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Thread: 1,000 Tips

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    Default 1,000 Tips

    So the goal here is to try to get to 1,000 tips for learning Japanese. I've been learning pretty much alone off and on over the years, and just got serious this year. In this time I've learned a bunch of tips which I'll list now. If you got something make a list and let's see if we can get 1,000 tips to help each other and those who are just beginning.

    1: Learn through Vocab.
    Though lots of people will argue the importance of grammar, learning through Vocab is a great way to get moving. It builds confidence and helps you start to understand the general content of a sentence once heard or read. However, you can't just be lazy about this. Learn about 30-35 words a day, (A rule in learning languages) and you should be more or less fluent in a year, sometimes longer or less than a year. (The goal here is 10,000 words.)

    2: Learn how to write it.
    It was fun to start writing Kana for the first time and helped me memorize it really fast, much more quicker than looking at it. I got a book and wrote it over and over, but sadly it did eventually get boring. When you write them, make sure you learn the stroke order.
    Learn both the hiragana and katakana. Learning to write the kanji can come later and I'll explain in a bit.

    3: Learn how to pronouce it.
    Not only do you need to learn each character, but learn words. An example is how people pronounce desu as des... (which is really just a lazy "su" sound at the end)

    4: Don't be afraid of Kanji.
    Though it may look hard, Kanji is your friend in my experience. Why? People learn better by associating words and numbers with pictures. One of those freaks who can memorize a the numbers on 4 or 5 dollar bills even agrees. Kanji looks like pictures, so if you get a great app or even a set of flash cards, just remember what the Kanji looks like, and then the word. Manabu, Hon, Mizu, Hi, Yama, Hito, Moshi, Kubi, and tons other's look like what the words are. I have an app on my phone that let's you study the words in English and Kana and then quiz you on the kanji. Great for memory.

    5. Set a goal.
    The hardest part for me in learning Japanese was starting and continuing.
    Set a goal to start, and learn at least "so and so" in a day or "so and so" at a time. I learn when I stand in the chow line, and read before I sleep.

    6. Study before you sleep.
    Though studying before sleeping makes you more sleepy you remember more.

    7: Music.
    Now it's time for the fun stuff. Don't do music wrong and just memorize the words without knowing the meaning. Look up the lyrics and then look up each word. Though it may not always be the proper way to speak, it is a great way to memorize words. People memorize things that are put into music form much more better than if it's just thrown at you.

    8: ANIME!!!
    I watched this video of a guy on youtube who learned a good chunk of Japanese using anime. What you do is, after you get a good vocabulary list stuck in your head. Watch a show that is subbed, then go back and watch it raw, or don't read the subs. You'll have fun and start to pick up on stuff since you're activating the listening part of your mind.

    9: Grammar.
    Learn the grammar damn it, nough said.

    10. No Rosetta stone for Japanese.
    Rosetta stone teaches you formal Japanese, instead of normal every day "hey what's up" understandable Japanese. So yeah, don't do it. I found a guide by this guy named Tae Kim, that helps. Google it.

    11. Speak It.
    Even if no one understands you, I still say "sukimasen, gomen ne, oyasumi nasai" and so on, though people don't know what I'm saying. This also builds confidence... or makes you look like a nerd, don't screw it up lol.

    12. Replace words.
    Start replacing words in your mind with Japanese words.

    Anyway, there's 12, I hope you guys can do better. 988 more.

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    Default Re: 1,000 Tips

    I think it will be a little difficult coming up with 1000 different tips to help learn Japanese without people giving their input on preexisting tips.

    I can't really think of much to add to the list at the moment, but I can think of input and personal experience for all the tips you've given.

    Input

    1. I didn't know about 30-35 words a day, but that would also tie in with 5, setting a goal. I tend to read Japanese, out of some textbooks I got from a store, and listen to Japanese music. Pick up on words, look them up, and the more you hear/see them, you'll be able to pick them up and even if it's in a new book, or song, anime, drama, etc... and you'll be like, 'OH! I know that word! It's ____!!' That will help to boast your confidence.

    2. I learned Hiragana first and I would write them over and over in a book and make flash cards for myself. MAKE flashcards, don't buy them. Making them will help you, 1) Learn stroke order. (If you did what I did, make them with different colors. i.e. Red - 1st Stroke, Blue - 2nd Stroke, Purple - 3rd Stroke) 2) Memorize them. The more you write them over and over again, the better they stick. Also, when you write them, keep repeating in your head or aloud the sound it makes. With Katakana, I quickly skimmed over it and didn't really bother writing it over and over again... I would just read my Japanese workbooks and when I came across katakana, I would work from my memory. (I would try to think of what the katakana was. If that didn't work I would start cycling through all the katakana in my head, and when I would draw a blank on what the katakana was, I would say the sound for it and see if it fit with the rest of the word. When none of that worked, I would eventually look it up.)

