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  1. #21

    Default Re: Help getting started...

    hahaha yea friday and sunday will probably be interchanged.

    Hopefully I can learn enough of the language over the summer to be considered for the program in october though.

  2. #22
    SENIOR MEMBER Neb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    Rosetta Stone has listening/speaking sections (you need a mic to use Rosetta stone), and I'd say you'd need to allocate more than 1 hour to finish a chapter...maybe not at the beginning, but things start to get harder real quick...There's 4 chapters per unit, and 4 units per lesson, and 3 lessons total...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattyjaddy
    youlovetonyt - I have to apologize I got a bit carried away with this response. Learning a language is indeed very overwhelming. In general, I don't suggest studying on one's own. It can be very difficult to maintain motivation in the face of all that you don't know. But it is possible to be successful studying on your own.
    Actually, as a self "study" learner of Japanese (if you want to call it that), I have to say that in comparison to classes, unless they follow what's sometimes referred to as "The Natural Way" also, "The Silent Way", self-study prevails almost effortlessly.

    The problem with any kind of school class on any language is that there's too much focus on production, getting their students to speak without giving them enough to listen to so to base their pronunciation, intonation, and rhythm on. If that's not enough, then how about all that grammar study? (A bit more on this later). Learning grammar isn't going to help unless you experience it many many times. Because, we as learners, don't actually choose when we acquire such patterns. Language acquisition is entirely different from language learning, as said by the professional linguist Steven Krashen.

    Schools also dictate your goals and force you to be flexible to the rest of the class. If you have private lessons, if the teacher is still trying to teach you grammar and words through translation, perhaps you can prompt him/her to start teaching you in a natural way so that you may have meaningful experiences that build up mental images in your head that dictate that "feel" that native speakers use when they use their language.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyjaddy
    Just try to make a plan and stick with it. How do you make a plan if you don't know anything about Japanese? It would be good to read up on what makes up Japanese--even things like a wikipedia article or about.com would be helpful. This will help you get a perspective on what all is entailed in the Japanese language. It might also be good to read up on how others have studied Japanese on their own--for both ideas and inspiration. And finally, knowing a bit about language acquisition can help the self-learner, perhaps more than a classroom learner who puts the responsibility of knowing about that on the teacher.
    So which is it? Study on your own, or not? I think maybe you have some mixed feelings about this?

    As for knowing a bit about language acquisition, I can attest to that. More on this later.

    And, as for having a plan, I suggest having a plan, but don't be afraid to adjust it as time goes on. A great example of this would be, let's say, your plan is to study grammar for an hour, study Kanji for an hour, learn 10-20 new words, and review old material on top of that. Amounting to somewhere around, 4 hours of study collectively. Then, maybe you have flash cards that you do in the elavator or on the bus or something. With all this in mind, what happens when it's Friday and your friends want to take you to the newest film? Or, what if you have a particularly busy day? What I'm getting at is that, you need a flexible plan, and you yourself need to be flexible and open minded and actually begin to involve Japanese in everything you do if you hope to become proficient at it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyjaddy
    Here's a general rundown of some important things to know about language acquisition:

    Someone's first language is acquired over a long period of time simply through exposure--they hear it a lot in normal situations and then they can speak.

    After around the age of 13 (or around puberty), people can no longer just hear a language in context and pick it up.
    I must respectfully disagree entirely here. You can acquire a language just like a child can, and in fact, it won't take you nearly as much time as the child takes. And, I'd even go as far as to say that, this is possibly the best way to acquire a language. If you know that you have a lot of free time on your hands, then I would suggest that you take an intensive immersion approach. What I mean by this is that your goal would essentially be that you would want as much time every day involving something in Japanese. So, if you've got homework (if you're in school) then listen to Japanese music, or have a Japanese movie playing in the background, or something to that effect.

    To expand on this idea of immersion, and acquiring a language like that of a child, consider this: What does a child do? -- To answer this question, it doesn't take much thought. The child, looks, listens, observes things and just guesses about what's going on around him or her. That's it. The child is not concerned with being absolutely correct in their understanding of a language at first, but it seems to come out quite flawlessly. Nothing that can't be rectified unless the child is disabled quite seriously.

