A few questions...
I'm teaching myself Hiragana and Katakana, and some other basics of the language, and I just have a few questions.
First is a kind of technical question, but I think it'll help me with studying - How do I make it so I can type in kanji?
Then, when someone says 'no', does that mean a possession? I guess if someone could throw me a few examples of using 'no' then I'd understand it a bit better.
And I suppose this is just a experience question - for the complicated kanji, that's not the basic hiragana/katakana, how did you guys learn those? Is it just pick one, and trace it until you memorize the way to write it?
Is there a good CD learning program for kanji? I got one that's called "talk Now! Learn Japanese." But only the first disc was educational in a reasonable way. =/
Any help would be appreciated ^_^ I'm trying to get my GPA up at a community college in my area (that doesn't offer Japanese), before I can transfer to a different college, which offers Japanese language courses.
I'm also going to be going over to Japan next April, so I'd like to be able to speak/read as much as possible before I go over there, or start classes.. Whichever comes first. Hehe.
Well, here goes:
1) Depends on your operating system. I haven't had to set it up on Windows for almost a year (and am not currently using Windows so I can't double-check), but it's in your control panel, under Regional and Language Settings, I think. From there, I forget. I think you need a Windows install disc to set it up though, so be forewarned if you're a pirate (not that I disagree with pirating M'$oft software, but just a warning). If you're on Mac (congrats!), go to System Preferences (I have it on my dock so I don't know how to get there normally) -> International -> Input Menu (near the top), and select Japanese. On *nix, there's a package called...ugh...I forgot the name...but it's all over the interwebs, especially the Ubuntu forums.
2) Depends. There are at least 3 uses of the particle の that I know off hand. One is possessive, as you mention (e.g. わたしのほん, "my book"). One is used for verbal phrases as topics or objects (e.g. べんきょうするのはつまらないです, "Studying is boring"). A third is an informal question particle used when you want to add a bit of emotion to your question (e.g. なにをしてるの？, "what are you doing?", used similarly to the English "what's up?"). I'm sure here are more uses of the particle の, but those are the ones I know offhand.
3) I don't know many Kanji (only about 250), but here's my suggestions: First, learn the easy ones. That is, Kanji with no radicals. Then learn Kanji that use those kanji as radicals, then ones with those, etc. A couple good learning tools are the book I posted in the books sticky at the top of the forum (that's my Kanji book that I use) and a freeware game called Slime Forest. I'm not a fan of freeware (I don't trust many things that are "free" unless they come from a reputable source), but I've played it on a friend's computer and it's really useful and helpful. Also, I advise learning Kanji by definition, not by reading. Then, when you see a word in Kanji that uses Kanji you know, just memorize the word. From there you can learn the readings. I find it really hard to memorize readings otherwise, especially for Kanji like 日 and 火 that have 5 or 6 different ones.
4) I don't know from CDs, but Slime Forest is a good computer-based Kanji learning tool. Also, if you have a Nintendo DS, I have a game I picked up in Japan a couple months back. The name is pretty long, but it has the number 250万 (250まん) in the title and the box is yellow. It's quite helpful, although it's made for Japanese natives who want to brush up on their Kanji, not for English-speakers who want to learn Kanji from scratch, so you should pick up a Kanji dictionary before picking that up.
Awesome! Thanks so much, this will help a TON! I understand how 'no' works a lot more now, thank you! ^_^
No problem. Glad to be of help.
For the kanji, check the book Remembering the Kanji, by James Heisig.
@ asu120 - Thank you, I'll look into that one. ^_^
And another question, I sorta managed to figure out how to get my settings so I can type in kanji, but it will only let me type in Microsoft Word, and copy/paste into forums, is that how you guys do it, or do I need to tweak some more to be able to write kanji in forum posts?
In the East Asian Languages screen in the Control Panel (in Regional/Language settings, I think the 3rd tab...it's somewhere in Regional and Language Settings), there's a checkbox that says "Extend East Asian Language support to all programs" or something like that. Check that box.
Also, note that in Windows (like in *nix, but unlike in Mac), the language you use is dependent on the window. That is, if you click that you want to use Japanese in MS Word and then change to IE, IE won't use Japanese unless you click it again.
Erm, okay. I have all that stuff checked, can use Japanese in Microsoft Word, but I can't seem to find this 'IME language bar' to type in kanji on the forums. T_T
Is it because I'm using the Firefox web browser? And it told me that my files for the East Language stuff was already on my computer, so I didn't need to use my discs. Was it lieing to me? lol
Sorry for being a pain, but I'd like to find a buddy on here to type japanese to, so we can learn together. >_<
At the bottom of your screen, you should have a bar (or maybe jiust a box, since it sometimes glitches up) that has a square in it that says "EN". If you click the "EN", you'll be able to select Japanese. There's a keyboard shortcut I think, but it's been too long so I don't remember. If you only have the "EN" showing, right-click and select "Show the Language Bar". That'll let you select Hiragana or Katakana if you have "JP" (Japanese) selected. Again, there's a shortcut, but I don't know it (it's much more intuitive on Mac and *Nix since you can customize it pretty easily). If you don't have this bar or can't find it, then you'll need to ask a Windows user, cause I don't know then.