Best ways to learn japanese
  • I'm interested in learning japanese, but where I live, there arent any good japanese classes or teachers. How acceptable do you think it would be for me to learn from a system like Rosetta Stone? I've heard great things about the program, some people even going so far as to say it's BETTER than the traditional class environment for learning the language. The fact stands that if i really want to learn this is one of my only options. Do you guys think learning from a program like that would give good results, or should I just keep trying to find a class/teacher?
  • T_T I'm hoping someone will come in here soon, I've been checking periodically all day for advise, but still nothing...*sadness envelopes our heroine's heart*


    ......... (^^)V
  • I've never used it, so perhaps I can't comment. However, I am rather dubious of how effective it might be. The Wikipedia page notes it's not very culturally sensitive, with only American images used. Also I don't believe you can effectively learn conversation without ever speaking to anyone else (native speaker or Japanese learner).

    Of course the real problem is the price. If it was free, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend giving it a try, and seeing if you like it. But at the kind of prices they charge, I think it's too much of a gamble.

    If you want to practise conversation you can find a language partner at
    http://www.mylanguageexchange.com/
    I used that site last year when I was working hard on Japanese, but I wasn't in Japan, and it was pretty good. I'd get a beginner textbook as well, and try to work with that. Learn hiragana as soon as you can.
  • My advice above is if you can't find a teacher/class. If you can find a teacher/class you should definitely try and sign up. If you have a teacher you can ask questions that you can't ask a piece of software.
  • www.alljapaneseallthetime.com

    If you're determined, you can learn Japanese to a really high level by yourself in less than 2 years. All you need is time, dedication and the right techniques.
  • I kind of think Rosetta Stone is a scam. Not an all-out waste, but the company found an easy way to make money. If you're studying Japanese, there will be ZERO explanations in English of what they're teaching you -- which lets them sell the exact same software in Spain, Russia, or Kenya. They also use the same format for all the other languages they teach, so Spanish and Russian and Chinese all have the exact same lessons the exact same way.

    I think the lessons are weird. You're better off studying grammar than trying to "absorb it naturally." They say that to try to convince you that you can be fluent without any effort...

    Like I said, take one mediocre piece of software and give it a huge advertising campaign for every language in every country -- money!!!
  • You may want to try Livemocha.com. It is free and provides effective ways to learn Japanese- speaking, reading and writing. I've just started using it and have been pleased with it so far.
  • I've used rosseta stone, did the whole thing not impressed. I admit I cheated, because I was self translating the sentences, without that I would of been lost.
    Main thing was, it was too short. It didn't contain enough Japanese in it, to become anything even barely approaching fluent.

    Sure you can learn by your self. I don't think been able to speak a native is essential at all.
    I reccomend you check out Alljapaneseallthetime.com, and maybe start of with a few basic Japanese books to get the basics down pat.
    I don't like lessons, at all. They try to teach languages like an accademic subject. Breaking it down to rules and facts, it's not natural or effective.

    Language is a habit not a skill, you can speak English corectly because you've heard it spoken correctly so much, not because you realised that a grammatical rule was broken. It just sounds "wierd" and "off" when the grammar is wrong. (Or right depending on how nice of a place you live in.) then afterwards you may figure out the that the tense was wrong.
  • Posted By: alexkx3
    [p]
    I don't like lessons, at all. They try to teach languages like an accademic subject. Breaking it down to rules and facts, it's not natural or effective.[/p][p]Language is a habit not a skill, you can speak English corectly because you've heard it spoken correctly so much, not because you realised that a grammatical rule was broken. It just sounds "wierd" and "off" when the grammar is wrong. (Or right depending on how nice of a place you live in.) then afterwards you may figure out the that the tense was wrong.[/p]


    You're right in saying that language is habit, however if you just start learning a new foreign language you can't just jump in without knowing where to begin and what a good approach might be to studying the various aspects, such as reading/writing and listening/speaking. Lessons (depending on the teacher obviously) provide an excellent means of giving you a starting point with set goals to work towards (tests). It's not the most natural approach I agree, but you will never learn to produce natural-sounding Japanese without having lived in Japan itself, so that point is moot. It does however provide you with a good basic grasp of the language.

