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When's an estimated time until I'll be able to briefly read and comprehend

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I've been working on my speaking but currently I'm mostly interested in getting the writing down I'm pretty solid on all my hiragana and katakana .
And like I said im very focused on being able to read (hiragana and katakana, so far), but im getting really frustrated because I don't know what I'm doing but when I read the comprehending of it that I get makes no sense.

For example - there was a Line in a book that said "he's trying something" that's what the English version said, and then when I attempted to read myself I got "come in its going to rain" ???

I read it right but then when I try to figure out what the words mean (using a dictionary I have 4 of them) I get something totally different, and yes, I am double checking I spent 4 hours trying to read a sentence... and got no where ( well I did but I think it was wrong)

Also another problem I personally me encountering us when I try to look up the word in a dictionary I get like 6 meanings for 1 word and I'm not sure which he to use, and I'm also not sure if I'm reading a sentence or a word.

Please help clarify this for me I know it probably sound really beginnerish, but hey I'm trying.
 
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How long depends on how much time you put into it, and what you're reading. To pick up and read any book? Years. To start reading something - less than that, but months at minimum.

With just hiragana and katakana you won't be able to read, only sound out. Just like someone who has learnt the alphabet but doesn't know any English can't actually read English, even with a dictionary.

You need to know enough grammar to parse (to figure out word splits, conjugated forms, etc), before you can even look up words. And you need enough background knowledge to know when you've found the right word.

An example, say I look up "He's trying something." just using a dictionary. Dictionary says "trying" means "very annoying". (It also has "try", but if I don't know ~ing form how am I supposed to know these words are related?).

So... he has a very annoying something? Or he is annoying something? How do I know if "he's" is "he is" or "he has"? And have you ever tried to look up "is" in a dictionary? It's not very helpful.

You don't need four different dictionaries. You need one good one, and a textbook. If cost is an issue, at least try something like Erin's Challenge:
WEB版 エリンが挑戦!にほんごできます。|Global Home
 
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How long depends on how much time you put into it, and what you're reading. To pick up and read any book? Years. To start reading something - less than that, but months at minimum.

With just hiragana and katakana you won't be able to read, only sound out. Just like someone who has learnt the alphabet but doesn't know any English can't actually read English, even with a dictionary.

You need to know enough grammar to parse (to figure out word splits, conjugated forms, etc), before you can even look up words. And you need enough background knowledge to know when you've found the right word.

An example, say I look up "He's trying something." just using a dictionary. Dictionary says "trying" means "very annoying". (It also has "try", but if I don't know ~ing form how am I supposed to know these words are related?).

So... he has a very annoying something? Or he is annoying something? How do I know if "he's" is "he is" or "he has"? And have you ever tried to look up "is" in a dictionary? It's not very helpful.

You don't need four different dictionaries. You need one good one, and a textbook. If cost is an issue, at least try something like Erin's Challenge:
WEB版 エリンが挑戦!にほんごできます。|Global Home
So is it useful at all to look up word at this point (only knowing hiragana and katakana) cause I've been looking up words since 2 in the morning.
 
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To try and pick words out of a random sentence from some manga? No. You've already found out that doesn't work.

As you work through a textbook, it will have some word lists. You might find that the answers you want to give to the exercise questions aren't included on those word lists so you can supplement them with your own interests.

Once you've got the basics down, it does make sense to start focusing on the vocabulary that appears in what you want to read (scifi --> words to do with robots. sports manga --> words to do with baseball, etc).
 

Mike Cash

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Unfortunately, being able to recognize some of the characters used to write Japanese and knowing what sounds they represent does not equal being able to READ Japanese. Even after you get a textbook and start learning the language (and not just the characters used to write it....they're two different things), even if you're a very bright student it will take a few YEARS until you are able to READ Japanese.

You can't tackle this by just looking stuff up in dictionaries. That is a frustrating and pointless waste of time and energy.....as you already know. If you expect to be able to read your Japanese comic books in Japanese, you're looking at several hundred hours of studying and learning the language....of which only a small part will be learning the characters used to write the language.

