teaching yourself to speak japanese

Discussion in 'Japan' started by moonshyne, May 16, 2007.

  1. senseikodan

    senseikodan Guest

    Save up!!


    i always wanted to learn thai
  3. Black_Lotus

    Black_Lotus Member

    I was studying Japanese, I was obsessed with it. But I've been bad recently. I really need to get back into it, but i just find it so hard. But I can form lots of sentences and write in hiragana perfectly. I know a little bit of katakana. And little to none kanji. Do you have an iPod? iPhone? Check out the app istart Japanese. It is the greatest learning tool I've ever seen.

    Also check out the show and website erin ga chosen nihingo dekimasu. It is very helpful. But I got past that and don't know where to go. And I just can't get myself to study. Writing a lot in hiragana and katakana help a ton tho, that's how I perfected it
  4. Mountain Valley Wolf

    Mountain Valley Wolf Senior Member

    Years ago when I was a student in Japan, a friend of mine told me to read the Doraemon manga (draemon). I thought it was a stupid idea, and wasn't very interested in reading childrens comics (this was the early 1980's before anime became so popular here in the West). One day I happened to be visiting him and picked up one of his comic books. I discovered that the Japanese was fairly easy to understand (its written for kids after all). But you have to be able to read hiragana and katakana. So I sat and read it for a while and found the stories to be pretty good---kind of the Charlie Brown level but less naive. Doraemon deals more blatantly with some of the negative personas you find in life, and the folly of greed is more pronounced than with Peanuts. Anyway---it was a great way to learn Japanese and I ended up buying each of the books that the author produced. And you will get a lot of exposure to Japanese as its used between friends instead of the polite form that classes and textbooks tend to stick with.

    As far as accent goes----a trick they used to teach us was to try to speak without moving your lips. When I lived in Osaka, the US consulate spoke very good Japanese, but his accent was so horrible that I even hated to hear him speak. I did not want to sound like him. So I imitated how people spoke and did everything I could to get the accent down. Late one winter night after living there for several years, a guy came up to me and asked if I knew how to get to the station, I had a coat with a hood on it, and I told him that I was heading there myself and asked him if he'd like to walk with me. We talked on the way about the weather and other stuff, when suddenly we walked under a light and he happened to look at me. He was shocked that I was a foreigner and suddenly said, "Ah! Ah! Engurishu no!" And ran off to ask someone else how to get to the station. But the thing is, for a good 10 minutes of walking and talking, he never thought I was a foreigner till that moment.

    When I moved to Tokyo, people used to tease me about my Osaka accent. I used standard Japanese, but my accent was decidedly from Kansai. I know that they preferred that I would speak like a Tokyo Japanese, but I took that as a compliment. Of course, if I got into an argument, I learned that by switching to Osaka dialect (not just the accent), people would be not only surprised but quickly back down.

    But my advice, if you are trying to learn on your own----learn Hiragana and katakana and then get a hold of some doraemon or some other manga books----especially if they are geared towards children. The Japanese will be basic, and not too idiomatic or filled with slang.

    Also try to learn the kanji---you'll pick up Japanese a lot quicker the more kanji you know. The kanji as you know are picture-based---they are symbolic----and therefore sometimes provide a subconscious trick to picking up the language. There are countless words that I never looked up, or was never taught, but I automatically understood, and quickly learned them because of the kanji. Imagine my excitement when, knowing only a few hundred kanji, if that much, I picked up a Japanese newspaper and realized I could read articles about a car accident, or a murder, or a fire. I was reading words I didn't even know but because of the context, and the kanji, I understood without even thinking about it.

    Pay attention to the radicals---often times the meaning of kanji is pictorially based on the radical and what it is combined with. So by understanding the radicals, kanji will not seem quite so random and mysterious. And fiddle around with a kanji dictionary. You will learn to recognize characters even before you learn how to read them. Then when you get to actually learning that character--you've already got the meaning down.
  5. Pengu

    Pengu Members

    I'm currently teaching myself Japanese too.

    I'm using HJ Lite and Kana to help with my Japanese. They are both free apps you can download of your device.
    Honestly, they make a HUGE difference.
    They both help with reading and writing but, if you had to choose one, I could go for HJ Lite for sure. It teaches you a LOT more :)

    Hope this helps.
  6. Pengu

    Pengu Members

    Oh, and you wont really pick up from Anime or Manga till after you've learnt a little more Japanese.
    It definitely isn't the same for real life convo tho.
  7. Watching Anime may help you pick up some basic words or phrases, but often in Anime, they will use slang and that will throw off beginners. Also they talk way to fast for a beginner to fully comprehend. This is all according to my professor. This is my first semester learning Japanese at my college. I plan on being an english teacher in Japan eventually! Good luck to all of you!
  8. I can speak it but cannot read or write it to save my life. I can recognize a few kanji words but reading hiragana I struggle like a 6 year old trying to sound out a word like "hippopotamus "

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