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Post Reply Learning Japanese
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M / everywhere & nowhere
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Posted 5/13/16
What do you guys thinks the best method to go by when learning a new language??
Memorising the symbols and how they're pronounced first or word association and building sentences before learning to write it out.. or any other method you've been taught!
Posted 5/13/16
I learned Japanese by watching animes and reading doujins.
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Posted 5/13/16
I would say start off by learning hiragana, but quickly start moving on to learning vocabulary. Knowing only characters with no words to go along with it will mean nothing to you.

But not long after you start learning vocabulary start learning how to form simple sentences because single words will have very little meaning without the ability to put them into real use.

The best way to start any language in my opinion is learning set phrases like "how are you" and greetings and all that stuff. Once you have that down work on things like "to be" in present tense, which is often irregular. (Not really the case in Japanese, but a LOT of other languages it is.) I also suggest very common verbs like "to eat", "to drink", etc. Transitive verbs can be trickier sometimes so learn those first. It can make intransitive less daunting.

The most important thing I can say though is use methods that you enjoy! I like using Memrise myself. In the past I've also used Anki which is great. Lang-8 can also be really good once you get a little bit further into the language. Once you can hold simple conversations move on to something like HelloTalk which will connect you with natives to practice conversing.

Basically make sure you have authentic input in Japanese. More than just things like anime. Real life people speaking real Japanese. Whether that be talking to people or by watching something like vlogs on YouTube in Japanese. Authentic input is very important.

I also have a YouTube channel that talks quite a bit about language learning (with some other things thrown in as well! =P) If you'd like to check it out It's called Language Learning Lounge. I just read the rules again and I THINK sharing my link is okay..... Sooo https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCx2PqqM7p1PXdKTWhtHX3Mw if you'd like to check it out. =P
XyaCat 
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Posted 5/13/16
I was learning but stopped and waiting to get a proper vocabulary and grammar textbook before i continue. So far i know hiragana and katakana and a couple kanji. The pronunciation was easy for me because it sounds like spanish except you pronounce the H an the z is pronounced a bit different. Japanese music helped me a lot as well in learning new words.
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Rabbit Horse
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Posted 5/13/16
get a good grammar book like Genki, or (if you're cheap) use Tae Kim
and if possible, find someone fluent who can help you with the language.
the most important thing is building a solid base, which includes basic grammar as well as thorough understanding of the kana.
everything builds on top of that.
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24 / Decemberunderground
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Posted 5/13/16
Learn Japanese To Survive - Hiragana Battle
great game that helps you
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Rabbit Horse
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Posted 5/13/16
you kinda have to be careful when you pick a source to learn the kana. if they're not very reputable, there's a chance the stroke order is incorrect (such as the case with the Japanese coach series)
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19 / M
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Posted 5/13/16
Pay for a teacher/tutor.
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25 / M / NYC Metro Area
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Posted 5/16/16
Take classes, but with a student centered learning philosophy. Basically a good language teacher will sent up the class activities, lecture for a bit, but allow a lot of time for students to practice language skills between each other so that you actually use it and remember it.

I learned most of my Spanish from college classes, but lived abroad for a semester so of course that helped too
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25 / M / NYC Metro Area
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Posted 5/16/16 , edited 5/16/16
If you are out of high school I highly recommend auditing courses: you will pay next to nothing and will get a decent learning experience. Self study works for stuff like reading, but for speaking and understanding practicing with others is the only way to make progress.


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Memorising the symbols and how they're pronounced first or word association and building sentences before learning to write it out.. or any other method you've been taught!
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Well Japanese is a whole different animal than latin and germatic languages. From what I have seen and heard it seems quite easy to learn the pronunciation rules, but I hear learning kanji is quite difficult. You should probably start learning basic words and phrases+hiragana and katakana since it is fairly easy. I hear there are some association/memorization tricks with Kanji, but other than learning basic hiragana I don't have much experience with the language

I should mention that while I don't speak the language I can pick up words and phrases in anime, but unlike languages more closely related to English I cannot understand them as sentences since I have not studied the grammar. Japanese word order is different and it is going to take a while to get use to it. Direct translation is not going to work that well.
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Posted 5/20/16 , edited 5/20/16
The first thing is to face the cold hard truth about learning any langauge.

It WILL take years. That goes for any language, and Japanese is rightly considered a tough one to learn.

I've just finished 'year one' of an evening course in Japanese and can barely string a simple sentence together at my current level
And I'm a University Language graduate fluent in several languages. so it's not that I'm stupid - learning languages really does take a huge amount of time and commitment. Those 'Learn language X in 3 months' type books are marketing hype. Yes, if you were to study just Japanese non stop day and night for those three months, you might get to simple conversation level, but in the real world you can't do that. Well, not without getting sacked anyway

The good point though is that it isn't hard to learn another language. If you are capable of speaking your native language and have gone past pointing and grunting for communication (which you clearly have) then you already have the skills needed to learn any language. The rest is just a matter of perseverance.

There are masses of learn Japanese books, and to be frank there is no 'best one' out there. It all depends on how best you like to learn. So feel free to change your mind, and your choice of books if you find another that gels better for you.

You can learn on your own, but look for an evening course if one is available as it helps a lot with both motivation, and practical help from the tutor.
Join language forums as well to practice your Japanese as well.

The two top solo options are:

Minna no Nihongo
Recommended for Language experts with at least one other Language under their belts. Or for University taught course. Can be a bit overwhelming for solo learning.
The text is all in japanese so you need a 'grammar and translation' for your native language.

Genki
A popular choice with a good mix of English supporting text and grammar notes etc. so you don't need an extra book just to use it.

There will also be Workbooks and Kanji books to go with the course - get them and work through them as well.
They will help you practice the grammar and the start you learning the Kanji.

DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT get a course that teaches you just 'Romaji' or English/Latin characters (there are some that try that...). Get one that uses the Japanese Hiragana and Katakana characters, and preferably one that brings in Kanji as well. Heck, I would even go through Genki and blot out all the Romaji after the initial pronunciation bits and leave just the Hiragana/Katakana. Romaji is a crutch you need to get rid of as soon as you can.
You wouldn't learn Russian without learning the Cyrillic alphabet would you? So why make yourself illiterate in Japanese by learning it all in English?

Course often try to avoid using kanji for the first bit, but get stated on them early and you will realise they are not as scary as people make them out to be. Once again it is just getting them memorised takes time and practice. You need to do it at some point, so why get get started early on and get a head start.
Chinese courses start you on their version of Kanji from day one, and people do just fine. Treat the fear of teaching Kanji as a paranoid fear in the teaching system that believes foreigners too stupid to learn Kanji. You aren't stupid, so go for it.

The reward at the end is - anime, manga, samurai films, novels, poetry, culture, food, history, and a thousand other joys and insights into the entire Japanese culture. It's not an easy road, but a road well worth travelling in my opinion.
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Rabbit Horse
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Posted 5/20/16
minna no nihongo is far from being "language-expert" tier, but you do need to at least know the basics (ideally, the kana and basic grammar)
though it's definitely not suitable for those just starting out. it does have quite a few examples and can be more fun compared to traditional grammar books.

focus on words, not kanji. there's a reason 7-year old kids in Japan are more fluent than people taking 2 years worth of classes, and it's not because of their knowledge of kanji.
Nejy91 
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Posted 5/21/16
I'm currently using Rosetta Stone which is especially useful for pronunciation. I recommend it if you can afford it.
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26 / F
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Posted 6/12/16
get a tutor or watch a lot of anime with subs
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