    Cherushi:

    I only started self-study when I was already a lot more advanced so I can't give you much advice on how to approach the basics, but try and start with memorizing the hiragana and katakana first and foremost, you will need them. There are certain series of textbooks that have everything written in the Roman alphabet but that that's a sure sign that they suck. With a bit of dedication, you could have them memorize with in a week or 2. As for textbooks, I recommend the Minna No Nihongo series, they're a bit stiff in terms of language used, but they do a great job of teaching you the basics.
  • When I was first learning, I would spend time on this site to try to memorize the katakana/hiragana. To Jossos point, you need a place to begin. I really recommend trying to find a Japanese Class. Any flashcard style will do really, just liked this one. You can customize the number of choices and which is on top and bottom. http://www.aeriagloris.com/LearnJapanese/

    Also if you happen to be in one of the lucky cities with a Japan Foundation branch (http://www.jpf.go.jp/world/en/) then I HIGHLY recommend you visit. Library accounts are free and you can borrow language and culture materials. Also they might be able to put you in touch with a language school (http://www.jflalc.org/?act=tpt&id=159). If you're starting from 0, you need to have some kind of base to build on, and it needs to be a correct base. Without a Japanese speaker helping you, you could be learning mistakes.

    Next, in terms of self study, the materials I use (in conjunction with my class), I recommend starting with Instant Immersion. 8 hours for under $20, and they spend a good amount of time on the alphabet and sounds to start. (http://tinyurl.com/amztf6) You can also get the audio only part from iTunes. And the I am Yan series from TV is a good basic course (Actual title is "Let's Learn Japanese" I believe) for starting on your own from scratch. Finally and most intensive are the Pimsleur audio CDs. Good listening on the train, better if you spend time to listen and practice where you can speak. All three materials are pretty long. Pimsleur is 90 x 30min (45 hours), Let's Learn Japanese is 52 x 30min (26 hours) and Instant Immersion is 8 chapters x ~1h (8 hours). There's also tons of books too, but I usually only use the texts with my teacher.
  • Hi Cherushi, I've tried to learn myself japanese for ages, but just like you I can't find any japanese classes that are close enough, if there are any at all here in Norway... Anyway, I also decided to try out Rosseta Stone, but like some people have already mentioned they don't have any explenations and the lessons are to short. Thats why I decided to try out Absolute Pimsleurs Japanese and I love it! Pimsleurs japanese explains everything in detail after every unit and it's easy to follow. Every unit is about half an hour and there are 30 units on every cd. (3 in total) But on the other hand it's very expensive,(but if you download it illigaly like me it's free!!) and you don't learn how to read and write. But you can use this site for that! Or you can do like me and buy the book Japanese For Young People. It might be a bit childish but you'll learn basic japanese, how to read and write hiragana, katakana and kanji. And you'll learn about the same things as in Pimsleurs Japanese so they work exellent together.
  • Posted By: Jossos
    [p]You're right in saying that language is habit, however if you just start learning a new foreign language you can't just jump in without knowing where to begin and what a good approach might be to studying the various aspects, such as reading/writing and listening/speaking. Lessons (depending on the teacher obviously) provide an excellent means of giving you a starting point with set goals to work towards (tests). It's not the most natural approach I agree, but you will never learn to produce natural-sounding Japanese without having lived in Japan itself, [/p]


    True, at first it's good to get the basics down.

    [cite] But you will never learn to produce natural-sounding Japanese without having lived in Japan itself [/p]

    Fair, thats always the best option, but you can simulate it. I only watch Japanese tv programs, listen to Japanese podcasts, read Japanese books ect
  • Instead of Pimsleur, just sign up at JapanesePod101.com. Same thing but free, less repetition and goes from beginner to very advanced level.
  • Wow, thank you for all of your advise. I'm a busy woman, with a job and a ton of bills and resposiblities just like everyone else, so it's hard to be as dedicated as I should. But I have always wanted to learn at least one foriegn language, and have a genuine interest in Japanese culture, so I really thought that'd be a good place to start. I listen to a lot of japanese music/television to try to become comfortable with pronounciation and just trying to SOUND natural, and have been told in the past that I am very good at emmulating sounds, so I feel this works to my advantage. I've already picked up a series of hiragana and katakana books, I've tried to memorize them by learning how to write japanese nicknames I give to my friends. It sounds silly and weird, but it's effective for me. I just pick a common japanese name, assign it to a friend, and then memorize how to write their name to that I will start remembering what each symbol stands for based on their name. Self teaching is awkward and hard because you have to develop your own strange techniques, but I think I'm doing well as far as that's concerned. I really appreciate all the advice though, it's good to have people more knowledgable than me to give me a starting point.
  • I recommend www.iknow.co.jp, but then again, I'm biased since I work there.