    However, there's much disbelief in that these methods work. But, I'd like to reference that ALG World (http://algworld.com) has been doing this for 20 years now with success in helping people of all ages acquire Thai, and I believe Japanese and Chinese as well. And, what's more is that there's this 29 year-old man, who acquired Hebrew simply by being exposed to the language at his work place. (Read about his story here: http://www.sdkrashen.com/articles/wh...ake/index.html)

    This also reminds me of what's called the "Critical Period Hypothesis", which if I remember correctly, states that you basically are unable to achieve native-like results in a language after a certain age. I'm not a linguistics doctor by any means, but I feel I do have some right to disprove this idea, if only as an opinion based on experience. I, myself, am acquiring Japanese, and I'm doing rather well for the amount of time I've spent. But, we're not here to talk about me.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyjaddy
    All written languages are secondary to the spoken language they represent. All are manmade inventions that must be taught explicitly.
    The writing system of any language is indeed secondary, but that's not be confused with it being "less important." Learning to read is a fundamental skill that, with many people is representational of your intelligence. Not that you should care what other's think of your intelligence, but, it is a very real issue that causes a lot of discomfort. So, literacy in your language of choice should be at the top of your list if you're planning on living in Japan for any extended period of time (which I feel is less than a year's time there). So, if you're learning Japanese, then you'll want to know Kanji (after you learn them, they actually act as an exellent aid in reading where you experience this phenomenon where, you know what a word means, but don't know how it is read phonetically. This is somewhat possible in English, too. Perhaps you keep seeing the term anesthesiologist in a medical book, and you have an idea of what it is because you keep seeing in context as someone who handles anesthetics. But, you aren't sure of how it's pronounced exactly because you've only ever read this word, and never have heard it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyjaddy
    Languages consist of rules describing how sounds, tones, words, and sentences get put together. These rules do not actually exist but are imperfect descriptions made by linguists and grammarians to explain how languages work. Some describe what people do (linguists in general) and some describe what people ought to do (grammarians in general).
    So, with this in mind, an imperfect description of rules that do not actually exist, why would you want this? Well, the only thing I can think of that would make a grammar study worth while is if you wanted to improve what's called The Monitor (from The Monitor Hypothesis by Steven Krashen). What this does for you is helps you mend your sentences, say, while writing an essay. This is probably the only practical application of grammar. The Monitor is in place so that you can make corrections. Sometimes it is used before something is said, and sometimes afterwards to correct oneself. But, acquiring a language doesn't require grammar study. And, it is the core agent in becoming proficient in a language. Acquiring it gives you that native-like feel that guides their use of the language. And, how is the language in question acquired? It is acquired through meaningful input. So that I clearly define what I mean by this, I'll explain. Meaningful input, simply put, can be described as happenings that influence you in a meaningful way. So, for the language acquirer, you have this thing where, you keep hearing a word repetatively in different situations that all share some common grounds. One example of this for me, is the word 「無理」 in Japanese. I've heard this word used so many times, and in so many contexts that it is simply something I understand without having ever looked a translation or asked for a description. To satisfy my curiosity of this word, I looked it up in a monolingual dictionary only to find that I didn't understand the definition entry, but became even more familiar with this word based on some of the example sentences. So, my understanding of this word is like that of a Japanese child's I know it as 「無理」, not some word that I associate to another word in a different language. To me, this word belongs to me more so than those that I learned in translation in my beginning stages when I didn't understand the underlying linguistic theories, much less was aware of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyjaddy
    Textbooks try to get students to memorize these rules so that they can later use them when speaking and writing. There are literally 1000s and 1000s of rules. Good luck memorizing them. In addition, I believe, as some linguists have hypothesized, that knowing rules creates a monitor in your brain. Everytime you want to speak, you not only have to come up with the idea you want to say, as you normally would, but you must use your monitor to check how you are forming your statement. This takes time, time that usually doesn't exist in a normal conversation. Some people believe that eventually the monitor goes away as rules are internalized, but this has not been proven. There are other issues--almost all rules have exceptions, rules try to be logical but language is not a logical system, the brain is fallible and is likely to forget, misunderstand, and/or misuse the rules.
    The monitor doesn't actually disappear so much that it's only used when one focuses on form. Typically this is, again, in writing or in performing a speech.

