I've decided I need to stretch my brain in a new direction. I have no real talent for languages so I figure I'll give that a whirl and see how it works out I chose Japanese because it opens up some interesting career options and I've been fascinated with the culture since my parents hosted some foreign exchange students when I was a kid.
I'm looking for advice on the best way to approach this. I've done a bit of shopping on Amazon for books and software, and I live in a medium-sized city so taking classes at a university or community college is also an option, but I'm at a loss as to how to proceed. Since the Safehouse truly knows more than Google, I figure somebody has to have gone through this at some point and might be willing to provide some insight. Thanks in advance!
Community colleges are a beautiful thing. The best way, for me at least, to stick to something is to make a commitment for a while. It's a lot harder to drop classes than it is to not pick up a book. Also, most Japanese teachers in my experience tend to be native speakers of the language, which is certainly helpful. And if you're into anime and such, you can meet lots of crazy otaku.
(Otaku - We're like drunks, except less inhibited.)
Community college is better than an adult ed class or language school class, that's for sure. It's much much cheaper than the language school, and more strenuous than an adult ed class. You pressure yourself to study to get a decent grade and not be an idiot working with the people you partner up with for exercises in class.
I wanted to learn Japanese once, till I told a friend of mine and he gave me some very sage advice. "Once you get out of the latin and germanic languages, everything changes". Meaning you have to learn a whole new alphabet, completely diffrent ways to move your mouth and so on, especially with slovic and languages from Asia. I had a hard enough time with Italian and Spanish(Languages just arent my thing), so Ive given up the dream for now.
So Good Luck! I hope you get it, may take you time just be persistant . Farnyr Shrubhugger
"...dang trees ....stupid rocks..."
I think the key to learning and retaining any foreign language is to make sure you practice a lot. You need to find someone who speaks Japanese who will converse with you on a regular basis.
Make sure you have a good grasp of the basic grammar and build up a good vocabulary - you can talk about a lot of stuff if you know a lot of words - makes for better conversations.
When I was in AP Spanish, I'd watch this Spanish talk show and try to figure out what was going on. It forced me to learn how to translate things really quickly. Might want to watch anime without subtitles or something.
First place to start is to begin memorizing the hiragana and katakana charts. You don't really need any special texts to do this, there are many online charts, but if you want one, "Remembering the Kana" by James Heisig is a good one.
For self study of speaking and listening to Japanese, use the Pimsleur Comprehensive audio lessons. They are rather expensive, but well worth it by all accounts. I've had Comprehensive Japanese I for a while but barely had time to commit to it... maybe the first 5 or 6 lessons in the last 2 months. I started using it on the recommendation of several other people I'd met who learned Japanese on their own.
For learning kanji (the adopted chinese symbols used in written japanese) "Remembering the Kanji" also by James Heisig comes highly recommended.
La piu bella cosa di sapere altre lingue e' il fatto che poi avere lavoro in altri posti. Io posso parlare inglese, itailiano e' posso legere la lingua spagnola. Quando la econimia degli stati uniti va giu io posso sempre andare a lavorare in italia. Inuur Darkpoker
Legion of Ragnarok
Vous pouvez apprendre un autre langue, particulièrement quand vous ne pouvez pas avoir confiance en le logiciel de traduction
Edit: Translation - You can* learn another language, particularly when you don't have any confidence in translation software. (* couldn't remember how to say 'should', heh) (Back In Black)
Delissandra Splitshadow - Marauder of Clan X
Grandmaster Poisoner (250), Master Potter (195), Grandmaster Lush (200)
I picked up Pimsleurs language learning CD's and I have to say that they really do help out quite a bit, the down side is that they are fairly expensive. There is a inexpensive trial version called instant conversaion that can let you check it out. The other down side of this is that it only teaches you how to speak and not how to read and write so you would have have pick up some extra stuff to complement it. All in all I would mix in the Pimsleurs stuff with other study and it should do you fiarly well.
Deceiver of The Company, Bertoxx.
I'd definitely go to the community college and supplement your learning with outside curriculum if you feel you're good to learn more. I've purchased "Instant Immersion Japanese Deluxe" but I haven't had a chance to use it yet, so I cannot tell you how good or bad it is. Another thing I enjoyed yet doesn't really teach you anything other than a few basic phrases was reading "Shogun". The only reason I mention that is for some reason reading the book and putting the phrases in context really helped me to put them solidly in my memory.
There are numerous sites on the internet which also help. Here are a few games I enjoy and help you to learn:
Matching Hiragana and Katakana
Kanji game as well as two others
One of these is different than the other... lalalala
I was very lucky to go to a high school that had a VERY good Japanese course so I dumped boring Spanish and took Japanese. I learn it so much faster and it's a hell of a lot more entertaining and satisfying.
IMO, Japanese is a very logical language. There aren't large numbers of exceptions to rules and basically, once you learn hiragana phonetics, you can piece together almost any word. So, like notwen said, learning the hiragana and katakana are definitely where you should start. I haven't gotten to my Kanji yet, but I know that they don't follow the same rules as hiragana and katakana, so don't attempt them until you've got a good grasp on the language. Good luck to ya. Edited by: Pedric Cuf at: 3/9/04 4:57 pm
Cuando yo sacaba clases de espanol para seis anos, tuve mucho talento. Aunque ahora mi vocabulario es mucho mas pequeno, puedo escriber y leer espanol sin dificultad excesivo. Entiendo las voces de los ninos pero hombres y mujeres hablan rapidamente.