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Thread: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

  1. #1

    Default Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    What are some good free (and probably online) Japanese language resources? I know about iknow.co.jp, but was wondering what else everyone uses? Thanks!
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    www.lang-8.com

    My favorite resource. Native speakers of language A write entries in their language-of-study X. They correct X(and Y/Z etc) native speakers' entries in A, and native X speakers correct their entries. In a less confusing way, simplifying it to include just English and Japanese (though there are tons of languages on there)...you write Japanese entries and correct Japanese people's English entries. Then Japanese people correct your Japanese entries.

    There's a bit of an honor system, I guess, but it seems to work reasonably well. It's somewhat self-regulating in that people naturally tend to worry about correcting the entries of people who have corrected for them already. Since several Japanese people usually pounce on my entries within like 5 minutes of posting them, I try to keep my writing/correcting rate even by correcting several English entries for each Japanese one I write. (I suspect English-speakers may have a favorable "exchange rate" going.)
    Last edited by Wakatta; May 31st, 2009 at 15:31.
    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.

  3. #3
    Senior Member loljapan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    That's a pretty cool system.

  4. #4

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    http://ichi2.net/anki The best opensource freeware Spaced Repetition Program you'll find. As the programmer was a JET (or variant), many things about it were tailored to learning Japanese. The developer (Damien Elmes) actively takes suggestions and implements them in a timely manner.

    http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com Ok, not a learning resource, but the guy offers advice for self-study and immersion to help reach fluency in shorter periods of time (but not less hours). Has links to books and sites he finds useful.

    http://kanji.koohii.com Website set up for those that use the Remembering the Kanji books. Has its own Leitner based flash card system where users can share stories to learn upwards of 3000 kanji. Has an active forum dedicated pretty much to learning Japanese.

    http://www.guidetojapanese.org Also known as the Tae Kim's guide (he's the author). Free online "text book" teaching grammar. It covers pretty much what you'll see on JLPT 3.

    http://smart.fm Formerly known as www.iknow.com, provides an outstanding resource for vocabulary words using sample sentences read by professional Japanese voice actors and photos.

    http://dramanote.seesaa.net Japanese blog, but it has scripts to many, many popular Japanese dramas. Essentially it's having a mini-novel companion to the show you're watching.

    http://www.d-addicts.com Great site to find links to movies and Japanese sub-title files. There are torrents on there, but the other resources such make it useful too.

    There are of course dozens if not hundreds of sites you can use. Many would be Japanese (such as yahoo.jp or 2ch) while some are about Japan (such as this forum). The above are just ones I used more than most.

  5. #5
    magic markers Gezora's Avatar
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    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    Kanji Box - an application on Facebook. Let's you drill vocab, kanji, etc. for the JLPT. For free.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    kanjialive.uchicago.edu

  7. #7
    Useless cm2jr4's Avatar
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    http://readthekanji.com/

    Broken up by JLPT levels.

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    ERRRRRGG Avocado's Avatar
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    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    Something that Dombay linked to earlier, a list of free 'resources' that you can use...

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    ITIL's Favorite Beaner! Gusuke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    Watch NHK

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    Senior Member SarahJ27's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gusuke View Post
    Watch NHK
    +1

    Watch TV a lot. My listening's sky-rocketed since I've gotten one.

    Also, reading Japanese sites online would be really cheap.
    Gov'ment came and took my baby!

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    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese


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    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    very intrigued by the kanji alive page. pity that they don't have more kanji than that though...but it will work well for JLPT 2 study I suppose. It's a really nice and user friendly resource. Kinda like the white rabbit cards I guess, which I think are lousy flashcards (too much information at once) but a great resource.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    Try making friends and living your life like you would back home. Go shopping with them, go to bars, and don't hangout with English Vampires so that you have an opportunity to speak Japanese. No novel, television, comic, anime, or videogame is a replacement for a Japanese friend. And none of those aforementioned sources will help your pronunciation or fluency like speaking with your friends on a daily basis.

    How do the Japanese learn Japanese? Sure they improve their kanji and handwriting through school but when they are small children the only way they learn is to speak and be spoken to. That's how we all acquire our native tongue. When we talk about raw speaking skill, and I'm emphasizing speaking, the guy that hangs out at a non-gaijin bar with his pals every night is going to sound much more fluent and knowledgeable than the guy poring over a novel an hour or two a night or the guy trying to post on 2chan or the girl that never misses her nightly session of Japanese variety shows. The young JET who makes sure to read Jump on the train ride back or asks for help with a few kanji he doesn't understand from a teacher at the school he works at will have nothing on the guy who is in a relationship with a non-English speaker and tries his best to understand her through trial and error rather than spending his time with fellow foreigners or Japanese who are too busy asking for English lessons to give him the solid 3-4 hour block of pure Japanese a day that he needs in order to grow into a speaker of Japanese aimed squarely at becoming fluent.

