PDA

View Full Version : Critique of predeparture study



jwkelley
May 15th, 2011, 20:49
Ok i have never studied Japanese before. My goal is to be able to read hiragana and katakana, get basic understand of the language, and a decent beginner conversational ability.

Pimsluer comrpehensive 1-2-3

No link for 1

Amazon.com: Japanese II, Comprehensive: Learn to Speak and Understand Japanese with Pimsleur Language Programs (9780743528832): Pimsleur: Books (http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-II-Comprehensive-Understand-Pimsleur/dp/0743528832/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1305458901&sr=8-4-spell)

Amazon.com: Japanese III, Comprehensive: Learn to Speak and Understand Japanese with Pimsleur Language Programs (9780743528856): Pimsleur: Books (http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-III-Comprehensive-Understand-Pimsleur/dp/0743528859/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1305458901&sr=8-5-spell)

Human Japanese computer program (24 bucks 10 times better then rosetta stone)
Amazon.com: Human Japanese: Brian Rak: Software (http://www.amazon.com/Brak-Software-Human-Japanese/dp/0615179088/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1305458901&sr=8-7-spell)

About 2 weeks prior to leaving I am going to be hitting up michel Thomas
Amazon.com: Michel Thomas Method™ Japanese For Beginners, 8-CD Program (Michel Thomas Series) (9780071614368): Helen Gilhooly, Niamh Kelly: Books (http://www.amazon.com/Michel-Thomas-Japanese-Beginners-Program/dp/0071614362/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1305459091&sr=8-1)

Amazon.com: Japanese Advanced Course CD (Michel Thomas Method) (9780340974599): Niamh Kelly: Books (http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Advanced-Course-Michel-Thomas/dp/0340974591/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1305459091&sr=8-2)


Supplement material

Lonely planet phrase book

Learn verbs and adjectives using memory mnemonic: This basically just a list of hundreds and verbs and adjectives in romanji with trigger sentences you help you remember.

Hiragana the basic of japanese: Book i bought randomly, not likely to use.

Speak japanese today: Not likely to use a lot.
Amazon.com: Speak Japanese today: A Self-Study Program for Learning Everyday Japanese (Tuttle Language Library) (9780804815635): Taeko Kamiya: Books (http://www.amazon.com/Speak-Japanese-today-Self-Study-Learning/dp/0804815631/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1305459553&sr=1-1)

method:
*every day I will do 1 pimsluer lesson 2 times (1 hour). (I have finished the first 30 lessons)

*over the next week or 2 I am going to be teaching myself hiragana using the Human Japanese and other books when I do not have access to a computer.

*Once I have hiragana down I hope to hit the human japanese hard, hopefully finishing it before the departure.

*The few weeks before departure I am going to use michel thomas and Memory mnomics.

Ok so, any critiques or advice?

I will also be watching a lot of japanese movies. Very casually though and mostly just to get my ear use to the language.

Tyr
May 16th, 2011, 00:49
Learn the kana at all costs. Don't give in to the temptation to study using romanji. Learn the damn kana!
Studying using the kana makes learning the kana easier. Just have a reference chart on hand in case you're not sure on some and eventually it'll fall into place.

My study routine at the moment is largely just trying to drill words into my head. I know the basic grammar, but more important I think is just getting out what I want to say rather than it being entirely correct, i.e. 'Make pie hot please' would do though 'Could you please warm up the pie' would be better. Or at least that's my theory and the way things work in other languages....

Aian
May 16th, 2011, 07:30
Supps. I've never taken a Japanese class either, but have been (slowly) teaching myself as best I can off and on for years now. For what it's worth, I can recommend some things that I've found useful.

Definitely learn the kana. I used Teach Yourself Beginner's Japanese Script (http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Yourself-Beginners-Japanese-Script/dp/0071419853/). If you've never studied the writing system before, this book is dirt cheap , small, and is written for people teaching themselves. It was pretty helpful to me to get started. Now, I just try to write all the basic kana down whenever I am doodling or whatever. It makes remembering them much easier. Once you learn 'em, write 'em down.

I like Japanesepod101 (http://www.japanesepod101.com/). If you can sit through the chit chat, you can learn as much Japanese as you want from that site / podcast. I recommend signing up for a free account, and try waiting until there's a sale. After I signed up for a year I got an offer for a discount code the next month and they seem to come pretty often. The more you pay, the more supplemental material you get. I don't usually bother with all the worksheets, but if I did, I'm sure I'd retain a lot more. Plus there are a lot of episodes on culture, and other idiomatic topics. I've probably learned more from Jpod101 than pretty much anything else.

Just use as many sources as you can! The stuff that works for you will rise to the top. Good luck.

Miss_igirisu
May 16th, 2011, 11:58
Dudes and dudettes you are wasting your money!!

If you haven't bought all that stuff already then please please DO NOT buy it!

