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Learning Japanese... Techniques


11 Jul 2002
Hello, I'm new to this forum (this is my first post). I was wondering if somebody could please tell me their techniques for learning Japanese? I'm currently going to my 3rd year of Japanese and I'm going to have to memorize tons of kanji, grammar, honorifics, and stuff like that. Even moreso than before. Can someone please tell me some techniques they use to study kanji/memorize words? It's going to be hell if I don't have a system for learning this stuff. Thank you. 😌
Try to watch tons of movies, listen to music, make japanese friends to conversate with or write letters to them, plaster your walls with kanji...
that's what i do. i think it works quite well
do anything that will help you remember it and then use it as much as possible...mnuemonics are excellent...for the remembering part.

Like nuk said...find as many was as possible to use it.
how to learn Japanese

Hi,I am Miyuki.I also new here.
I am a native Japanese and I learned how to teach Japanese
to foreign people.
The way I learned is 'Image lesson.'
We use picture cards or things around us.
And repeat their names in Japanese in three minutes.
(They say 'in three minutes' is important for you
not to translate them in your mother tongue.)
When you remember these names in Japanese,make short sentenses
with them,for example,'--ga arimasu(arimasu is used when a subject is thing.)'
'--ga imasu(imasu is used when it is a living thing).''--no
shita ni --ga arimasu(imasu)'etc.,
If you will live in Japan,please ask others,'Kore wa nan desuka?'(what is this?)
or 'Are wa nan desuka?(what is that?)'
They may answer you in Japanese and you will learn new words.
And many Japanese words can devide into many categories,thing,living thing,man,woman,older,younger...etc.,
We use different words (verb etc.,) each of them.
So if you divide them into each categories,you may notice such differences. Miyuki
P.S.I am very glad if you tell me my English mistakes.^^😊
Hi there
mavurik and Miyuki, welcome to the forum. I hope you have fun, and please feel free to post any questions or queries you might have. The members here are accommodating (as you have noticed, lol) 🙂 and will assist you whenever possible,🙂
Thanks for the help everyone!

Thanks for helping me! I'm reading this guide published by Barron's called Japanese Grammar right now. I got it a long time ago but never read it. It makes Japanese grammar so easy to understand. I think my problem is mainly in vocabulary. I don't have a big vocabulary and I need to find better ways to memorize kanji than just writing it down a million times (I forget after a while if I do that). But anyways, thanks!

learning Japanese

One of the interesting ways of increasing Japanese vocabulary and also improving on the Kanji, which I follow is to read the Japanese proverbs and also translate the proverbs from one's native tongue into Japanese. Try to translate " half a loaf is better than no loaf", "sky is the limit" etc. 👍 👍
Hi and welcome mssvasan, that's quite a good tip, I must try that myself, as yet I haven't been able to speak a single word!!, but I'm learning to greet people, and recognise (excuse the spelling, its always been like that, lol)words such as otanjoubi omedetou "happy birthday" ect, so I'm trying 🙂
The pace of your learning will be directly proportional to the effort you put in and ofcourse the obssession with which you pursue.
Another tip I can give you is to learn the yo-jijukugou (4 kanjis
words without any intervening kana) e.g. zen dai mi mon

Originally posted by mssvasan
The pace of your learning will be directly proportional to the effort you put in and ofcourse the obssession with which you pursue.
Another tip I can give you is to learn the yo-jijukugou (4 kanjis
words without any intervening kana) e.g. zen dai mi mon

What? I don't get that. I never heard of yo-jijukugou. Can you explain this a little more?

Originally posted by mssvasan
You will find about adozen of them in the following site

Thanks, I'll check there later today.
I did japanese in primary school and high school ^_^
Although I quit the subject at the end of year 10 I still remember bits and pieces. I also constantly listen to japanese music and try to watch japanese dramas when I see them. Music is a good way to learn. Kanji is pretty hard I think (well the hard bit for me is the what the kanji represents not the actual word itself). I'm chinese and kanji is just chinese (traditional script). And Miyuki-san, you have very very good english. I wish my japanese was that good.
Hi kaori
It is amazing being Chinese you find Kanji difficult. Kanji itself means chinese(kan) character(ji).
Kanji can be improved by extensive reading and practicing.
The first 500 kanjis used in yonkyuu/sankyuu level may not present much difficulty. As i have written earlier reading proverbs
and translating proverbs from native tongue will go a long way in
improving vocabulary and kanji . mssvasan
I'm having a hard time learning English! I envy thou that speak English fluently!! If you need help asking phrases in Japanese, I can help!!