    3. I agree pronunciation is KEY and VERY tricky when it comes to long vowels and double consonants. I still have problems with the double consonants... I would also like to tie this one into 7 and 8, plus 13 and 14, which can be found below. LISTEN and REPEAT!! With Music... SING ALONG... I mean it... It is how I learned my pronunciation, which I've been complimented on by some native speakers... embarrassing... >///<

    4. I was having a problem learning Japanese until I started to learn Kanji... and honestly, I was shocked on how quickly I was able to progress to basic conversations about random things. Learning kanji really does help. I just LOVE learning extremely difficult kanji and I find myself writing it over and over again on random things. The most recent one I learned was '薔薇', rose, even though it's most commonly written as 'バラ'.

    5. I'm horrible at keeping my goals. I tend to be able to stick to them for about 3-4 weeks and then slowly ease off of them. I would say maybe swap your goals you have set every two weeks. Or have 2 sets of goals and just alternate between them so you don't get bored and slowly leave your goal.

    6. I actually did this for about a month before, studying for 30min-1hr and found myself dreaming in Japanese. I also realized, I knew more Japanese than I thought I did.

    7. Music, who doesn't love it? lol I listen to it ALL the time and sometimes it's Japanese. It was one of the first things I started to do when I got interested in Japanese. I would listen to it, even though I didn't understand it and I would start to mimic the sounds. Later, I started to look up the lyrics and sing along and learn pronunciation and a small bit of vocab

    8. I know exactly who you are talking about. He has a Japanese language course out now too. Even does video updates if you're subscribed to his newsletter. I find it's hard to find raw anime online, especially of some of the lesser known animes. If you've watched anime for years and years with subtitles, unconsciously you've trained yourself to read subtitles quickly and look back at what's going on. I have this problem so what I do is I take a piece of paper, I've already cut it from a sheet since a full sheet got annoying after a while. I tape it to my screen where the subtitles would pop up and watch the anime 'raw'. It's a very hard habit to break reading subs if they're there, so do give the piece of paper taped over the subs a shot. I should get back into watching 'raw' anime.

    9. Grammar is one of the hardest things to learn if you don't learn it as one of the first few things. I don't really know how to explain this that well, but start with basic, simple sentences. Although there are many ways to say this in Japanese, I will give you 3 casual ways. I would recommend learning basic grammar first. While you're learning basic grammar, you will learn some vocabulary.
    I like strawberries.
    If people know you are talking about yourself, this is a complete sentence. イチゴ好き。 Literally: Strawberries like.
    If people know you are not talking about yourself you could say this. 私はイチゴが好き。 Translated as if the particles are words: As for me, strawberries are the thing I like.
    If you're in a group and somebody is trying to guess who likes strawberries and guesses somebody beside you, you would probably say: 私がイチゴは好き。 Translated as if the particles are words: I am the one who likes strawberries.

    10. I tried Rosetta Stone for an hour and I HATED it. Nope, nope, nope, no Rosetta Stone for me.

    11. I encourage speaking Japanese. Even if you are talking to yourself, which I have a problem doing in Japanese. I do, however, talk to my dog... a lot and in Japanese, lol.

    12. Yep, yep. Replacing words in your mind is a good way to help you learn. Do your best to think in Japanese too. If you live in a country or area where you don't hear it spoken often, this might be one of the more difficult things to do.



    Tips

    13. Movies.
    Watch Japanese movies. I've found a bunch of really good movies and I tend to watch them over and over again. I think my favorite would be "The Witch of the West is Dead". I highly recommend it to people here. The move is calm and not really fast paced, which is good, but due to that, the actors/actresses speak a little slower than what you hear in animes and dramas.

    14. Dramas.
    There are MANY good J-dramas you can find online and out of those you could probably find a few that would interest you. In dramas, if they are recent, you will most likely hear up-to-date words or slang (depending on the drama). I know Japan is popular for creating to new words, be it foreign words or Japanese words.

    15. Language Exchange
    Probably one of the biggest steps you could take to dive into Japanese would to be making a language exchange friend. I have quite a few and we get along quite well, although we mostly communicate through email and twitter. Make Japanese friends and speak to them in Japanese. If you ask, which I HIGHLY suggest you do, they will correct your mistakes. So ask them to correct for you. It will help you see your errors, and if you want after they correct for you, and you are confused on why that was an error... ASK. It is a language exchange, you are helping each other learn another language that you are most likely, if not, fluent in.

