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TOPIC: Learning Japanese...
#55486
AmaViarra
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Learning Japanese... 8 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 22
I have been fascinated with the Japanese culture for almost eight years now. Everything about it just draws my attention; art, music, history, buildings, plant life, life itself and even cuisine(I'm going to get a book for titled 'Japanese women don't get old or fat: Secrets of my mother's Tokyo Kitchen'-I've heard the book has good tips and wonderful recipes for eating healthy.). It's strange but I have never held such an interest in another culture before.

Anyways, a few months ago I decided that I want to learn the Japanese language(Because I want to eventually take a trip to Japan*most likely to see the Gazette* but I'd still like to not be lost when I go), I also want to learn read and write in Japanese. My parents and family were bugging me to make a Christmas list(which I found pretty hard to do since I already have everything I need) so I decided to put a program/book for learning Japanese as my 'main' Christmas gift.

After searching around I realized I had a problem, there are so many programs/books on it that I now do not know which one to choose! I need to narrow it down by the end of the week. My parents do not have credit cards so it would have to be one that would be available in stores.

So my question is: To those who have learned a different language(and how to read/write in it) What is a good program/book to get started in learning another language(preferably a well known Japanese one)?

I was thinking of getting 'Japanese for dummies' but after reading about five pages of reviews for the book on different websites I have read a lot of mix feelings for it. Some people thought it was wonderful, others thought it was terrible.
 
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Last Edit: 2010/12/07 16:09 By PRVN.
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#55487
Freya Ishtar
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Re:Learning Japanese... 8 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 39
Rosetta Stone for Japanese! I have the program, but can't use it at the moment because my headset is busted and I need a new one, but the program- what I had gotten to use of it, anyway- seems promising.
 
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#55488
darkmousey
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Re:Learning Japanese... 8 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 8
I haven't tried any books, but if money is not an issue, the best program I've used is Rosetta Stone, and they're available in most book stores. It's what I use to keep myself in practice for Italian. There are a bunch of different reading, writing, listening and speaking exercises for a variety of events; the level 1 packs are the "what you need to know when you go to a foreign country" type lessons. Their website has free demos for some languages.

If you decide to get a book, try to get one with an interactive CD of some sort; if you don't get comfortable speaking it, then it won't stick.
 
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#55491
Eos Sol
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Re:Learning Japanese... 8 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 1
I took Japanese at my community college and we used a very cheep book that I found enjoyable. It's titled 'Japanese for Busy People'. It's around 27 dollars, and it is activity book that comes with a CD. The chapters are set up for simple understanding (greetings, buying things, counting, etc., and vocabulary at the bottom of the pages with a glossary in the back) and the activities get you used to writing in Romanji. There should be a second version of the book for reading and writing in Hiragana.

I can tell you right now, Japanese is not hard to learn. You just have to remember new vocabulary and the very basic way to speak. Hiragana and Katakana are not so hard either, Kanji will make your head explode (maybe). The only trouble you might have with the symbols is the stroke order for each, but the book I mentioned has a chart for your use (in the back and, if I remember correctly, the front covers). I also picked up a few other books from my local book store, they were under 30 dollars as well, which had a few other helpful things. By the way, I would suggest picking up a pocket dictionary, it comes in handy, but try to find one that has the kanji with the words.

Plus, if you ever have questions I'm sure someone on this site would be more than happy to help. I'm sure I've seen (and you probably have too) a few others who are natives to the language or have studied it thoroughly for a while now. Hope this gives you an idea.
 
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Last Edit: 2010/12/07 17:33 By Eos Sol.
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#55492
AmaViarra
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Re:Learning Japanese... 8 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 22
Thank you all for replying!

@Freya Ishtar, darkmousey - Rosetta Stone was one of the programs I was looking for! I had heard a lot of good things about the program but completely forgot the name and couldn't find it anywhere! Thanks for reminding me. Unfortunately right now I am very tight on my funds and the program is very expensive(I just looked into it) So right now, I think I will save up my money and purchase that program later on and get a less expensive program/book now. Thank you both for the suggestion.