    The reason the brain forgets, misunderstands, or misuses these rules is because it hasn't experienced the overseeing patterns that the rules fail to describe. The brain needs to see lots of correct examples of the rules before it can even begin to grasp the rule. And, I should mention that acquisition of a language is a subconscious process. And the subconscious mind uses a different kind of processing that can't be influenced by conscious study of rules. A fine example of this is that, I know in Japanese that the particle 「に」 is used for many things and can take on such meanings as "at","in","and", among others. I know this because of seeing it used many times, as opposed to reading about it and trying to consciously memorize its uses, because even after doing that, I'd still be unable to use it correctly in a sentence.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyjaddy
    There's another way--though, as I said above, you can't just listen to language and pick it up after puberty, you can make use of that ability in conjunction with the now developed analytical part of your brain in an effort to more or less pick up a new language. Try to focus your studies of grammar on meaning. Many people focus too much effort on correct form. Form is fine but only if it's connected to meaning. Perhaps you took high school French or Spanish--you probably recall conjugation. Too many students know how to conjugation (form) but don't know how to actually use a verb in context (meaning). It's because they practice conjugation outside of context and never just listen to or read the verbs in normal sentences. It's by reading and listening to language in context (radio, movies, TV, native speakers, etc.) that one's brain is able to process how the language works. What's funny is doing it this way means you can actually drop the time spent memorizing forms because your brain eventually just picks those up, too.

    This may sound like I'm contradicting what I said above. After 13, you can't just pick up a language. You can't. But if you give your brain a heads-up of what to be looking for (satisfy the analytical side), you can. So if you tell your brain (ie. read about it in a grammar book) that Japanese verbs have a -te form and the -te form is different depending on the syllable it ends with, then your brain can be on the look out for -te forms when you are reading and listening to Japanese. If you read that Japanese is backwards from English with Object of a sentence first and the verb last, then your brain will be ready for it. But what I've described is still somewhat focused on form alone. You need to also read about what the -te form means/functions as. You need to also not just think "object then verb" but put it in terms of meaning '''hit ball' in English probably gets switched to 'ball hit' in Japanese. That's funny sounding." Etc.
    I must again, disagree. Everyone is indeed able to "pick up" a language. You are indeed contradicting yourself, perhaps out of misunderstanding. If it were impossible to "pick up"/acquire a language after the age of 13, then consider this example. If that's the case, then, I shouldn't actually know what the phrase 「何やってんだよ!?」 means in Japanese. I've never analyzed this phrase, and I've only heard it until recently seeing it written in a comic book. (And, to be clear, I definitely know what it means). But, I understand this in the same way that I understand 「無理」 (the word I brought up before). Another example is the word 「怪獣」. My first encounter of this word was in a Japanese cartoon where an elder brother called his little sister this because she was being noisy early in the morning. To that, the little girl exclaimed 「さくら 怪獣じゃないもん!」 I didn't know what this word 「怪獣」 meant. But later on in the show it came up in a different context where the little girl used to word in reference to a giant dragon-like creature. Based on what the other context I heard this in, it made sense. I laughed. And, who knows, perhaps my understanding of this word is indeed inaccurate, but I know at least these two contexts of the word, and as I encounter it many more times in the future, the meaning will become clearer and clearer. This is probably not the best explanation of how words are acquired, but could be sufficient. Likewise, grammar patterns are acquired similarly. A fine example of this are words like 「言う」. Simply, this word roughly means "to say" in the sense 「冗談を言う」. But, it can take on a more abstract meaning when use like this: 「静かな声でもう死にますと言う」. Other uses of this word make this word so abstract that, for one to memorize their meanings individually would only cause problems, and is best simply acquired in the same way that a child learns it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyjaddy
    I agree that you should start with hiragana and katakana. They are very useful and a relatively easy first step to take. They also are very concrete and so you can congratulate yourself upon finishing them.
    If you're going to approach Japanese by learning the writing system first, then please, start with Kanji. James W. Heisig devised a spectacular book for the task of learning up to 3007 Kanji for Japanese (2042 in the first book Remembering the Kanji, and an additional 965 characters in the third book. The second book, and second half of the third book deals with how to read these character phonetically). This is sufficient for reading even at an advanced level. Not that, you'll be able to understand all of the intracacies simply by learning the character's meaning and writing, and possibly their readings (if you want to use the part of the system designed for guiding you through learning the readings, which can be handled in a much easier fashion). But, you will have given yourself a huge jump start on your Japanese. Afterwhich, you'll find that learning the Kana (also treated by one of Heisig's books, Remembering the Kana), will be a walk in the park.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyjaddy
    But that will be about the last thing you can congratulate yourself on. If you have one, you should get rid of the idea that language is something you can finish learning. It's not. There will always be things you don't know. And there is no hope of you learning everything there is to know. Even kanji, though there are the most common 2000 or so, there are another 1000 or so that you can see fairly often and another 1000 sometimes and another several thousand rarely. You should start framing your progress in terms of abilities--I can read a page of hiragana in X time. (fluency at reading) I can watch a Japanese drama and catch 10 words. (listening) And eventually, I can call and make a reservation in Japanese. I can pleasurably watch a movie without subtitles. I can give a presentation without reading it. Etc.
    Sorry, to single you out mattyjaddy, but I again, need to disagree with this. You shouldn't only congratulate yourself on learning the Kana. What good is there in that? Sounds to me like a very sad and miserable journey to me. You need to congratulate yourself every step of the way. Learned one new kana and remembered it the next day? Congratulate yourself. Learned one new Kanji? Congratulate yourself. Learned a new word just by hearing it used in a TV show you're so engrossed in that you neglect the shower? Congratulate yourself, and then go take a hot bath.

