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Mei-garu
April 12th, 2010, 17:39
Hello senpais...

I am just a beginner level Japanese student. The only dictionary I have to learn Japanese is the the oxford beginner dictionary. As I go along in my studies, I find that there are many words that aren't included ( what did I expect from a beginning level dictionary right?). I'm considering to buy a better dictionary that I can use for a very long time.

However, thinking about the bulk and weight of most dictionaries and thinking about how long it takes to flip through the dictionary to find for a word, I am contemplating on getting an electronic dictionary.

But, do you think it is the right time to get one? or should I just buy a paper dictionary instead? What would you recommend?

Thanks in advance.

AliDimayev
April 12th, 2010, 19:03
for you, i suggest getting a proper paper dictionary. and a good kanji (paper) dictionary.

once you become fluent with being able to look up words and kanji quickly, then move on to an electronic.

Mei-garu
April 12th, 2010, 21:47
for you, i suggest getting a proper paper dictionary. and a good kanji (paper) dictionary.

once you become fluent with being able to look up words and kanji quickly, then move on to an electronic.


Okay, thanks. Any recommendations on what dictionary I should buy? Thanks

ohheythere
April 13th, 2010, 10:04
I love a little program that's on the nintendo ds. you can draw in the kanji/kana and it uses the same engine as many of the electronic dictionaries, but for only 30 bucks. forget the name though.

UPGRAYEDD
April 13th, 2010, 10:25
If you think you will get serious about learning Japanese to a high level you really need to make the investment and get yourself an electronic dictionary and learn how to use it.

And by electronic dictionary I mean a dedicated one and not a cheap ds or iphone one.

jandek
April 13th, 2010, 11:09
when i studied abroad in japan a few years ago, i bought an electronic dictionary and it was my best friend. i did not have a laptop, and i used it multiple times every day. when i came back to america, i continued to use it throughout the rest of college, and then one christmas when i lost it at the mall i was really sad for a long time.

so i bought another electronic dictionary when i first got to Japan on JET. This time around, i hardly use it because the times when i would, i am at a computer and these two online dictionaries get me where i need to go:

Denshi Jisho - Online Japanese dictionary (http://www.jisho.org/)
nllbg[NnANFXy[XAN (http://www.alc.co.jp/)


If you are going to be at a computer a lot, you may not need an electronic dictionary. however, i still bring mine along with me when i go on trips.

Also, i think what Ali is saying has some merit. Learning to use a real kanji dictionary where you look up kanji by radicals will go a long way in making individual characters stick in your memory, as well as giving you an overall appreciation and a good feel for how kanji work, both because of the way kanji dictionaries are arranged, and also the time spent flipping pages to get to the kanji you want.

enigmaneo
April 13th, 2010, 14:01
If you are serious about studying Japanese I'm with Upgrayded. Go ahead and buy a proper dictionary. I have one on my phone and a DS but when I'm studying or in Japanese class it's much easier using the Canon word tank I have. I bought it from the beginning but the better I get at Japanese the more useful it becomes.

AliDimayev
April 13th, 2010, 14:02
True story.

The most fluent japanese speaker I knokw ain't never doen owned a DENKI JISHO






or a denshi jisho, neither!

enigmaneo
April 13th, 2010, 14:10
Yes, matter of fact I think you should stop using the internet to find out the best method for buying a dictionary and do some old fashion research and go to the Library. Only use the card catalog so you can practice up on your Dewey decimal system knowledge. Don't use computers to find the books. You will learn much faster without computers.

jandek
April 13th, 2010, 14:40
or just buy the books with the information you need off amazon.co.jp and start building your own library today. that would really be the best of both worlds, kind of like a steampunk search engine. if your new library were on an airship, i mean.

Mei-garu
April 13th, 2010, 17:39
Okaaay.... I get mixed opinions here. I am as serious as it gets when it comes to learning Japanese. I have spent a lot of time and money on it, I definitely don't intend to go half way.

I understand about the wholesome goodness of having a paper dictionary. And yes, I agree that most fluent Japanese speakers don't own an e-dictionary. My one qualm about paper dictionaries is the size and weight.

