Hi! I'm wondering if there is a way of learning japanese through practical exercises witho...

August 14, 2017 6:30 pm

Hi! I'm wondering if there is a way of learning japanese through practical exercises without having to rely on other people.

I improved my english a lot by playing video games in english but I think trying that for japanese games is still too early for me (I'm gonna try anyway as soon as my first game arrives but I don't think that I will get far without having a basic understanding first).
I think for now I have all I need to learn the basics (books, apps...) but it gets kinda boring doing those exercises without anybody else. There is no one around me who wants to learn as well and even if, our schedules don't match. And I'm too shy to try talking to strangers, so I have to rely on myself (downloaded italki and deleted it immediately because I couldn't bring myself to use it... I know it's stupid T_T). I love learning through music as well, but japanese music doesn't fit my taste at all (I know I'm fussy ughhh ╥﹏╥)

Do you guys have any advice for the over complicated me? I'd be very grateful for anything that might help^^

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  • flower
    August 14, 2017 6:49 pm

    I'm sorry i'm no help, but I really want to know the answer to this question as well

  • KenGoldenTree August 14, 2017 7:18 pm

    duolingo, a free, popular, successful language-learning site, is going to be releasing a japanese course this year, so you can have short, consistent japanese lessons on an app or computer. i dont use duolingo, but use rosetta stone (paid for from school): if DL is anything like RS, it should let you practice your speaking.

    if youre into memorising words, anki, a flashcard software, is a good one. you choose out of thousands of decks with words on the japanese language proficiency test (jlpt levels n1-n5, n1 the highest at native level), common and necessary japanese words, words on newspapers, etc. you can choose to have words show up again at a certain time very easily, depending on how well you memorise them the first time.

    tae kims guide to japanese is the japanese bible for beginners and pros, with quick articles that teach you everything that you need to know about japanese syntax. he uses examples, and defines each word before using them, sp you get to see how the word is used, how to use it in a japanese sentence, and how to understand japanese sentences.

    once you learn the basics, you can learn even more from watching anime, and reading manga raws. some manga, like yaoi, have a lot of simple japanese. for me, i print out manga pages on a3 and make notes on words, grammar, culture/linguistics, how id translate it, etc.

    this quora answer of mine goes into how to japanese self-study, and gives different learning methods from pen and paper, to just watching some anine. i hope that it provides solid, straightforward ways of learning how to speak, listen, read, and write japanese:

  • ^~^
    August 15, 2017 9:58 pm
    duolingo, a free, popular, successful language-learning site, is going to be releasing a japanese course this year, so you can have short, consistent japanese lessons on an app or computer. i dont use duolingo,... KenGoldenTree

    Thank you so much for your reply^^ of course I've heard about anki and tae kim's guide and already downloaded those but it's not enough for me who wants something more practical. But I'm gonna take you up on your advice with watching anime and translating manga... I always thought that it was too early for me (and the thing with finding the kanji that are written is kinda hard) but I'm gonna try practise that. I have more time on the weekend, that's when I'm gonna read what you linked. Again I'm really grateful for your answer :) would you advice me to try the game I talked about? I know I said I'm gonna try anyway but you seem to have a lot of experience and I'm kinda reluctant because I'm still not familiar with vocab and grammar. Or would you say it's vetter to wait a bit?

  • KenGoldenTree August 16, 2017 1:07 am
    Thank you so much for your reply^^ of course I've heard about anki and tae kim's guide and already downloaded those but it's not enough for me who wants something more practical. But I'm gonna take you up on yo... ^~^

    thank you for responding. the link is probably the best compendium of our conversation. thanks for your patience with my very long response below, i hope that itll at least be useful.

    i understand :p by practical, are you talking about on-the-go, knowledge-dense but short time, or something that feels immediately useful? i think that both anki and tae kim fit that well, but nonetheless i also want to know what you have in mind.

    i think that if you take up translating manga, youll be frustrated if you expect the wrong things, such expecting to clearly, soldily remember what is what. instead of remembering the manga word-for-word what you studied from it and what it means, youll better recognise and understand what youve learnt when you find it elsewhere. words especially can only really be remembered by understanding them and immediately putting them into use; the words are immediately put into use in the manga, and its hard to forget the sentence once youve dissected it and understood it completely.