Thank you,Kaori-san,

When I was a high school student,to memorize kanji,I also wrote them thouthands of times. :D

I found kanji books called 'kanji ga tanoshiku naru hon' series (6 text books and 2 work books) published by 'Taro Jiro Sya'(5-32-7 Hongo,Bunkyo-ku,Tokyo (03)3815-0605).
Only they may be for beginners...it says you'll learn about 300 or 400 kanji till 10 years old.Every kanji consist of 190 of 'busyu(parts of kanji)' and 288 sound marks. So when you'll learn each elements,you will learn new kanji easily.....
I hope this information will be useful for someone here.
はい たはらさん 、もちろん 英語 は 上手 です。日本語で書いて、読んで
欲しい。お手伝って下さい.(Pardon my Japanese Do not
hesitate to correct me)。お 返事 下さい 待って います。
Miyuki-san: I still think think it's amazing that your english is so great ^^.....I doubt my japanese will EVER get to that level ^^;

mssvasan: I think a lot of people find kanji difficult. I find it difficult because I left China when I was only 6. I never really learnt any kanji before I left and I have been living in Australia for 10 years.

I know about 1400 kanji but I don't think I can remember every single one of them. I learnt them but I don't think I'd be able to read an article with all of them in it XD (not that there would be one).
Originally posted by mssvasan
The pace of your learning will be directly proportional to the effort you put in and ofcourse the obssession with which you pursue.
Another tip I can give you is to learn the yo-jijukugou (4 kanjis
words without any intervening kana) e.g. zen dai mi mon

hi there, i stumbled onto this site while searching for japanese words in animated gif form...

the smilies here are really cute too.

what is 'yo-jijukugou' and how does it help?

i tried learning Japanese on my own a few years ago, but can only remember a smattering of phrases.. didnt get to learning how to write.

i am now also learning how to speak korean... what i do is i record the phrases onto an MD and listen to them on the way to work while im on the bus.
all new members -- yoroshiku.

hmmm ... I've stopped actively studying kanji a few years back ... hehe .. like 9 years ago but ...

Japanese Kanji should be slightly difficult for Chinese. Not that difficult since they have a slight edge over the Koreans. Japanese Kanji are I think at least 100 years older compared to what Modern Chinese Characters are today. Also, Chinese doesn't use singular characters while Japanese and Korean will do. Anybody, finds a mistake above please correct me. Of course, a few meanings are different too like the characters for letter (the one you send by mail) means toilet paper in Chinese.

study technique.

Study outside of Japan is pretty difficult. But if you sing karaoke you still have a chance to practice. I used to study Kanji just for karaoke. Of course, you learn a bunch of useless words at times but still ... if that's what it takes, that's more than enough.

Also, I used to read signs around me everyday. Even though my character count was quite low at the time, I still made up readings for what I read and over time I started correcting my mistakes and remembering of the characters was so much easier. Idle time was being used so to say.

Another technique my friend used was to make a notebook of all the characters he thought he needed to know. The criteria was if he saw the same character more than 3x in certain amount of time he figured that/those character(s) must be important. So he would pull his car over, stop riding his bike and wrote the kanji in his scratch pad. Later at home he would re-write the characters, look them up, write a few character combinations (this is pretty key here) using the characters. And then he would spend a few minutes everyday jsut reading through his notebook, skipping over ones he knew and slowing down on ones that didn't come to mind quick enough. He didn't really learn how to write but his character count and reading was quite amazing. Also, today with computers those who still can write 4,000 + characters are dissappearing so don't worry too much about that.

What miyuki mention also helps with learning vocabulary in general. I used to talk to myself in Japanese, "ima ha nanji desuka? ima ha yo ji nijusan pun desu ... waaaaa .... shigoto ni ikanakya!!!" What time is it now? It's now 4:23 .... ugh ... I have to go work!!"

have fun

I'll try talking to myself in Japanese (in my head of course when I'm in public, haha). I also need to start asking more questions when I don't understand grammar and things like that. I find that watching anime/Japanese shows helps because you can notice the grammar at least if you don't know the words. Then I start to remember phrases that are repeated over and over.
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