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self teaching questions

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

self teaching questions

Postby kaywala » Tue 01.03.2006 9:07 pm

Hello ^^ I really want to learn Japanese and was going to take a class but my parents don't want me to add another class to my schedule. So, they opted for me to teach myself. I've been reading through the posts and everyone basically says Genki is the best course to follow. If it is, do all I need is the Genki text book, work book and cd? I looked on Barnes and Noble website for it and they also had an answer key...do you need that aswell?

I was wondering if I could primarily learn off that and if any one could tell me of the steps that you need to take to become fluent and hope to get a degree with out attending a college (like how to get the tests, which ones I need to take).

I wanted to become a foriegn exchange student for my senior year of high school, but it says must have a semester of Japanese teaching. Does anyone know if I taught myself I could still foriegn exchange?

I'm sorry about all the questions, but here's one more. Um does anyone have any suggestions on a good dictionary?

Any help would be most appreciated. I don't care how hard the road will be teaching myself, but I just wanted to start in the right direction ^^
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RE: self teaching questions

Postby Infidel » Tue 01.03.2006 9:21 pm

two good dictionaries starting out are the Kanji Learner's dictionary and the Oxford Japanese starter dictionary.

There are always supplemental things you can do and getting the answer key would'nt hurt. On the other hand, you should be pretty confident about most of your answers anyway and can easily get confirmation or help from a group like this one when you need it, so the answer key isn't _that_ necessary.

You could study and pass the JLPT level 4. That is worth at least 2 semesters of college, although You'll still have to pay for the class, the teacher will probably let you test out.

I'm pretty sure most foreign exchange programs are for college juniors so it would probably be best to wait and do it during your junior year.
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RE: self teaching questions

Postby kaywala » Tue 01.03.2006 11:21 pm

Thank you so much for this information. Is there JLPT level 1,2 and 3 tests and should I eventually take those aswell?

Oh, I was looking through theJapaneseStore and I saw a furigana dictionary...is that good?

and do I need a grammar book or does Genki cover everything?
Last edited by kaywala on Tue 01.03.2006 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: self teaching questions

Postby Infidel » Tue 01.03.2006 11:42 pm

Oh yes, and they each is twice as difficult as the one before.

the oxford starter dictionary is slightly better than the furigana dictionary in my opinion. It has all the words in hiragana and kanji which plus it has usage examples that make the oxford dictionary a better than the furigana dictionary.

You will probably want a grammar book at some point in the future, but you should build a good foundation in your primary text before branching out.
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RE: self teaching questions

Postby kaywala » Wed 01.04.2006 7:15 am

Thank you so much for your help ^^ now all I have to do is wait for the books to be restocked ^^
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RE: self teaching questions

Postby CajunCoder » Wed 01.04.2006 4:21 pm

Personally, I think self-teaching is the best way to go. If you really commit yourself, become obsessed and immersed, you'll learn far more, far faster than you would just taking classes.

If you can, get a hold of Pimsleur's Japanese audio course, its *very* good, and helps you get used to hearing the language. Its insanely expensive, but theres always a way to obtain something, you just have to search; some librarys have it, so be sure to check there.

Also, though this site uses romaji, which I don't like, its still a *Very* good place to start. It gives you an over-view of the language, and can almost be used as a sort of "Verb conjugation dictionary". I suggest you read through the first 10 verb lessons; http://www.timwerx.net/language/index.htm

I find I dont learn very well out of text books... I'm self-teaching myself as well, and for the most part I learn in a completely unstructured manner. Most of what I learn, I learn off of the internet. Take whatever chance you can to practice the language.
I have countless sites which I use to study, though not very often -
I practice conversing with people in japanese, ask questions, read/post on forums in japanese, listen to audio lessons, watch japanese tv and manga, play old SNES games in japanese, and recently I've started making my own sprite comic/manga in japanese (fortunately, richvh is helping me with that :p)...
And I constantly try to drill vocabulary into my head, granted that doesnt seem to work well, considering I forget and relearn every word a minimum of 10 times, it sometimes seems...

Become obsessed, immerse yourself, and prepare for a very long, difficult, but extremely enjoyable and interesting journey =p
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RE: self teaching questions

Postby sgtkwol » Wed 01.04.2006 5:04 pm

I am self teaching myself everything. Right now it is a big focus on Kanji. What I do is randomly test myself on stuff I should have already memorized and every few days I test myself on everythng. My first level of it all has been to learn the meanings of everything I find in level 4 lists along with the official grade 1 list. Once I know all the meanings I will branch out into pronunciation through vocab, and then move onto the next level. I like the JLPT system because lower levels give more day to day kanji. I will continue to try to read now and then and I just hope it all comes together eventually. I don't ever plan on taking the JLPT unless it becomes necessary or when I feel that I would be ready for level 3 I will then take level 4.
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RE: self teaching questions

Postby skrhgh3b » Wed 01.04.2006 6:13 pm

If you're at all serious, I would absolutely not recommend self-study as a beginner. You need to get into a classroom where you're being taught by native speakers. As far as a textbook, find out which textbook your college or university uses. When you move into the 'intermediate' level, self-study becomes more practical because you'll have the resources and knowledge to begin answering your own questions.
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RE: self teaching questions