@ Eos Sol- Ah, I had actually come across the book you suggested at Barnes and Noble, it's good to hear that it is a good book, right now I am debating between that book and another titled 'Read and Speak Japanese for beginners', they are the only two books I have found in Barnes and Noble that seem like they would work.

Ah, it isn't hard to learn? I heard/read that it was one of the hardest languages to learn. Reading that actually makes me feel kind less intimidated of learning that language. Ah, maybe I will get a different book to study for Kanji. Thank you again for responding and for your suggestions, I'll look more into the one you suggested.
 
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#55521
Anna
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Re:Learning Japanese... 8 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 0
You can always find stuff online, granted it's probably not as credible as what you would find in a book, but if you look around you can find quite a few good sources. www.freejapaneselessons.com covers the basics in terms of the alphabet (kana mostly) and vocab.
 
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#55532
Discontent Winter
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Re:Learning Japanese... 8 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 23
I wouldn’t say Japanese is especially hard to learn. It’s certainly a lot easier than Chinese where it’s not just what you say, but with what inflection you say it.

When I took beginning classes, we used Genki which I found to be a decent text, however, with self teaching, I’m not certain I would recommend it. I’d probably say go with Rosetta stone as it seems more geared towards self instruction and I’ve heard decent things about it in general (not specific to Japanese).

Once you start establishing a vocabulary though, I would recommend trying to interact with the language as much as possible. Undubbed anime is probably a good place to start. If you play console video games on line, trying to get into games with Japanese speakers would be another. Following up with formal classes down the road would probably be the ideal.

There are cultural nuances that wouldn’t necessarily be taught easily via text. The word “Hai” for example is generally translated to mean ‘yes’. My first Japanese teacher related a business case to us once where she demonstrated that Japan is a very polite society and if they say ‘Yes’ to something, it may not mean agreement, but rather something along the lines of ‘Yes, I understand what you’re saying but saying no outright would be impolite’. I imagine you’d run into cultural issues no matter what language you learn though.

Here's the resource page we used in our classes. One of the links even leads to a kanji page that shows the correct stroke order for writing characters.
Genki

Good luck in your learning! I know once I finally get a degree, I plan to take more intermediate instruction myself. ^_^
 
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#55542
AmaViarra
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Re:Learning Japanese... 8 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 22
Thank you both for replying :3 I appreciate the advice/suggestions.

For online classes/learning programs, I will check out and check into the pages both of you offered. But, I needed to know of an actual program/book that could be bought in a store, because apparently I'm a difficult person to shop for so that way my parents could get me something as a Christmas gift ^^; But! I still appreciate those suggestions and am looking into them at the moment, will most likely bookmark them so I can go back and check over them more later.

As for the Rosetta stone program, as I mentioned before I most likely will not be able to get that for three to four months depending on how I can come across money and how much I get, and how I can save it. Because after searching for the program in three different stores the prices for the program range from three hundred to five hundred dollars. Me being without a job at the moment, makes that rather hard to afford and I dislike having people buy me something so expensive because then I feel it will be held against me until I can pay them back and even after I pay them back. BUT! I will definitely be getting the program when I can afford it.

Unfortunately(laughs) I will not be able to attend a formal class for the language either. At least not now. I don't attend college and the only colleges close to my home do not teach people that aren't students(unless they need to learn English) and the classes that do teach people that aren't students are expensive I think it's almost two hundred for each class? Thank you for the suggestion though, Discontent Winter, I never really would have thought of it!

But your suggestion of being interactive with the language did remind me that I know someone from Japan on Skype that speaks both English and Japanese so I could always talk to him, if he agrees to help, and polish the language and how I speak it that way.

Honestly I did want to learn Japanese before, about three years ago, but decided not to do so because when I brought it up to one of my friends they laughed and said 'Shouldn't you learn English correctly before learning a new language?' I knew they were joking but sometimes I do have trouble correctly pronouncing and using certain English words. I also stutter a lot so.. But, when reading I tend to pronounce words how I see them written. Like this one time I saw a street sign that said 'Vineyard' and I literally pronounced it 'Vine-Yard' instead of the correct way. So who knows whether this language will be difficult or easy for me to learn(laughs) My mind is strange, I learn things differently then most. I was terrible at American style art, but found it much easier to draw in a foreign style. Maybe it will be the same, language wise?

