Help / Problems Forum

Topic: Japanese learning software?

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yojo

1. Posted:

Hey guys, I want to be able to understand some basic ( and advanced if I like it) japanese. Mainly because of monster hunter 4 looking like it wont come out in the US for at least another year or two. I want some software to help me learn. I have heard mixed things about Rosetta stone (and its price is really high) and it looks like human japanese would be my best bet. Any other suggestions?

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EarthboundBenjy

2. Posted:

First things first: do not get Rosetta Stone.

In my opinion, just self-learning is your best bet. You need diligence and self-control, but if you're serious about wanting to learn Japanese, then you'll have that just fine. The general 'first step' for learning Japanese is:
Start with learning Hiragana. Afterwards, learn Katakana. These are the biggest steps into learning Japanese, because if you can read basic things, a lot more things start to make a lot more sense.
For example, let's say you saw this writing in a game's options menu:

オプション
サウンド: ステレオ、モノラル
ウインドーカラー: あか、 みどり、 あお
スピード: ノーマル、 はやい

If you just learn the sounds that each kana makes, it suddenly becomes much easier to understand precisely what the options will do, even without knowing any real vocab.

http://www.learn-japanese.info/hiragana.html
http://www.learn-japanese.info/katakana.html

That's a good site for starters, too. There are good sites all over the web, Rosetta Stone is utterly pointless.

For writing, after you've learned the kana, you're going to have to learn basic kanji. and there are lots of them. I still am learning 'em, and I've got a ways to go before I can fluently read things. You'll work it out when you get there though.

And for vocab and grammar... well, there are lots of options. There are guides on the internet (like this guy: http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/) that go into great detail. If that's your thing, go for it, but I prefer to naturally just sort of get an inkling to a sentence's meaning without resorting to disassembling the language too much. I still can hardly understand any given piece of Japanese, but I'm slowly slowly getting there.

If you have an iPhone, get the "Midori" app. my opinion, it's the best Japanese dictionary app available for iPhone. I use it constantly when playing Tales of Vesperia. :D

EarthboundBenjy

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RaReRuX

3. Posted:

Like the above poster said, do not get Rosetta Stone. If I were you, I'd get Genki I.
http://www.amazon.com/GENKI-Integrated-Elementary-Japanese-En...
If you don't want to spend that much money, then just use free/cheap online resources.
Learn Hiragana/Katakana and practice it with http://www.realkana.com/ .
Afterwards, use http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/ (alongside other free resources) to learn some of the basic grammar.
While you're learning grammar (but after learning Kana) you can use wanikani.com for learning Kanji (it's in beta, but you can get an invite within a couple days).

Edited on by RaReRuX

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Miss_Dark

4. Posted:

I'm doing a master in English & French but I also study Arabic, Norwegian, German and Spanish at my own initiative (yeah I'm crazy). Here is the best advice I can give you:

  • listen to music and read lyrics to get used to the sound of it
  • http://japanese.about.com/ (you can sign up for "japanese word of the day", "japanese phrase of the day" etc.
  • want to be able to write the signs? Focus on it for about 2 weeks. Write everyday. You can borrow books from libraries or check sites of universities offering Japanese and see what they use to teach the language in the first year. Youtube videos can be helpful as well.
  • find people through language exchange (conversationexchange, sharedtalks, interpals.net,...) who are learning your language. You can learn each other's language by chatting through Skype/by mailing etc. This helped me a lot for learning French.
  • http://www.genkienglish.net/genkijapan/menu.htm = hilarious wtf videos that will print some basic words in your memory forever
  • http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar

http://eurotalk.com/us/store/learn/japanese/list/allLevels/dl this is way cheaper than rosetta but it is extremely basic (just some words and sentences) online demo: http://eurotalk.com/en/resources/learn/japanese

Personally I think Rosetta Stone is quite expensive. There's also Tell me more but that's just as expensive (though it's really fun, it has dialogues, crosswords, voice recognition, videos,....) and you already have to be able to read the alphabet.

Edited on by Miss_Dark

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