    once you do that, and you encounter it in other manga and spoken in anime, youll most likely recognise and understand the structure from where youve previously learn it. and, if its a bit different, you already know most of the gist, so you can learn the variations in the language more easily too.

    i understand the fear with kanji LOL. it doesnt matter what level youre on, kanji is always important to learn. in fact, its best to tackle the fear of it straight away when you start learning (i talk a little bit about how i did the opposite in my link, and it was wrong). if when you study from manga and encounter a kanji, i recommend that you draw it with your mousepad into google translate (its detection system is awesome, and matches a very poor drawing to the shape of the character: it doesnt match by stroke order), and then paste it into jisho.org.

    jisho is every japanese learners deus ex encyclopedia, man: it shows you verbs, nouns, and adjectives associated with a kanji, as well as native example sentences, pronunciation clips, how to write the kanji (stroke order), and even conjugation tables for verbs and adjectives. abuse it as you like, as long as you learn from it. the best way that i learnt tenses was from anime, as you begin to click onto the tense in the subtitles vs the sound made each time the tense comes up. if not, i just looked up what a tense meant (like japanese passive-causative: the 'made to do tense', my enemy). i use jisho for words/idioms/simple grammar, and sites like these for grammar and sentence structures:

    if youre goal-oriented, and you think that you want to learn japanese to a certain level, have you looked into the JPLT? the TOEIC for japanese. i dont know whether youve taken toeic: your english is brilliant. as you can imagine, just understanding where you are in comparison to JPLT levels can help you plan what to do, and when to do it.

    with all of that out of the way, i think that you should wait with your game. unless you intend to study every sentence uttered out of a persons mouth until you understand it (impractical as you can imagine, unlike manga where you can stop and progress would be good), youll just get frustrated, since unlike anime, there are no subtitles to correspond to and compare to in order to understand words and phrases. i see that you started english video games with more understanding of the basics: i agree and would say wait until you know some more japanese basics, then the game will become beneficial to you.

    most importantly, i advise that you dont skip out on speaking japanese, or else you may not have confidence in genuinely knowing the language, or using it with others. i have a problem with speaking japanese, since i dont shadow as often as i should, so i sound awfully english, and feel embarrassed about it. as you may know, shadowing is copying an accent until you sound perfect, the quickest way to sound naitive. ive linked a few shadowing podcasts here, if youre interested:
    short, few minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
    long, hour: v=AETunMVmKKc&list=PLwZcf69_rUlPLQhhYGWN1iatRE8CgzehZ

  • ^~^
    August 16, 2017 4:02 pm
    thank you for responding. the link is probably the best compendium of our conversation. thanks for your patience with my very long response below, i hope that itll at least be useful.i understand :p by practica... KenGoldenTree

    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer me seriously!!! I really appreciate it :)

    I don't know if practical is the right word actually. For example I can't memorise what I study in university as good as the things I did in an internship regarding the same topic. Or when I'm studying I write it down to memorise it better. Seeing pictures helps me a lot too. Said apps and books lack something in that regard. After reading a chapter for a few times on different days, I still have problems grasping what was going on. For example I read a chapter about conjugation and there was a practice page. I did that, then it moved on to a different topic naturally. While explaining that other topic, conjugation came up again. So I had to move to prior chapter and read it again and this continued on and on. In the end it wasn't fun anymore, because I was lost in a nesting of explanaitions. Then I downloaded an app focusing only on conjugation. The explanation was very simple and it focused mainly on practising everything regarding that. It didn't take long for me to grasp the main idea and what was explained in that chapter seemed ridiculously easy now.

    Anyway I'm not expecting it to work from the get-go. I looked at japanese raws before but it was kinda fruitless since it ended with my lack of knowledge of kanjis (I didn't focus on translating, but on reading itself) and when I tried to draw kanjis in jisho (was a little familiar with it already) it didn't recognise what I was drawing (maybe because of the stroke order?) and that's where this trial ended. So I appreciate your tip with google translate, which I'm gonna try on the weekend.