But anyways, I suppose many of you here do own a paper dictionary? What good paper dictionary do you suggest I get?

enigmaneo
April 13th, 2010, 17:58
If your biggest concern is money than get a paper dictionary. If not go electronic. If the people who say get a paper dictionary because you learn kanji radicals and stroke order better get a dictionary where you don't have a pad to write kanji. My dictionary (Canon Wordtank G55) you have to look up kanji by readings, stroke count, radicals or parts.
Most dictionaries also let you jump easily between J-E, E-J, Kanji, and J-J dictionaries which is especially useful for non-native speakers. A lot of them also have other features such as memo pads so that you can save words you looked up to study them later, search history because often you'll find yourself looking up the same word more than once, quizzes and many more features. So from a stand point of learning, usefulness, efficiency, time, and size, and weight I would go with a Electronic dictionary. The only advantage a paper dictionary has is price I think.the paper dictionary other than price? Does anyone else have any concrete examples of why a paper dictionary would be better than an electronic dictionary?

Mei-garu
April 13th, 2010, 19:13
If your biggest concern is money than get a paper dictionary. If not go electronic. If the people who say get a paper dictionary because you learn kanji radicals and stroke order better get a dictionary where you don't have a pad to write kanji. My dictionary (Canon Wordtank G55) you have to look up kanji by readings, stroke count, radicals or parts.
Most dictionaries also let you jump easily between J-E, E-J, Kanji, and J-J dictionaries which is especially useful for non-native speakers. A lot of them also have other features such as memo pads so that you can save words you looked up to study them later, search history because often you'll find yourself looking up the same word more than once, quizzes and many more features. So from a stand point of learning, usefulness, efficiency, time, and size, and weight I would go with a Electronic dictionary. The only advantage a paper dictionary has is price I think.the paper dictionary other than price? Does anyone else have any concrete examples of why a paper dictionary would be better than an electronic dictionary?

Yeah, I'd like to know too.

Thanks enigmaneo for the input.

Hikari
April 13th, 2010, 22:53
I used to have a copy of kodansha's furigana dictionary (it went missing when I moved, sniff, might get a new one). But I also bought a denshi jisho and I've really liked it. It's small enough to fit in your pocket, so you can look up things on the move or practice on the train. I also loaded the kanji learner's dictionary onto it so I can practice stroke order. Check out white rabbit press if you're not in Japan and thinking about getting one.

Hikari
April 14th, 2010, 02:51
i'm up for a kind of inter jet library too. but i'm warning you guys now, some of my books are weird shit. and not all in readily understandable english.

Hikari
April 14th, 2010, 07:06
"heere's an Alternative Ulser fir ye hen! Spice ay life!"

hahahaa yeah. that scene was a younger guy though so it was in more understandable english. but you get the picture :)

Taurus
April 14th, 2010, 08:30
I don't know why you would ever need a dictionary. If you get a phone out here it will probably have a perfectly serviceable dictionary on it, and the internet is full of them.

Crab
April 16th, 2010, 09:54
Just get a Japanese boyfriend/girlfriend and talk to them in English all the time.

enigmaneo
April 16th, 2010, 13:43
Just get a Japanese boyfriend/girlfriend and talk to them in English all the time.
It's so true it made me laugh.

kamukamuume
April 17th, 2010, 11:01
I've never had any trouble using my DS dictionary (rakubiki jiten) and, more recently, Japanese for iphone. there is absolutely no shortage of vocabulary; if it's hard to find something using one of the dictionaries, go to space alc on your phone.

has anyone tried these methods, but still found an electronic dictionary much better? I'm considering buying one, but it seems like the advantages would be minimal.

what are we talking for battery life with one of these things? the main thing it might have on a ds or iphone, as I see it, is that you could leave it on for hours while reading a difficult novel or something.

enigmaneo
April 17th, 2010, 12:05
I have DS, Similar Japanese Dictionary for my Android Phone and an Eletronic ditionary. The least useful is my DS because it's the slowest and doesn't let you jump between dictionaries. My Japanese dictionary for my phone is pretty good, but I still find my electronic dictionary the most useful. I'd say you could get my with just the iPhone one probably.

violetessence
April 20th, 2010, 09:45
I have the DS dictionary, but it was slow to start and the battery life was poor. Plus, I like to play other games on the DS, so switching out the cartridge all the time just to look up 1 word was annoying. I don’t have an iPhone, and since I can’t draw in kanji I don’t know, my phone’s dictionary isn’t good for reading real-world texts.

I got a Canon Word Tank for Christmas, and I love it to pieces. I use it almost every day, and it hasn’t run out of battery yet. It pops awake instantaneously when I flip the lid, and turns off when I close it. It also shuts off automatically if left on too long.

It’s so much faster and more convenient than the DS or phone dictionaries. It has both a keyboard and touchpad/stylus for input, plus the “jump” feature for kanji readings. It’s super helpful for deciphering restaurant menus, when I’m shopping at the store, and for reading. I also use it in the classroom.

tenderRondo
April 20th, 2010, 10:02
I've never had any trouble using my DS dictionary (rakubiki jiten)


I have DS, Similar Japanese Dictionary for my Android Phone and an Eletronic ditionary.