    16. Mistakes.
    MAKE mistakes, you can only learn from them. Do NOT let them destroy your confidence though. Confidence is a MUST when speaking another language, if you're not confident, you will second guess yourself and make a mistake that you know is a mistake in your gut and that will only crush your confidence more. MAKE MISTAKES, DO NOT FRET OVER THEM!!

    17. Diary
    Making a diary IN Japanese will help. You do not have to make it personal, just write down what happened that day and what you thought of it. WRITE do NOT type... If you write you will be able to keep the stroke order of the hiragana down in your mind, and if you know the kanji in your mind, it will give you practice writing it. If, for an extra step, you want to make sure your sentences are correct, if you have language exchange friend, see if they will read over it for you.

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    Default Re: 1,000 Tips

    The tips above are really good, I just wanted to mention a few things that I use:

    18. Use lang-8.com to practise writing
    This is a really good website, you can write things (like diary entries/blog posts) and native speakers will correct what you've written.

    19. Find a Japanese person to have conversations with (this is kinda like 15. above but specifically about speaking Japanese)
    I'm paying a Japanese girl to have conversation classes with me (who I found by posting an ad on Gumtree.com), but if you don't want to pay/don't have any willing Japanese people in your town, you could look on a Japanese forum for language exchanges and Skype with them (I did this at one point, but it ended up us always speaking English because his English was better and I wasn't pushy enough... Just something to bear in mind d

    20. Learn vocab on memrise.com
    I really like the way this one works, it's very clear and easy to use with lots of good features and there are loads of Japanese vocab lists on there already, or you can make your own.

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    Default Re: 1,000 Tips

    Quote Originally Posted by LisaJD View Post
    The tips above are really good, I just wanted to mention a few things that I use:
    19. Find a Japanese person to have conversations with (this is kinda like 15. above but specifically about speaking Japanese)
    I'm paying a Japanese girl to have conversation classes with me (who I found by posting an ad on Gumtree.com), but if you don't want to pay/don't have any willing Japanese people in your town, you could look on a Japanese forum for language exchanges and Skype with them (I did this at one point, but it ended up us always speaking English because his English was better and I wasn't pushy enough... Just something to bear in mind d
    I use http://japan-guide.com and for an easier set up to search, you might have to tweak it for your needs, but use >> this link << I usually go by email for a while, but then switch to Skype. In fact, I have a Skype call with a Japanese friend this Sunday. One thing that is bad to do is to swap back to your native language because it's easier on you. I tend to do this and my friend switches to English too. I'm guessing it's because Japanese just go with the flow, so I'm hoping this Sunday I don't switch to English. I'm gonna ask him to force me to stick to Japanese and hopefully it works.

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    Default Re: 1,000 Tips

    21. Use it. The one thing that helps solidify a language in the mind is usage. Nothing deteriorates it faster (other than brain trauma) than disuse. Use it whenever you can. If you're lucky enough to have a Japanese community, look at newspapers and free pamphlets and magazines. Find rawscans online. Listen to music and webcasts in Japanese. Play games and watch anime in Japanese. Do whatever you can to increase your exposure. Nothing teaches faster than exposure.

    22. While this was said as #2, I think it must be stressed again - learn to write Japanese, not just speak it. There are way too many instances out there of teaching sources - whole classes, even - that try to teach Japanese without teaching the writing. It doesn't work, in my opinion. Too many rules for the language are based on relationships between characters in writing, and by taking the writing out, it makes the reason for these rules invisible, and therefore something that should be intuitive suddenly becomes something that needs to be learned by rote or some other trick. For example - Look at the counters for long, thin objects (本). It's read "hon" normally. However, depending on what character comes before it, that reading can change. 一本 (one object) is read "ippon". 二本 (two objects) is "nihon". 三本 (three objects) is "sanbon". So, 本 can be read "hon", "pon", or "bon", depending on what character comes before it. Why "pon" or "bon"? Because those are the other two sounds that come from the base character ほ ("ho"), the first syllable of "hon". By adding dakuten (゛) it becomes ぼ ("bo") and adding handakuten (゜) it becomes ぽ ("po"). This relationship of ho-bo-po is clearly evident in the writing system and is what governs the change in sound for the "ho" character. The addition of dakuten to the beginning syllable of individual parts of a compound word (for words after the first word) is very common, but knowing what the syllable changes to is a product of the writing system. A similar system can also arise from the shortening of compound words by taking two of the characters and creating a new word - such as 高等学校 ("Koutougakkou" - High school), which has been shortened down to 高校 ("Koukou"). Learning this through writing is much, much easier than just trying to remember more "rules".