Have you gotten a textbook yet? Do you understand yet that learning the language and learning the characters used to write the language are not the same thing?
 

nice gaijin

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i wouldn't get too caught up in the end goal and timelines, just focus on where you're at and improving incrementally. Learning a new language is a labor of love; you need to love the labor.
 

Mike Cash

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Could you post a photo/scan of the bit in the book you mentioned in the first post, please?
 

leilane

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i think when you're trying to learn any language you need to get familiar with its structure before using the dictionary so often. i have a japanese grammar to help me understand how they buit sentences, 'cause it's really different from portuguese (my native language) and from english or spanish or french (languages i'm already familiar).

learning hiraganas and katakanas is learning the aplphabet. you're learning the sounds, not the ways they can be arranged to make any communicational sense. so, you'll need to understand how things are arranged (verbs, nouns, connectives - in wich place each one goes in general) at the same time you learn the characters. this strategy is working for me.
 
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「何かしてくるかも」

How did you get "rain" from that, I wonder?

The sentence is really simple, just the last bit may not be obvious to a beginner:
何か = something
して = te-form of する, to do
くる = to come
かも = short for かもしれない, "maybe"

So indeed, "He may come (here) to do something".
 
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「何かしてくるかも」

How did you get "rain" from that, I wonder?

The sentence is really simple, just the last bit may not be obvious to a beginner:
何か = something
して = te-form of する, to do
くる = to come
かも = short for かもしれない, "maybe"
Yea, i see what I did wrong I just made it into 2 long words (that was multiple short words) OK, I finally understand understand how the alphabets different from the language....so much wasted time. Thank all you for clarifying that for me AGAIN. I shall go study and stick with smaller things for now.

And yes I do have genki 1 on the way.
 

Mike Cash

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Very glad to hear you have at book on the way. We will do our best to help you as you work your way through it.

I'm still interested in knowing how you got that meaning out of 何かしてくるかも, even if you did break the words up wrong when looking them up. "Rain" is あめ and neither of those characters even appear anywhere in that sentence. What did you do regarding the 何 ?
 
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Very glad to hear you have at book on the way. We will do our best to help you as you work your way through it.

I'm still interested in knowing how you got that meaning out of 何かしてくるかも, even if you did break the words up wrong when looking them up. "Rain" is あめ and neither of those characters even appear anywhere in that sentence. What did you do regarding the 何 ?
Well... i kinda skipped those two character cause I couldn't read the hiragana next to it, it was to small, and I thought that the ka after it was connected so I just skipped those 2 all together...
 

Mike Cash

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Well... i kinda skipped those two character cause I couldn't read the hiragana next to it, it was to small, and I thought that the ka after it was connected so I just skipped those 2 all together...
I understand where you got "come", but I'm still struggling on the "rain" part.
 
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I understand where you got "come", but I'm still struggling on the "rain" part.
Well thats my flaw of not knowing how to use an online dictionary, I went to site called denshi jisho and I clicked sentence tab at the top and entered in tekuru and under the sentences I saw here comes the train (my bad it actually wasnt rain it was train) and it was the first one and I added the other two characters with it and somehow I got that.
 

Mike Cash

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Thanks. It is always fascinating to hear the contortions people go through trying to decode Japanese text.
 
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Certainly, Japanese is a pretty different language and to be fluent enough to read can take quite a lot of time. But the 'amount' of time which it will take to be able to read completely depends on you. It depends on the amount of time you put into learning daily, how much you immerse yourself in Japanese (watching, listening, etc..). But, in my opinion, what affects the most is how you learn it. If you go about learning the Kanji the Japanese way, it might take a LOT of time. And so, I suggest you to not use those methods and learn Kanji using radicals with mnemonics. Trust me, it only took me a month to memorize 2000+ Kanji using this method. You can use WaniKani or KanjiDamage to learn Kanjis that way.
If you don't know what Kanji is: Kanji - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
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「何かしてくるかも」

How did you get "rain" from that, I wonder?

The sentence is really simple, just the last bit may not be obvious to a beginner:
何か = something
して = te-form of する, to do
くる = to come
かも = short for かもしれない, "maybe"

So indeed, "He may come (here) to do something".
Well it's not THAT simple for a complete beginner. Even assuming he knows what the words mean by themselves, して and くる aren't acting as standalone words chained together here. In this case くる is used as an auxiliary verb (話し手の方へ向かって動作が行われ,その話し手の方へ近づく意を表す。 「少年がこっちへ走ってた」 「蜂が飛んでた」) So with zero grammar knowledge, I easily see him misinterpreting that sentence as "he'll do xxx over there/somewhere and THEN probably come here" or something along those lines.

