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What tips do you have for an English-speaker on learning Japanese.

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I am considering picking up another language. My native language is English. What tips does anyone have for an English-speaker on learning Japanese?

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The faster you memorize the hiragana/kanji the easier your experience is going to be. Once you have that down it's literally easy peazy. I'm currently in a Japanese course and the thing that weighed me down was not knowing the symbols.

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You should keep in mind the structural differences of the language when learning complete phrases (i.e the verbs are usually present at the very end of the sentence). Don't try to get any literal translations of Japanese sentences since they almost always don't fit into the English language structure. The same applies to some words that combine two or more Kanji characters.

Example: 'Kimono' means a specific traditional Japanese piece of clothing, but literally Ki Mono is 'Thing to Wear'.

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Master pronunciation. English words have many mixtures of consonants, not really syllabic like Japanese. And like others, watch anime!

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Master pronunciation. English words have many mixtures of consonants, not really syllabic like Japanese.

Yeah, this. A lot of English native speakers talking in Japanese have a really weird way of pronuncing things. Japanese pronunciation is nothing like English pronunciation and often while listening to somebody speak Japanese it's easy to spot whether they are a native English speaker, since they pronunciation might be a bit..odd.

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Immersion, immersion, immersion. Make Japanese friends and speak as much Japanese as possible with them. I would say 80% of my Japanese ability, at least, didn't come out of a book.

Obviously, you'll need to start by studying the writing system, grammar, and basic vocabulary. But once you've got a grasp on the basics you should start trying to practically apply your skills as early as possible.

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Master pronunciation. English words have many mixtures of consonants, not really syllabic like Japanese. And like others, watch anime!

Would watching anime actually help? It's something I've considered but I googled it and most people seemed to think it was a bad idea. One person specifically said if I learnt to speak Japanese with anime, that I'd end up communicating like a child.

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Get a pen pal or someone who will voice chat with you! Immersion is the only way you are going to be able to speak it without sounding like a total noob. You can watch all of the anime you want, but you won't learn until you're able to respond to someone in a real life setting.

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Would watching anime actually help? It's something I've considered but I googled it and most people seemed to think it was a bad idea. One person specifically said if I learnt to speak Japanese with anime, that I'd end up communicating like a child.

I went to a Japanese language school with a young (I think 17) girl who was a dedicated anime fan. Her pronunciation and rhythm of speech was really, really good for her actual language ability. But at the same time, it was pretty obvious that it came from anime. She had this really cutesy, drawn-out way of speaking, and she knew a lot of weird anime slang words and relatively few "proper" Japanese words.

So anime can improve your Japanese ability, especially when it comes to casual conversation, but do not make the mistake that anime reflects the way people speak in real life.

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So anime can improve your Japanese ability, especially when it comes to casual conversation, but do not make the mistake that anime reflects the way people speak in real life.

There were a bunch of students like this when I started my Japanese degree. Their intonation and pronunciation were pretty good, but they spoke like anime characters, not real people. There's nothing really damaging about watching a lot of anime in Japanese to help your learning, but it's good to also watch dramas or other types of TV shows (news is the "gold standard" of good Japanese pronunciation, but admittedly can be boring) so you can get a better idea of how real Japanese people actually speak.

On the topic of things to know - keep in mind that Japanese and English have very little in common, and try to get away from the habit of thinking about everything in terms of English (because there's too little in common). If there's something you want to say or write, think about how you express that idea in Japanese and don't translate it from how it's said in English.

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My biggest tip would be to drown yourself in the language. A lot of people talk about immersing yourself in the language, and this can be done in a variety of ways. You can watch shows that only talk in Japanese. You can listen to music that is sung in Japanese. You can try to talk to people that speak in Japanese. Do whatever you can to immerse yourself in it if you can't actually go there.

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There were a bunch of students like this when I started my Japanese degree. Their intonation and pronunciation were pretty good, but they spoke like anime characters, not real people. There's nothing really damaging about watching a lot of anime in Japanese to help your learning, but it's good to also watch dramas or other types of TV shows (news is the "gold standard" of good Japanese pronunciation, but admittedly can be boring) so you can get a better idea of how real Japanese people actually speak.

On the other hand, newscasters speak very formally and usually on complex subjects, so it's pretty hard to understand. I'm probably past JLPT N2 level and I still have great difficulty understanding the news. You're also unlikely to pick up words or phrases that you'd actually use in real life.

