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Tips for learning Japanese

MaiOtaku Forums > Japan Discussion > Tips for learning Japanese
Dec 09, 15 at 6:00pm

Does anyone have any tips for learning Japanese?
There's no classes near me so I'm mostly learning through library books and online.

카덴자 commented on Tips for learning Japanese
Dec 09, 15 at 6:05pm

Learn to not rely on romaji.
It's important to get speaking and listening practice in, not just reading and grammar.
Download a language exchange app like HelloTalk.
Sign up for iTalki and fill out journals. People will come and correct them for free. You can also get lessons on the site, for money.
Use reddit or some shit.
If you have money, but not enough for consistent lessons or classes, consider picking up the HumanJapanese program/app.

Dec 09, 15 at 6:24pm

I prefer not to rely on romaji, i have a notebook i copy words into that has all hiragana and katakana symbols. But i think kanji is going to be pretty hard.

카덴자 commented on Tips for learning Japanese
Dec 09, 15 at 6:43pm

no tips for kanji. just gotta grind those out.

buy some notebooks and fill the pages with whatever kanji you're learning.

Dec 09, 15 at 9:46pm

1. Learn hiragana & katakana. Memorize them like you recognize letters and numbers. It's hard but it's vital to beginning Japanese. Also, learn the stroke order. It's a thing. It's important. Japanese people will shake their head in disappointment if you write it wrong. Do not disappoint the Japanese ladies.

2. Learn the fundamental rules and particles. It's important. Japanese actually has a small number of rules that they apply to their language compared to other languages. (Unless you include Chinese lol) Learn the structure of how and when to place words, know how to change verbs into their different forms like how to say, "I want to eat" from "to eat" and know how to change it into the past tense. To know how to change "to eat" to "I want to eat" to "I wanted to eat". Japanese follows their own rules pretty consistently and they're very important to know. Learn these and you're all but home free.

3. Make sure you learn some basic words and kanji to get you started. You need somewhere to start so you'll need to find these fundamentals somewhere. Try finding 10 base words. Like, to eat, to talk, to sleep, building, school etc etc, you get the idea. Try learning at least 20 a week. It's slow and if you feel you can speed it up that's good. But what's not important is being able to recite them 10 minutes later. What's important is being able to recite them days later. KNOW THEM before trying to learn more. Make it stick.

4. When learning kanji, it can be difficult. But what's important to learn are the radicals. All of them. Try and find a "kanji dictionary". Kanji are broken up into radicals which are derived from pictures. Like the tree radical looks like a tree. The person radical looks like a person standing. Place a person against a tree and what do you get? The kanji for "to rest". If you know the radicals, it will help you remember the meaning!

Past this, there's a lot more you can do but it's not structured. You can learn more however you wish. But if you have strong fundamentals, you'll find it easier to retain what you know and even to be able to use words you didn't know, almost immediately.

It was couple years in but I started buying Japanese copies of manga I'd already read and would read them using a Japanese-English dictionary. The first book took me a month to completely read, the second took me a week, but the third volume took me only 3 days! And now reading Japanese manga is something I do in a couple hours. It takes practice and determination. Dedication. Practice. But find a way to make it fun!

Try and read manga you enjoy. Write a kanji-a-day on the back of your hand. Reward yourself when you can remember your vocabulary the next day. Try and look forward to it even.

Dec 09, 15 at 10:31pm

This is a fun way to study Japanese for me: HelloTalk! I used to use this app a lot, and my hiragana became super fluent through typing (I memorised the hiragana, but can't remember it in the back of my head yet) - not to mention my everyday Japanese skills (like introductions and everyday conversations). I also mention to the people I'm talking to that I can't read kanji yet. Some people are super nice and are willing to also teach you and answer your questions! There's also a translate button (which sometimes works) and there's a service there which allows you to fix their english and them to fix your Japanese sentences! Try it out, if you'd like. Of course, this has to be after you've at least understand the basics.

Dec 09, 15 at 10:53pm


Dec 25, 15 at 7:29pm

I'm more of a visual learner because it sticks better in my brain. is a site I highly recommend for learning your basic Japanese letters. They have an ebook for Hiragana that helped me learn all of the in 2 days. And I'm going to remember them forever thanks to the way I learned them. You'll have to go to their site to learn the Katakana but it has a lot of good resources you can use! Seriously check it out!

Dec 26, 15 at 4:37am

Watch more anime .... specifically anime targeted toward young children because those anime use SIMPLE Japanese ... think Pokemon or something...

Mar 15, 16 at 7:07pm

Reading Japanese books for children helps...i picked up a lot reading.

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