@Jesiah505 At the very least, take a look at Genki or TaeKim's guide before you attempt to decode Kishimoto's ramblings. (I assume that the no longer avalaible link pointed to a Naruto chapter?)
 
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Mike Cash

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Certainly, Japanese is a pretty different language and to be fluent enough to read can take quite a lot of time. But the 'amount' of time which it will take to be able to read completely depends on you. It depends on the amount of time you put into learning daily, how much you immerse yourself in Japanese (watching, listening, etc..). But, in my opinion, what affects the most is how you learn it. If you go about learning the Kanji the Japanese way, it might take a LOT of time. And so, I suggest you to not use those methods and learn Kanji using radicals with mnemonics. Trust me, it only took me a month to memorize 2000+ Kanji using this method. You can use WaniKani or KanjiDamage to learn Kanjis that way.
If you don't know what Kanji is: Kanji - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
So you memorized over 2,000 kanji in a month? That's incredible. You are now able to read Japanese books, I presume? Out loud? And understand what you have read?
 

Uncle Frank

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I've commented on language skills before and I'll repeat. I lived in Japan for 2 years off my Navy base with Japanese friends. I took a college course with several hours on tape and two big text books. I bought over 20 books on Japanese and studied a hour or more a day. By the end of my 2 year stay , I was probably on the level of an 8 year old child. I could speak and read enough to get around , but never got good enough to read a newspaper or follow fast conversation on radio and TV. I don't think of myself as a stupid person , but I found Japanese very difficult to learn in 2 years time.
 
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So you memorized over 2,000 kanji in a month? That's incredible. You are now able to read Japanese books, I presume? Out loud? And understand what you have read?
Yes, yes I can. That was quite a while ago. And someone who only knows kanji and no words can certainly not read a book and understand it. I admit, increasing vocabulary is hard and you need to know a LOT of words to read without stopping. I'm not saying someone who hasn't heard much or wasn't in touch with the Japanese language can be able to read in a month. Even though I've learnt 2000+ kanji in a month, I had been watching and listening to Japanese music, drama and anime with subs for more than one and a half year before starting to seriously learn the language which helped me a lot with common words and the grammar. Learning lots of kanji in a short amount of time is not impossible if someone has the determination and time. At first I spent 1 hour everyday in kanji which kept on increasing as I learnt more and had to review more. At the end I had to spend more than 2 hours everyday and I still review. So, yes, I'm not saying you can be in really good in Japanese really quick but at least you can clear the first big step quick so that you understand more stuff which leads to much faster learning.
 

Mike Cash

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I'm talking about picking up any random Japanese novel....no pictures, no furigana...and being able to read it aloud., correctly. You were able to do that after learning over 2000 kanji and their on/kun readings in one month?

I find that very hard to believe.
 
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Woah, mate. Like I said, "someone who only knows kanji and no words can certainly not read a book and understand it.". I didn't say I finished learning 2000 kanji and read a book right after, now did I?
I was saying learning 2000 kanjis in one month is possible. I never said anything about reading a book perfectly in one month. I can read a book without furigana and pictures and understand it but I couldn't when I just finished learning kanji. I mean you need to have proper grasp of grammar and know a lot of words to do that. I still need to look up some words now and then but I can very much read aloud correctly most of the time now. And that's not after just 1 month of Japanese.
 

nice gaijin

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@Shiota, What does it mean to you to "learn" kanji? Recognize its radicals? Identify its meaning(s)? Know the onyomi and kunyomi, and know which one is called for given the context? Know how to write it and the correct stroke order?

How familiar with Japanese were you when you started studying kanji? Were you already familiar with Chinese characters because of other languages you knew, or were you a monoglot English speaker?

I'm wondering what systematic approach allows one to study and absorb 2,000 kanji within one month at a rate of 1-2 hours of study per day, without some prior exposure. Surely you can understand the incredulous nature of your claim...
 
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