Postby hungryhotei » Mon 08.07.2006 7:48 pm

Remember to buy a textbook.
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RE: What now???

Postby magma » Mon 08.07.2006 7:54 pm

Reading about Japanese is useful, but to be able to use the language, you must practice using it, lest you end up like the Japanese Language PhD who can tell you the history of every Japanese grammatical form going back to Yamato-kotoba, but can't even order a pizza from Dominozu (yes, there really are such people).

You can either invent ways to use the language, or just buy/borrow a book and work some exercises. I would highly recommend using a textbook as a base for your studies, and supplementing the textbook with the websites mentioned above as needed.

There are many textbooks for beginners, some written in romaji and some in kana, but you can learn just as well from either, since you can practice transcribing the romaji into kana. The one's I've personally found effective are "Japanese for Everyone" (a notional-functional text), and "Beginning Japanese", the infamous Eleanor Jordan Yale/Foreign Service course. Beginning Japanese is very dry, but it gives you quick results. People will tell you not to use Jordan because she has a weird romaji system, but that's a silly reason to throw out a book, IMHO. Transcribing the lessons is excellent writing practice, and I like the structural syllabus. It's hard work, but the payoff is great. After using Beginning Japanese for a month, people I talked to on the phone actually thought I *was* Japanese for a few sentences, that's how effective the drills are at honing natural-sounding speech.

Avoid flashy "textbooks" like "Japanese in Mangaland"--it's not really a course so much as a grammar reference with pretty pictures. Get a book with lots and lots of exercises as your base, and when the explanations don't make sense, turn elsewhere for other examples and a different teaching approach. I find it helps to compare different books against eachother, because no one source has it totally right.
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RE: What now???

Postby yeste » Mon 08.07.2006 8:55 pm

OK, update...

@ ComradeJoe and pukngirl326 Thanks a lot for the links, I’ve checked them out and they wore really helpful!!!

@ hungryhotei I most certainly will!

@ magma Those are some really nice advices, much appreciated. I’ll see what I can do about getting one of those books. Huh, just a minor note here: from what I’ve read so far in these forums, looks like a lot of people are suggesting that romaji should be used as little as possible... But I’ve noticed you mentioning it in your post, so what’s your opinion on this? Looks like you didn’t have any problems with it?
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RE: What now???

Postby magma » Tue 08.08.2006 12:26 am

from what I’ve read so far in these forums, looks like a lot of people are suggesting that romaji should be used as little as possible...


They're right. You should keep practicing your hiragana and katakana whenever you can so you don't forget them!

It's not the end of the world if you use a textbook with romaji in it, though. For example, a really great book to start studying Japanese with is Berlitz's Essential Japanese (ISBN 2-8315-6234-1). It only costs $10.95 US, it's short, it's friendly, and it uses relatively natural Japanese in the example dialogues. Two problems: no audio, and no kana. Nevertheless, I found it very helpful to rewrite the dialogues in kana and work from that instead of the romaji in the book (my kana version, despite my poor handwriting, was still easier to read).

That reminds me: You want to learn to speak Japanese, not just read it, right yeste? If that is the case, it's important you get a good grounding in pronouncing Japanese asap. I know you can pronounce all the SOUNDS in Japanese, that's very good! But can you put them together properly? Do you speak steadily, evenly, giving equal time to each syllable, or are you stressing words like English speakers do?

If you just go on ahead studying textbooks that don't have audio, there is a serious danger that you will develop bad English-style speech habits that are very difficult to unlearn later. That's why I recommended Beginning Japanese, because for all its faults (old vocab, dry dialogues, dense explanations), it gives you a really solid grounding in pronunciation right from the start. It also teaches you to pay attention to musical accent (which most books, including the Berlitz one, just ignore).

Of course, Beginning Japanese may be a bit out of your price range (~$100.00 US retail for the 10 CDs and book, and that's just Part I!). But please find some kind of Japanese course with audio so you can hear how native speakers sound and learn to speak as they do.
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RE: Stickies

Postby Ihatehippies » Tue 08.08.2006 1:03 am

One of the things I did was buy "Sticky labels" that you can write on. Write down items in your house For EX. Put a sticky that says "Denwa" on your Phone when it rings before you pick it up say the word.Same goes for the "Reezooko" (Refridgerato) evertime you go to get something out say the word ect.. Of course you'll need a Good Dictionary and some Super creative thinking to figure out how to label your "Inu" or "Neko"
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RE: What now???

Postby magma » Tue 08.08.2006 1:11 am

Dog collar? ;)
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RE: What now???

Postby Chris Hart » Tue 08.08.2006 2:09 am

magma wrote:
Of course, Beginning Japanese may be a bit out of your price range (~$100.00 US retail for the 10 CDs and book, and that's just Part I!). But please find some kind of Japanese course with audio so you can hear how native speakers sound and learn to speak as they do.


Another resource you may want to consider is your local library. I was able to check out Pimsleur course 1A on CD, and 1A - 3B were available to download in WMA format through mine. TLCPL

I have converted 1B-3B to CD format, and use them on my commute to/from work every day. These are designed to be a stand alone course, but I thought it would be best to study written forms as well. It's been a little while since I checked, but IIRC, these are about $250/set. Each set is only half the course for that level.
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RE: What now???

Postby chikara » Tue 08.08.2006 3:09 am

The Pimsleur Learn to Speak and Understand Japanese series are not a cheap option. They are available directly from Simon and Schuster but can be cheaper at Pimsleur Approach or even Amazon and probably other places as well.

I have I - III on my iPod and listen to then when travelling to and from work. If you are studying Japanese on your own these are a good resource to practice your listening and speaking.
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RE: What now???

Postby magma » Tue 08.08.2006 1:06 pm

Chris Hart wrote:
I have converted 1B-3B to CD format, and use them on my commute to/from work every day. These are designed to be a stand alone course, but I thought it would be best to study written forms as well.


What's your procedure for studying the written forms? Do you transcribe the Pimsleur CDs?
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RE: What now???

Postby Chris Hart » Tue 08.08.2006 4:13 pm

For the written forms, my primary resource is this site, although I also have "Teach Yourself Beginner's Japanese Script" (ISBN 0-842-2686-6, list US$10.95) and "Writing Hiragana an Introductory Japanese Language Workbook" (ISBN 0-8048-3620-5, list US$12.95) checked out from the library. I have also ordered a few of the Mangajin series, and the Hiragana and Katakana Shitagiki from Clay & Yumi.
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