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EyesOfTheHeavens

Any help with starting on becoming fluent in Japanese?

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Hey, I'm sorry for posting this, but I want to get more into VNs and the VN community- And I sort of want to start by learning Japanese?
If a VN looks cool, but hasn't been translated into English, then... I'm screwed, haha- And obviously, it would be amazing if I could read and play untranslated VNS.

And if I could get to a good enough level, I hope I could try and contribute to translating VNs in the future? Not anytime soon of course, but I would like to.

I have no idea how to even get started, though- Again, I'm sorry for posting this, everyone have a lovely day :sachi:

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There are a few threads floating around about this, and of course lots of stuff on the internet. Maybe start here:

Also, I find tofugu has a lot of good "how to learn Japanese"-type content, especially in how it presents a wide variety of views and goals; once you've figured out your main course of study, tofugu is pretty good as a way to read supplementary advice and maybe course-correct your studies a bit.

One important thing to understand is why you're learning Japanese. You seem to have a good idea of that, so next, make sure that the course of study you set for yourself is accumulating to those goals. There are lots of guides, courses, etc., out there. You'll want to make sure you pick the one that points you fairly directly at your specific goals.

Brief protips:

  • Learn the syllabaries first
  • Then study grammar (and sentences) constantly
Edited by Fred the Barber

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One way is to buy the books they use for learning japanese at high school or universities and go through them to get the basics, I think the genki books works quite well for this. I would probably recommend mainly focusing on vocabulary first and foremost. Ofc by vocabulary I mean both the way things are said and the way they are written. First learn hiragana and katakana and then after that you should start to learn some of the easier kanji and then learn the harder ones as you progress.

Once you have goten some of the fundamentals down I would recommend using it on things that are easy to read. For example if you find a VN where all the characters are voice acted this will make it easier for you as you can combine your knowlegde of the kanji and pronounciation and thereby understand more of what is going on. Also these early VNs you read should have characters that are easy to understand, for instance by being expressive and maybe following known archetypes. Once you get better just progress to more difficult stuff. Ofc manga is also a nice option. Manga are written in furigana, meaning they have the pronounciation written in small text at the side of the kanji.

Ofc everyone learns best using different methods, this is the method I have used personally and while I am not fluent in japanese yet I have gone through some japanese VNs and it seems to work great for me.

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Having studied Japanese for close to three years now myself, through both self study and at a university, I'd say your best bet is finding a class at a nearby college/ university, if you can. Taking a class with native Japanese speaking professors is a 10x more efficent way of studying the language than trying to handle the task all by yourself.

That being said, if you're set on self study, then I recommend buying some proper textbooks to start with. There are many good online resources, but textbooks are generally less overwhelming. From experience, I find that self study in the early stages can easily lead you to the point where you think, "Ok, I'm done learning what this website had to offer! What now? Uh, I guess I'm basically fluent!" (Spoilers: you're not.) Your number 1 priority should be learning the kana, then you should combine grammar, kanji and vocabulary. Grammar being the most important, vocabulary coming second, and kanji third. But, you should not ignore any of them, as they are all pretty important.

I personally recommend the Genki books, as they give you a good introduction to the grammar forms that forms the base for the language. You also learn a decent amount of common use kanji, and a good chunk of helpful vocabulary. It also comes with a CD and a workbook, so you can test yourself using the workbook, and check that you aren't pronouncing anything incorrectly with the CD. (You might have to buy the workbook separately.)

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