    Remember, when you start something new, you're a baby again. For me, I'm only eight months old. I shouldn't be concerned with what partical physics is in Japanese, because, I don't even know what math is yet. Take it one step at a time, and be happy for each little step you make. It seems small, but, just like a child is born from the combination of two cells, and grows into the sophisticated biological being that it is, each new word, character, and moment you spend with Japanese, the closer you become to the overall goal of native-level fluency.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyjaddy
    I also suggest creating a Japanese rich world. Start listening to Japanese music. Start watching Japanese TV, movies, youtube, etc. Make some Japanese friends. Get some Japanese reading material (in hiragana/katakana at first).
    Excellent suggestion aside from limiting yourself to kana only materials for reading. Take it all! If you took the initiative to learn the meaning of the 2,000 odd Kanji in Heisig's first book and the Hiragana and Katakana thereafter, then go pick up the latest and greatest comic and just go with it. Read anything and everything that interests you and throw it away if it bores you. Don't worry about levels, because the more you do something you can't, the more you discover that you, indeed, can. Picasso once said, "Everyday I do things I can't do, so that I may learn how to do them." This way of thinking will serve you well in the journey of acquiring a language. With this in mind, we come to understand that you will come to understand the minute details of that movie you just watched in Japanese, by, well, watching it Japanese over and over again. You'll understand that drama series, by watching and listening, just like a kid. But, you have to put in the hours. This isn't an overnight thing, but certainly do be happy with every step forward you take.

    More on this immersion deal. Surrounding yourself with Japanese is great advice. But it's something that needs to be an everyday, and every moment thing, as far as possible. For me, this means, waking up, and falling asleep to Japanese. Watching only Japanese TV shows, movies, and online videos. Reading only Japanese text. Doing your math homework, while thinking the formulas and numbers in Japanese (a great way to become proficient in the use of numbers by the way). Numbers are easy to learn also. Since Japanese does make use of arabic numerals like we do in English (1,2,3,... etc.) This also means covering my walls with posters with Japanese on them, there's even one with all the Kanji in Heisig's first book at http://kanjiposter.com -- When I order books on Amazon.co.jp, sometimes they send me catalog-like material with the books that I then hang up on my walls. Even if I don't understand it all yet, I know that someday, I'll walk over to one of the posters, glance at it and read the whole thing effortlessly without any direct effort because of all those commericals I watched on Japanese TV, or because of all the Japanese comics I digested in the past six months, or something along those lines.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyjaddy
    Start researching about how others have studied Japanese--there are tons of free materials out there. It's hard to know what you really have to pay for unless you start doing some research. There are free dictionaries--online and downloadable, kanji reading tools, kanji to kana website converters, flashcards, exercises, grammar websites, online flashcard systems, podcasts, etc. etc. etc.
    Other than maybe Heisig's books for learning the writing system, I think a good monolingual dictionary and tons of native media in your target language will suffice. By only taking from native sources, like movies, TV, and comics, you are only ever comparing yourself to a native speaker and not to another person (much like you would in a class). You'll be hearing native intonation, rhythm, pauses, and phrases. How can you possibly say something wrong after you've heard the correct way 10,000 times? That's what native sources do for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyjaddy
    Though it is a shame, I would sell or give away your romanized text and get a kana version. I also do not recommend the busy people series. Though I didn't use a text other than the one provided when you join JET, I've heard that Minna no Nihongo is very good. It's all in Japanese so it can be overwhelming though. But I think you can use it once you know kana. Check it out yourself.
    Beginner books are fine if that's your thing. They act as a stepping stone. But, on that, there's always http://guidetojapanese.org -- Which, if you really need to satisfy an urge to know something regarding Japanese grammar, I can't recommend anything better than this website. Not to mention it's free, and written in several languages. As well as having a community to back it up if you have questions. But, this is something I did not and do not utilize because I would rather read every issue of Dragonball in Japanese and just know how to say "Vegeta, what's the scouter say about his power level?" -- In Japanese.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyjaddy
    You should save up an invest in a good dictionary. I think an electronic dictionary is the way to go. If you've got an iPhone or iTouch, you can get a dictionary on it. Nintendo DS also has a dictionary that is fairly useful. I used it for several months before I started feeling some limitations and went to a separate electronic dictionary. Try to get one with a writing pad. Extremely useful when you start getting into kanji. If you're broke, start saving for it.
    If you're not satisfied with online dictionaries like http://sanseido.net or http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp then an electronic dictionary is fine. But, I should mention that, the content on the electronic dictionary is going to be identical to that of the online dictionary. So, the benefit is that you get some additional features on the electronic dictionary (like being able to search multiple dictionaries at once), but comes at a price (usually over $200). The thing is, with online dictionaries, you're going to be able to use them for free, and they are subject to updates that improve the dictionaries in question. (An example of this is that the Goo国語辞典 now includes accent information for high and low pitches used in Japanese, which are vital to sounding like a native. But, this is also remedied by listening to a lot of Japanese and trying to imitate as close as possible the way that news anchor says things, or that action hero says things).

