Learning Japanese

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How to learn Japanese

How to learn Japanese

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  • 1. ワークショップ: 日本語の学び方 Workshop: How to learn Japanese Finlay Stewart Daniel Meyer
  • 2. Kanji While there may be up to 50,000 kanji, you only need to know 2,136 to be considered fully literate. 日 本 語 ni day, sun hon book, present, main, origin, true go word, speech, language
  • 3. Kanji: Readings Each character has a meaning, and (usually) at least two readings (one from Chinese, one native Japanese) 写 Chinese: sha Native: utsu Generally, the Chinese reading is used in compounds, and the native reading for stand-alone words. Meaning: copy, photograph, describe 写真には写らない shashin ni wa utsuranai “[It] is not captured in photographs.” Some kanji have many more readings! 生 (life) has 10 common readings, and 25 obscure ones.
  • 4. Kanji: Stroke order There is a correct way to write each kanji. It's up to you to decide how much you care, but many dictionaries' kanji recognition systems are quite sensitive to stroke order.
  • 5. Kanji: Radicals 薬 medicine 艾 plant radical 楽 comfort 白 white 凍 ice radical 木 tree 日 sun
  • 6. How to study kanji Software Anki, KanjiBox, etc. Flashcards White rabbit press Heisig: Remembering the Kanji Mnemonic technique based on radicals and using “imaginative memory” Kanjidamage.com Heisig for the MTV generation Finlay's toilet
  • 7. Evening classes ● Strongly recommended ● Typically volunteer-run, so inexpensive Listed on AIR Yamagata website (URL in handbook) If there is nothing at your level in your area, make your own!
  • 8. Study materials Get kana versions, avoid romaji! Minna no Nihongo ( 皆の日本語) Used at many of the evening classes 100% Japanese, with separate translation book The JET course Crash course in grammar points Best used as review? Japanese-language media Children's books, movies, manga, anime, short stories
  • 9. Technology: Anki Spaced repetition program Pros: ● More efficient than traditional flashcards ● Multi-platform, synchronisable ● Very flexible ● Free! Cons: ● Written by amateurs, so a little sketchy ● Must either make your own 'decks' or find some online, in which case quality control can be problematic
  • 10. Technology: Electronic dictionaries More-or-less essential for serious study Kanji drawing recognition is a very useful feature If you have a smartphone, tablet, etc., get an app! For Android: Aedict is recommended For iPhone/iPad: Kotoba, Chinese Etymology, Denshi Jisho, The Wisdom
  • 11. Technology: Useful websites Japaneseclass.co.jp Vaguely RPG-styled kanji and vocab practice Nihonshock An excellent 'cheat sheet', and some useful tips JapanesePod101 Podcasts Renshuu.org Practice, Practice! Reviewing the Kanji Goes with Heisig method WWWJDIC The best online dictionary out there
  • 12. Socialising Talk in Japanese whenever you can! (But not to students.) Enkais represent a good opportunity Learn Japanese songs for karaoke. I recommend Rinda Rinda by The Blue Hearts
  • 13. JLPT: Japanese Language Proficiency Test Worldwide, most officially recognized test of Japanese language proficiency ● Five Levels: N5-N1, N1 is the hardest ● Multiple choice, so no writing kanji ● Tested on vocab, kanji, grammar, reading, and listening ● Offered twice a year (make sure your level is being offered!) ● Not held in Yamagata prefecture. You must go to Niigata or Sendai to take the test ● Sometimes test study is not congruous with language study ● Is quite expensive, and any level below N2 has no professional value
  • 14. JET Lanugage Course 日本語講座 Beginner → Intermediate → Advanced → Translation and Interpretation/Linguistics and Pedagogy ● FREEFREEFREEFREEFREEFREEFREEFREEFREEFRE ● Class-by-mail, take a test once a month for 9(10?) months ● Basically a crash course in grammar, includes self study kanji books at intermediate and advanced levels ● I have heard beginner is really stupid and all romaji ● Nothing to lose in signing up, but make sure if you DO sign up, you DO the course ● You must test into the final two courses, and the test is super hard ● In terms of what level you should go for, I say challenge yourself
  • 15. Motivation By far the hardest part of studying Japanese. "I already finished school, why in the sekai would I ever want to give MYSELF homework?" I present to you ------       THE JERRY SEINFELD MOTIVATION TECHNIQUE Stay accountable! Get a study buddy. For instance, if I don't learn 15 kanji a day, Alex gets to spank me 15 times. Then I spank him cause he likes that stuff.