I have the DS dictionary, but it was slow to start and the battery life was poor. Plus, I like to play other games on the DS.

No matter how good the ds dictionary is, you will always look like a fool when you are using it. I guess that doesnt matter much if you are at home translating words from the Japanimation you are watching, but no matter how cool your teachers/coworkers are they will not be impressed by your little ds. Same goes for the iphone.

If you really want to study get a good electrictronic dictionary.

Lego
April 20th, 2010, 11:59
People at first asked why I had a DS on my desk, but now they understand. They are, indeed, not impressed by it, but that's why I have a grammar book and stacks of kanji flashcards collecting dust on my desk. Very impressive.
Still, I do not regret the decision to buy a gaming machine with a sufficient dictionary available. I don't need to spend $200 on something with a very specific and limited range of uses.

tenderRondo
April 20th, 2010, 12:11
Still, I do not regret the decision to buy a gaming machine with a sufficient dictionary available. I don't need to spend $200 on something with a very specific and limited range of uses.

Do you go jogging with a psp strapped to your arm because it can play mp3s and games?

jandek
April 20th, 2010, 13:15
only when my portable dvd player starts skipping real badly.

Lego
April 20th, 2010, 13:44
Do you go jogging with a psp strapped to your arm because it can play mp3s and games?

That doesn't seem particularly relevant.

tenderRondo
April 20th, 2010, 14:06
That doesn't seem particularly relevant.

I dont see how it is any different than not wanting to spend money on a dictionary, since you have a ds. Most mp3 players (besides things like the ipod touch) have "a very specific and limited range of uses". They play music. Yet I am still guessing you have one even though you can play mp3s on your cellphone.

Lego
April 20th, 2010, 14:11
I dont see how it is any different than not wanting to spend money on a dictionary, since you have a ds. Most mp3 players (besides things like the ipod touch) have "a very specific and limited range of uses". They play music. Yet I am still guessing you have one even though you can play mp3s on your cellphone.

Yeah but for running, size and weight factors into the purchase quite a bit. When comparing the DS and an electronic dictionary, I found that I would be gaining functions and saving money if I opted for the DS. I would have to sacrifice a little convenience as far as having a physical keyboard, but that hasn't really been too much of a problem. I still haven't found a reason to regret the decision.

tenderRondo
April 20th, 2010, 14:20
Word. I dont think you should regret, or that I need to convince you to regret it. If it works for you then thats good. Its just that for me, and maybe others, having a ds out at work or school wouldnt fly so a Japenese Denshi Dictionary may be a safer bet.

Lego
April 20th, 2010, 14:32
I think I took your statement of teachers "not being impressed" about the DS too literally. Having a DS out on your desk is probably not going to be tolerated at some places.

enigmaneo
April 23rd, 2010, 13:28
Actually, I agree with Lego. There are sometimes I don't like to pull out my phone to look up stuff. Maybe if I'm in a meeting, or something professional but that's not often. I have an eletronic dictionary though.

tenderRondo
April 23rd, 2010, 21:14
Actually, I agree with Lego. There are sometimes I don't like to pull out my phone to look up stuff. Maybe if I'm in a meeting, or something professional but that's not often. I have an eletronic dictionary.

Im confused on your stance.

samuraifiction
April 24th, 2010, 01:48
Do you go jogging with a psp strapped to your arm because it can play mp3s and games?

This is how I like to exercise.

http://personal.georgiasouthern.edu/~wc00811/Boombox.jpg

kamukamuume
April 24th, 2010, 12:06
I have to admit I'm still thinking about buying an electronic dictionary. violentessence's glowing account of her experience was further encouragement. if you leave your ds open while reading a book at your desk, it's apt to run out of battery by the end of the day, or at least after a couple of days. if you keep turning it off, it's a pain to boot it back up just to look up a couple of words.

but it's gotten me through a couple of books, and even helped me to decipher announcements about meetings/functions on the blackboard! if a teacher asks, I tell them what it is (though some teachers may just assume it's me playing games anyway).

AliDimayev
April 26th, 2010, 13:13
you can close the ds while it is on to conserve its energies

kamukamuume
April 26th, 2010, 13:24
you can close the ds while it is on to conserve its energies

how many energies?

AliDimayev
April 26th, 2010, 13:26
at least two days. I once had my ds on for several days in my backpack without realizing it.

