I want to learn Japanese through software

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AuthenticM
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I want to learn Japanese through software

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Postby AuthenticM » Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:29 pm

Where I live there aren't any Japanese courses, so I have to rely on software for the moment. Can somebody tell me which software is the 'best'? Mind that I only want to learn how to speak, listen and read romaji. Learning Kanji, Kanatana and the such would take way too much of my time. Any help would be appreciated.
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Postby tinmeigut » Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:49 pm

Not to discourage you, but I think Japanese is hard to learn. I had been learning it for two years before. I memorised all the some ninety alphabets of the language- yet the most frustrating part is how you join them together to form a meaningful word/ phrase. With a mixture of altered forms of Chinese characters the difficulty is aggravated.

If you want to learn Japanese, I sincerely advise you to pay for tutorial classes given by real person, not a machine.
If all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends. -Jane Eyre, Chapter 8

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Postby drinian » Sun Jun 03, 2007 11:53 pm

I would suggest learning the kana (phonetic alphabets), at the very least. When I was in Japan on vacation, being able to read street signs, train station stops, and menus was a lifesaver.

The grammar itself isn't that complicated, as I understand it (I'm still pretty limited). More to the point, if your main concern is being able to communicate with the Japanese in some sort of pidgin, grammar and conversation aren't that important, but being able to read relatively quickly and come up with vocabulary words fast are.

I used Slime Forest for a few years, and it's free: http://lrnj.com/

However, I found that my reading skills shot up when I spent $10 on a regular old paper kana workbook and just spent some time writing out characters. I'm still unable to write characters from memory, though.

The more advanced folks like Reichu and others should probably be able to give more advice.

Also, if you haven't seen it: http://pepper.idge.net/Japanese/

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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Mon Jun 04, 2007 12:52 am

This probably isn't that helpful, but I've heard good things about that Rosetta Stone program. A teacher friend of mine said they are using them in their school now with really positive results in French and Spanish. Don't know how helpful it would be with Japanese or how much it costs though...
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Postby NAveryW » Mon Jun 04, 2007 12:57 am

drinian wrote:Also, if you haven't seen it: http://pepper.idge.net/Japanese/

QFA: Quoted for AWEXOME!!!
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Postby Eva Yojimbo » Mon Jun 04, 2007 2:16 am

NAveryW wrote:
drinian wrote:Also, if you haven't seen it: http://pepper.idge.net/Japanese/

QFA: Quoted for AWEXOME!!!
:lol: YES! :lol:
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We're all adrift on the stormy seas of Evangelion, desperately trying to gather what flotsam can be snatched from the gale into a somewhat seaworthy interpretation so that we can at last reach the shores of reason and respite. - ObsessiveMathsFreak
Jimbo has posted enough to be considered greater than or equal to everyone, and or synonymous with the concept of 'everyone'. - Muggy
I've seen so many changeful years, / to Earth I am a stranger grown: / I wander in the ways of men, / alike unknowing and unknown: / Unheard, unpitied, unrelieved, / I bear alone my load of care; / For silent, low, on beds of dust, / Lie all that would my sorrows share. - Robert Burns' Lament for James

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Postby zephyr72 » Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:36 am

Good luck with software. In preparation for an exchange trip to Japan, i tried to teach myself some, but the only thing i was really successful at was hiragana and katakana. Whoever says the grammar is easy is wrong. It can be, at times a major pain in the ass. I hear the Rosetta Stone is the way to go when it comes to software though. But i`m pretty sure it`s expensive.


That essay is funny, but that`s part ot the reason i like Japanese; it`s challenging.

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Last edited by zephyr72 on Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Tokpile Quohog » Mon Jun 04, 2007 4:39 am

Eva Yojimbo wrote:
NAveryW wrote:
drinian wrote:Also, if you haven't seen it: http://pepper.idge.net/Japanese/

QFA: Quoted for AWEXOME!!!
:lol: YES! :lol:

It's so true. Asian languages are really messed up. Anyways, I'm also thinking about picking up Japanese after polishing up my Korean so all the politeness stuff and the grammar shouldn't be too terrible, besides some Korean words are pretty much the same as their Japanese counterparts (something I learned watching anime =P).
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Postby Kaysow » Mon Jun 04, 2007 5:48 am

Kay for starters; Hiragana and Katakana are the two alphabets you NEED to learn to get into it. You can start studying those right away, learn a few a day.

Get this and teach yourself
http://www.amazon.com/Genki-Integrated-Course-Elementary-Japanese/dp/4789009637/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-9616590-0736654?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1180954075&sr=8-1
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Learning Japanese via Software

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Postby Shawn Dudley » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:36 am

Where I live there aren't any Japanese courses, so I have to rely on software for the moment. Can somebody tell me which software is the 'best'? Mind that I only want to learn how to speak, listen and read romaji. Learning Kanji, Kanatana and the such would take way too much of my time. Any help would be appreciated.


Some humble advice, from someone who tried what you're attempting:

1) Japanese really requires that you learn "whole" language -meaning you can't just learn bits and pieces first - it does really take dedicated study of all of the components to get a basic ability to communicate. This is part of why it's soooo difficult for non-Japanese to learn it.