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On the other hand, newscasters speak very formally and usually on complex subjects, so it's pretty hard to understand. I'm probably past JLPT N2 level and I still have great difficulty understanding the news. You're also unlikely to pick up words or phrases that you'd actually use in real life.

It depends, I think. My "real" experience with Japanese has been as a college student studying the language and society, so I have a lot of use for learning key phrases for talking about current news and so on. I'll agree that they can be very hard to understand though. I found it took me a long time to adjust to the speed and register of NHK News, but once that hurdle was jumped it was a lot easier to follow and if I knew about a news story I could understand just what they were talking about.

I'll see if I can find a good internet source, but there are a lot of news panel type shows in Japan where they go over a few stories and explain them in depth with pictures and diagrams and things. Because they are supposed to be making the news more understandable, they use less jargon than a regular news bulletin.

Apart from those, the people on variety shows speak somewhat regular Japanese, even if they go a bit over the top. Same with interview shows and the like. The dramas I've seen go a bit over the top (think of how in some bad American daytime dramas all the actors put on ultra dramatic voices, but turn it up a notch), but are still relatively normal compared to most anime (which are just as OTT but in even sillier voices).

Basically, my point was to diversify your resources. If you only listen to news, you'll sound a bit weird and formal when you speak Japanese, and if anime (or drama, or variety) is the only Japanese you hear, you'll sound weird too. Get some variety into what you watch.

PS: The other day I posted a link to this subforum on reddit where a lot of variety-type shows are posted, and they can be a great place to start. If you really like a particular show, you can just search on youtube or dailymotion for more of them.

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Get more exposure to everything Japanese. Learn and study their culture too and you'll know how Japanese speak Japanese. Sometimes, the Japanese you learned may not be how native speakers use it. Also, if you can find someone that knows Japanese to help you practise.

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Since we are on the topic of exposing yourself to a wide variety of ways of expressing the language (formal and informal), I was watching a taiga (period) drama on NHK earlier and they are using some very old Japanese language that you may not hear often nowadays. The one I remember is "Burei", which after doing some research I found out it actually means "rude". In modern times Japanese people would just say "Shitsurei" (失礼).

I definitely agree, it helps broaden your vocabulary by getting to know different ways of how people talk/express the language.

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My number 1 tip is to be persistent! What I mean is, have a set amount you should do everyday or whenever, and keep to the schedule. It will seem daunting at first, but persistence is the key to most things. if there's something you can't understand, just come back to it the next day. Good luck!

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Immersion is obviously the quickest and most helpful way to learn. That being said, my flawless English speaking German boyfriend had never been in an English speaking country until he came to visit me in the US, so it's definitely possible to attain functional fluency without traveling.

Here are some tips that I think will make your life a lot easier learning Japanese:

1. Take time to learn the onyomi and kunyomi of the kanji, as well as the basic meaning of it.

This won't always work out to help you guess the meaning of a kanji, but it often times it will, and it will definitely give you a much fuller and deeper understanding of the characters, which helps with memorization.

2. Use lang-8.com to post your writing samples in Japanese and have it corrected by native speakers.

Without a teacher or a Japanese friend, this is your best bet for getting a native speaker to help you, and it's free! Everyone will correct your writing, and lots of Japanese people are willing to be language exchange skype buddies.

3. Download rikai-chan mouseover translator extension for firefox and use it to help you read Japanese online.

You'll learn so much faster and retain more vocab the more authentic Japanese you read, and this app will make finding the readings of all those kanji much easier.

4. Watch some Japanese TV on a site like asianrice.tv

The more exposure you have to the sound, pace, and rhythm of Japanese, the more your listening skills will increase, and the more precise your pronunciation will become!

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My tip for ALL Japanese learners -- SPEAK THE LANGUAGE.

This is a problem I'm suffering from right now. My writing, reading, and understanding skills are decent, but I speak very broken Japanese. Now that I'm taking higher level classes, I have to speak a lot of Japanese and I'm struggling a lot. So for those who are learning Japanese right now, I highly recommend focusing on your speaking skills. If you can't write, read, or understand you can always practice by yourself and you'll eventually get it down. But you can't practice speaking to yourself. You have to practice with someone else. So take every opportunity to practice speaking Japanese.

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