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Old 10-13-2014, 12:05 AM   #1
Christopher2012
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Advice on Learning Japanese

I have been thinking about Japan for a long time. I am facinated by the culture and pretty much everything I enjoy originates in Japan. So why not learn the language?

I have a 3-year subscribtion to Rosetta stone and I have unlimited acess to Japanese podcasts through iTunes. I listen to the podcasts all day and I spend about 2 hours on the lessons per day. And I also spend time with writing Kana and Kanji each day.

Does anybody have any advice on the subject? I'll admit that I'm frustrated that I cannot understand anything on the podcasts. I know that it takes time but I'm so inpatient.
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Old 10-13-2014, 12:13 AM   #2
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You might check out http://www.mangolanguages.com/
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Old 10-13-2014, 12:25 AM   #3
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I don't know if this is good news or bad news, but the way I learnt to speak Japanese was to move to Japan. Works a treat

Rosetta Stone is helpful, but life is short and you want to be there. Just go!
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Old 10-13-2014, 12:26 AM   #4
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Also, I learnt by attending Kindergarten and starting with them. Try and get your hands on some children's books in Japanese and progress through them, building yourself up to the level you want to be. It'll happen. It takes a few months for everything to click, but it will.
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Old 10-13-2014, 12:28 AM   #5
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Do you have any language groups in your city? Our library system hosts groups for various languages, you could look on MeetUp, Craigslist, etc., for a language group or buddy. Have you tapped into your local Japanese community to find people to interact with?

Our library system also has story times for families in various languages. Something like that is cool for new learners because there's an easy-to-follow story, plus games, songs, numbers, colors and simple questions in the foreign language. It might feel a bit strange to show up without a kid, but I've found that attendees and facilitators of such events are very welcoming toward those who want to learn.

You also might try movies and TV shows that you're already very familiar with Japanese audio. My husband--who is not strong in languages--has actually picked up quite a bit of Japanese from watching anime.

Above all, stick with it and don't get frustrated with your pace. My high school offered Japanese, and the students who took it learned at about 1/3 of the pace of Spanish or French students. Asian languages are more difficult and nuanced than Western languages, so just keep plugging away at learning over time.
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Old 10-13-2014, 12:46 AM   #6
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Non Indo-European languages are considerably more difficult to learn for English speakers, so don't give up hope. For me, after a time of studying them, languages will eventually 'click', almost literally overnight, so once you figured the language out, it will come together and you will progress in a language much much quicker. It's that initial 'click' that takes time.

If you cannot find a language learning community, then watch TV and movies. Initially, watch them with subtitles, to get a feel for it, but then turn it off. Also, watch Japanese news and comment back - in Japanese. And read read read. What I sometimes do is read favourite books translated in other languages. I don't have to focus on the story because I know it already, so I really get to learn how the language is used to express ideas that I am familiar with. Read it out loud as well.

And if you are so inclined, visit an old-folks home that has a few Japanese speakers. You'll not only liven someone's day, but you'll probably end up speaking the more 'classical' version of the language, which is the higher, less modernised form. It's a thought, and not for everyone. But you will definitely learn the language.

Good luck and HAVE FUN! I'm envious of you - I love learning languages! Might give Rosetta Stone a try
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Old 10-13-2014, 03:59 AM   #7
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The best and quickest way to learn an new language is to immerse yourself in that culture.

If you know anyone Japanese then spend time around them, let them speak the native tongue and ask the basics. You will pick things up pretty quickly, with Rosetta Stone you're allowed to be lazy. I have a Rosetta Stone Spanish and think for the price they're appalling.

If you search online there are people who purposely exchange on camera etc speaking different languages. You could perhaps find someone Japanese who intends to learn English? Therefore you both can learn at the same level and avoid any kind of awkwardness.

Remember that it will be difficult though, but if you persist it will be like riding a bike. Stabilisers at first, but sooner than you think you'll be popping wheelies.
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Old 10-13-2014, 04:52 AM   #8
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I come from language savants, we literally acquire languages as others learn card games or the lyrics of new songs. I watch plenty of organ vids on YOUTUBE, and as many of the best organists are Dutch, I find I'm acquiring the language. The other day it hit me that Darth Vader is Dutch for invisible father or concealed father...something like that. It took me 2 weeks to learn Morse Code.

