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Studying Japanese

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I recently attempted to jump through the hoops of a large Japanese recruiter. I failed at the last step. The recruiter later told me that I was one point low from being accepted, and that if I could speak some Japanese that it would have pushed me over. So...with that in mind, I would like to spend some time over the next six months studying Japanese. I am also going to begin a masters degree as well, so will have more reasons for more points.

I am going to google for some websites and/or texts, videos to begin my study. Before I begin, I would like to know if any of you can give me some advice? I wasted a lot of time when I started to study Chinese and hope to not do the same thing again.

My goal is to be able to direct children in class through language activities, to live in Japan and engage in buying things, etc and to have a good foundation for conversation that can be built on if I am in the country. Perhaps, this would be intermediate level?

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I just started studying Japanese a few weeks ago and I have been digging around for similar points of view. I'll give you my take which is subject to change as I learn more.

The structure of Japanese is so counter intuitive to native English speakers that there is a greater need for lots of input up front prior to actual production of self authored speech. For this reason, I am using Assimil's Japanese with Ease as my primary means of learning Japanese at the outset. I suggest you do a youtube search for Assimil review if that company's methodology is not familiar to you. I have found other materials to be somewhat frustrating since being exposed to their intuitive course materials.

Other materials methods I am using or intend to use include:

-Kana: a free app for learning hiragana and katakana. Published by tengugo.

-The newly revised Genki, published by the Japan Times

- Japanese for Busy People

I also have Hugo's Japanese in Three Months and Linguaphone's Japanese Course. I imagine myself using the Linguaphone course after completing the Assimil Course. We'll see about the Hugo course. It's all in romaji, but it's nice to have extra sources of audio material.

I looked at potentially purchasing Tuttle's Elementary Japanese and changed my mind after reading about the changes incorporated into the 2nd edition of Genki. My library has Pimsleur Japanese which I will be looking into over the next several weeks.

I'll try to post additional thoughts as they come to me. I hope others will comment too. I am curious about tackling kanji with the benefit of having studied the hanzi for Chinese.

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I've been working on Japanese lately too.

For individual kanji, I've been working through Heisig's RTK. Although I "know" many of the characters already from Chinese, this is still great because if helps me to:

(1) fill in the gaps in my knowledge vis-a-vis the Joyo list

(2) learn the Japanese forms for characters I already "know" (these forms are often quite different!)

(3) get at least a mental "hook" for the often different Japanese meaning

For a structured introduction I have been using several:

(1) Jorden's JSL: yea it's old, it's ugly, it's all romaji, and it's hard; but I've seen huge advancement in my understanding and ability to produce native-sounding utterances thanks to Jorden's unrelentingly precise description of word/phrase accent and pronunciation, coupled with the free audio-video resources that accompany the book.

(2) Genki 2ed: supurb course, 1000x less boring than JSL.

(3) JapanesePod101: the story-based lessons are well-designed and recorded. Unfortunately, they are really heavy-handed with the marketing and can be a bit patronizing. I'm looking for an alternative for in-the-car audio learning.

Also, two days back I bought the first comic book of my life. I got a bilingual copy of the original Ghost in the Shell manga. It's been a blast thus far -- reading the English and then dissecting the Japanese. Highly recommended, even if comics arn't normally your thing :).


I should add that for electronic dictionaries, I've found the following useful:

(1) wwwjdict

(2) rikaichan - firefox extention giving tooltip defs

(3) Kotoba! - free iphone app dictionary

(4) Midori - payed iphone app dict, better and faster than Kotoba!


Let us know how it goes!

- Chris

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My favorite books for learning the nuts and bolts of the language were the dictionaries of Japanese grammar. There are lots of example sentences, and they're ordered in alphabetical order by entry (like a dictionary). You won't find any dialogues or audio, but there is a lot of information in them, as well as indices for verb and adjective conjugations and whatnot. The downside would be that they aren't structured like a course, so they may not be what you want if that's what you're looking for. I just read straight through them, though (but I may have been a bit crazy).

A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar

A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar

Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar (Japanese Edition) (I've never seen this one. I was onto other (Japanese) resources by the time it came out. I didn't even know there was a Japanese Edition.)

Although, going from what other people say, if you're using Genki you're apparently on the right track (lots of good reviews).

Genki – Page and Audio Samples

There's also Minna no Nihongo, which gets mentioned a lot. I don't know about that one, though (never used it).

You can also always find Japanese shows on Youku, Tudou, 56, and Kankan.

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I have passed N2(New nihongo level 2) last year. I used the "Standard Japanese" at the beginning. Maybe you will find there is some different between orally and written. There are several form in Japanese, you can only study to use 敬語(けいご) or 丁寧語(ていねいご), because you can is form to anyone.

Recite some useful sentences, read as quickly as you can.

I want to take N1 in December, I have to improve my vocabulary and grammar. But I know, speaking and listing are most important. I am going to do language exchange with Japanese on weekend.

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Congratulations on passing N2! I haven't looked at JLPT stuff in a while, and not at all since they changed the test. Was it the same format as the old test, with listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and selecting the proper grammar patterns to put in various sentences? Or was there any sort of focus on speaking and interacting with another human being at all? This was something lots of critics of the test brought up over and over again, and I can't really blame them for it, especially since I knew a girl who had passed old level 2 who could hardly form a coherent Japanese sentence.

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thanks. as i know, the new test is a little bit different. about the form, you will see grammar in passage. about the content, new test is more focus on practice. grammar is orally, listing is more close to the daily live. but i think the vocabulary and the reading comprehension are the same with the old one.

there are many people can not use the language even they got a certificate. but i thing you can improve yourself when you prepare the test.

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