    But it's a damn good way of picking up vocabulary, and it's got a 300 thousand strong community of helpful Japanese English learners who can help you with your studies.

    http://www.iknow.co.jp/courses?language=ja&course_type_selector=courses&translation_language=en&commit=Go is a good place to start.
  • As a beginner, the absolute best solution I can recommend is Human Japanese. It introduces the language in a simple and friendly manner, and provides interesting cultural notes as well. A pretty comprehensive trial can be downloaded for free, and the full version is $25.

    I'd recommend free online resources as well, but most that I've seen include incorrect information, etc.

    Anyway, good luck!
  • Hi there! I did try on learning Japanese, and I learned almost of its language (but still trying to memorize it). Lol. I bought an English-Japanese translation book from the bookstore. Some books, come with free CD/VCD's with tutorial on pronunciation. =D It did help me so much and I am loving it. Today, I am still continuing on studying the language because I simply love it. I even tried reading here at http://tinyurl.com/ucanspeakjapanese coz my friends told me that it could help me too. :) I am really amazed of everything about Japan that's why I am doing my best to study it. :)
  • I have tried Rosetta Stone---my dad bought it for ten dollars from Hong Kong.
    For me, Rosetta stone was effective, but boring and slow. For those of you that need to pay hundreds of dollars for it, 買わない方がいいだろう.
    If you understand grammar well enough, I'd study online (where everything's free) and better yet, practice with a native speaker.

  • best way to learn japanese language is from intranet. It is best option for learning basic japanese. After that you can use japanese books. There are lot of website available for learning japanese language. here is one of them.

    http://www.learnjapanesefree.com/
  • The best way to learn japanese is learn from any good institute..
  • One of the best way to learn japanese is by memorizing 10-15 words a day. :) That's what my professor told me. Read and memorize arashi tango. It would really help. Have with you a jisho or search all over the net for words, phrases and translations. I am using Eudict as my translation to English-Japanese. It is good to use. I also use http://www.rocketlanguages.com/japanese/premium/index.php?hop=gopmike it is great to practice your language to be fluent. You may also practice katakana when you are able to practice and do well in kanji and hiragana. :)
  • Why is it when you read a manga or watching a anime they talk to a person like they're not there like say the guy who she talking to is name sadao and she said "Sadao is kind and handsome" it kinda confusing to me <??>
  • Hmmmmm *look at date* is people still checking i hope

  • It may sound like that in English, but not to Japanese ears. Using generic nouns to refer to a person ("pronoun") is not *as common* in Japanese as it is in English; and in fact, it is considered polite to address someone by his/her name (with the correct politeness suffix, of course).
    [You may also hear little girls refer to themselves by their name, but that is not something to mimic.]

    For more information, refer to http://japanese.about.com/od/Grammar/a/Personal-Pronouns.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_pronouns

    PS: There are not many active people here in this forum, but still enough so that questions usually get an answer within a few days.

    PPS: You might be interested in japanologic.com/index.php - there are more active members and also a few native speakers.
  • I hope after 3 years Cherushi has made some progress in learning Japanese, but for anyone else who has the same question, I want to weigh in.

    First, on Rosetta Stone, if you ignore the companies ridiculous marketing rhetoric, it is actually a pretty good software. However, you WILL NOT BECOME ANYWHERE NEAR FLUENT using it. If you use it the way your supposed to, unlike Alexkx3 (i.e. don't cheat), you will find yourself remembering things better than just reviewing from a book constantly. The "method" has merit to it.

    I tried it out with two different languages, Vietnamese, which was new to me, and Chinese, which I had studied extensively. The 3rd level of Chinese was about a low intermediate level, so definitely not fluency. But the Vietnamese, from levels 1-3, were pretty helpful for a complete beginner, and I still remember quite a few words and phrases from it, although I haven't studied any Vietnamese in the 2 years since then. But there's no way, after completing level 3, that I could have had a conversation with a Vietnamese person then, and certainly not now. You will have to reach that level on your own, using what you learned from the software and elsewhere (especially elsewhere...)

    One thing needs to be clear: the software is not at all worth the price tag of $250-400, which is based on their claims that you will become fluent. When I bought the two softwares, there was a 6 month no questions asked return policy. This motivated me to work on them everyday, so I could finish them in time to get my money back. They are definitely worth free, so if you think you can finish one in 6 months (I wouldn't recommend 2 at once like I did), and if they do still have that return policy, you should consider "lending" them your money, if you can manage without it for half a year. Or buy bootleg like jackchak's father.