As someone above said, the best place to learn a language is where its spoken. That's how I learned Spanish: in Spain. One of my people spent a year in the Middle East and learned Arabic, Farsi, Sanskrit, Hebrew, and Greek. My son, 1/2 Spanish, cant speak a word of it.
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Old 10-13-2014, 06:48 AM   #9
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My daughter is learning Japanese.

The best advice anyone gave her was 'Get a penpal'
She met some kids in Japan through school and they have been chatting ever since.

They write in English and she writes in Japanese. This way both of you get practice in learning a language... And you get to make friends!

She is hoping to go over to visit next year (If we can get the money together) and having friends over there will make it so much easier.
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Old 10-13-2014, 03:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NippleMuncher View Post
You might check out http://www.mangolanguages.com/
I'll look into it. The online version is free apparently but the download costs $70+ and I really don't want to spend any more money unless it's on physical books. Rosetta Stone set me back $250 for the online courses and I had to buy physical books to practice Kana and Kanji.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiegeekygal View Post
I don't know if this is good news or bad news, but the way I learnt to speak Japanese was to move to Japan. Works a treat

Rosetta Stone is helpful, but life is short and you want to be there. Just go!
You know, I completely agree with you and I would love to go to Japan. About a year ago, I did a ton of research on moving to Japan and that really put me off. There are a lot of luxuries that we have in America that you have to pay a premium for in Japan (Air Conditioning and appliances in apartments, for instance.) I set the idea of Japan off for a long time but am considering at least visiting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiegeekygal View Post
Also, I learnt by attending Kindergarten and starting with them. Try and get your hands on some children's books in Japanese and progress through them, building yourself up to the level you want to be. It'll happen. It takes a few months for everything to click, but it will.
I may try this. I'm just not sure where I'd find childrens Japanese books (Amazon, most likely).

Quote:
Originally Posted by iamshaun View Post
The best and quickest way to learn an new language is to immerse yourself in that culture.

If you know anyone Japanese then spend time around them, let them speak the native tongue and ask the basics. You will pick things up pretty quickly, with Rosetta Stone you're allowed to be lazy. I have a Rosetta Stone Spanish and think for the price they're appalling.

If you search online there are people who purposely exchange on camera etc speaking different languages. You could perhaps find someone Japanese who intends to learn English? Therefore you both can learn at the same level and avoid any kind of awkwardness.

Remember that it will be difficult though, but if you persist it will be like riding a bike. Stabilisers at first, but sooner than you think you'll be popping wheelies.
You're right. One of the criticisms of Rosetta Stone is that the method of teaching is weak. Rosetta Stone advertises that it teaches you like a child learning a first language. The time you spend studying, you're sorta learning by hearing the words instead of it being spelled out to you. So it's kind of like a child hearing his or her parents so much that he or she just picks up on it. Problem being, that kid hears the language 24/7.

To compensate for that, I listen to those podcasts all throughout the day. I fall asleep to them. I wake up to them. And yes, I'm catching on to some interesting real-life tendencies. Something cool that I learned is that people in Japan don't really maintain eye contact because that's impolite. So when they communicate, the listener is constantly saying "Hai" (Yes), "So desu" (Tell me), or even "So desu ka" (Really?) to show acknowledgement. That was the very first thing I caught on to when listening.

I can just do what I can do for the time being. It's one of those things where I want to test the waters before jumping straight in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kalamain View Post
My daughter is learning Japanese.

The best advice anyone gave her was 'Get a penpal'
She met some kids in Japan through school and they have been chatting ever since.

They write in English and she writes in Japanese. This way both of you get practice in learning a language... And you get to make friends!

She is hoping to go over to visit next year (If we can get the money together) and having friends over there will make it so much easier.
YES, Rosetta Stone has a community of people. Every day, you see people who are also learning the language. There are various different levels and you can also play games with them. Some people on there are really fluent with Kana and Kanji and that's the most difficult part. I know some of the Kana but Kanji is really hard.
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Old 10-13-2014, 03:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetErika View Post
Do you have any language groups in your city? Our library system hosts groups for various languages, you could look on MeetUp, Craigslist, etc., for a language group or buddy. Have you tapped into your local Japanese community to find people to interact with?

Our library system also has story times for families in various languages. Something like that is cool for new learners because there's an easy-to-follow story, plus games, songs, numbers, colors and simple questions in the foreign language. It might feel a bit strange to show up without a kid, but I've found that attendees and facilitators of such events are very welcoming toward those who want to learn.

