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Best way to learn to read Japanese?

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ktay95 said:
theprof00 said:

I'm took Japanese for three years at University level.

Definitely didn't go for English, thats for sure.  

=P

lol, I'm taking artistic liberties.



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rolltide101x said:

English is my native language but I am semi-fluent in Spanish (I used to be fluent but after barely using it for years I have lost a good bit of it) I will get there guys, just trying to find the exact table I want to study. The table on that one site is a bit small, would writing the Hiragana syllables followed by the English meaning be helpful?

Usually you can zoom with your browser (atleast in Firefox, Chrome and Opera) by holding ctrl and using the mouse wheel. The tables have a decent resolution so zooming in has good results (for me).

I would make flash cards with the character on one side and the roman letters it represents on the other and then draw them from a box or something. As theprof said you should begin with a,i,u,e,o and when you feel you learned them do the same for ka,ki,ku,ke,ko etc and then ofcourse start to mix these quintets until you can do that easily with the whole hiragana table.

The "additional sounds" table shouldn't require the same effort (but ofcourse you can put in the same effort there, won't hurt at all), as it's just pretty logical modifiers.



Mr Khan said:
mai said:
d21lewis said:

How hard is Japanese? Nintendo is a Japanese company and people STILL aren't 100% sure if the word "Nintendo" means "Leave Luck to Heaven"--not even the Japanese.

Not really ;) the writing is the major obstacle for 'white barbarians', but as a person with second native being Tatar any agglutinative language is intuitively understandable for me. But if you're only an English speaker it might be a bit harder for you.

Tatar is like Japanese second cousin, right? Tatar related to Khalka Mongol, which is related to Korean and Japanese.

Well, they do belong to the same family according to vast majority of genetic classifications, yes. But what I mean here is type of morphology, which all these languages share -- morphology (aside from superficial factors like script or phonetics) is what most people regard as "hard" or "easy" to learn -- the good question here to ask is "for whom? what language do you speak natively?".



IsawYoshi said:

I noticed it had the Norwegian way of pronounching them as well (Norwegian and German both "decend" from the same languages, so it makes sense). 

yea, all the nordic languages + german use a pretty similar pronunciation, but I think it's a funny coincidence, that japanese does aswell, especially because chinese for example is entirely different, while korean pronunciation in some parts sounds surprisingly close to english (to me) ^^



1. Learn the hiragana. I suggest you do it in groups of give: with a few exceptions, it's always a, i, u, e, o, and something in front of them (and the group with nothing in front of them). You'll need this to be able to learn kanji. Also, the characters for furigana are the same as for hiragana.
2. Learn the katakana. Do the same you did with the hiragana, they're represent literally the same sounds so for each hiragana, there's a katakana and vice versa. You'll need these for foreign words and such, and you'll definitely encounter those. You'll also probably need these to study kanji.
3. Waste your life on the kanji. You'll need both hiragana and katana to do so. Each kanji has one or more meanings, and most kanji characters have several different ways to pronounce them depending on the context. Almost everything that's not written in katakana is written in kanji, and not a whole lot if written in katakana so this is your goal. At the same time, study grammar. It's not that hard but it's different enough from English that you need to study it a bit to get a hang of things.

As for other tips, I recommend you practice handwriting. It's easier to remember what the characters look like if you do so because you need to know each individual stroke which, in my opinion, makes recognizing the characters easier. Do this for all character sets (hiragana, katakana, kanji). There's about 48 of both hiragana and katakana. Then there's thousands of kanji, of which I've read you need at least around 500 to get a hang of things in simple texts. Japanese kids learn around 2000 kanji in school, so that should give you some perspective.

As for myself, I don't have a whole lot of experience with Japanese yet so maybe I'm all wrong. I know the hiragana, the katakana, and around 100 kanji, so there's that. I'm thinking I need to find more time for Japanese though, before I forget...



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How do you recommend learning Japanese words?



Lafiel said:
rolltide101x said:

English is my native language but I am semi-fluent in Spanish (I used to be fluent but after barely using it for years I have lost a good bit of it) I will get there guys, just trying to find the exact table I want to study. The table on that one site is a bit small, would writing the Hiragana syllables followed by the English meaning be helpful?

Usually you can zoom with your browser (atleast in Firefox, Chrome and Opera) by holding ctrl and using the mouse wheel. The tables have a decent resolution so zooming in has good results (for me).

I would make flash cards with the character on one side and the roman letters it represents on the other and then draw them from a box or something. As theprof said you should begin with a,i,u,e,o and when you feel you learned them do the same for ka,ki,ku,ke,ko etc and then ofcourse start to mix these quintets until you can do that easily with the whole hiragana table.

The "additional sounds" table shouldn't require the same effort (but ofcourse you can put in the same effort there, won't hurt at all), as it's just pretty logical modifiers.

Thank you so much for your help, you have given me somewhere to start. I am going to use these 2 links to learn read and write the Hiragana. 

http://www.omniglot.com/writing/japanese_hiragana.htm

http://easyjapanese.org/write_hiragana.html



TheKingofRedLions said:
How do you recommend learning Japanese words?

