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How to learn Japanese fast???


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Yo. I see you asked me how I learned in a different thread. I'll reply here instead.

Personally, I studied by myself using the internet and VNs for about a year and half, then enrolled at a university to take actual language classes. Self study is a it faster in some areas, but you learn a hell of a lot more from classes. Classes also eliminate the chances of you learning something incorrectly, assuming you have native professors. Overall, I'd say finding a school/ uni with language classes is the best way, but assuming you either cannot do that or do not want to, I'll cover self study below:

 

Anyways, if you are learning Japanese to read VNs, then kanji is not your #1 priority. Hell, you don't even need them much at all. Use text hooking tools to extract the text and display furigana above them. Kanji is just a big hurdle that delays the time it takes to learn, and with text hookers being a thing, you do not need them much if the only thing you are learning for is VNs.
The focus of your studying should be grammar and vocabulary. Cram grammar like a madman and try using your knowledge practically as fast as possible, for example through reading simple VNs, watching unsubbed anime etc. Do not be afraid of trying out your knowledge early. The worst case scenario is that you don't get much, and the reading process is slow. I think most people get scared of giving Japanese media a shot early, and end up delaying it for too long. Actually reading the source language next to your studies is one of the best ways to imrpove.

 

As for what resources to use, I personally recommend the Genki books as a starting point. They are a very good introduction to a bit of evertyhing, covering lots of important grammar, helpful vocabulary and more. Try doing a chapter or two a week. This will let you blow through the books decently fast, and you will constantly find yourself with new grammar and vocab to study + assignments to use them practically. It also has a CD you can listen to with the correct answers, so proof checking your own work is easier.
If you do not want to spend money, then Tae Kim's guide + free general resources found online is the next best thing. (When learning on your own using the internet, make sure you double check anything you learn. So, check other sources to see that what you are learning is indeed correct, as some sites might be a bit.... well, less than official.)

Anyways, the most important part to this is you being motivated to actually put in the hours to learn. Learning a language takes a lot of investment, but if you are motiavted, getting there shouldn't be that hard.
Best of luck.

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If you have the time, find a good community college and sign up for courses.  That's what I did.  Try to find one that uses native speakers.  You'll have to do homework, which is annoying.  But if you have a small class and a good teacher, you'll get a lot out of it.  And it will be way cheaper than paying for private lessons (which you can do, but I don't recommend unless you have a lot more money to throw around than I do).

In between that, and having been learning kana for awhile, and picking up bits from anime over the years, I did okay.  Not great, but okay.  It wasn't the fastest way to go, but it was easy enough that I could make it work for me.  Trying to go all in works for some people; not for me.

Edited by Nandemonai
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As someone who is doing selfstuding for the purpose of reading Japanese I can advise you this much from my personal experience:

  1. Learn grammar ASAP. Basic grammar is very important. From my experience, in terms of importance of importance I would give it 2nd place (after hiragana and katakana). You can always search for words or kanji, but knowing grammar makes your reading that much easier. For grammar I can recommend Tae Kim's guide mentioned above or a book Japanese the Manga Way.
  2. It is very important to actually read. This will help A LOT. It will help to improve vocabulary, how to apply grammar, structure of sentences etc.

 

For further information I recommend you this:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ZMvUMwWe1JwwCDr3KTHrqmf3ridrI8A-AZue3TxGMX0/pub

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On 3/17/2017 at 4:19 AM, Light Darkx said:

Thanks everyone for their reply.

I'll try out your techniques.

BTW I have Genki (with the audio CD's).

For genki, you don't have to do the exercises, focus instead on the grammar items (go through them and review them a week later, a month later). Though it is important to practice conjugation lots so you can internalize the conjugations. (Don't have to memorize the kanji, but copy out the words. For the stuff that you handwrite, it's good to look up stroke order, but other than that stroke order's not going to really matter to you since it's mostly only relevant when writing by hand.). 

Just about any J-E dictionary is fine. Most of them provide the stroke order for kanji, which is useful. If you haven't already, go and add Japanese IME (Japanese keyboard input) to your computer.
http://www.edrdg.org/cgi-bin/wwwjdic/wwwjdic?1C
http://jisho.org/

https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/kanji-stroke-order/ Also here are stroke order guidelines you can refer to later. Will make remembering a lot easier, since the majority of radicals (and thus kanji) follow these conventions. 

Edited by Chronopolis
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The exercises serve a purpose.  People learn by repetition.  That's why in grade school, you covered the same basic material in Math and English class year after year.  Sure, it got a little harder and more advanced every year, but the main thing was to drill the subjects into your head by sheer repetition.  I would not recommend skipping the exercises, or you'll have a harder time remembering how all the grammar items work.

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5 hours ago, Nandemonai said:

The exercises serve a purpose.  People learn by repetition.  That's why in grade school, you covered the same basic material in Math and English class year after year.  Sure, it got a little harder and more advanced every year, but the main thing was to drill the subjects into your head by sheer repetition.  I would not recommend skipping the exercises, or you'll have a harder time remembering how all the grammar items work.

Fair enough. Personally when I studied genki I just poured my attention to the grammar items. Sometimes I'd write out some of the usages, but that was only for the stuff that I had trouble remembering. You can review the grammar points through multiple passes through the book (like chapter 1-2-3, then chapter 1-2, 3, 4, 5,-6, then 1-9, then the whole book, and then when you get to VN reading, if you come upon a grammar you think you remember, you can look in up in the textbook. Seeing the grammar in context, and looking it up when you can apply it right after is good reinforcement.