You also might try movies and TV shows that you're already very familiar with Japanese audio. My husband--who is not strong in languages--has actually picked up quite a bit of Japanese from watching anime.

Above all, stick with it and don't get frustrated with your pace. My high school offered Japanese, and the students who took it learned at about 1/3 of the pace of Spanish or French students. Asian languages are more difficult and nuanced than Western languages, so just keep plugging away at learning over time.
Aw come on, Erika.... you know how I am about social life and actually going to groups. lol Though that's probably a great idea, I don't see myself doing that.

I am a bit concerned about quitting. I really am that type of person who has a deep passion for something one week and then completely forgets about it the next. It's like night and day. Kind of like when I bought a piano and played it for 3 days. Waste of $1,000....

Quote:
Originally Posted by fire_breeze View Post
Non Indo-European languages are considerably more difficult to learn for English speakers, so don't give up hope. For me, after a time of studying them, languages will eventually 'click', almost literally overnight, so once you figured the language out, it will come together and you will progress in a language much much quicker. It's that initial 'click' that takes time.

If you cannot find a language learning community, then watch TV and movies. Initially, watch them with subtitles, to get a feel for it, but then turn it off. Also, watch Japanese news and comment back - in Japanese. And read read read. What I sometimes do is read favourite books translated in other languages. I don't have to focus on the story because I know it already, so I really get to learn how the language is used to express ideas that I am familiar with. Read it out loud as well.

And if you are so inclined, visit an old-folks home that has a few Japanese speakers. You'll not only liven someone's day, but you'll probably end up speaking the more 'classical' version of the language, which is the higher, less modernised form. It's a thought, and not for everyone. But you will definitely learn the language.

Good luck and HAVE FUN! I'm envious of you - I love learning languages! Might give Rosetta Stone a try
Actually, reading is what I'm hesitating the most on. When I see Japanese written out, I have the tendency to completely ignore it as if I'll learn it later. I know that's bad practice but taking the English alphabet out is really intimidating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JAMESBJOHNSON View Post
I come from language savants, we literally acquire languages as others learn card games or the lyrics of new songs. I watch plenty of organ vids on YOUTUBE, and as many of the best organists are Dutch, I find I'm acquiring the language. The other day it hit me that Darth Vader is Dutch for invisible father or concealed father...something like that. It took me 2 weeks to learn Morse Code.

As someone above said, the best place to learn a language is where its spoken. That's how I learned Spanish: in Spain. One of my people spent a year in the Middle East and learned Arabic, Farsi, Sanskrit, Hebrew, and Greek. My son, 1/2 Spanish, cant speak a word of it.
I've somewhat covered everything. Immersion is the best way, yes. I wish I could visit Japan. Maybe I will. But for now, the podcasts and movies will have to do.
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Old 10-13-2014, 03:56 PM   #12
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Aw come on, Erika.... you know how I am about social life and actually going to groups. lol Though that's probably a great idea, I don't see myself doing that.
Actually, Erika's idea seems like a fantastic thing to do! Do it!
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Old 10-15-2014, 07:48 PM   #13
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Update: I'm hitting a brick wall learning Hiragana and Katakana (Japanese alphabet) but it's not because of difficulty. As excited as I am about learning speaking the language, I'm not so much motivated to learn the writing. So I'm in a phase where I'm listening and watching programming in Japanese and doing the Rosetta Stone material but I'm procrastinating on the writing.

With that being said, if you go to Youtube and search for "Japanese Movies," it's all porn. lol That may sound exciting but porn is typically bad acting so I'm trying to avoid those type of movies.

I am sooooooooo damn impatient. I beat myself up since I have always loved videogames and anime produced and developed in Japan yet I've never thought "Hmmm.... I'd love to learn their culture and language." If I had started this when I was 21, I could be semi-fluent by now.

The Japanese culture - So polite, so humble. Man, I wish I grew up in that country.
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Old 10-16-2014, 03:35 AM   #14
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google for japanese subtitle tracks for english films.

Then go watch a film you know (And like?) and read the subtitle track and match what you know to the dialogue.