    Hmm I've read about JLPT and started learning kanji which are divided into JLPT levels. It's not a dominant goal of mine right now, but in the far future I'd like to try taking n5 at least^^ have you taken JLPT? I'm curious ;) thanks for the compliment, but I don't know if I'd survive TOEIC, there are still a lot of vocabs I have to look up (at least I didn't do too bad in school).

    There would be no one to speak to. Do you think practising speaking by myself would be good or should I repeat what I heard from anime etc.?

    I feel rude for not clicking on the links right now, but I'd like to do that when I can take my mind off of 'work'... I'm off on the weekend, so that's when I'm gonna plan out my line of action with the help of your text and links^^

    Thanks for reading and thanks for your advice! Have a nice evening sensei! (I hope that didn't sound too corny, but I'm really happy^^)

  • KenGoldenTree August 17, 2017 1:34 am

    any time. the link is always there for you man, no problem. this is a very late question, please forgive me young root...how far are you on the japanese ladder so far? what do you already know?

    from what it sounds like, you seem to profit from applying the knowledge in a practical setting, just the other meaning - immersing yourself in the setting, and repeating the process of learning one topic until you understand it perfectly. learning with pictures is an awesome way to learn man - thats why the rosetta stone language-learning software costs over £100...it teaches you like a baby learns - it shows you an image and then the associated japanese word (e.g. pic of a woman, kanji for 'onna' below it). i learnt my japanese basics with rosetta stone, and it gave me a strong base to go out on my own from. if you could invest in rosetta stone, that sounds like the best thing for you. however, i understand if not LOL.

    i think that this consolidates the idea of having a go at learning one thing at a time, and then immersing yourself in anime/manga/japanese media (pictures) to make sure that you remember the concept. it would be slower than learning from an app targeted towards one thing, but quick enough to show results if you can keep it up. i recommend studying 1-3 manga pages, and then watching a few episodes of anime each time. or, just one page of manga study, and one episode of anime. would you have the time to do that? if you want some anime with simple language to start with, here are a few awesomely short ones (a few minutes) that i found entertaining and a confidence booster for my comprehension. i hope that you havent already seen them:

    feel free to just mutter to yourself in japanese in a corner of the room LOL. youve got a great idea - repeat japanese from anime, shadowing, podcasts, try reading it out loud; until it sounds as close to the japanese as you think is possible. the more you have experience with listening to japanese, the more accurate your judgements will be as your ears pick up on the distinct sounds. its all about making your mouth used to moving in a japanese way. it might be good to look up how to pronounce words, instead of just depending on listening. that really helped me out with comprehending japanese sounds when i hear them.

    if you want, how about you try this out for a month and then report back to me? blame me if it goes wrong, and we can fix the problems and come up with something even better based on experience.

    unfortunately, ive been heavily slacking in my japanese studies lately because of self-inflicted school pressures. ive been very under-motivated, even though i have the confidence in knowing what kind of learning and schedule will work for me. this is partially why i want to help out and see it work out for you, since you seem motivated and willing to try out new things. it makes me pretty depressed to think that these are my embarrassing excuses, but i dont intend to give up just yet...clenches fist...i will get in the mindset. positive thinking!

    as for the JPLT, i havent taken it at all: im not temporally available. i dont intend to take it for a good 10 years (not kidding). by then, i intend to have my japanese at a native level, since i want to aim for the n1 straight away. then, if i feel 'fluent', but the test for the most fluent says otherwise, i know what to work on for next time. as for my english, ive evolved to sound slightly like a foreigner over the years...it all started when i expanded my horizons...

    thank you for kindly listening to my sob-story. thank you for reading too, i hope that you have a nice evening, my oshiego. its not cheesy at all :p

  • ^~^
    August 17, 2017 6:54 pm

    Haha thanks again :)

    Hmm yeah how far am I? I don´t know how exactly to answer to that... well I learned hiragana of course. I don´t know why, but I didn´t really bother with katakana... I read through the first part of Tae Kim´s guide and the first couple chapters of Genki just to get an idea of the language. After that I realized, that before getting too much into grammar, I should start learning some vocabs, mainly kanji (n5) [the thing is, with all the languages I´ve come in contact with so far, all the grammar that I know was useless if I didn´t know the words that I wanted to put together - the endless struggle of my whole life, even with my native language T_T]. I´m not done with n5 kanji but pretty far at least. Apart from that the very first things that were introduced (state of being, particles etc.) I know as well and I started with conjugation not too long ago. But I got tired of reading through these things without me putting it to use, that´s why I stated my first question.

