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Linguaholic
Accredited Online TEFL

Different Methods of Learning Japanese


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Hey, what are the most accepted methods for learning Japanese? I have tried many of the apps and other widely available resources but they at best seem to be scatter brained. Is there some method or methods out there that are more academically proven?

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I'm still a beginner myself, but from what I have read and been able to figure out through trial and error, it really seems that with Japanese you really need a multi-prong approach.

For basic grammar, for example, people seem to recommend Tae Kim's book or Genki as a kind of base text.

For Kanji, on the other hand, a lot of people, myself included, like Heisig's Remembering the Kanji as a good way to learn all of the Kanji characters quickly and get deep into the language right away.

Beyond that, I think it's just a matter of exposing yourself to the language (through conversations with Japanese books, anime, manga, etc.) and learning lots of new words. Anki flashcards can be great for the latter (check out the Core2k and Core6k Anki sets) and I know some people try to average 30 or more new words a day, plus reviews. I'm trying this out myself now and like it, though I think I could only do it with recognition cards; production cards would just take too much time.

App-wise, I used Human Japanese to learn Hiragana and Katagana, though I can also recommend NukeMarine's videos on YouTube for that: http://www.youtube.com/user/NukeMarine.

Hopefully, some people who are a little deeper into the Japanese language than myself will come with their own suggestions, as I'd also like to hear more about what has and has not worked for people.

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Honestly speaking, once of the best ways on how to learn Japanese (or any other language for that matter) is to put something on the line. Say for example, you are learning Japanese because you want to impress your crush who knows how to speak in Japanese. (sorry for the lame example). But yeah, if you know that there is something, it compels you to study and learn a certain thing.

Another is to hire a language instructor. That is if you have the resources to do so (money and time).

But then again, you can watch a lot of YouTube videos (I myself started with watching Japanese tutorials on the tube).

Oh and one more thing, it would definitely help if you have a learning buddy. Someone whom you can practice your Japanese speaking skills with. ;)

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  • 2 months later...

When you're starting out, I suggest to get the books (buy, download, whatever strikes your fancy): Remembering the Kana, aswell as Japanese: The Manga Way.

First off you should go through the kana and learn every katakana and hiragana character, it might take a while and be quite boring, but you should be done pretty quickly if you put some time into it, they're fairly simple and shouldn't be too hard to learn.

After you have learned that, go through the other book I just mentioned. It's a basic book about grammar and structure, and it's way of teaching you the very basic ropes is very fun (Uhm, it uses real manga as examples).

When you're done with those two, you should probably already be interested in learning japanese enough to find more resources yourself, but if you still don't know what to use...

Use anki flashcards for hiragana/katakana/kanji/vocab

Use "Remembering the Kanji" for kanji

Use Tae Kim's guide for grammar (Some of this will be already covered in JTMW, so see parts of this as repetition)

Use Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar and it's more advanced books for a reference list on grammar (for when you are good enough in japanese to understand enough to go by with a dictionary and referance list/learn as you are reading/listening/talking).

"Tested" books as in those used in actual classes are not recommended for self-study, mostly because they are just that: used for CLASS studies. A lot of classes also use the old fashioned way of writing a character over and over again to learn it, which really isn't a good method for anyone who isn't a kid. Their progression is very slow, but you will most likely be more secure on the stuff you have learned that way, but personally I think that classes are not really needed unless you want to be able to SPEAK japanese well.

If you want tested methods: take some japanese classes. If you're more into self-study, read above, and if this isn't enough for you, send me a PM.

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