View Full Version : Suddenly I'm back in first grade...

November 22nd, 2012, 03:41
Using trace sheets and awkwardly stumbling when I try to sound out words. After spending a good portion of yesterday working on it (hey, it's better than working on my thesis), I finally am at the point where I can read Hiragana. I don't know what the hell anything means, but I can at least slowly sound it out. And write messy-looking symbols.

Groundbreaking conclusion: this is gonna be hard!

November 22nd, 2012, 14:34
Step 1. learn to read ALL THE WORDS.
Step 2. Forget how to read.
Step 3. ??
Step 4. Be like every other lazy JET.

Step 1. Go buy Genki I.
Step 2. Learn to write hiragana/katakana
Step 3. Go buy Heisig
Step 4. Forget about Genki
Step 5. Do Heisig w/ Anki or memrise
Step 6. Hate Heisig w/ a pasion
Step 7. ??
Step 8. Throw Heisig against wall, open Genki, resume studying
Step 9. Throw Genki against wall, call Japanese language gobbledygook, and remember you're going to Japan to perform the best post-colonial expansion program ever, teaching English.

November 22nd, 2012, 15:00
Relax, from most of the 外人 I know who have mastered kanji learned it in less than 2 decades.

November 22nd, 2012, 15:11
Assimil has a decent self study Japanese program. I have been doing that recently and its the best thing I have done.

November 22nd, 2012, 19:21
Definitely learn katakana. I learned hiragana first, and while it's all good being able to read what stuff says...it's actually knowing what it is saying that is a different matter.

The majority of katakana words will be English (apart from the odd time you get random French/German words in katakana and spend freaking ages trying to figure out what the damn word is.

Kanji etc. can come much later

November 22nd, 2012, 23:13
As one with a proficiency in French, I am ALL OVER random French words in katakana :D I do prefer hiragana though, as I think it's prettier. I am actually cursing myself, because in high school I had memorized both syllabaries and was working on writing when I decided to stop studying. In the immortal words of Homer - D'Oh!

November 23rd, 2012, 01:27
I love hiragana! The writing looks so beautiful! Writing it is my current fav hobby! Lol, even if I dont really know what I'm writing ;)
I need to learn the katakana tho. Think I'm just a bit lazy right now...stupid placement :/

But, MEMRISE.COM is amazing! I used it for the hiragana and its just fantastic! If anyone wants to add me over there, I'm MJ.junkie86

November 23rd, 2012, 01:46
Thanks all! In an effort to further avoid my thesis, I have decided to study katakana today instead. Ridiculous but oddly effective mnemonic of the day: the yo symbol. It was suggested to think of it like the backwards E in Eminem's logo and then picture him saying "yo yo yo". Somehow, that worked....

Gizmo, the Underpants Gnomes seem to be at work here...kind of like my plan:

1. Study Japanese for 3 days
2. ?????

Also, I am just going to go ahead and pretend that kanji doesn't exist for the time being, with a backup plan of crying in a corner should (aka when) the need to learn it arise.

November 26th, 2012, 09:04
I'm trying out memrise right now, in addition to the Genki level 1 textbook my boyfriend has kicking around from the one semester of Japanese he took in college. JList has a Fuku-Bukuro (random grab bags) this year and one of them is Japan Study and Culture theme, so I'm tempted to buy one. They also have a set of cute flashcards with pictures that are super cute. I am kicking myself because I had a few Hello Kitty books with blank squares inside to practice writing characters (which I left at my parent's house). Oddly enough, they were from Korea. I bought them from the Chinese dollar store that used to exist in my hometown. I only wish I had bought more now.

November 27th, 2012, 09:54
To everyone studying the kana's this should help. I didn't use that book, I created my own mnemonics and paper flashcards. You can find the PDF if you look around. A few of my friends really like that book though.

Remembering the Kana: The Hiragana / The Katakana: James W. Heisig, Helmut Morsbach, Kazue Kurebayashi, Kazue Kurebayashe: 9784889960723: Amazon.com: Books (http://www.amazon.com/Remembering-Kana-The-Hiragana-Katakana/dp/4889960724)

Don't get overwhelmed, use time boxing to help. Either learn one line at a time, or study for X amount of minutes. Ask the 国語 (kokugo aka Japanese) teacher at your school for help, they are usually more than willing to (and might even find it interesting) to help you.

Step 4. Forget about Genki
Step 5. Do Heisig w/ Anki or memrise

Have you tried using the Reviewing the Kanji (RevTK) website? I find it really helpful, it has a built in SRS but you can also store your stories, share them with others and read other people's stories.
Reviewing the Kanji (http://kanji.koohii.com/)

I find these videos pretty inspiring as well
100,000 Kanji - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wN6RwGq9LrM)

Good Learner, Bad Learner - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MqIVkUHt20)

November 27th, 2012, 10:21

I was being overly satirical in my post.

I am a firm believer that you must create your own stories/system for using heisig. Shared stories are great, but only particularly useful for kanji you are having a hard time translating into story. I have been learning via heisig for the past few months at a rather glacial pace myself (not because it doesn't work, but because I'm not in a particular rush and not as committed as I should be) and it does work if you create the stories. The system I am using was used by my neighbour who is one of three foreigners to get the pre-1 kanji test (the one most Japanese people don't even bother doing because it's too bloody hard), and it does work.