    Quote Originally Posted by mattyjaddy
    Speaking of which... Once you get done patting yourself on the back for learning the kana. You will be then faced with kanji. You need to decide, are you going just dabble in Japanese, do you want to just be a good speaker of Japanese, are you going to spend 5 years or more learning it to functional literacy, or do you want to learn the full language as fast as possible? For the first one, just do the textbooks at a leisurely pace and don't really push the kanji. If you fit number 2, then focus on listening and speaking and forget kanji. If 3, use textbooks, but push yourself hard. 4. Use the book called "Remembering the Kanji" by Heisig to help you memorize kanji as fast as possible.
    I'm nore sure why there's so much concern for wanting to learn everything as fast as possible. It does depend on your goals in the language, and if you're only going for a short visit, I understand if you just want to tackle the basics for survival (which is not to be confused with the idea that this is some short task that only takes a couple of weeks). But, if you're like me, and you're looking to improve not only your Japanese, but to improve your life, and gain cultural insights on the world that you never knew of before, then you won't accept anything less than native-level proficiency. And, it doesn't take as long as you might think. If you make an effort every day, it can take as little as a couple years to become impressively capable in Japanese (where you can read anything you like and understand it, watch anything you want, and understand it, etc.)

    I'm sorry, mattyjaddy, for using you as my syllabus for this post, which, got to be a bit longer than I thought. But, either way, I got out most of what I wanted to share. I should mention that, I'm in no way qualified in the field of linguistics and/or foreign language acquisition. I speak from experience backed up by other people's research and experimentation.

    And, as a final note, I'd say, you just can't go wrong if you get out there and explore and play in the target language. You're bound to learn if you do something each day. If you decide that you want to acquire Japanese and use it like a Japanese would, then I'd say, a cirriculum that has you watching a couple hundred hours of Japanese television shows each month wouldn't be a bad choice in terms of quality. Neither would reading 1,000 Japanese comic books over the next year. Just do whatever it was that drove you to learn Japanese in the first place. For me, this was comics, cartoons, and just generally being interested in Japanese culture and having the goal of living and working there when I was older. Nowadays it has become much more. And, you'll find that the more you explore, the more stuff you find that you like and thus, your ignorance of Japanese decreases and you become one step closer to fluency.