Hm, interesting that's the fourth time I've heard the language wasn't hard to learn. I just remember that it was hard for an English speaking native to learn, and among the top five most difficult languages for an born American(who has not learned another language) to speak/learn. On one forum I found when researching books/programs to learn the language a few people also commented that Spanish was harder for them to learn than Japanese but *shrug* I guess it all just depends on the person.

Thank you for the suggestions, and links and advice. I appreciate it
 
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#55543
Eos Sol
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Re:Learning Japanese... 8 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 1
I've studied Spanish and German before I studied Japanese and found it was miraculously simpler then those two. Also, like Discontent Winter mentioned, try watching shows in the language, subbed or un-subbed. I suggest dramas over cartoons though because you can pick up how they talk and mannerisms (even if it is scripted).

-laughs- I saw that you stated you sometimes have trouble talking, I do too... A lot! But my teacher gave us homework of sitting in front of the mirror and over exaggerating our mouth movements while speaking. It does help. I can't speak English any better but I don't stumble over my Japanese. : 3
 
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#55556
Anna
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Re:Learning Japanese... 8 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 0
I grew up bi-lingual so I can speak Polish as well as English. I also tend to have issues pronouncing words I've never heard before, especially when reading out loud. English is a language that isn't that difficult, compared to hundreds of other languages out there, but because it tends to borrow a lot from other languages it makes it difficult even for a native speaker at times.
If you want to learn a hard language, try Icelandic.
 
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#55829
Yoruzuki
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Re:Learning Japanese... 8 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 3
It is not particularly difficult to learn Japanese, I think.

From what I understand, people mostly have trouble with verb endings, since there are several ways to conjugate one verb (formal, non-formal, present, past, etc). That and the word order as well as the particles give people trouble.

When you begin your lessons, I am always available to answer questions, should you have any!
 
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Yoruzuki claims the position of Master Visual Kei Bassist, with the tool of Noiz-kun the Bass Guitar of Pure Awesome.

Takumi ni hito toshite gisou shite iru.

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#55869
AmaViarra
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Re:Learning Japanese... 8 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 22
Thank you, I may take up your offer quite a few times, sorry in advance if I become a bother (laughs)

Also I learned something rather interesting today. Apparently, grammar wise, one is only suppose to use one polite phrase in a sentence. I had no clue about that! Glad I learned about it before I started learning the language though!
 
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#55884
Yoruzuki
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Re:Learning Japanese... 8 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 3
PRVN wrote:
Thank you, I may take up your offer quite a few times, sorry in advance if I become a bother (laughs)

Also I learned something rather interesting today. Apparently, grammar wise, one is only suppose to use one polite phrase in a sentence. I had no clue about that! Glad I learned about it before I started learning the language though!


It isn't a bother! __(^o^)/

Well, generally, it is a good idea to use the polite forms of speech. You would use such patterns with people you don't know very well, people you are meeting for the first time, people who are above your position at the workplace, etc.

You could use informal speech with your friends and family, people you are close to.

It is a good idea, though, to start by learning the polite forms, I think. But informal can be used, too.
 
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Yoruzuki claims the position of Master Visual Kei Bassist, with the tool of Noiz-kun the Bass Guitar of Pure Awesome.

Takumi ni hito toshite gisou shite iru.

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#55893
AmaViarra
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Re:Learning Japanese... 8 Years, 11 Months ago Karma: 22
Ah, that does make sense. Now when I think about it, I do remember that in stories/TV shows/movies that one usually talks in a more polite manner to their elders, or those who are in a higher position then them. I just learned about that yesterday from Miyavi(artist) twitter when someone on there asked them for help with their Japanese exam. (Which you can see here if you want to know what I'm taking about: www.twitlonger.com/show/7h3lm1 --I understand what you mean about the forums not liking non-romaji characters, I tried just copying and pasting it here and it showed it in the preview but went all crazy when I tried to submit it)

That is rather interesting though, thank you for letting me know about the polite and informal forms. I shall take your advice for sure I love learning so thank you for teaching me a bit
 
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