    Finally, a bit on Japanese for beginners. I studied abroad as a beginner, but I had about 6 months between signing up for the program and actually leaving, so I tried to learn a little bit on my own. I didn't have the internet, so I just got things from the library and bookstores. Master hiragana and start learning katakana as soon as possible. Try to write entire rows at a time from memory, like かきくけこ and then さしすせそ, etc. until you can write and recognize all of them. Also, don't put off learning kanji. Spend some time learning about the idea of kanji. I read a great book back then that had 100 characters and it traced their history from when they actually looked like what they represented. I don't remember the name of that book, but it was really helpful. Also, get a traditional kanji dictionary (one where you need to find the radical to look up a word) and use it to look up kanji when you see them. The SKIP system in the Kodansha learners dictionary is a good easier way. The point is that if you can learn the radicals, you will learn kanji much quicker than just memorizing a bunch of different kanji and then suddenly realizing that they are made up of similar parts. Also, learning the names of places you're familiar with is a really good starting point for learning kanji and vocabulary, since you already know how they're pronounced, like Hiroshima 広島 is made up of 広い(hiro.i, or wide) and 島(shima, or island).
  • 俺日本人だから、もし良かったらSkypeにコンタクト送ってね!
    ちょっとだけだけど日本語教えてあげるよ!教えるの下手だけどね!

    SkypeID:panda8940

    If you want to talk in japanese,you can contact me.
    I can talk with you in japanese.I am Japanese.
    But I am not good at english.Sorry.

  • Let me share my fatourite app for practicing the newly studied Japanese words. The site also contains some sample English-Japanese vocabulary.
    http://japanese-dict.com/vocabulary/

    If anyone could tell a similar site that stores my content, and have more samples I would appreciate.
  • Are there any good blogs in japanese out there? おすすめをおねがいします!
  • For grammar I had to use some shitty book called Genki I and II. However it's quite good as a basic and it covers pretty much. Once you learnt the basic at that level you can handle basic conversations, however for higher level there are more and better books.
    Generelly, learn kanji, when you learn kanji you learn words, when you learn words you learn when you hear/read and once you do that you finally learn how to speak.
    Some people can argue that speaking is neccesery but if you can handle the basics and got a wide vocabulary you are fine. However there is always room for improvement! :-)
  • If you really want to master Japanese, then the best way is to go to Japan :) in my opinion, it takes 3 years for any foreigner to master Japanese but if you will study Japanese in Japan, it will only take 3 months :) believe me, my Sensei told that to me :)
  • Sorry shichika, but that is just not true. First of all, it simply isn't possible to "master" a language in 3 months. I think master would mean real fluency, which would be comparable to a native. I think that would take one year at the least. And it is pretty funny you say that, since most of the foreigners in Japan, even the ones who having being living there 5 years+ still suck at Japanese. How fast you learn Japanese has nothing to do with what county your in, the only things that matter is what is 3 feet in front of you. A lot of people go to Japan, hang out with other foreigners, speak English to Japanese people and watch American TV shows when they go home. And its no wonder they never get good at Japanese. While still being in America, you can only have Japanese music on your ipod, have your whole computer be in Japanese, only watch and read Japanese shows, and only talk to Japanese friends on skype, and you will learn as fast as anywhere.
    Second of all, AJATT method is the best way to learn Japanese. AJATT.com
  • I would suggest that one studies about 30 to 60 minutes a day, and spend rest of the time watching their favorite Japanese anime and dramas. It worked for me XD

    Free Nihongo : Learn Kanji | Japanese Alphabets | Grammar

  • im a beginner of Japanese. Hope your support! Thank you! Your articles are very useful for me! Great!
  • I've been using this a lot: http://ww8.tiki.ne.jp/~tmath/home/index.htm
    My friend who is taking classes recommended it when I first started, it's very clear and proper place to learn Japanese from the scratch. It has been my best friend for a while now and has some exercises in it, too.
  • みんな、がんばってね!
  • Has anyone on self study tried Assimil? I am using it to study 2 European languages and I love it so far! The audio tracks start out slow so you can try to pronounce the words clearly. You need to listen to the audio for as long as you need until you understand what is being said. But this should not take you longer than 30mins a day.

    What amazes me is that every time I move to the next audio/lesson, I find myself being able to understand/translate parts of the track without looking at the book. It works for me, maybe it will work for your Japanese lessons too :)

  • @Miwa: ありがとうございます!じゃあなたも!@Cherushi: I suggest you start memorizing the hiragana and katakana, then consider yourself finding some good N5 books to know some sentences patterns, and lastly WATCH AND WATCH AND WATCH japanese shows (animes, movies, etc.).. After you do this, then start learning basic kanjis. This is what I have done though, in two months time I was able to communicate with some japanese people. Just a good baseline though, and I'm currently at this level as of now.

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