    I´ll look into RS, but it certainly is expensive for someone who´s still mooching of his parents xD I´m actually really glad that my parents agreed to give me Genki as a present^^ but I don´t want to burden them with more, since I couldn´t really show them results up until now, even though I´ve surely been learning (very inconsistently though).

    Your proposal sounds very good and in regards to time I think I can manage (maybe not everyday but I´m determined to try at least). Is it ok to write you back in a month? I know I´ve burdened you the whole time with my questions, so you don´t have to feel obligated to watch over my progress.
    Thanks for the links again, you have no idea how helpful you´ve been to me^^ damn, I wish I could give something back to you... if you have any idea, what a stranger can do for you, then don´t hesitate to ask.

    Hmm I have those times as well^^ you´ll get back on track once time passes I´m sure! I wish I could give you more encouraging words, but from experience I know at least that what I wrote above aren´t just empty words. And I hope that you have people on ypur side, who can take a bit of that pressure off you (when I had my phases, i didn´t really think that my family and friends had much of an effect on me, but I think that I would have been even more depressed if they hadn´t been there).

    I find it admirable how you´ve planned out everything so far. I´m still at the beginning, but what you´ve achieved til now really gives me confidence, that some day (maybe in 20 years xD) I might be able to aim as far as you^^ keep up the good work!

    I had trouble to understand the second last sentence :( Do you mean that english is not your native language but you started to sound like it now?

    Thank you a lot and have a nice evening^^

  • KenGoldenTree August 17, 2017 10:53 pm
    Haha thanks again :) Hmm yeah how far am I? I don´t know how exactly to answer to that... well I learned hiragana of course. I don´t know why, but I didn´t really bother with katakana... I read through the ... ^~^

    you havent burdened me at all. feel free to mail me any time you need something, or to update me. i followed you, so you should be able to find my profile at any time. thank you for your kind offer.

    you MUST GO BACK TO KATAKANA...if you WANT TO READ...! onomatopoeia is a big part of japanese language, and its usually all written in katakana. strong manga sfx...katakana...words with double meanings...probably written in katakana...
    id say that to start studying manga, you should understand how to read, write, and pronounce hiragana and katakana. nonetheless, your progress sounds great.

    since we want to balance speaking, listening, writing, and reading, ill round up what weve talked about for your studies into types of lessons that you can choose to do. ive included title, time taken per lesson, description, and resources. i made google doc with a clearer layout, for you to keep, and/or print out, make notes on, and change things:


    i also added a link to katakana worksheets, and a hiragana/katakana table.

    thank you for your encouragement, i really appreciate it. fortunately, my family has always supported me, and my mother is a kind, open listener wholl set me straight if i think too negatively, or need to vent.

    im sorry, i meant that im a native english speaker, but i feel like i have a tendency to speak like english is my second language. for me, learning japanese and having more exposure to foreigners who know english has caused me to sound like one. i think that its awesome how these have changed how i speak english, i dont think that its bad. whats your native language?

    thank you for your kindness.

  • ^~^
    August 18, 2017 7:59 pm

    I kinda feel a little uncomfortable that you followed me, since it should be the other way around ... but I guess I´m just making a big deal out of it. I would have found you again anyway, since there is no way I´m gonna delete our conversation^^

    Hahaha I knew this would come xD That´s the first thing I´m gonna concentrate on then, it shouldn´t take up too much time anyway (hopefully).

    Thank you so much^^ I actually wanted to summarize our conversation on the weekend, but now you´ve taken this one off me, so I can concentrate on studying right away. I´m deeply indebted to you, thank you so much!!!

    Wow I´ve never heard that happen before. I know that someone´s native language usually has a great influence on pronunciation in regards to other languages... but I think what happened to you just shows your seriousness and how much you´re immersed in your studies, which I personally think is amazing!

    My native language is German, but I´m a so called "second generation immigrant", so I don´t look like it at all.

    Thank you a lot again^^ I´m gonna report to you after a month or six weeks. Feel free to write me whenever you feel like it as well.

    Have a good night!

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