2) None the less, if you're willing there's a few ways you can start on your own:

A) Get a good phrase book - Berlitz and other companies sell Japanese phrase books at your major bookstores, such as B&N and Borders. If you're really in the boondocks, they're all available at Amazon or bn.com, of course.
The phrase books will not only give you the absolute essential phrases, in romanji (thanks, you're welcome, where's the bathroom, how much is this? etc.) but also have Katakana and Hiragana conversion tables, so you can at least start learning that. Kata and Hana are not that difficult, and unlocking those will help a lot if what you're trying to do is read off of Japanese websites, signs, etc.

B) If you just want to have basic conversation, and not the reading/writing, Rosetta Stone is not bad, but don't expect more than just to learn very basic verbal communication.

C) If you're really serious, there's Power Japanese (also available on Amazon), that will teach you the whole language. This, combined with classes, was how I got started, and I highly recommend it. It also comes with a nifty Japanese word processor included.

Also, in case you're wondering: yes, you can learn Japanese from anime, but not if it's your only source. What I found anime useful for was affirming context of the language (what you're supposed to say and when) - the trouble with anime is that most everyone is teenage, so therefore they all speak in "informal" manner - if you're a gaijin and want to communicate effectively, you really need to learn the more formal manner first, otherwise you really get off on the wrong path.

Final part of free advice: if you're serious about communicating in Japanese, PRONOUNCIATION is extremely critical. I mean really critical. Work on this and you've got a lot of the difficult stuff out of the way.

Shawn
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Re: Learning Japanese via Software

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Postby AuthenticM » Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:16 pm

Shawn Dudley wrote:Final part of free advice: if you're serious about communicating in Japanese, PRONOUNCIATION is extremely critical. I mean really critical. Work on this and you've got a lot of the difficult stuff out of the way.

I've already started on that. :) And yes, I'm very serious about communicating in Japanese. I don't mind learning Hiragana and Kanatana if they're not as hard as everybody claims, but Kanji is definitely out of the picture. Does Power Japanese forces you to learn Kanji, or can you simply learn Hiragana, Katakana and Romaji?
In my case, I refuse to go easy on the ignorant, regardless of degree. Hitler was ignorant. Joshua C. Whatshisface is ignorant. To me, they're in the same category of ignorant and stupid people who should have been left in some isolated corner of the world where they couldn't bother anyone. --The Eva Monkey

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Postby Shawn Dudley » Mon Jun 04, 2007 1:58 pm

[
quote]Shawn Dudley wrote:
Final part of free advice: if you're serious about communicating in Japanese, PRONOUNCIATION is extremely critical. I mean really critical. Work on this and you've got a lot of the difficult stuff out of the way.


I've already started on that. And yes, I'm very serious about communicating in Japanese. I don't mind learning Hiragana and Kanatana if they're not as hard as everybody claims, but Kanji is definitely out of the picture. Does Power Japanese forces you to learn Kanji, or can you simply learn Hiragana, Katakana and Romaji?
[/quote]

Hiragana and Katakana are not that difficult, if you work at it. Don't write off Kanji so quickly, however. While a lot of it is really difficult to read, there's a lot of simple and common ones that you can learn without too much trouble (like the numbers, or the kanji for "tree" "people" etc). Power Japanese will drill you on the Hira and Kana, and even start to introduce the most basic Kanjis.

I'd also suggest you to a set of mangas called "Kanji de Manga" which introduce Gaijin Otaku's to Kanji. Each book has about 50 characters and use manga to make it easy to remember a lot of the images. At the height of my studying I probably knew about 200 to 250, which is enough to get by when travelling there. Not good enough to read NewType, however!

Where do you live anyway? Is it really that far away for you to take classes?
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Postby drinian » Mon Jun 04, 2007 3:38 pm

Yeah, knowing 40-50 simple kanji is really useful. Don't even have to know how to say them. Lets you know where the exits and entrances are, for instance, and which way is west or east. The kanji for train station looks a little like the JR logo. Plus a lot of sit-down restaurants only list prices in the kanji numbering systems.

Oh, and most toilets have bi-directional flush handles marked with the kanji for 'big' and 'small'...

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Postby Hexon.Arq » Mon Jun 04, 2007 5:59 pm

I spent roughly $50 on software and didn't learn a thing. It took two semesters of the stuff just to pound the kana into my noggin. After you get stuff down, though, I find it's a much easier language to learn than I had been told.

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Postby Mundane » Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:05 pm

tinmeigut wrote:Not to discourage you, but I think Japanese is hard to learn. I had been learning it for two years before. I memorised all the some ninety alphabets of the language- yet the most frustrating part is how you join them together to form a meaningful word/ phrase. With a mixture of altered forms of Chinese characters the difficulty is aggravated.

If you want to learn Japanese, I sincerely advise you to pay for tutorial classes given by real person, not a machine.


A real person would DEFINETLY help with long and short vowel sounds, but besides the Kanji, Japanese isn't actually too terribly difficult.

A lot of memory, and back to the whole Kanji bit, stroke order blows.
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Postby drinian » Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:15 pm

As I understand it the vowel sounds are similar to Spanish.

Other than that, the main trick to at least being comprehensible is limiting the amount of accent you put on any syllable, and recognizing that the kana represent the basic building blocks of the language (not romaji characters). Then it becomes easier to eliminate diphthongs and elisions that don't really exist in Japanese. I've been told that I pronounce each syllable way too distinctly, but they can understand me.

Japanese has a much more limited phonetic range than English, though (which is why you see so many English words getting mangled). I really do think it's easier to learn Japanese as an English speaker than the other way around. Native Spanish speakers supposedly can do really well.


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