    Personally speaking, I'd rather spend a night out with my friends or a girlfriend than watch television.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    Thanks for reminding me of my regrets on leaving Japan again, abide. Thanks so much.

    My plan was to get into a judo school and do that every day, for its own sake and to meet people. Surely, Japan, the source of Japanese martial arts, would be crawling with dojo?

    Hahahahahahaha. They're all chained to desks until 9 PM.

    If I did it all over again, I probably would go bite the bullet and get into some activity I have zero interest in just to meet people. I even sort of tried that with taiko, but ... yeah, that was just dull and awkward. I guess I'd try hopping the train a stop or two and see if I could find something nearby.

    So while I can't help but find your "I'm gonna go to dinner with my JAPANESE FRIENDS and talk with my JAPANESE GIRLFRIEND" tone annoyingly reminescent of That Guy, I would cautiously second your admonition to new people.
    Last edited by Wakatta; June 26th, 2009 at 11:28.
    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.

  15. #15

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    I feel your pain on finding a hobby or a club that would get you involved with locals. I've studied koto and shamisen but that's really more of a teacher-student thing. Really the bulk of my experience was through bars and hosting and making friends that way, and in the end that's not something I really like to recount to friends and family as it gives them the idea that there isn't much to life over there, which is far from the truth.

    The reason I had that tone of admonition so to speak is because time and again I have met so many "KY" gaijin who have told me how miserable they are in the country or how amazingly difficult it is to learn the language. Of course, learning any language isn't without its difficulties but when you ask these people about their daily activities they usually tend to consist of a solitary lifestyle in their apartments or hanging out exclusively at gajin bars like The Hub.

    When I give advice like that its because I'd like to see them improve their lives in the country and enjoy it!

  16. #16
    Senior Member kamukamuume's Avatar
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    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~ik2r-myr/kanji/kanji1pa.htm

    anyone seen that? it's a kanji reading/meaning quiz program. a professor from my university recommended it and I came across it again recently. the interface is really good and the quiz-like format puts it a bit above speed anki for me when I'm having trouble staying motivated.

    in terms of really getting kanji down pat, speed anki undoubtedly has the edge, but this is a refreshing alternative.

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    abide gave some great advice for improving your speaking/listening ability. I agree with everything he/she stated.

    However, if you want to improve reading/writing this cannot be done at a bar with Japanese friends. What I did was the heisig method (which is free) there are copies of his book online everywhere, then the AJATT.com sentence method. My reading has skyrocketed. Will take JLPT 2 next week and should pass no problem.

    The trick is balancing the raw speaking (hanging out with Japanese) and the personal time. I personally can't learn a new vocab word just from hearing it, I have to look at example sentences and throw it in Anki and then memorize it. Then I use it at the bars and such and understand it when heard.

    One hard thing is to get speaking experience in situations other than a) Socially drinking b) school. I hang out with Japanese people all the time but we mainly just sit around and drink. I can get into very deep, i would say fluent level conversations in this setting however......... I recently joined a cycling club and it has opened my eyes as to how crappy my Japanese can be in certain every day situations where I havent had to use Japanese before.

    The best bet to cure that would prob be to get a Japanese girlfriend/boyfriend.

    In short - for speaking follow Abide's advice. For reading - this takes individual study effort every day in my opinion.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Free or very cheap ways to study Japanese

    Last edited by Miniver; November 18th, 2009 at 15:35.

  19. #19

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    Yes, I agree with Krazie. Learning the Kanji and such really is a matter of diligent study and we all have to develop our own methods to cope with that.

  20. #20
    Senior Member SarahJ27's Avatar
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    Yeah, hanging out with friends is great speaking/listening/overall communicative practice... But if that's all you're doing, you're probably going to be that guy who talks too casually to people you shouldn't and who can't read shit. Basically, someone who can't actually function as a member of Japanese society. You might also develop loads of bad habits that your friends never bother to correct you on.

    I'm not saying don't follow that part of Abide's advice. It's fundamental to talk to people. But you learn your native language more than just by talking to people. You should do the same with a second language.

    By the way Abide, the rest of us weren't saying "only do this." So please stop making assumptions about our own study methods or levels of Japanese. Anyone who says "only do this" (which was you, wasn't it?) probably hasn't got a well-rounded grasp of the language.
    Gov'ment came and took my baby!

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