I mostly learned them by watching subtitled anime to be honest.



Just 2 things are needed since you don't necesssarily want to actually speak japanese.

http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/complete

http://ankisrs.net/

I've been learning with these for a few years now and I'm making good progress.

Anki is the cornerstone of vocabulary training.It has a very good flashcard system that practically forces you to regularly learn and remember new vocab. My tip from experience is: Do not just learn one way(japanese-english) and do not just learn with romaji. Also do not learn Kanji seperately. This is absolutely useless and you will thank me for it.

To get a good start I suggest reading the complete guide to Japanese from Tae Kim. This will give you an overview about what Japanese is about and how it is structured. There is no need to read everything at once but it is the best side literature besides the vocab training. There you will get the grammar basics. Although grammer is not as important as you might think. Japanese is structured in a way that makes it easy to understand even with minimal grammar knowledge(especially games). Most Japanese courses are setup to make you actually speak japanese but for your uses this will only be a useless hurdle. You only need to understand, the ability to form sentences by yourself is irrelevant so just concentrate on simple grammar and vocabulary.

The most important cornerstone is Anki. It will hammer you with new vocab every single day. You will be able to adjust the pace but you shouldn't skip days of learning. I recommend the "Monster Japanese Kanji + Vocab + Phrases" pack. It is huge with the most essential vocabulary that you will need. It is also structured in a way that it teaches you same sounding vocabulary or vocab with the same Kanjis together so you can better compare them. Also some nice mnemonocs in there. Sometimes it will teach you weird or abstract words that you think you might never need but just roll with it. I also recommend to delete the Kanji cards manually from the deck as they are useless and will only hinder your progress.

Why just learning the ~2000 Kanjis by themselves is bad you might ask? Because almost all Kanji have multiple meanings and pronunciations. Even if you learn all Kanjis with all their meanings and pronunciations you will not be able to read a single thing because not only are there numerous exceptions but also so many compounds that you will never truly know the exact meaning or reading of the word. So only learn full vocabulary and you will soon see what I mean.

Another thing you have to think of is Japanese proper names which you will most likely encounter. They are a whole different beast altogether because all of them have very specific readings and even more exceptions. Last names are relatively fast to grasp but first names are just bonkers with all their special readings. So if you want to be able to read them you have to learn them seperately. There are some good Anki decks for this as well.

I don't know what else to write anymore but I'm sure I forgot something.



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vivster said:
Just 2 things are needed since you don't necesssarily want to actually speak japanese.

http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/complete

http://ankisrs.net/

I've been learning with these for a few years now and I'm making good progress.

Anki is the cornerstone of vocabulary training.It has a very good flashcard system that practically forces you to regularly learn and remember new vocab. My tip from experience is: Do not just learn one way(japanese-english) and do not just learn with romaji. Also do not learn Kanji seperately. This is absolutely useless and you will thank me for it.

To get a good start I suggest reading the complete guide to Japanese from Tae Kim. This will give you an overview about what Japanese is about and how it is structured. There is no need to read everything at once but it is the best side literature besides the vocab training. There you will get the grammar basics. Although grammer is not as important as you might think. Japanese is structured in a way that makes it easy to understand even with minimal grammar knowledge(especially games). Most Japanese courses are setup to make you actually speak japanese but for your uses this will only be a useless hurdle. You only need to understand, the ability to form sentences by yourself is irrelevant so just concentrate on simple grammar and vocabulary.

The most important cornerstone is Anki. It will hammer you with new vocab every single day. You will be able to adjust the pace but you shouldn't skip days of learning. I recommend the "Monster Japanese Kanji + Vocab + Phrases" pack. It is huge with the most essential vocabulary that you will need. It is also structured in a way that it teaches you same sounding vocabulary or vocab with the same Kanjis together so you can better compare them. Also some nice mnemonocs in there. Sometimes it will teach you weird or abstract words that you think you might never need but just roll with it. I also recommend to delete the Kanji cards manually from the deck as they are useless and will only hinder your progress.

Why just learning the ~2000 Kanjis by themselves is bad you might ask? Because almost all Kanji have multiple meanings and pronunciations. Even if you learn all Kanjis with all their meanings and pronunciations you will not be able to read a single thing because not only are there numerous exceptions but also so many compounds that you will never truly know the exact meaning or reading of the word. So only learn full vocabulary and you will soon see what I mean.

Another thing you have to think of is Japanese proper names which you will most likely encounter. They are a whole different beast altogether because all of them have very specific readings and even more exceptions. Last names are relatively fast to grasp but first names are just bonkers with all their special readings. So if you want to be able to read them you have to learn them seperately. There are some good Anki decks for this as well.

I don't know what else to write anymore but I'm sure I forgot something.

Those are some good-looking resources. Thanks for that. My Japanese is in that weird place where i'm too far up for most textbooks to really help me, but nowhere near being able to say that i speak Japanese at a level that would do any good (e.g. get me a damn job). Some more effective independent tools are needed



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