For your goals everything you need can be found on the net. Find a hiragana chart and take a row like a I u e o and memorise them and write them over and over. Then do the next row. You do not need a book to do this.

Like the person before said, japanesepop101 is excellent and I advise listening to those over and over. When you get your placements There will be jet language packs for you to get some daily vocab down so just learn hiragana and listen to the podcasts until those come and you're done!

Cytrix
May 16th, 2011, 19:18
To help with the learning of your kana go to Real Kana (http://www.realkana.com/). I've been using it for the last week or so to really test myself on the hiragana, and it's been great.

jwkelley
May 16th, 2011, 19:46
I am borrowing the pimsluer from a friend, michel thomas is pretty cheap (comparatively).
Plus the human japanese was like 18 bucks for download version
The lonely planet phrasebook was also left behind from a friend

As for the books.

Well its retardedly easy to buy books on a kindle, so yes I am wasting my money but its not all being wasted on Japanese books.

Plus stay away from rocket japanese, those guys are scam aritst.

Miss_igirisu
May 16th, 2011, 21:07
Everything Michael Thomas does for you can be done on Japanesepod101. 18 bucks is a lot for something you can get for free.

You are wasting your money.

jwkelley
May 16th, 2011, 21:44
isn't japanese 101 a pay site with only a few free samples?

Miss_igirisu
May 16th, 2011, 21:45
Nope, all podcasts are free. You pay for the PDFs that go with it. If you have to spend money on this, that is probably the best place to spend it.

kyaillya
May 17th, 2011, 00:59
To help with the learning of your kana go to Real Kana (http://www.realkana.com/). I've been using it for the last week or so to really test myself on the hiragana, and it's been great.

I second this. I have it open at work and discreetly use it when I get bored. It's been really helpful - you can choose which Hiragana or Katakana you will be tested on as well as the font type.

jwkelley
May 17th, 2011, 01:35
I will give it another go. But first time I went asked me to pay a dollar, second time I went just gave me a list of plans, and third time I went said I have a 7 day free trial but cannot download anything.

The prices they should though are insanely impressive, 28 bucks a month and you can get some 1 one 1 time with a private tutor.

kawaiijutsu
May 17th, 2011, 05:54
I learned the kana by using a giant white board on campus, wrote out the giant grid, and just kept filling it in, erasing it, and repeating that till it was there. We also had to make flip cards and go a "flip test" in front of the teacher - identify 60 kana correctly in 60 seconds to make a 90. Having to do that will get you pretty confident with the kana. To make sure you've got em, just grab a random Japanese webpage, and go through trying to just read aloud all the kana for recognition.
Go with Igirisu, you do NOT need to spend money for this level of Japanese study. Also remember JET will be sending you a book called "Japanese for JETs" that'll get you a lot of basics too. It may not be amazing on the overall, but if you're super worried about learning some basic phrases, it's your friend.
If you wanna spend money, head over to JapanesePod101, find a coupon code floating around the internet for 50% off a month (not hard to find, try retailmenot or a google search), and pay for a month of basic. Then download all mp3s for the episodes you want, especially the "Crash course" series or whatever it was called.

Muts
May 17th, 2011, 08:29
If spending a bit of money is not an issue then I think you should forget about using the JET books. As they're free it's work getting them and having a look over them but I don't think it's a good idea to use them as your main study books.

The 'Genki' series of textbooks are pretty good. Look for something that launches straight into using kana and not romaji.
I think it's worth trying to learn the kana first and maybe some simple words using them like animals, food, numbers etc. before launching hard into the textbooks and grammar. That way you can get used to the basic sounds of the language first.

A lot of people who study Japanese use computer programmes to help them remember the vocab/characters like Anki.

Japanesepod101 is pretty useful, you can always join for a month or two, download all the audio and PDFs you need and then quit.

elleohelle
May 17th, 2011, 09:51
Dude, chill out. Learn the hiragana, katakana, and some basics. Enjoy your time at home. When you get here this summer, you'll have a lot of time to study in the office.

kawaiijutsu
May 17th, 2011, 10:49
I just checked into iknow per the reccommendation of some over on Official, and it looks pretty solid if you wanna learn the basics. Their placement test seems to be a bit of garbage though...I need to look around to see if they just teach vocab, or if they also do grammar in the like. It's subscription based, but with a free trial so you can see if it's your thing.

Miss_igirisu
May 17th, 2011, 12:24
You should shun iknow. For years it's been free and we've been using it making vocab lists. Now it charges and also continues to make money off of the lists that we had made when it was free.

Anki is just as good, I hear

kawaiijutsu
May 17th, 2011, 12:46
You should shun iknow. For years it's been free and we've been using it making vocab lists. Now it charges and also continues to make money off of the lists that we had made when it was free.

Anki is just as good, I hear

Agreed. Anki is a huge godsend, so much that I didn't mind paying 25 bucks or whatever it was for the iPod app. So iKnow really is just vocab lists and nothing else?

