after learning Kana, next step?

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?
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larcen1997
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after learning Kana, next step?

Post by larcen1997 » Tue 02.10.2009 1:46 pm

I am curious, now that I have learned to be able to figure out each character in kana, where would one head next? I am a little confused on that. Should I just try to find things written in kana and try to translate them into english?

I can figure out what each one is, but do I know what it means when combined into a word? not really.

so whats next?

if this is in the wrong forum I am sorry. please move it to the correct forum.

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Re: after learning Kana, next step?

Post by richvh » Tue 02.10.2009 1:52 pm

Now you need to learn some vocabulary and grammar. The best place to find both in one package is a textbook.
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Re: after learning Kana, next step?

Post by wccrawford » Tue 02.10.2009 1:55 pm

Some debate the need to learn grammar from a book. I personally think it's useful, but others think it's useless. YMMV.

As for vocab, my current favorite way to learn it is iKnow.co.jp . It's free and I've found it to be amazing.

After you've got a good bit of vocab under your belt, it's time to start using it. Pick up an easy manga (Yotusba& is good) and start reading. If you've done a fair amount of vocab (the first 400 of the official iKnow courses is good... There are other user-made courses that have even more basic vocab) you'll be able to read 2/3-3/4 of the manga. That's enough to be fun and keep you motivated to learn more. I recommend -not- looking up words as you go along. If you -must- look up the ones you don't know, mark them and come back later. It really kills the flow to stop as you are reading.

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Re: after learning Kana, next step?

Post by richvh » Tue 02.10.2009 2:17 pm

Whether or not you learn it from a book, you need both vocabulary and a knowledge of grammar to understand anything, especially when you're learning a language which is grammatically so different from your native language. Without grammar, you can't tell the difference between
ねこ は さかな を たべた
and
ねこ は さかな に たべられた
or
ねこ は さかな を たべなかった
even if you know all the words.

Now you can learn vocabulary from iKnow, and grammar from Tae Kim's guide, but what neither offer is a full range of exercises where you see how to build new sentences from what you've already learned.
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Re: after learning Kana, next step?

Post by wccrawford » Tue 02.10.2009 4:18 pm

I didn't say you don't need to know grammar, I said that some say you don't need to study it from a book. (In fact, some say you should not study it from a book.)

The anti-bookgrammar people generally suggest an immersive environment instead.

I don't personally learn better that way, but I can understand how others could.

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Re: after learning Kana, next step?

Post by richvh » Tue 02.10.2009 4:30 pm

Oh, the All Japanese All The Time (AJATT) crowd? We had a thread debating Katsumoto's method here recently.
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Re: after learning Kana, next step?

Post by larcen1997 » Tue 02.10.2009 5:06 pm

thanks for the advice guys.... I will look into that site. is there any more easy for starters manga I should look at?

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Re: after learning Kana, next step?

Post by richvh » Tue 02.10.2009 5:19 pm

Doraemon (especially the bi-lingual editions) are sometimes mentioned favorably for beginners, but in general, jumping straight into manga is not recommended. While the illustrations provide some context, you simply won't have the vocabulary or grammar to understand what you read, and you'll probably need a magnifying glass to make out the details of the furigana - and you need to bear in mind that furigana usually doesn't differentiate between large and small kana.
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Re: after learning Kana, next step?

Post by Yudan Taiteki » Tue 02.10.2009 5:44 pm

richvh wrote:While the illustrations provide some context, you simply won't have the vocabulary or grammar to understand what you read


And perhaps more importantly, the grammar is basically impossible to look up on your own. There's a tendency to think that "aimed at children" means "suitable for beginning language learners", but you always have to remember that even a 5-year old child has mastered the grammar of their native language (not counting archaic/formal structures).
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Re: after learning Kana, next step?

Post by larcen1997 » Mon 02.16.2009 9:02 am

thanks for the advice everyone, I will be picking up some books to learn vocab and gram.. I hope it helps. thanks!

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Re: after learning Kana, next step?

Post by Infidel » Tue 02.17.2009 4:51 pm

I just thought I would mention that at the very beginning level, a textbook is better to get than a grammar book or a vocabulary book. A textbook is essentially a bunch of different books rolled into one. For a few weeks it should be the only book you need. Although, depending on your textbook, a kanji learner's dictionary and beginner's dictionary might be useful.

In all honesty, I found the verb books more confusing than informative.
なるほど。
さっぱりわからん。

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Re: after learning Kana, next step?

Post by larcen1997 » Tue 02.17.2009 6:44 pm

i see. alright.

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