Learning Japanese

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Learning Japanese

Postby H-Man » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:12 am

Hey everyone,

Any (affordable) books, software, CDs, videos, etc. worth looking at for this extremely poor student to get a good start on learning Japanese?
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Postby Destroysall » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:17 am

Try BORDERS Bookstore. I found a Japanese Manga that taught Japanese which I think it makes it super fun! It keeps you entertained and you learn at the same time.
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Postby canofhumdingers » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:33 am

I don't know about affordable, but I've been using the Rosetta Stone program. It's totally worth it. Very user friendly & it really does what the commercials claim. The one thing is, you have to be consistent. If you go for longer stretches of time between lessons, you'll forget what you learned which makes progressing much harder. It continually builds on what you've done.

My other caveat would be, learn hiragana and katakana before you start the first lesson! I did using a really easy to learn pictographic book seen here. It makes a HUGE difference in how fast you learn stuff. & helps reinforce what you're learning b/c you can pause & read the stuff even if it's not a reading lesson.

Finally, DONT use the english character option for displaying words. It will only hinder your progress. Or, at the very least, only switch to it briefly to clarify or double check something, then switch it right back to kana.

I know it's expensive, but it really is a great program. If you can't buy it, check your libraries (I've heard of several university libraries carrying the student versions).
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Postby H-Man » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:01 pm

Yeah I've heard a lot of good things about RS. It is a bit out of my price range right now but I'd definitely save up to get it.

Also, that manga idea sounds really cool! I'll see if I can find one next time I go the Borders.

Thanks for the suggestions guys!
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Postby Thomas » Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:18 pm

I just started playing around with learning French via podcasts that are free on the internet and I found quite a few and the couple that I regularly use are so far very good.

Search for 'learn Japanese podcast' in a search engine and a bunch of sites show up. Finding one that you like might take a bit of trial and error.

I also recommend learning Hiragana and Katakana as well since that will help you a lot if you get say a Japanese to English Dictionary with furigana http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furigana.
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Postby Gigan13 » Wed Oct 07, 2009 7:27 pm

I've been learning Japanese for a while now. I'll second what thomas said. You should learn hiragana and katakana first. If you ask me theres really no point to learning Japanese if you cant read or write it also.

For books I'd recommend just about anything by Kodansha's. They make great stuff for it. For software I like Human Japanese. You can download the full version for $18 off there offical page. Thats a good buy. After your confident with your hiragana and katakana I'd move into learning words, phrases, and if you want start learning some basic common kanji.

Oh and I can tell you what book NOT to get. The complete idiots guide to conversational Japanese. That book is awful and the cd they bundle with it is even worse. It can be a nice reference book and that's about it. I wanted to stab my eyes out reading it.

Heres my list for you. Most of Kodanshas books you can buy off amazon for like 10-15 bucks.

Kodansha's Hiragana workbook $11 amazon
Kodansha's Katakana workbook $11 amazon
Tuttle flash cards Kana cards $17 amazon
Human Japanese (downloadable software) $18
Kodansha Let's Learn Kanji $19 amazon
Kodansha All about Particles $11 amazon
Kodansha Basic connections $12 amazon
Kodansha Making sense of Japanese $11 amazon
Lonely Planet Japanese phrasebook 5th edition $9 amazon
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Postby H-Man » Fri Feb 26, 2010 1:25 am

Well I'd like to give a brief little update here:

www.realkana.com has really helped me with my katakana and hiragana. I'm going to start looking at local bookstores for books within the next few weeks. I might check some stuff out online as well.

Thanks again for all the help, everyone!
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Postby jellydonut25 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:32 pm

what about Rosetta Stone?

though it's generally not all that affordable...

My DVD/Blu-Ray Collection:
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Postby ebirahsmeg1 » Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:59 am

Try this link for some really great kanji books by Bonjinsha:

http://benippon.com/en/basic-kanji-book ... anji-500-1
http://benippon.com/en/basic-kanji-book ... anji-500-2

They are much better than any kanji books you will find state side. Unlike most books, they actually have exercises where you actually write and use the kanji in sentences and context, as opposed to just memorizing them (which isn't an effective way to retain them). So far, this is the best, most effective book I have found.

What's great is that the kanji covered correlates with the JPTL Level 3 test. After you master these two, this seriess also has some higher level books for JPTL Level 2.
http://benippon.com/en/intermediate-kan ... 000-plus-1
http://benippon.com/en/intermediate-kan ... 000-plus-2
Minna No Niho-go also has some good kanji books to go along with their text book, and both 1 and 2 covers most of what you'll need for JPTL Level 3. While Minna no Nihon-go is good, I don't like how you have to buy so many seperate books (Main text book, then grammar explanation book, then several different types of kanji work books...it can really add up money wise).

Here is another good one for beginners:
http://www.3anet.co.jp/english/books/te ... tenow.html

It is loaded with exercises...my only complaint is that they only released one book in this series...I really wish they have released more advanced editions for JPTL level 1-2 exams. Otherwise, it's a great place to start.

http://benippon.com/en/minna-no-nihongo ... sh-edition
http://benippon.com/en/minna-no-nihongo ... nshuu-chou

For kanji cards, I find the ones by White Rabbit Press to be the best:

http://www.whiterabbitpress.com/product ... 248&page=1
http://www.whiterabbitpress.com/product ... 248&page=1
http://www.whiterabbitpress.com/product ... 248&page=1

They also have higher levels too for JLPT level 1. They are expensive, but they're imo the best flashcards I've seen out there, and they have vocabulary on the back of each kanji card, which is very helpful.

Kondasha's products are also good, but I think the Bonjinsha/White Rabbit items are superior...
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