Edited by Chronopolis
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TBH learning a new language is a sensitive topic IMO. What you did won't really work for other people, and it falls in line the aspect of talent as well. I am taking a pre-university course for studying abroad in Japan right now. The amount of homework we are having are tremendous. But the teachers are doing a hell of a job so i could improve very well. Sometimes a good teacher is really needed IMO. 

Do not rush through the Kanji, what I am still doing is, 10 Kanji per day. Look it up online like N5/N4 kanji or something they should show a long list of it. Study 10 per day, know their Onyomi (China's origin pronunciation) and Kunyomi (Japan localized pronunciation), most of the time they have totally different meanings whenever you change their pronunciation. If you have spare time, try and look for example sentences, write and read a few times, that should be fine. 

Another factor that affect your learning speed is application and speaking, I have the environment to make me speak Japanese that's why I can improve such drastically. It's almost 1 year of my course yet I'm close to finishing N3. My advantages of being a Chinese of helps a lot since I can understand most of the structure of the kanji and meaning too. Watching anime HELPS, more than what you can imagine.

Grammar is important too. I recommend buying a book and study if you are studying alone. Why say so because the exercises are important. Merely understanding the grammar aren't enough, understand it, apply it to the exercises, and then make YOUR own sentences with that grammar. Whenever you are free, let's say you are waiting for bus, go look around, find some scenario you can apply your newly learned grammar and make sentences around it. Another setback of studying alone is, you don't have someone to correct your grammar for you, which is sometimes a HUGE pain too. But unless you are aiming for studying abroad in Japan like me I don't think that matter much. No offense though.

As I said, everything above is my opinions and it might not work for you. Just take it as a piece of advice from random stranger. Sorry of reviving the post though.

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4 hours ago, Kuroneko-san said:

TBH learning a new language is a sensitive topic IMO. What you did won't really work for other people, and it falls in line the aspect of talent as well. I am taking a pre-university course for studying abroad in Japan right now. The amount of homework we are having are tremendous. But the teachers are doing a hell of a job so i could improve very well. Sometimes a good teacher is really needed IMO. 

Do not rush through the Kanji, what I am still doing is, 10 Kanji per day. Look it up online like N5/N4 kanji or something they should show a long list of it. Study 10 per day, know their Onyomi (China's origin pronunciation) and Kunyomi (Japan localized pronunciation), most of the time they have totally different meanings whenever you change their pronunciation. If you have spare time, try and look for example sentences, write and read a few times, that should be fine. 

Another factor that affect your learning speed is application and speaking, I have the environment to make me speak Japanese that's why I can improve such drastically. It's almost 1 year of my course yet I'm close to finishing N3. My advantages of being a Chinese of helps a lot since I can understand most of the structure of the kanji and meaning too. Watching anime HELPS, more than what you can imagine.

Grammar is important too. I recommend buying a book and study if you are studying alone. Why say so because the exercises are important. Merely understanding the grammar aren't enough, understand it, apply it to the exercises, and then make YOUR own sentences with that grammar. Whenever you are free, let's say you are waiting for bus, go look around, find some scenario you can apply your newly learned grammar and make sentences around it. Another setback of studying alone is, you don't have someone to correct your grammar for you, which is sometimes a HUGE pain too. But unless you are aiming for studying abroad in Japan like me I don't think that matter much. No offense though.

As I said, everything above is my opinions and it might not work for you. Just take it as a piece of advice from random stranger. Sorry of reviving the post though.

Nice post. I agree with most of what you said.

I wouldn't recommend the 10 kanji a day though. I actually did that (i finished N2 at the time), took me 1 year and a half i think. Now i don't remember most of them :ren:.

The thing is that when you get to 1000+ kanji, it become tiring to add more and review those you already know.

None the less, it helps a lot to know the most common kanjis.

 

As said above, the most important is to know katakana, hiragana and grammar (Tae Kim's guide is a great ressource). Then learn some kanji and read with a parser. Reading will be hard at first but you'll improve very fast and pick up vocabulary.

 

If you can speak or write (make your own sentence is the main point ˆˆ), that's even better.

Edited by Tweek91330
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18 hours ago, Tweek91330 said:

I wouldn't recommend the 10 kanji a day though. I actually did that (i finished N2 at the time), took me 1 year and a half i think. Now i don't remember most of them :ren:.

I wouldn't recommend people doing that much kanji per day too. As I said I was taking a pre-university course for studying in Japanese so I have no choice. Still, learning as fast as possible doesn't mean slacking off is an option. Also, no harm learning more right? Preferably just do it suiting one's pace is enough.

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3 hours ago, Kuroneko-san said:

I wouldn't recommend people doing that much kanji per day too. As I said I was taking a pre-university course for studying in Japanese so I have no choice. Still, learning as fast as possible doesn't mean slacking off is an option. Also, no harm learning more right? Preferably just do it suiting one's pace is enough.

Sure, it won't hurt ˆˆ.

I just meant that kanjis are important, but it would be missing the point to burn out and giving up on learning.

 

Must be interresting taking a japanese studying course :sachi:

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