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A complete novice at Japanese

Joined
Jul 24, 2016
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7
Hello folks, I believe that everybody has a reason to start learning a foreign language. Some do it for study/work purposes while others have totally different grounds for finding a will within themselves to take up a foreign language and make their bests to pick up that language as expeditiously as possible.

I am Uzbek by birth, and I am a citizen of Uzbekistan which is a country located in Central Asia. To the best of my recollection, about 2-3 years ago, I happened to find a video about a guy called Tim Doner ( a hyperpolyglot) on YouTube. From that moment on, I have set myself a goal to become a hyperpolyglot down the road. But to be completely honest, I never thought I would have a strong feeling of learning Japanese some time in the future. But recently, I found out about a scholarship called MEXT and became really interested in studying in Japan. I am really sorry for beating around the bush and not getting to the point. The thing is that when I downloaded sample questions of 2010 from the website for Technology students, I realized I have enough intimate knowledge of Physics and Mathematics to, at least, stand a chance. When I opened Japense sample questions, that PDF was full of Japanese characters which I later discovered their name KANJI. I was hoping if you guys could help me to learn the language by telling from what I should begin.

There are a number of questions about learning Japanese. For starters,

1. What abilities are checked on Japanese exam of MEXT?

2. Is there an alphabet for Japanese?

3. What are the YouTube channels you recommend me to watch on a daily basis?

4. When I started to learn English, I purchased OALD (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary) and it helped me tremendously. What is the best dictionary you are using for learning Japanese (with pronunciation)?

5. What are the websites that you recommend me to visit?

6. What are the grammar books that I have to find?

7. Are there any podcasts that I can listen to? News channel? Sitcoms? Animes?

There is no teacher who teaches Japanese in my place. So, I have to learn the language by myself. I hope you guys understand my situation and help me to get started. Have a good day!
 
Joined
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Welcome to the forum, I hope you'll enjoy your stay :)

2. Wikipedia has all you need to know: Japanese writing system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

3. Do you mean channels that teach the language to foreigners, or random by-Japanese-for-Japanese channels for general listening practice?

4. I use Jisho as my main dictionary. You'll need to know hiragana (one of the Japanese writing systems) to be able to read words' pronunciations.

5. Guide to Japanese seems to be pretty popular with learners. I haven't used it for studying myself, but on the few occasions that I did visit it, I found that it gives nice succinct descriptions of grammar concepts.

6. Popular beginner's textbooks include Genki and Minna no Nihongo (I used Genki myself and quite liked it).

7. You can watch Japanese news channels over here: 動画ニュース連続再生 - NetTV-News on the Web
If you're going to watch anime, do so without (English) subtitles. The same goes for other media: either have Japanese subtitles or no subtitles at all, so your brain doesn't even get the chance to be lazy and ignore what's being said.

As a general guide for listening practice, I'd say: if you suddenly feel unusually tired after listening for a while, that's a sign it's working. If not, that's a sign the material is either too hard (you're barely picking up anything at all) or too easy (you can understand almost everything as effortlessly as your native language).

As for "no teacher nearby": online courses, where you get into contact with a remote teacher via voice chat, also exist.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2016
Messages
7
Welcome to the forum, I hope you'll enjoy your stay :)

2. Wikipedia has all you need to know: Japanese writing system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

3. Do you mean channels that teach the language to foreigners, or random by-Japanese-for-Japanese channels for general listening practice?

4. I use Jisho as my main dictionary. You'll need to know hiragana (one of the Japanese writing systems) to be able to read words' pronunciations.

5. Guide to Japanese seems to be pretty popular with learners. I haven't used it for studying myself, but on the few occasions that I did visit it, I found that it gives nice succinct descriptions of grammar concepts.

6. Popular beginner's textbooks include Genki and Minna no Nihongo (I used Genki myself and quite liked it).

7. You can watch Japanese news channels over here: 動画ニュース連続再生 - NetTV-News on the Web
If you're going to watch anime, do so without (English) subtitles. The same goes for other media: either have Japanese subtitles or no subtitles at all, so your brain doesn't even get the chance to be lazy and ignore what's being said.

As a general guide for listening practice, I'd say: if you suddenly feel unusually tired after listening for a while, that's a sign it's working. If not, that's a sign the material is either too hard (you're barely picking up anything at all) or too easy (you can understand almost everything as effortlessly as your native language).

As for "no teacher nearby": online courses, where you get into contact with a remote teacher via voice chat, also exist.
Thanks!
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2015
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1. What abilities are checked on Japanese exam of MEXT?
There are many different scholarships given by MEXT. I assume you mean the undergraduate one?

Since undergrad courses are generally only available in Japanese, you would need to be fluent to the point where you can take your whole course in Japanese. If you can find an undergraduate course given in English, you might stand a chance for this scholarship, but I do not not know if such courses exist or not.

EDIT: sorry I forgot to say there is a one-year preparatory course in Japan that is supposed to help you. However this will not get you fluent enough to take your course in Japanese unless you are already at a good level.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2016
Messages
7
There are many different scholarships given by MEXT. I assume you mean the undergraduate one?

Since undergrad courses are generally only available in Japanese, you would need to be fluent to the point where you can take your whole course in Japanese. If you can find an undergraduate course given in English, you might stand a chance for this scholarship, but I do not not know if such courses exist or not.

EDIT: sorry I forgot to say there is a one-year preparatory course in Japan that is supposed to help you. However this will not get you fluent enough to take your course in Japanese unless you are already at a good level.
Then, it is going to be a huge challenge as I don't even have a basic knowledge of Japanese.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2015
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Then, it is going to be a huge challenge as I don't even have a basic knowledge of Japanese.
I saw your new thread about MEXT. Unfortunately I do not think many people applying for MEXT will see it. They tend to only look at and post in the designated MEXT threads. Here is the thread for undergraduates, maybe some people there can help you:

Monbukagakusho (MEXT) Undergraduate Scholarship 2017 | Japan Forum

I have got the research student scholarship but this is quite a different process so I can't answer your specific questions about the undergraduate scholarship, sorry.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2016
Messages
7
I saw your new thread about MEXT. Unfortunately I do not think many people applying for MEXT will see it. They tend to only look at and post in the designated MEXT threads. Here is the thread for undergraduates, maybe some people there can help you:

Monbukagakusho (MEXT) Undergraduate Scholarship 2017 | Japan Forum

I have got the research student scholarship but this is quite a different process so I can't answer your specific questions about the undergraduate scholarship, sorry.
Thank you for your help!
 
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