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Best way to learn Vocabulary?

Kimil

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K, I've just Sarted trying to learn, I've memorized the Kana symbols in Hiragana from A-to-To, and I've memorized about 50 words... Most Particle Usagages, and basic Gramar... I think I've got all that learned anyway. Also I can Pronouce fairly well, but not that fast (Francais and Nihongo have similar Pronouciations).

But I'm Having trouble memorizing words, like I know basics like:

Otoko - Man
Onna - Woman
Watashi -I
Anata -you
onna-no-ko - Girl
Kodomo - Child
Ichi - one
Ni - two
hon - book
uma - horse
about 15 more, and a few verbs and adjectives.

I can't seem to make the words stick... How do you guys do it?
 

GaijinPunch

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Without a doubt, the best way as a beginner is flash cards. Study them every day, and the words will stick. I'm also a firm believer in ditching the romaji from day one, so I'd suggest writing the cards in hiragana/katakana.

Once you get some vocab pat, reading sentences and short paragraphs will also help.
 

lexico

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Are you in a Japanese class?
I used to have a hard time with Japanese words having so ma~ny syllables which twisted my tongue all the time.
But from my long habit of acquiring foreign languages, I would have to agree with GaijinPunch that nothing beats FLASH CARDs when building a huge vocabulary in a short time.

You can gradually increase you access speed by self testing using the flash cards in different combinations.

Combine that with language use. You have to use it in a real situation, such as talking to a native speaker possibly on Skype, or composing sentences unassisted. Once you've used it, it rarely goes away. When you can't access it in a real setting, just go back to the flash cards.
 

ax

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I mostly use associative technique. Try to associate the new word in the new language with something that you already know in the languages that you know.
If you read my other thread. I have associated dame in Japanese with damage in English. Using this technique you will be able to remember a lot of vocabulary by yourself. You create the association by yourself or learn it from others.

As for Kanji learning. My technique is always divide and rule! Breakdown your Kanji into pieces as you breakdown H2O into its basic elements of Hydrogen and Oxygen. Kanji is like chemistry, once you master the element, you can create your own chemical compounds.

ax
 

Buntaro

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Kimil,

Do you have a study partner? The best way to remember a new word is to use it in a question, and ask the question to someone. That way you get to use it in the real world right away. It works for me!
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
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The way I did it was to just substitute Japanese words into English speech and/or thoughts.

For example:

I took my inu for a sanpo kinou. (I took my dog for a walk yesterday)
My tomodachi gave me a hon. (My friend gave me a book)
This hon is too muzukashii to yomu. (This book is too hard to read)

Like that.

It sounds extremely ridiculous, but it can be a very effective way of getting vocabulary to stick in your mind. If you do it enough, the Japanese word becomes just another synonym and it is easy to recall when you try to make Japanese sentences.

For verbs, if you know the conjugation, use it. If you don't, just drop in the plain dictionary form of the verb and use English (or your native language) endings.

Example:

I tabeta lunch with him. (I ate lunch with him)
or
I taberu'ed lunch with him (I ate lunch with him)

Silly, but it works very well. And it eliminates half the effort of creating Japanese sentences when you try to speak to people later. All you have to concentrate on is the Japanese grammar. You won't have to try to recall Japanese vocabulary or "translate" vocubulary in your head while making sentences.
 

PaulTB

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I recommend readers.

That is text books, and books specifically for reading practice, which have sections of text and relevant vocabulary list given afterwards - or at the back of the book.

An important point is that such books should not put words in the vocabulary lists /twice/. e.g. if you've come across 'わたし' in the first one then you should darn well have to remember it when you come across it in later ones. :p

Also as the reading texts get harder typically 'easy' vocabulary won't be listed even if it hasn't been used before on the basis that it's stuff you /should/ know by that point.

That sort of thing encourages you to remember vocabulary rather than having it spoon fed the whole time. Combine that with re-reading the texts without looking at the vocabulary list and you should get the words covered down pretty well.

Of course all of the suggestions given depend on YOU first and foremost. I like reading, always have liked reading, and have read vast amounts of English books in my time. So it's only natural that reading would work well for me when learning Japanese. What works best for you will depend on your personality, habits and lifestyle.
 

Trojan1313

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I'd recomend the use of audio files if you have them. Each time I start a new chapter in Genki I start the vocabulary audio file and repeat it for an hour or so, and then I almost got half of the vocabulary when I do the glossary test (self-study, the glossary test is just another stage in learning the words).

That's my favourite technique. ^^ Allthough you need the audio files first...

Allthough I've never really tried flash cards... it seems to be quite clumsy having like 50 cards when I can just repeat after the audio file. :p
 

GaijinPunch

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The way I did it was to just substitute Japanese words into English speech and/or thoughts.

You sure this isn't just b/c you lived in Japan? I mean... if my friends from the US eavesdropped on a conversation I have w/ my gaijin friends from Japan they would surely be lost.

Anyways, not a bad idea... but I've found it tends to form bad habits. That's just me though.
 

Mike Cash

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GaijinPunch said:
You sure this isn't just b/c you lived in Japan? I mean... if my friends from the US eavesdropped on a conversation I have w/ my gaijin friends from Japan they would surely be lost.

Anyways, not a bad idea... but I've found it tends to form bad habits. That's just me though.

I did it in the U.S. too, but only with my wife. But notice that I also mentioned "thoughts". You don't have to do it out loud for it to be effective.

I found it to be a good way to ramp up vocabulary while still in the very very early stages of Japanese study, when lack of grammar knowledge meant that I couldn't have put together any sort of useful Japanese sentence if my life depended on it....even had I had the vocabulary.
 
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