Good Places for Learning Japanese
Posted 3/24/17 , edited 3/24/17
Hi! I've decided to learn Japanese but since I will be self taught, I wondering if anyone could recommend any resources, such as books, apps, websites, etc. that work well. Please keep in mind that I've never ever tried to speak it once so everything should be beginner. Thanks!
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Posted 3/24/17 , edited 3/24/17
Both Memrise and Duolingo are excellent language learning apps that I highly recommend.
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Posted 3/24/17 , edited 3/24/17
Well, a good way to learn a foreign language (besides learning apps like those suggested ^) is with an app in which (if you are willing to) you exchange languages! Goes by the name of HelloTalk. You can select the language you wish to learn as well as the level you're currently at, and also select the language you wish to teach. It's pretty great, because you'll be introduced to other users which have the application and wish to learn the language you want to speak, and are willing to teach you the language of your choice.
Posted 3/24/17 , edited 3/24/17
Books/Textbooks



Applications (Mobile)

  • Mirai Japanese - A tutor-based app that can help you learn pronunciations. -- (Google Play link).
  • Duolingo - As trmjkd989 mentioned, it's pretty robust. I found that it was good for convincing people to carry on with studies due to the "goal-based" instructions it has.


I would suggest that you find some type of Japanese dictionary for your mobile phone too. It helps when you're trying to understand kanji for certain phrases or words. There are plenty of methods out there to help learn Japanese. I'm fluent if you ever need a translation or some assistance.

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Posted 3/24/17 , edited 3/24/17
Hi~ I have a handful of favorite resources that I regularly use. They've helped me come a long way with my Japanese.

For grammar: the Genki textbooks, japaneseprofessor.com, and JapanesePod101 (some of their videos are on youtube, or you can pay $4/month for access to their entire library of videos and lessons)

For vocabulary: Memrise (their official Japanese course is okay, but not my favorite. the vocabulary courses like JLPT vocabulary and Genki vocabulary are the most useful in that format); Anki

For kanji: the Kanji Study app is awesome, and can also help you learn hiragana and katakana; WaniKani - a personal fave (costs money after a certain level though)

頑張って!Good luck!



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Posted 3/24/17 , edited 3/24/17
It's not quite for beginners since you need to at least be able to read hiragana to really use the website, but I'd highly recommend renshuu.org It's a great little website and has a pretty active community on the forums. You can pay to get a pro version, but the website itself is more than useable for free, and I went all the way through my first JLPT (Japanese Learners Proficiency Test) level using the free version and then chose to go for the upgraded.

It has sections for you to learn Vocabulary, Kanji (Chinese characters) and Grammar, as well as monthly games which allow you to practice using the language.

Free or otherwise, highly recommend it: https://www.renshuu.org/?reg
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Posted 3/24/17 , edited 3/25/17
When I started out, it seemed overwhelming so I suggest breaking it down into stages. Japanese is written in a mixture of 3 different scripts, take them one at a time. First, learn hiragana, there are 46 basic symbols plus several that are modified to produce more sounds. Hiragana is like the basic phonetic alphabet and represents all of the sounds in the language. After hiragana, then learn katakana, which represent the same sounds as hiragana but use a different set of symbols. Katakana are used for things like emphasis, signs, foreign words, plants and animals, and sound effects in manga. After you know hiragana, which may take some time, learning katakana should be quick.

Hiragana Chart: http://www.genkienglish.net/genkijapan/hiraganachart.htm

Hiragana and katakana drill: https://kana.icann.se/

Maybe start learning some basic vocabulary to practice pronunciation and learn words in their hiragana form. Anki is a good flashcard app for learning vocabulary: https://apps.ankiweb.net/

Hear how native speakers pronounce things: https://forvo.com/languages/ja/

Next, kanji are Chinese characters which were adopted into Japanese. There are something like 2500 to learn... start with the easy, common ones. Most have more than one pronunciation, native Japanese and Chinese-based, and which is used depends on the particular kanji and the word it appears in (many words are combos of 2 kanji characters). Japanese school kids learn specific sets of kanji by grade, it's not a bad way to learn them:
https://www.memrise.com/course/141583/2136-joyo-kanji-by-grade/

Kanji by frequency of use: http://kanjicards.org/kanji-list-by-freq.html

Many kanji characters are themselves compounds made up of "radicals" (some radicals are kanji on their own). If you learn the radicals as you learn kanji, it can help you to recognize them and guess their meanings.

You can find pre-made Japanese decks for Anki, but I started from scratch and build my own decks as I go. That way I can add common words and words that interest me. I keep separate decks, one for individual kanji (the basic meaning and Chinese pronunciation) and one for vocabulary. When I add a new kanji character to that deck, I add a few different vocabulary words which contain that kanji to the other deck. Pretty soon you'll be adding words where you already know one of the kanji.

Nice online dictionary for kanji and vocabulary: http://jisho.org/

For all of them-- hiragana, katakana, and kanji-- I think it really helps to retain them if you learn how to write them as well. You'll also want to install some Japanese fonts and set up your computer so you can type Japanese characters (how to accomplish this depends on your operating system).

When you know hiragana and katakana well, and have started to learn some kanji, then start looking at phrases, verbs, particles, and grammar. There are a lot of resources on the web...
http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/
https://nihongoichiban.com/home/japanese-grammar-particles/
http://rcl.pliable.us/J-verbs.html
http://www.omniglot.com/language/numbers/japanese.htm
http://www.wa-pedia.com/language/japanese_common_phrases.shtml
http://www.punipunijapan.com/

Good luck!
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Posted 3/31/17 , edited 3/31/17
I'm not self-taught but I've been using the GENKI books since I started learning Japanese at college. They're a really, really good line of books for beginners. If you do get this, definitely get the workbook along with it. It will help you practice what you've learned (especially to read and write).

One thing I would recommend is to learn your hiragana and katakana really well. The speed in which you learn lessons later on will greatly depend on this. I suggest to use some other source besides GENKI to learn hiragana & katakana.

Oh, and kanji. Probably the most intimidating thing about Japanese:P The kanji taught in the GENKI books is fairly adequate. You will learn about 10-15 kanji per lesson. I would suggest finding some websites that complement the learning of kanji from the GENKI books, like this website for example...
http://www.victoria.ac.nz/llc/llc_resources/genki/index.htm

As for speaking or listening Japanese, well that's where you might have some trouble with since you won't exactly be given the chance to practice that (unless you have Japanese friends or friends that know Japanese? idk). So I would suggest joining a language exchange website where you can chat with someone who knows Japanese well (like fluently well). Otherwise, I'm sure the people posting on this thread would be more than happy to help you through your endeavor (including me), so don't hesitate to contact us!

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Posted 9/27/17 , edited 9/27/17
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