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29 Jun 2011 - 21:4861771
Learning Japanese
Hey all!

At uni, Ive done the (slightly predictable) anime-fan thing of signing up for a beginners Japanese language module next year. Other than a few generic words picked up from watching too much anime, I dont know anything particularly useful so Im kinda starting from scratch. Anyway, I was wondering if any Japanese speaking/studying people on here had any advice or tips to help start learning the language ^^

SuzuNyan xx

29 Jun 2011 - 21:5361777
I haven't got any advice but URRRRGH! I'm jealous! I did initially sign up but I don't have the money for it. T_T

But seriously, I know a few people who do Japanese and there are a few computer programmes which can help you. I have a friend who downloaded rosettastone. Which is apparantly very good, and downloading saves you about £200?

I dunno how to get it myself, but give me a shout and i'll ask her for you?

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29 Jun 2011 - 22:2361784
I study Japanese at uni! =3 The first thing we were told to do was learn all the katakana and hiragana on our own...it is the most basic thing to do, so I'd suggest starting there! There are lots of tests online to help you memorize them.
Not sure if your course will ask you to buy textbooks or not, but we use Minna no Nihongo, which lots of people seem to use. Get the grammar and practice book if you can (they should be yellow and pink, respectively) and...I can't get much more into it without writing an essay! xD Basically, if you buy the book go through the grammar book first then test what you know per chapter with the practice scenarios in the other book. I feel like I'm speaking the obvious a bit, sorry Dx
Hope I helped a bit though^^;

29 Jun 2011 - 22:2861786
I know i'm probably gonna get mixed replies to mine but i'm learning Japanese at home by the use of the DS game 'My Japanese Coach' it is easy to use and they do a test at the start to see how much you know then lessons carrying on from that plus they use games to help learn the words

i am a bat~ dechu
30 Jun 2011 - 00:4661792
for our module in uni the book we first started with is a book called Japanese for busy people. It was pretty good but we also had class work to keep us in it but the big thing that is going to help you is study, study and when you're sick of that study some more! It's a new language and as most of us haven't been learning a second language from birth/primary school like the rest of the world it'll be tough.

Take it from me as someone who was really lazy with learning it (I don't know my kore from my sore), if you are really interested try and study it once a day or once every other day not just an hour a week or something. Even if it is just an hour a day. Also if you have friends who are doing the course with you, when you are out and about just mess about with them, play I(eye?) spy in Japanese to practice saying stuff.

As KiraraYumi said learn how to write the hiragana and katakana alphabets first (to start learning to write). You'll want a proper guide rather than just a table as the strokes have to go in certain directions etc. I think that Japanese for Busy People book shows you all that or probably any learn Japanese books.

Good luck and have fun!

30 Jun 2011 - 09:5261806
As someone who did thier degree in Japanese and now lives in Japan, the only thing I can say to you have to work at it. I'm afraid there are no short cuts when it comes to learning a language unless you are naturally inclined to just picking them up (like some people I know...b@@Tches...)
If you are like me though, and you find learning language tricky, the only way to get through is to work at it. I'm lazy, I didn't work as much as I should of as I went along and I pay the price now (but I've start studying again now that I'm out here). Learn the grammar points, learn the vocab (which if you do the homework and make sure you understand goes a long way towards those two) and learn the Kanji.
Any programs that make learning more fun are great, though if you're only taking it for a year/semester, then I'm not sure if spending £200 is the best use of your money.

I found this one great for learning kanji:
It has a meahod that I find suits me very well, but I have a friend who didn't like it.


Last edited by j_mercuryuk (30 Jun 2011 - 09:55)
30 Jun 2011 - 10:4261808
The more you immerse yourself in a language the easier it is to pick up, but this can be pretty tricky in England. Try to use anything you've learnt outside of class as much as possible (even if it's just to yourself as you're walking around).

I found the most helpful thing was getting Katakana and Hiragana nailed early on (both reading and writing). Doodling whilst bored in lectures became draw the character tables time! I had notepads full of the same two tables over and over XD

30 Jun 2011 - 11:3761819
I'm also studying Japanese as part of my University degree and I have to agree with what other people have said in that practice, study and hard work are the key.

My first year I didn't do all that much work and scrapped a pass in my exam =/ However, I worked much harder with it this year and it has really paid off and stuck in my head much better XD

Our textbook was also the Japanese for Busy People series. I found them really easy to use and really, really good for covering the basics

Getting Hirigana and Katakana learned asap is also so so helpful, makes things a lot easier in the long run

30 Jun 2011 - 13:0461824
Quote Amy-Lou:
I found the most helpful thing was getting Katakana and Hiragana nailed early on (both reading and writing).

This, absolutely. It feels impossible at first but it's very important - if you don't get those down asap you'll find the rest of the learning very difficult, because if you don't have the alphabet right you can't do sentences right!

If you can, try to learn all of hiragana in the first two weeks. My teacher had a set of cards with each hiragana made into a picture. It's meant to be for small children but those really helped me. (I still remember the "mu" hiragana being drawn into a cow!)

10 Jul 2011 - 20:3662808
I'm currently teaching myself Japanese as well (whenever I have the time to study). Anyway, I found that a book called "Get Started In Japanese" was helpful. I would always take one or two words/phrases and repeat them over and over again until it stuck in my long term memory. I'm slowly getting there with it...

Also, the following sites are good:


Future cons and cosplays:
-Derby J-Culture Con: Arthur Kirkland
-London MCM Expo: Kaito (Magnet) and maybe Kaito (Matryoshka)
07 Aug 2011 - 22:5265805
Quote kawaii_princess:

Getting Hirigana and Katakana learned asap is also so so helpful, makes things a lot easier in the long run

I decided to start learning that as people said this was the best thing to do, but it looks sooo difficult :S isnt there a lot of symbols to learn? :S

07 Aug 2011 - 23:2965808
i think theres about 46 characters to learn in each table so learning Hiragana and Katakana means roughly 100 characters/symbols to learn but they do get easier the more you practice XD

i am a bat~ dechu
07 Aug 2011 - 23:2965809
Always admired people doing japanese I wish I could have afforded it love languages and its so beautiful to hear speak and occasionally really cool

08 Aug 2011 - 00:3265810
id love to learn japanese ^^ and travel to japan some day, ive heard its one of the most tricky languages to learn tho but id love to try and learn a bit. im sure youll find quite a few people on here who have studied it

08 Aug 2011 - 10:1065821
I'm not too sure how true that is. It's tricky to a western mind maybe, but then there are plenty far trickier languages (like Arabic, which is supposed to be the hardest, and I believe Chanteuse and Mandarin, I'm also sure that there are a load of African languages that are more diffifult).

Quote liam_xlr8r:
i think theres about 46 characters to learn in each table so learning Hiragana and Katakana means roughly 100 characters/symbols to learn but they do get easier the more you practice XD

Yes, but then there are 36 combined ones and 25 Dakuten, which are the same as the basic ones but a couple of lines or a circle to indicated a change in the sound (usually hardening it, so turning 'ka' into 'ga'. But once you have the basic ones down, the rest are easy.
Make flash cards, it really helps.


08 Aug 2011 - 10:1365822
I did some free Japanese with my University as a undergraduate. Seconding Minna no Nihongo as good textbooks, as those were the ones we used for learning hirigana and katakana. The grammatical structures in Japanese are pretty regular, which is really helpful when trying to learn, but learning a whole new writing system is the tough part. It is such a pretty language and so I wish you good luck with it.

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