    If I had known what I know today several years ago when my interest in Japanese had begun, I would have followed a method that can be best described as the Child's method. I would probably have given myself a foundation in the language by first watching several hundreds of hours of Japanese TV, movies, and cartoons that suited my interests. To put some numbers out there, I'd probably go with about 1-2,000 hours of just watching, listening, and guessing about what's going on. During this phase, I'm bound to become so comfortable with Japanese that I begin to speak Japanese quite naturally as a result of all the hours I put in. And, what's more is the accent, intonation, and pronunciation I have is going to be right on. Maybe not at first because there will be no speaking practice the whole time, but it will certainly happen. After I begin to speak naturally as a result of all the audio-visual input, I can begin to read in combination with what I was doing (TV, movies, etc.)

    The strategy I'd use to learn to read, since this method implies that one doesn't use the base language at all would be something like, getting children's books with accompanying audio recording and simply listen and try to follow the text. Or, if I felt like it, I could try to find a video that shows the differeny kana and pronounces them. In this way, I'd likely practice writing the characters, and then begin to read them in comics and children's books.

    From this point on, the comfort level I'll be enjoying with Japanese will increase quite drastically. And, as I read books that gradually introduce more and more Kanji, since I'll be coming from a point of understanding since I watched and listened so much, the meanings will just attach themselves to the characters in my reading. And at some point in this process, I'd practice writing the characters and reading about them in a dictionary or other related book, in Japanese.

    After a couple of years of this process, I will have constructed an entirely new "native" language. I'll understand things like a native of Japan does. I'll use words just like them. And, chances are, since this is heavily based on media that you're pragmatics are going to quite sophisticated, but still very natual. And others aren't likely to be able to distinguish you from natives if they heard you speaking, or read something you wrote unless you explicitly said so.

    Unfortunately, I don't know if this works as perfectly as it is in my mind. But, it seems to hold true with the research I've read up on (that being what I've read over at ALG World's website, and on Steven Krashen's work). So, there's one other element, and that is to simply believe that it can be done. It isn't some infinite thing, because not even natives know every word of every Kanji of every concept ever perceived by the Japanese language.

    So, on that note. I'll finish this up.
    Goodluck on your journey.

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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    A first post for the ages, but I'm putting money down on the odds that someone is going to take issue with you very soon, no offense.

    I'm pretty sure, though, that it's best to start out with kana, simply so that you can learn pronunciation, and it makes reading things in kanji a lot easier. I don't mean that you take 6 months to get used to them before moving on, but you can become comfortable with them (reading and writing) in under a week, and then move onto kanji from there. I'm pretty sure that children don't immediately jump into kanji, if you know what I mean.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Avocado View Post
    A first post for the ages, but I'm putting money down on the odds that someone is going to take issue with you very soon, no offense.

    I'm pretty sure, though, that it's best to start out with kana, simply so that you can learn pronunciation, and it makes reading things in kanji a lot easier. I don't mean that you take 6 months to get used to them before moving on, but you can become comfortable with them (reading and writing) in under a week, and then move onto kanji from there. I'm pretty sure that children don't immediately jump into kanji, if you know what I mean.
    I was referred to this thread from another website, and I didn't really check the dates on the posts. I figure, it's not harmful if I actually have something to add to the thread. And, if there's a problem with it, ban me if you must. I've said what I wanted to say.

    And, again, I'm going to have to disagree with this idea of learning Kana first. You're saying that kids don't jump into Kanji from the start. That's fine, but then, they don't learn Kana from the start either. So what's your point? Are you going to learn like a child, or are you going to learn like an adult? If you are concerned with learning pronunciation, then listening to the language will do better than learning it's writing system. I know quite a lot of my native tongue, but there are still words that I can't pronounce having just read them. The same holds true for any language, even Japanese with its seemingly simple phonetic representation. Learning pronunciation through text alone is going to set you up for a terrible accent and intonation, since, those aren't represented in writing aside from dictionaries, which, only holds true for individual words. Intonation changes based on the surrounding words and emotions involved in the speech.

    So, if you want to learn the writing system at all, learn the Kanji first. Take care of the biggest task first, so that you don't have to deal with it later. That is, unless you follow a similar approach to that of the one I mentioned in my first post where one acquires the language through watching and listening and then mixes in reading, exactly as a child would do it. Learning all the Kanji up front will allow one to learn Kana much more easily, and also learn the entire Japanese language much more efficiently. It's like trying to learn Chinese, without Chinese characters. It just doesn't work. Anyone that's gone and learned the meaning of the necessary Kanji will agree that it is a wise decision to learn these first.

