Self-Taught Japanese Language Learning

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Self-taught Japanese Language Learning

I’ve currently been underway with Japanese language studies for a year or so, taking much time to learn it on my own. Personally, I think language learning is more fun if you shoot for it solo, at least at first. But where am I now?

Much trials and tribulations I have endured these months from then, that day I decided to pursue the Nihongo Ga. Since, I have learned what works and what does not. This article is a makeshift attempt at organizing the resources and websites that have best kept me on track and influences the most growth in my struggle to adopt this Eastern tongue.




Software Solutions

Firstly, I do use Rosetta Stone Japanese 1-3 on a regular basis. Often I will put headphones on just to reteach myself proper pronunciation against voiced tracks and matching cycles throughout the software. Overall, it has been tremendously helpful. But I would advise those who desire to take the most benefit from this solution to first take a firm grasp of Hiragana and numerous Kanji along with some Katakana. The reason for this preliminary learning is to take Rosetta Stone out of Romaji, or Western textualization of Japanese syllabaries and Kanji characters. Take the challenge in knowing some images and shapes and testing yourself against basic words and phrases rather than plunge straight in with the Romaji. That is rather pointless as you will likely never use Romaji.

Another software solution that I would put money on getting you to quickly and easily absorb the language is Human Japanese. It is a very intuitively designed blog/application/extension of a resource that guides you with bite sized lessons that build off of other smaller materials learned early on, http://www.humanjapanese.com/home.html.


Blogs & Podcasts

Also, I am a huge fan of the AJATT method, that is All Japanese All The Time, a phrase I came to know quite well from khatzumoto’s blog with the same name, http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/. He taught himself how to speak, read, and write in Japanese by immersing himself with Japanese. From films and tv shows to newspapers and books, he spent all his time trying to absorb as much Japanese as he could, even if he wasn’t consciously forcing himself to retain or focus. So long as source materials, such as podcasts or animes playing in the background, were allowed to play aloud for him to passively consume his brain would work Japanese into his learner’s bank. If you have time to check it out, go to his website and give it a shout. I have definitely not spent all my time with japanese, but the habit of making more Japanese readily available to myself has caught on.

Pentecost
WadeB / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

For example, I use Pimsleurs’ “Learn to Speak Japanese 1-3” podcast system, http://www.pimsleur.com/Learn-Japanese, to listen to lessons while I sleep. The idea is for me to absorb tidbits of lesson material and phrases while I snooze so that I can hopefully apply lessons to consciously aware moments when I’m not asleep. The speakers are very clear in enunciating different words, phrases, and general Kanji symbols aloud. I enjoy the company of their products while I have time to listen, and, it is safe to say, they listening has definitely improved my overall retention of Japanese Language Information.

Then, I also subscribe to JapanesePod101, http://www.japanesepod101.com/, so that I may listen to varying lessons over culture, news, and miscellaneous material related to Japanese learning. I also am excited to share that this resource is very flexible, as it forces me to think more critically on translating phraseology and learn more on Japan, its various destinations, and peoples.  Good stuff overall.

Definitely take your mouse clicks over to Koichi and pals at his Japanese language learning websites Tofugu, to learn about current news, http://www.tofugu.com/, events, and blog; Textfugu, a unique blog like website that was designed with careful attention to detail, time, and your wallet, http://www.textfugu.com/; and Wanikani, another blog like beast formed to use mnemonic techniques attached to sometimes hard to learn Kanji characters and phrases for easy retention, http://www.wanikani.com/. It is not a rote memorization site.

What else? Oh there is Anki, a website designed to make easy flashcards out of lesson materials, https://ankiweb.net/shared/decks/japanese.

I frequent the blog Gaijinpot to learn about culure, news, and marketing strategies in the land of the rising sun, http://www.gaijinpot.com/.

Video & YouTube

In terms of vlogs, I will simply provide this list with their subsequent homepage video links:

In the form of  paper resources there are a lot, but I will create a list as well:

  • Remembering  the Kanji by James W. Heisig

  • Situational Functional Japanese by Bonjinsha Co., LTD. Volumes 1-3

  • Genki 1-2

  • Let’s Learn Hiragana by Yasuko Kosaka Mitamura

  • Let’s Learn Katakana by Yasuko Kosaka Mitamura

  • Tuttle’s Beginning Japanese by Michael L Kluemper, Lisa Berkson, Nathan Patton, & Nobuko Patton

  • Tuttle’s Intermediate Japanese by Michael L Kluemper, Lisa Berkson, Nathan Patton, & Nobuko Patton

  • Random House’s Japanese-English/English-Japanese Dictionary

Besides those above, I’m sure I’ve used many more materials. If & when I do recollect those forgotten ones, I will add them for your potential perusing. I find the language very engaging. Like English, it is capable of stretching out with incredible detail and dexterity, conforming to a writer’s or speaker’s every articulate whim. I like that, and, as you know, I am an avid cinephile, a fan of the Asian persuasion. Sorry, horrible joke. But really,

I take great pride that I’ve gotten this far. If you are interested in learning this language too, drop a comment below letting us know when you started or will start your Nihongo Ga journey and where you currently stand in the language in terms of lesson materials. Sayonara.

Google Translate says that’s good bye. Phew, I thought so.