Postby Ongakuka » Wed 01.04.2006 6:22 pm

I find both points of view are correct:)

Study and practice on your own to increase Kanji knowledge and writing skills. Take classes to build confidence in speaking, listining and to confirm that your grammar (which you can self-teach) is correct.
なぜなら、おまえは・・・・・・人形だ
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RE: self teaching questions

Postby sgtkwol » Wed 01.04.2006 7:56 pm

That brings me to another point. Would anyone want to trade Yahoo IDs to practice speaking. I've tried language trade, but the time difference is too much.
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RE: self teaching questions

Postby kaywala » Wed 01.04.2006 9:17 pm

Thank you for all your opinions but I believe I will continue to teach myself for these reasons:

I'm involved in many extracurricular activites and could never fit all the time it takes to commute to the college to take the coarse and take the 2 hour class every other day. (All and all it'd take 7 hours of one day and I can't spend so much time when the actual class is only 2 hours )

I learn a lot faster than the pace the class is/would be going and then I'd actually just be teaching myself the newer material waiting for the class to keep up with me....

I have pen pals in Japan and phone cards muHAHAHAHA xD There's my practice in conversation ^^

Though, I really appreciate all this information. ^^ And thanks to you all I have a direction to start in ^^
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RE: self teaching questions

Postby CajunCoder » Thu 01.05.2006 3:31 pm

Bah, classes are for those who either dont know how to teach themselves, or dont have incentive and determination to learn on their own... or better yet, both. When that is the case, you rarely learn anything anyway.

Everything I've ever *truly* learned, and have been interested in, I've taught myself. Programming, for example. I learned a lot more by just being intruiged and fascinated with programming, spending hours teaching myself than I ever would have in a class.
The same has gone for japanese with me. My knowledge of japanese, thanks to my obsession with it and self study, is probably beyond anything I'd learn in 2 years of taking classes at school, and I've been studying... not even 5 months?

It is only when I teach myself that I truly learn... Things arent just thrown at me out of a text book. I go and find the knowledge myself, I practice in ways that benifit me most; by learning vocab and grammar that I hear the most. I'm not hindered by the slow, integrated, incremental approach of textbooks...

My process of learning anything:

I gain a perspective on it, and always try to keep that perspective of where I am, and what is out there.

I find many semi-structured ways of learning, example; audio/internet courses, memorizing kanji more-or-less-by-grade. - These are most useful early on, but the further I get a long, the less I rely on them and the more I learn simply from using my knowledge in practice.

I practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, and practice what I practice. This is the most important aspect! I talk to people, and watch/listen to shows, and read/write japanese as much as I can. When I hear new words that I think will come in handy, I write them down. Same with kanji. In trying to express yourself, you learn how to say what you want to say, and the things that you will hear/see most commonly. To learn anything, you must practice and use it on your own.
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RE: self teaching questions

Postby kaywala » Thu 01.05.2006 5:48 pm

Yup ^^ Right now I'm working on the higarana. I just need to finish up practicing writing them and then I'm moving to Katakana.

For me, I learn really well if I have a structured learning set in place for me. For instance, it drives me mad if I see these phrase books and they hurriedly tell you what so and so is and then move on to some thing compeletly random. x_x I like a text book that has specific phrases with pictures ^^ that tell me grammar at the same time. My spanish book is like that and I'm finding that's the best way for me to learn. Recently, while waiting for the Genki books to be in stock, I've checked out Japanese, Step by Step from my library. Supposedly it presents Japanese in a way that you can learn it fast, but I hate the way that it hardly explains anything and it doesn't give me any visual aids x_x That's why I like real text books xD

I'm the type that if I think I don't know it aswell as I should, I'll drill my self till I think I do. Like when I'm doing higarana, I write each character about 100 times and when I do the flash card test at the end, if I miss any then I re write each character another 50 times over and retake the test ^^ That's why I'm so concerned on purchasing a good, structured, college approved book cuz if I try wrapping my mind around something that doesn't explain very well....I burn myself out in about 5 minutes x_x
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RE: self teaching questions

Postby StrandedInATreetop » Tue 01.24.2006 5:00 pm

I have been self teaching for just over a month and I know much more that my friend whose taken a semester and a half. I don't have that much experience, but I think the key is spending a lot of time and starting with something a class would start with. I found some sites that were teaching some complex stuff right away and it made absolutely no sense, so I went and found a book that taught the basics and now the complex stuff is starting to make more and more sense.

If your not going to be speaking or hearing from other people in the language, watch some movies or music, I can recomend plenty of music, NOT JUST TYPICAL J-POP EITHER! Also speak aloud as you teach yourself words and make sure you are saying it the way you have heard it if you've heard it. The kids across the hall think I'm talking to myself all the time in japanese. Also find people on the internet to talk to, natives or other teaching themselves. I'd be glad to talk with anyone who is learning (newer or more experienced than I), although I am still a beginer myself. :-D
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RE: self teaching questions

Postby mandolin » Wed 01.25.2006 1:08 am

Music isn't your only language resource!

Music is great for teaching you pronounciation because they generally pronounce each morae (which is a "syllable"... sort of.... ANYWAY)...

To get more listening practice, many people watch Japanese dramas. You can get info on many japanese dramas at Jdorama.

Take care!
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