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    Don't learn kanji first. Are you kidding. If you want to learn the language, you NEED kana to be able to read and write sentences.
    <a href=http://www.ithinkimlost.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=3134&dateline=1245615339 target=_blank>http://www.ithinkimlost.com/image.ph...ine=1245615339</a>
    Quote Originally Posted by Hyakuman View Post
    As usual, you all (Aliを除く) have your heads up your asses.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by 勝海殿 View Post
    So, if you want to learn the writing system at all, learn the Kanji first. Take care of the biggest task first, so that you don't have to deal with it later. That is, unless you follow a similar approach to that of the one I mentioned in my first post where one acquires the language through watching and listening and then mixes in reading, exactly as a child would do it. Learning all the Kanji up front will allow one to learn Kana much more easily, and also learn the entire Japanese language much more efficiently. It's like trying to learn Chinese, without Chinese characters. It just doesn't work. Anyone that's gone and learned the meaning of the necessary Kanji will agree that it is a wise decision to learn these first.
    Uh, what?

    Chinese also ONLY has Chinese characters. There's no other writing system to learn! So naturally you would learn that.

    How are you supposed to use these kanji that you learn first if you're unable to put them into kanji+hiragana words? At least when you learn hiragana first, you can write complete sentences. You learn the kanji first, you can't write anything except for random characters.

    I believe Japanese children learn hiragana first... not kanji.

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    Али Димаев AliDimayev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackAttack View Post
    Uh, what?

    Chinese also ONLY has Chinese characters. There's no other writing system to learn! So naturally you would learn that.

    How are you supposed to use these kanji that you learn first if you're unable to put them into kanji+hiragana words? At least when you learn hiragana first, you can write complete sentences. You learn the kanji first, you can't write anything except for random characters.

    I believe Japanese children learn hiragana first... not kanji.
    I think he is a troll.
    <a href=http://www.ithinkimlost.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=3134&dateline=1245615339 target=_blank>http://www.ithinkimlost.com/image.ph...ine=1245615339</a>
    Quote Originally Posted by Hyakuman View Post
    As usual, you all (Aliを除く) have your heads up your asses.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    Learning the kanji first is not in any way practical for 99.9% of people.

    You'd have to spend at least 6 months full time and probably a year to plow through the three Heisig books.
    You see, gentlemen, a pimp's love is very different from a square's...
    (郷に入っては郷に従え.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by AliDimayev View Post
    I think he is a troll.
    He's not a troll.

    When is the last time you read real Japanese? I'm not talking about children's books or those poor excuses of Japanese textbooks like Genki. No, I mean real Japanese, the kind you find in manga, novels, newspapers, blogs etc. that are written by Japanese adults for Japanese adults. Last time I checked they were all in kanji, but just to make sure, let me turn around and grab a random book from my shelf. I grabbed a relatively easy to read book, ハリー・ポッターと謎のプリンス㊤. Here's the first two sentences of the first page:

    まもなく夜中の十二時になろうとしていた。執務室にひとり座り、首相は長ったらしい文書に目を通していたが、内容はさっぱり頭に残らないまま素通りしていた。
    To read anything in Japanese you absolutely must know at least the 1945 taught in school, and even then you will find that authors use hundreds of kanji outside of those 1945. Both 薔薇 and 憂鬱 contain kanji outside of the list but I have yet to meet a Japanese person who was unable to read them.

    Like 勝海殿さん I too have been "studying", or rather "enjoying", Japanese on my own for several months, 8 to be exact. And like him I am no linguist, but we seem to have found a way to study Japanese that breaks all of the rules. We learn through having fun, by immersing ourselves every waking (and sleeping) moment in Japanese. And it seems that we both became literate in a very short amount of time.

    Edit: I seem to fail at logging in, sorry if this gets posted twice.

  11. #31

    Default Re: Help getting started...

    I'm not sure if they're a troll; they might just have taken the alljapaneseallthetime.com stuff too seriously, IMO. I agree with much of this advice, like the part about listening to tons of Japanese media (trying to do more of that myself), but one thing I strongly disagree with is this "learn all the kanji first, THEN kana!" that AJATT recommends.
    Quote Originally Posted by katsudon View Post
    Principal: 'genki no nai shapenaa'
    Me: *giggle*
    Principal (turns to me, says): Very old sharpener. I am not as old as that sharpener.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asydious View Post
    He's not a troll.

