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Best Study Method!

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Best Study Method!

Postby uber_geek » Fri 11.09.2007 12:11 pm

What is the best study Method for Japanese in your opinion?

Take into account the time you have to study
What materials you use....books,cds,software etc.
Do you speak with Natives or have tutors?
College? J-Major...

I think it would be interesting to know how some people here that have passed advanced JLPT did it. Hopefully it will inspire me and others to continue in our studies! Please Post :)
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RE: Best Study Method!

Postby Near » Fri 11.09.2007 1:06 pm

There is no "best" study method. Everyone has personal preferences and everyone is a different type of learner (visual, kinesthetic, or auditory). You just need to look around and find what appeals to you and what suits your learning style. Usually the initial stage of language learning revolves around researching resources (reading reviews and whatnot).
Last edited by Near on Fri 11.09.2007 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Best Study Method!

Postby Dehitay » Fri 11.09.2007 1:06 pm

Matrix download into brain method!

But since the technology is unavailable, it's going to vary depending on how you learn best. Most people would benefit the most from a class where structure and method has proven useful before. Personally, I would prefer a personal tutor because classes seem to go so slow for me and I keep falling asleep in them. However, both of those are usually rather expensive.

If you're poor like me, then you can use the same 0 cost method I'm using: websites and pen-pals. This website has a great community for getting help. http://www.guidetojapanese.org is a very well set up site for learning kana and basic grammar. There are a bunch of sites available for learning kanji and vocabulary. I would suggest one that goes by the JLPT 4 levels method as that is well structured from beginner (level 4) to advanced (level 1).

If you're willing to spend a bit of money, books and software are cheaper than classes and will likely speed up your learning process. Just keep it mind it will be more useful to buy one that has a structured approach to learning Japanese rather than one that has a huge load of Japanese materials just jammed together (like a kanji dictionary).
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RE: Best Study Method!

Postby hyperconjugated » Fri 11.09.2007 1:20 pm

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RE: Best Study Method!

Postby Wakannai » Fri 11.09.2007 1:46 pm

There is no "best" study method.



The best study method is constantly. If you are consistent, everything else will fall in place.
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RE: Best Study Method!

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 11.09.2007 2:05 pm

hyperconjugated wrote:
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jolt is not a study method, it is a study aide. nonetheless, that's funny.
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RE: Best Study Method!

Postby Kei » Fri 11.09.2007 3:41 pm

I'm looking for best practices since there isn't a japanese school near my area. That complicates things quite a bit. So any good recomendations on self learning would be extremely helpful.
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RE: Best Study Method!

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 11.09.2007 4:26 pm

I disagree that this is all up to personal opinion or preference -- there are clearly certain things that produce better results than others.

In my opinion, there are five components that are important to learning a language; the more you have, the better your progress will be. I think these are roughly in order of importance:
motivation, structure, input, practice, and guidance.

1. Motivation - this is the basis for everything; you need not just interest but the motivation to do the (sometimes boring) studying that you will need to do frequently, for years.

2. Structure - You need something that lays out what you should learn and in what order. Just trying to randomly pick sentences or switching from one activity to another randomly is unlikely to produce good results.

3. Input - You need to hear (and see) natural Japanese in order to produce natural Japanese yourself. (But this input should follow #2; if you can't understand 99% of what's being said, it's going to do you very little good.)

4. Practice - You can't just read a grammar explanation once and assume you have mastered that grammar. You need to practice using it and understanding it, and practice many, many times.

5. Guidance - You need someone to be able to let you know when you're doing things wrong and suggest corrections. Especially at the beginning you need constant correction and guidance.

A class is your best bet for getting all of these.

If you are self-studying, use a textbook for #2-4, and you can use something like this forum for #5 (although it won't be nearly as good as an actual teacher). This is just my opinion, but I don't think there is any Internet resource that is structured enough and has enough practice to let you learn Japanese from the ground up with nothing else.

For #1, there's not a whole lot you can do to artificially increase your motivation. Keeping a goal in mind can be helpful, but by far the number one reason why people give up studying Japanese is that they simply do not have the motivation or the desire to put in the amount of work necessary to learn the language.

Here are some examples of methods that will not work, that are commonly tried:
1. Buy a manga (or something) and dictionaries, and try to translate it from page 1. The assumption people make is that they will learn the language as they go, until they're eventually able to read it themselves. This cannot work.

2. Pick random sentences in English and translate them into Japanese, and then get corrections. This is far too chaotic, teaches you translation-ese, and people don't do enough sentences to make it effective practice.

3. Cram large amounts of material from things like vocabulary lists, grammar dictionaries, and kanji lists, with no activities that actually use the vocab, grammar, and kanji. There's only so much out-of-context information the brain can handle.
Last edited by Yudan Taiteki on Fri 11.09.2007 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Best Study Method!

Postby saraLynne » Fri 11.09.2007 4:33 pm

The best study method is the one you stick to with extreme dedication.

Having a guided course is the best way, so using something like a textbook is a necessity for a beginner. Even a bad textbook is a valuable tool if you use it regularly.

More important than finding the "best" ways to do things, a beginner should really be asking what are some things NOT to do.