Miss_igirisu
May 17th, 2011, 13:08
And a flashcard style program

UPGRAYEDD
May 17th, 2011, 13:19
Just cough up $50 and buy the genki textbooks, plus the workbooks, and you'll be good to go.

jwkelley
May 17th, 2011, 18:04
Dude, chill out. Learn the hiragana, katakana, and some basics. Enjoy your time at home. When you get here this summer, you'll have a lot of time to study in the office.

Not at home, traveling around Korean Rural islands teaching. I have lots of free time.

Besides it's really relaxing to stroll around the different islands listening to japanese casts. Well at least it was till my friend decided to educate me about Korean snakes. ignorance is bliss sometimes.

I am gonna finish up the pimsluer then probably start looking into Japanese 101.

patjs
May 17th, 2011, 22:20
Seems like a bit too much for a total beginner. Like others said focus on getting hiragana and katakana down pat, and use genki or another introductory textbook and just stick with one until you get the grammar basics down.

I made the mistake of buying a ton of books when I first got to Japan and realized that I only used one of them.

At some point you will probably be able to get off the books and just stick to memorizing kanji and vocab while practicing reading books/manga or whatever.

Good luck and remember that Japanese will seem tough at first but once you "break through" you'll progress quickly especially if you live here (then you'll probably hit your plateau between jlpt 2 and 1 level but that's a ways away)

MixedNuts
May 18th, 2011, 04:35
Your predecessor may also have a ton of Japanese language books lying around the apartment that might get passed on to you, so I'd wait and see what you get before investing more money in books. My pred left tons of listening audio CDs and a couple of travel Japanese books and Japanese-English dictionaries. He also left a kanji guide that AJET was selling at Tokyo Orientation, so I'm glad I didn't buy it or else I'd have wasted my money to have 2 copies.

Miss_igirisu
May 18th, 2011, 07:14
Don't bother trying to tell this person not to spend all their money on stuff they don't need, even though they asked for advice they haven't taken a single bit of it on board and are continuing with whatever routine they were doing prior to starting this post.

kawaiijutsu
May 18th, 2011, 09:31
If you really do find having a physical textbook telling you precisely what to do more comforting, try hitting up Half Price Books (or whatever your local equivalent is). I've been able to get several good books for cheap there.
If you really wanna get some Japanese textbooks, try browsing here (download the Rikaichan plugin for Firefox to help you):
オンライン書店ビーケーワン (http://www.bk1.jp/books/searchResult/?genreCd=14180800000000000000)
^^ That's the "Japanese study books for foreigners" section of the site. Try to cross reference some of the titles with amazon and see what looks good to you. Many of the books are cheap, and will keep you far away from romanji. Also, you can get these books in Japan after you move there, cut down on shipping. Really, since what you need to know ahead of time is the kana and some basic phrases that you can learn online/in Japanese for JETs/at orientations, it might be your better bet to save buying massive amounts of textbooks till you get to Japan anyway. Cuts down on your shipping costs and space in your luggage.
I also notice your plan seems to lack conversation/trying to say these phrases outloud. Since that's what you need to do the most (I hear we have to give some small selfintroduction speeches and the like), I'd find a way to work on that, at least to get better intonation.
However, I'm gonna go with the end all, be all of Japanese-learning advice: keep it fun! Even a genuine freak like me who likes general Japanese study can get bored with just memorization and lessons. Find a kids manga you enjoy and try downloading some of that to read, or find some Japanese coloring books, or find some Japanese kids shows to download (I fully recommend ピタゴラスイッチ<Pitagora Suicchi>, as it is one of the greatest shows ever and available for download on Datte Bayo and some other places. And no, I don't feel bad as a 22 year old admitting I love a show for 4 year olds :P ). Bottom line, find things that are more interesting, and in some cases use more genuine Japanese than some textbooks.

jwkelley
May 18th, 2011, 17:51
Don't bother trying to tell this person not to spend all their money on stuff they don't need, even though they asked for advice they haven't taken a single bit of it on board and are continuing with whatever routine they were doing prior to starting this post.

I am continuing with routine for the most part. But I have started using the Kana website suggested and will likely use japanese 101 instead of purchasing Michel Thomas when i get to that stage (and when my thick skull figures the website out).

I have suffered in the past with jumping from suggestion to suggestion without staying at something consistently. I am already 35 lessons into pimsluer so want to finish with that before i move to rocket.

MixedNuts
May 19th, 2011, 07:53
Is Pimsleur really that good of a program? Someone else recommended it to me but I don't really get the concept.

jwkelley
May 19th, 2011, 09:19
Its good for memorization and retention, but not worth the 500 bucks it would cost.

UPGRAYEDD
May 19th, 2011, 10:50
No one pays for pimsleur silly.

masterpeon
May 20th, 2011, 10:19
I agree with getting the Genki series and the workbooks first. That's really all you need and beyond for basic reading/writing/speaking ability. Also, you can photocopy the pictures for lesson plans.