    When is the last time you read real Japanese? I'm not talking about children's books or those poor excuses of Japanese textbooks like Genki. No, I mean real Japanese, the kind you find in manga, novels, newspapers, blogs etc. that are written by Japanese adults for Japanese adults. Last time I checked they were all in kanji, but just to make sure, let me turn around and grab a random book from my shelf. I grabbed a relatively easy to read book, ハリー・ポッターと謎のプリンス㊤. Here's the first two sentences of the first page:



    To read anything in Japanese you absolutely must know at least the 1945 taught in school, and even then you will find that authors use hundreds of kanji outside of those 1945. Both 薔薇 and 憂鬱 contain kanji outside of the list but I have yet to meet a Japanese person who was unable to read them.

    Like 勝海殿さん I too have been "studying", or rather "enjoying", Japanese on my own for several months, 8 to be exact. And like him I am no linguist, but we seem to have found a way to study Japanese that breaks all of the rules. We learn through having fun, by immersing ourselves every waking (and sleeping) moment in Japanese. And it seems that we both became literate in a very short amount of time.

    Edit: I seem to fail at logging in, sorry if this gets posted twice.
    You haven't answered the question.
    <a href=http://www.ithinkimlost.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=3134&dateline=1245615339 target=_blank>http://www.ithinkimlost.com/image.ph...ine=1245615339</a>
    Quote Originally Posted by Hyakuman View Post
    As usual, you all (Aliを除く) have your heads up your asses.

  13. #33
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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    So if you learn all the 1945 Kanji (soon to be over 2000) on the joyo list before you learn kana, how do you learn grammar on accounta kana is used to conjugate the verbs?
    <a href=http://www.ithinkimlost.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=3134&dateline=1245615339 target=_blank>http://www.ithinkimlost.com/image.ph...ine=1245615339</a>
    Quote Originally Posted by Hyakuman View Post
    As usual, you all (Aliを除く) have your heads up your asses.

  14. #34
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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    Also, you can't read the above passage from Harry Potter if you don't know kana, either. A quick count yields a 47 characters in hiragana, versus 22 in kanji...

    I'm not saying that you should take your sweet time learning kana, but trying to learn it second is absolutely ludicrous.

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    You said you can read Harry Potter(easily) after 8 months of study. I think you are either autistic or exaggerating your Japanese ability. Let's assume that you are learning 50 kanji a week with the first Heisig book. It'll take you 38 weeks to cover the book and then you need to repeat the system with the second book and add on another 38 weeks for a total of 76 weeks, assuming 100% retention.
    You see, gentlemen, a pimp's love is very different from a square's...
    (郷に入っては郷に従え.)

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    Stop being a dick Ali.
    You see, gentlemen, a pimp's love is very different from a square's...
    (郷に入っては郷に従え.)

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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    And for the people who waste their time learning how to read 2000 kanji before learning hiragana....

    You can read 98% of the characters in a newspaper with the first 1000 kanji covered in the Kodansha Kanji Learners dictionary.
    You see, gentlemen, a pimp's love is very different from a square's...
    (郷に入っては郷に従え.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by UPGRAYEDD View Post
    Stop being a dick Ali.
    Pot, meet kettle. And reading a book after 8 months of study?
    Hmmmmmmmmm.... sounds a bit fishy.
    <a href=http://www.ithinkimlost.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=3134&dateline=1245615339 target=_blank>http://www.ithinkimlost.com/image.ph...ine=1245615339</a>
    Quote Originally Posted by Hyakuman View Post
    As usual, you all (Aliを除く) have your heads up your asses.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    I don't disagree Ali-san. Not even the most advanced Japanese language schools in the world get their students to the level of easily reading Harry Potter after 8 months. This includes the Defense Language Institute and IUC Japanese.

    Which I either think these people are exaggerating their own Japanese ability or are autistic polyglots. But everything they said about Japanese that didn't involve learning kanji first was spot on so I don't think they are trolling us.
    You see, gentlemen, a pimp's love is very different from a square's...
    (郷に入っては郷に従え.)

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    Default Re: Help getting started...

    LIke what? Surrounding yourself with Japanese and trying to listen, read, write, and speak as much as possible? I thought that was common sense for learning a foreign language...-
    <a href=http://www.ithinkimlost.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=3134&dateline=1245615339 target=_blank>http://www.ithinkimlost.com/image.ph...ine=1245615339</a>
    Quote Originally Posted by Hyakuman View Post
    As usual, you all (Aliを除く) have your heads up your asses.

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