LINKS FOR THE LINK GOD!

http://nihongo-jimaku.blogspot.jp/

http://v2.subscene.com/subtitles/japanese.aspx

http://www.d-addicts.com/forum/subtitles.php?#Japanese

http://kitsunekko.net/subtitles/japanese/

Not tried them so treat with caution.
The final one is from my daughter....She likes Anime. *shrug*
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Old 10-16-2014, 06:16 AM   #15
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No advice at all, just wanted to say hi
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:26 PM   #16
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google for japanese subtitle tracks for english films.

Then go watch a film you know (And like?) and read the subtitle track and match what you know to the dialogue.

LINKS FOR THE LINK GOD!

http://nihongo-jimaku.blogspot.jp/

http://v2.subscene.com/subtitles/japanese.aspx

http://www.d-addicts.com/forum/subtitles.php?#Japanese

http://kitsunekko.net/subtitles/japanese/

Not tried them so treat with caution.
The final one is from my daughter....She likes Anime. *shrug*
Actually, I really do need to go back to Full Metal Alchemist. Maybe I'll rewatch it. And Deathnote. IIRC I have them on DVD. Maybe I'll watch it with Japanese subtitles.

How advanced is your daughter in the language?
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:49 PM   #17
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Actually, I really do need to go back to Full Metal Alchemist. Maybe I'll rewatch it. And Deathnote. IIRC I have them on DVD. Maybe I'll watch it with Japanese subtitles.

How advanced is your daughter in the language?
She is talking to them and has asked for a Japanese keyboard for Christmas. She isn't fluent at all but she gets by on skype with some stuttering and looking stuff up.
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Old 10-16-2014, 12:50 PM   #18
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No advice at all, just wanted to say hi
Rainshine, I've missed you! How have you been?
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Old 10-16-2014, 01:22 PM   #19
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She is talking to them and has asked for a Japanese keyboard for Christmas. She isn't fluent at all but she gets by on skype with some stuttering and looking stuff up.
I'm so jelly!

BTW, I read your profile. What MMOs do you play?
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Old 10-16-2014, 01:25 PM   #20
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I'm so jelly!

BTW, I read your profile. What MMOs do you play?
Wow....A few...
Ultima Online (Yes, still!)
WoW
Firefall
Star Trek Online
Neverwinter

Over time I have played hundreds more.
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Old 10-16-2014, 01:37 PM   #21
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Wow....A few...
Ultima Online (Yes, still!)
WoW
Firefall
Star Trek Online
Neverwinter

Over time I have played hundreds more.
Ah, I'm a Final Fantasy XIV player myself. I am really getting burnt out though. I got my Black Mage and Summoner gear to i110 and now I'm just... Done. I only get online anymore to raid with my static group.
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Old 10-16-2014, 01:41 PM   #22
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Ah, I'm a Final Fantasy XIV player myself. I am really getting burnt out though. I got my Black Mage and Summoner gear to i110 and now I'm just... Done. I only get online anymore to raid with my static group.
Yeah I know that one.
You get bored of the end game grind...

Most of the 'other' games I played are like that... Get to a high level and get bored...Dump it and install another.

I don't think I could count the number of MMOs I have done that with.
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Old 10-16-2014, 01:55 PM   #23
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Yeah I know that one.
You get bored of the end game grind...

Most of the 'other' games I played are like that... Get to a high level and get bored...Dump it and install another.

I don't think I could count the number of MMOs I have done that with.
I think the worst part, at least for me, is that I'm constatly comparing myself to people with better gear and it's a battle to keep up. So it's mentally draining. I worked for months to get my relic (Novus) weapon and now that I have it, I envy people with the weapon that's one step ahead. Same for body gear.

And in a month, my shit will be outdated and accessable to the more casual group which is frustrating.

Also, there is some seriously annoying elitism amongst the guilds. If you don't have experience with endgame, nobody will accept you in their group. It took me a looong time to find my group.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:14 PM   #24
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I took Japanese for four years in high school. I think learning the basics first is key and for now ignoring the writing portion of the language. Do everything in romaji until you have a better handle on it. Then study hiragana and katakana and finally kanji. Otherwise it is too overwhelming.
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Old 10-16-2014, 02:21 PM   #25
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I took Japanese for four years in high school. I think learning the basics first is key and for now ignoring the writing portion of the language. Do everything in romaji until you have a better handle on it. Then study hiragana and katakana and finally kanji. Otherwise it is too overwhelming.
What's Romaji?

Rosetta Stone uses Hiragana and Katakana so I really need to learn those. Kanji is definitely too difficult for now though.
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