KitaKabe
April 29th, 2010, 00:02
i bought an electronic dictionary halfway through college, and i've been using it ever since. of course, i was a japanese major, so i considered it an investment. i am definitely taking it with me. it's a canon word tank. i actually got mine (new) off ebay.

just starting out, if you already have a DS or an apple product (iPhone/Touch), go ahead and try with that. you'll have enough stuff to spend money on when you get there. then, if you need something more specific/detailed, spring for the denshi jisho.

PC812
June 4th, 2010, 00:00
If you're planning on getting an iPhone, there are a bunch of dictionary apps you can get, some of which are free, some of which cost money. It's worked pretty well for me and helped me out a lot when I need to look stuff up on the go.

Of course, it's always good to have a paper dictionary as well -- I've got one on my shelf and I use it when studying. But if I'm out and about and practicing Japanese and someone says a word I don't know, I can quickly look it up. Although be prepared for the conversation to veer on an "oooooh, iPhone!" tangent.

heyitsme
June 13th, 2010, 21:05
i would definitely get a good, advanced electronic dictionary no matter what stage you are at. i came here not knowing any japanese except hiragana and bought one that was all in japanese (the menu etc.). granted, the first month or two i didnt really bother with it and used my paper one, but once i could read the katakana and got some friends to help me out with the features listed in kanji it has just been wonderful. even after only a few months of studying it served as a great tool to help me have conversations with people in my offices -- i would just hand it to them to type whatever japanese word they were trying to say that i didnt get or the other way around. everyday i find it more and more useful in my studies and daily conversations, and i use it to look up kanji etc. i haven't touched my paper dictionary for 6 months.

enigmaneo
June 14th, 2010, 14:36
I think I might have to change my mind after using my Android phone dictionary for a while. It's actually made for an English learner learning Japanese. I can write kanji on it, and the dictionary is alright. At my level it can satisfy most of my needs.

AliDimayev
June 14th, 2010, 14:38
Anyone with iPod Touch or iPhone, I highly reccomend the app called "KOTOBA". It is free and quite good.

sakaeyellow
July 2nd, 2010, 21:36
I think an E-Dictionary is a MUST, because it'll save you a lot of flipping time. And as for Japanese, an E-Dictionary with a touch screen that allows you to input Kanji directly will make your study much more enjoyable.

Mei-garu
July 5th, 2010, 02:37
Anyone with iPod Touch or iPhone, I highly reccomend the app called "KOTOBA". It is free and quite good.


I'm considering an Ipod touch right now. I checked out Kotoba (on some youtube review videos). Looks decent. Does it allow you to input kanji directly??

(won't buy an ipod too soo though, waiting for Sept to see whether a new generation is coming)

AliDimayev
July 5th, 2010, 14:34
Can you input Kanji directly?

Not sure what you mean.

All ipods have international keyboards, so you switch to Japanese keyboard and type that way.

the ipod comes with a chinese keyboard where you can write the kanji and the system will reckgonize it. even though it is under the file for chinese, you can use this method to get japanese characters as well

AliDimayev
July 5th, 2010, 14:35
I think an E-Dictionary is a MUST, because it'll save you a lot of flipping time. And as for Japanese, an E-Dictionary with a touch screen that allows you to input Kanji directly will make your study much more enjoyable.


inputting kanji direcvtly is a cop out
if you learn the radicals you can look up kanji just as quickly and learning the radicals fluently has other benefits as well

Admiral Kelvinator
July 5th, 2010, 15:04
the ipod comes with a chinese keyboard where you can write the kanji and the system will reckgonize it. even though it is under the file for chinese, you can use this method to get japanese characters as well

Just make sure you set the keyboard to traditional Chinese and not simplified. I had it set to simplified at first, and it wasn't very good at recognizing input, but traditional seems to work just fine. Course, if you've got sausage links for fingers, good luck inputting complicated kanji on the iphone.

Mei-garu
July 5th, 2010, 17:46
Can you input Kanji directly?

Not sure what you mean.

All ipods have international keyboards, so you switch to Japanese keyboard and type that way.

the ipod comes with a chinese keyboard where you can write the kanji and the system will reckgonize it. even though it is under the file for chinese, you can use this method to get japanese characters as well


I have a Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten for my DS. There are options to search with Kana and romaji but not Kanji (like a normal e-dictionary would by searching radicals or stroke orders.) That's what I meant by input kanji directly.

Thanks for the input by the way. Sounds good to me.

AliDimayev
July 5th, 2010, 18:19
Yeah, with kotoba you can search by indiviudal kanji or just by one or two or (more) radicals.

And it's free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!