IF you need to use a website for shared content, memrise is a much smarter option to be honest. It's nicer/cleaner/easier to use than the RevTK site, and includes other useful gimmicks to involve you more in the activity (all based on the addictiveness of social platform gaming). Also, it's automatic reverse testing system based on the cards in the deck is a good tool for reinforcement which is not available from the RevTK site.

Anki is a much smarter option for studying anywhere though. Applications that work on Desktop and iOS (and droid eventually... lazy bastards), a website interface as backup, automatic syncing of content, statistic tracking, and full customization.

November 27th, 2012, 10:35
I knew that, I was just wondering if you had used it. I come up with my own stories first and then read through the shared stories. Most of the time my stories work best for me, however sometimes a shared story will be so funny, memorable, etc, that I end up using their story instead. I agree that everyone needs to find their own way. I think that is the whole basis of AJATT.

November 27th, 2012, 10:53
Yes, I looked at it and I find it lacking as a study platform.

The only downside to memrise right now is the lack of Heisig study course (as no one seems to have created one yet).

Maybe I should get on that...

November 28th, 2012, 00:42
Gizmo do you know anything about flashcards with closed context deletions? The Ajatt fellow keeps going on how it is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

November 28th, 2012, 02:38
Gizmo-- is this what you were referring to? I found a Droid app for some version of the Anki program:

Anki - friendly, intelligent flashcards (http://ankisrs.net/#android)

To everyone: OK, I can now successfully read (slowly) both hiragana and katakana. I am not sure where to proceed from here. I am the type of person who tries to do everything at once, gets overwhelmed, and stresses. I have trouble breaking things down into smaller tasks because I want to do everything at once. I don't forsee this being successful in studying Japanese....help?

Sorry if I sound like a total n00b...but I guess I am one. I really do want to learn this though, I just have no clue how to go about it, as it requires a lot more than learning Spanish ever did. On that note...I speak Spanish with a heinous American accent. I truly suck at the Spanish language when it comes to having an accent. But whenever I try to learn a new language, I seem to speak it with a Spanish accent. *failing at life*

November 28th, 2012, 13:41
Gizmo do you know anything about flashcards with closed context deletions? The Ajatt fellow keeps going on how it is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

It's kind of meh. There are some passages where it works really well and you know exactly what the clozed word is, but if you do multiple clozes per passage like he recommends you'll get bogged down reading the same stuff over and over again. It also probably wouldn't work very well for people who don't have quite a bit of Japanese ability already. I would try his original sentences method if you're going to do the AJATT thing.

November 28th, 2012, 14:38
I think clozed context sentences are brilliant, if you're well into intermediate.

IE: If you can use a Japanese --> Japanese dictionary, it's time to start making cloze sentences. Especially w/ an app like anki which randomizes which word is clozed and which isn't. This is important because if it's the same blank each time, you memorize the sentence, if it changes you have to negotiate the meaning.

@stanmarsh: That's the application, but the droid app isn't ready for the 2.0 platform yet. It's community built so as usual, it's taking its sweet time.

As for process:
Learn your kana (hira and kata)
Learn your kanji ala Heisig
Go grab ANYTHING that explains Japanese grammar (text books are good, tae kim works too... there are a bazillion iPad apps out there and many are quite good.)
Start working on words/sentences. Master your numbers, master your counters. Get your particles down (they're pretty predictable which is why they are important).
Start writing in Japanese. ALL THE TIME. Find a new word? MAKE A SENTENCE Find a new sentence? MAKE ANOTHER ONE WITH IT. Write on your FB, write in a diary, write on your pants if it makes you giggle with delight, just make content.

You might feel like Heisig isn't really sticking, don't worry about it! As you learn words to go w/ the pretty pictures things will actually stick. Your brain will become an over exploding bukake of Japanese and your knowledge will be everywhere.

November 28th, 2012, 15:32
Gizmo, how do you get anki to randomize the clozed word? I haven't used that feature yet - I've been putting in the clozes manually.

November 28th, 2012, 16:04
It's in the multicloze w/ multiple cards. Read the manual. I'm not that far yet.

December 4th, 2012, 08:23
I tried one of the apps in the Google Play store for learning katakana and it's ok, but not great. It's similar to memrise where you write the romanji of whatever kana they show you, as well as picking the kana multiple choice style while hearing/seeing the romanji. The writing portion of the app isn't terrible, but it doesn't show you the stroke order first before giving you a kana to trace. Thankfully, I have an idea of how stroke order should go as I studied Chinese in college, but it can be frustrating sometimes. I like how it start with a greyed out kana, then if you get the correct once or twice, it moves to 'dots' that outline where a stroke starts and ends, and eventually you just have to write the kana with no guides at all.

I had a fat pencil type stylus kicking around last year at Christmas that I can't seem to find now when I really want to use it for something. I found some of my old learning materials at home this weekend (most importantly my Korean Hello Kitty blank grid book), but I couldn't find my hiragana flash cards. I had printed them back in high school on index cards, and I think I'll do the same now with katakana. I suppose with the abundance of free apps and sites out there with digital flash cards I don't need them, but there was something fun about having the physical flash cards. I looked at the White Rabbit flash card set, but I'm not sure about them. I will probably spend more on ink printing my own that just buying their set though :/ yay for the economics of studying a new language.

December 21st, 2012, 01:28
Got mahself up to the JLPT N5 in kanji....I realize that that's the most basic and beginner, but I'm still proud that I know about 100 kanji now. I still know absolutely NO words, but I plan on doing that next.

I've got Anki, and I highly recommend that...