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Kana or Romaji?

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

Re: Kana or Romaji?

Postby sugarlevi » Tue 06.17.2008 12:53 pm

I did enjoy the order in which heisig presented the kana. This made it easier for me to remember them.
Personally I did not immediately start with learning the kana, well I did but I found it rather tiring, since I was rather busy at the time, what I did enjoy about the romaji was the fast pick up of vocubulary, which came in use immediately when listening to japanese. Which made me confident and made Japanese learning fun and rewarding. Thar gave me extra stamina to get to the somewhar hard task of learning the kana. My version of JFBP is probably the romaji version, but it still uses the kana in every first part of the chapter. So when I started to learn the hirigana seriously I could still exercise them with JFBP, but in babysteps.
But than again I'm an incredibly fast reader with the latin alfhabet, romaji, so I got, and still get rather frustrated when reading at slowspeed. I do not like to get frustrated so I take it easy with those frustrating tasks to keep me from getting demotivated. And I think taking on to much work, not only a new language, a language with a rather different structure, and three new kinds of 'alphabets' is just a bit to much to comprehend immediately.

Just like yadan taiteiki says romaji are an excellent way to get yourself acquanted with the language, and after doing that you can get better friends with it by studying the writing systems.
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Re: Kana or Romaji?

Postby Ukeath » Tue 06.17.2008 3:32 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone! I think I'm going to pick the kana one.
Thanks again :D
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Re: Kana or Romaji?

Postby Feba » Tue 06.17.2008 5:25 pm

nukemarine wrote:As for "Remembering the Kana", maybe I'm misremembering, but mnemonics had little to do with it. Heisig used visual imagery minus any actual visuals (exception with the NO sign). Citing the lack of practice space is a pointless argument. Providing "squares" for practicing would only be useful in a world bereft of paper.



You are indeed forgetting things. An excerpt, referring to ル:

Heisig wrote:If you can pronounce the name of the famous Rumplestilzchen in German fashion, and recall the young maiden who needed to spin straw into gold, you will have your image for learning this katakana. Look at the shape and on the right you will see the dwarf's little foot with its pointed shoe, and to the left the peg leg that he drove into the ground in anger when his name was discovered and he was deprived of her child as the reward for his services.


He also refers to a 'dagger' shape in け、and a 'comb' from こ, and tries to link them in た。He then goes into this particularly strained explanation, referring to た:

Heisig wrote:That's right! On the left is the dagger and on the right the comb. The sound ta should suggest the word top to you easily enough. Imagine a top delicately balanced and spinning around on the point of a dagger you are holding in your hand. As the top spins, it spits out rounded combs like the kind we first pictured when we learned the hiragana こ. The more vividly you "see" yourself ducking the combs flying at you, the easier this hiragana will be to remember.


I quickly found his mnemonics to be far more confusing and time wasting than just looking at the sound, looking at the kana, and following the stroke order a few times-- which is why I recommend just getting practice sheets. Say the sound every time you write the character, and you will remember it very easily (and again, flashcards also help for being able to recognize them). They also have the distinct advantage of being nearly free (practice sheets will cost you a few pennies in printing supplies) and free (flashcard programs only cost money to download if your ISP/Phone carrier charges you by the MB). Compared to the $15 tag on my copy of Remembering the Kana, I'd say that's a pretty big improvement. Of course, if it was significantly better in quality or method, it would be worth it, but considering that when I used it the page I most frequently had to turn to was the Kana table, I doubt that's the case.
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Re: Kana or Romaji?

Postby spin13 » Tue 06.17.2008 6:56 pm

My mnemonic for d is awesome. It's like the letter b but you're drunk so you write it backwards. The more drunk you get yourself, the easier this letter will be to remember.

The letter p is like being down-under; everything is upside down and they say pissed instead of drunk. The more upside down you get yourself, the easier it will be to get drunk.

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Re: Kana or Romaji?

Postby chikara » Tue 06.17.2008 7:35 pm

spin13 wrote:.....The letter p is like being down-under; everything is upside down and they say pissed instead of drunk.......

LOL :lol:

I'll pay that :)
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Re: Kana or Romaji?

Postby Duality » Tue 06.17.2008 10:58 pm

chikara wrote:
Feba wrote:...... There's also an inconsistency in various systems of romanization which are rather annoying, whereas kana are almost always the same. The biggest examples of this are 'arigato' and 'ohayo', with nothing to indicate that in kana they are ありがとう & おはよう。 ......

chikara wrote:
Ukeath wrote:.... Arigato ....

There in lies one of the dangers of romaji :)

Eggzachary :P


Yeah I can't agree with this more! It's caused me quite a few problems in the past... Nothing too serious, but it just shouldn't happen. It's just something else that can trip up newbies like me.

I wanted to put in my own thoughts on the main topic of the thread too though. I strongly advise other newcomers to learn hiragana and katakana, it's so rewarding! In fact despite the bumpy ride I've experienced in learning Japanese so far, knowing the kana has actually kept me motivated and kept me coming back.

It really shocked and motivated me when I had been learning Japanese for a while at university (from scratch) and suddenly when I walked past sushi places and the like I could read the words on the signs! :D Even if I didn't know what the words were, I was just so excited that I could read them. What was once a bunch of meaningless symbols was now a language and I still feel excited thinking about that today.

Similarly, when I stopped learning at uni (long story but it was waaaay too rushed and I can't afford to fail units) I started to forget the kana... When I walked through the city and past the stores again in the last few weeks I realised suddenly that I was forgetting what I'd learned! I couldn't remember some kana characters and even more of them took me a while to get. It was actually this more than anything that drove me to start learning again (this time solo), it just upset me so much!

Anyway so there's a bit of my story and a plug for learning the kana early. I really think it's great and it's a hell of a lot less intimidating than the kanji... Ergh... Kanji feel like my enemy. Although I should say I was similarly pleased being able to read the kanji for "Japan" (Nihon? Nippon? I never found out the differences there...) on some currency exchange places. It was just a lot more limited and less immediate than the kana... I guess it was kind of cool though. Hmm... :) Writing this has actually made me want to go and learn them! :D
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Re: Kana or Romaji?

Postby Ukeath » Tue 06.17.2008 11:47 pm

So I picked up the book and I am enjoying it very much! My only question is should I search the Web for
some sort of a chart for the kana?
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Re: Kana or Romaji?

Postby chikara » Tue 06.17.2008 11:55 pm

Ukeath wrote:So I picked up the book and I am enjoying it very much! My only question is should I search the Web for
some sort of a chart for the kana?

Doesn't book 1 have a kana chart in the back? I haven't got my copy handy.

If not you could search for one or you could simply type one up :)
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Re: Kana or Romaji?

Postby Duality » Wed 06.18.2008 12:12 am

Ukeath wrote:So I picked up the book and I am enjoying it very much! My only question is should I search the Web for
some sort of a chart for the kana?


I'm surprised that the book doesn't have one! I don't have a link for a chart handy but this page should help too, it's really useful for stroke order and a few hints on the kana.

http://members.aol.com/writejapan/hiragana/writutor.htm

and

http://members.aol.com/writejapan/katakana/writutor.htm
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