    23. Don't discount the power of Kanji. While you may not be able to sound out every compound word you come across, knowing the meaning of individual Kanji can help you understand written text faster than Kana alone. With as limited a number of phonetics as Japanese has, there are many words that sound very similar, but mean completely different things. Kanji allows for less confusion when reading text, and should not be underestimated for how much it can increase efficiency in reading. Kanji is more difficult, yes, but after using it, Kana-only passages can be a headache to read.

    24. If you can find them, many English-language books have been translated into Japanese and can be a good source of practice reading Japanese. Keep in mind that they won't be 100% true translations, but they'll be in the ballpark and can help get you comfortable reading Japanese. Given that much of this is fiction by popular authors, it's not too hard to find a book that you might actually want to try in Japanese. (I have a copy of ハリーポッターと賢者の石 - "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone", for example.)

    25. Japanese is a high-context language. English is not. Don't expect to be able to think of a sentence in English and just translate it into Japanese. A high-context language is one that tends to drop words and concepts from a sentence when they're understood, making sentences shorter and conversation faster. A low-context language is one that requires most basic parts of a sentence to be included each time in order to have a proper sentence. Japanese is high-context. One word sentences are fine, once the context is established. (It makes translating Japanese to English hard sometimes, as context to a foreign speaker is not necessarily as obvious, and it can make for awkward sounding sentences if one tries to maintain this level of context). English is a low-context language, and generally speaking, even if it's obvious, one needs to have a subject and verb in every sentence for it to be a proper sentence. Example: 「ハリーポッターと賢者の石」を読んだか。 ("Harry Potter to Kenja no Ishi" wo yonda ka?") means "Have you read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone?" A typical Japanese answer might be はい、読んだ。("Hai, yonda."), which means "Yes, I have read it," though the words "I" and "it" are understood and not in the Japanese sentence. It would be akin to responding with "Yes, I have,", but the Japanese sentence literally says "Yes, read," (past tense of "to read" - damn that verb's confusing nature).

    26. And one personal pet peeve - Japanese is a relatively atonal language. Not every word has an accented syllable like in English. Please work on that atonal pronunciation. Tonally, Japanese is a relatively flat language. It tends to have a rise or fall in tone at the beginning of a sentence or passage and at the end of the sentence or passage. In the middle, the tone is fairly flat and does not rise or fall. Try not to put accented syllables in each word like in English. It's one thing that makes American speakers of Japanese sound very off. (Conversely, lack of accented syllables, differing phonetics, and the tendency for Japanese speakers to not space out their words makes Japanese speakers of English sound off, too. Don't believe me? Watch the Hawaiian vacation OVA episode of Kimagure Orange Road. The English was terrible and hard to understand. I'm pretty sure that Japanese speakers speaking in German is worse. Evangelion, anyone?)

    27. Last, Japanese is a relatively formulaic language. For those of you who have studied Latin, you might understand what I mean. Most Japanese sentences can be divided up into parts, with particles acting like "operators", and can generally be reasoned out, barring missing contextual pieces. This might have just been me, but I took Latin for my foreign language in High School, and it was Latin that got be back on track with my self-study for Japanese. Latin uses "operator" words to define what the role of the word or phrase before it is, just like Japanese. Latin ends its sentences with the main verb, just like Japanese. Approaching both Latin and Japanese in manners more consistent with math formulae than with English grammar allowed me to make intuitive leaps in my study of Japanese. (It could just be me, but if this shift in thought helps anyone at all, I'll be satisfied.)

    Do yourself a favor and increase the efficiency of your study. Use the language, and learn the whole language, not just one part. Take advantage of potential materials that are related to something you know in English. And focus on learning the language, not just translating English sentences into Japanese. There are significant grammar and pronunciation differences between the two languages - and forgetting that can hinder one's progress in mastering the language.

    It all helps. And above all, don't get discouraged. It's not an easy language to learn.

    My 2 yen,

    Akiosama
    Last edited by Akiosama; 08-26-2013 at 04:06 PM.

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    Default Re: 1,000 Tips

    One of my tips is to start thinking in Japanese. Train yourself to speak to yourself in Japanese. YOu don't always have other Japanese speakers to talk to but at least you get to practice with yourself

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    Default Re: 1,000 Tips

    I recommend renshuu.org for studying. With an account, you can create "schedules" of vocabulary and kanji, add whichever words/characters you want to study, and the site lets you quiz yourself every day on the terms you need more practice. It's great for keeping words cemented in your mind.

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