Don't try to translate songs for "practice". Listening to music is well and good, and can provide you with an easy and fun way to familiarize yourself with Japanese sounds. However, it is no good for vocabulary or grammar study due to a lot of colloquialisms and non-standard abbreviations to fit the rhythm and meter of the song.

Don't try to learn Kanji one at a time like a lot of methods teach you. This is a brute force way and MOST people cannot learn things like this. They will not remember what they studied one, two, or five weeks from now. Try to build vocabulary in a meaningful way. Textbooks are good for this, and later in study, from reading other Japanese texts.

Do not always try to match Japanese words to english ones. It is rarely a 1 to 1 kinda thing, and insisting that everything line up into neat little columns of THIS=THAT will confuse and slow your comprehension.

Don't give up. Realize there will be several stages in your study where you feel like you just can't progress. You are stuck or on a plateau. Using sheer willpower to find new ways to kick-start your study again is a must at these points, or you'll fall off the mountain. ^_^

This said, there are a few online resources that are of value to you.
Tae Kim's guide is a good alternative to a paper textbook.
Rikaichan (with Firefox internet browser) is widely regarded as a must-have. Google it.
Space ALC offers example sentences in Japanese and english. Don't be intimidated by the all-japanese page. Type in the search bar near the top in english, and you're given relevant results. Granted, this page isn't a whole lot of use to you until you've had a little more experience. Bookmark it till then. :)

Finally, you could always try Rosetta Stone. I use it. :P People are divided as to whether or not it's a good method. I like it for the same reason that other people don't. It does NOT give you technical explanations of grammar or vocabulary. You learn them the same way a child learns a native language (and adults don't like to have that kind of fuzzy understanding). But, you can always give it a demo at http://www.rosettastone.com.

I think I've written MORE than enough now.. hehe.. um. Yeah, good luck, Kei and UberGeek

EDIT: Yudan posted while I was writing.... he's so much more eloquent than I am. *envy*
Last edited by saraLynne on Fri 11.09.2007 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Best Study Method!

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 11.09.2007 4:36 pm

Actually I want to add that some of these "don't do" things can be fine if you do them in addition to other things. It can be fun to try to translate something even if it takes you 30 minutes to do three lines, but it's not a good idea to make that your primary means of learning Japanese.
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RE: Best Study Method!

Postby Chris Hart » Fri 11.09.2007 5:04 pm

saraLynne wrote:

Rikaichan (with Firefox internet browser) is widely regarded as a must-have. Google it.


Rikaichan can be found here

Also, if you are experiencing issues with Rikaichan, (I couldn't get it to go into my parrents old computer for some reason) or want a few more options, PeraPera-kun is a modification of Rikaichan, and uses the same dictionaries.

I'll freely admit that I use Yudan's #1 failure point for entertainment to go along with my main study tool. I make sure to at least listen to each lesson, and the examples provided (usually multiple times), and try to look at the accompanying PDF (although I sometimes miss getting these). I also will randomly go back and review old lessons to refresh myself on topics that I may have forgotten.
Last edited by Chris Hart on Fri 11.09.2007 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Best Study Method!

Postby Kei » Fri 11.09.2007 6:25 pm

Thanks for the advice, I was doing the kanji cramming, bad idea. I'll probably buy a book from the shop. Anyways I would like to share that the hiragana pack sold here helped me quite a bit. Very easy to remember. B)
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RE: Best Study Method!

Postby everdream » Sun 11.18.2007 11:37 am

A while ago, I tried a cramming method. It litterally went in one ear and out the other. So I lost reason to study and gave up for a couple of months.

But, now I've started again. I think a really good way to progress is to read read read Japanese texts. (As well as an appropiate way of studying)
It'll help you grasp the flow much better. When you're younger (Or even older!) Reading (English) books helped to grow your vocabulary untill you now know the 20 000 odd active and 50000 passive bits of vocab.
Last edited by everdream on Sun 11.18.2007 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Best Study Method!

Postby Dehitay » Sun 11.18.2007 12:08 pm

personally, I think the cramming method is highly effective. Even if you forget more than half of what you learn, you're not entirely forgetting it. If you review it again, you'll likely spend a much shorter time understanding it than you did you first time learning it. Cramming and reviewing is an incredibly fast way to learn, but hard to stay motivated. If at all possible, find a way to test yourself that isn't as stressful as the method you have for studying. Passing such test will usually boost morale and return lost motivation.

If I wasn't so heavily weighed down by schoolwork this semester, I would have spent time cramming the JLPT 2 vocab. I crammed the level 3 vocab and it proved effective, but that may not be a good referrence since the level 3 vocab is a short list. However, I did cram the jouyou kanji as well and I'm glad I did. I already know a good fraction of the 2kyuu vocab because of that.
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RE: Best Study Method!

Postby Kuri » Tue 11.20.2007 4:26 am

I recommend the methods taught at Antimoon for english learning
http://www.antimoon.com/

Whether you can call them the "best". I dunno, but personally I've yet to see anything better.

Granted you will have to apply this to Japanese rather than English, but I trust you can figure that out.
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