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Resources for learning Japanese

Vulcanus in Japan 2017-2018 Forum.
The Programme's main forum.
Here you will find pretty much everything related to Vulcanus in Japan. Information about this session and also previous sessions - applications, shortlisting, selection, etc.

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comotovi
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Resources for learning Japanese

Postby comotovi » 01 Mar 2017, 15:55

Hi everyone!
I've been shortlisted and I've been learning Japanese for a couple of months, so I just thought I'd share some of the resources I've been using so far. And if you have any other tips, feel free to post them too :D

For introductory grammar etc, I bought two books off of Amazon and they're, in my opinion quite neat and easy to follow:
I bought "Practice Makes Perfect - Basic Japanese" and "Practice Makes Perfect - Complete Japanese Grammar", both by Eriko Saito. I also have them in pdf form in case anyone would like them that way! Let me know ;)

I'm using this free app called "Kanji Study" and it works SO well on my Android. It helps you memorize hiragana, katakana AND kanji and you can choose from learning by flashcard, writing/strokes and multi choice questions. The app is offline so I use it every time I'm going to school, so I easily spend at least half an hour a day practicing vocabulary. The kanji feature is really neat too; it ranks them after level of difficulty and importance, which is helpful.

If you're looking to learn a new word every day, I'd recommend "Japanese Word of the Day" - http://www.transparent.com/word-of-the-day/today/japanese.html. I've learned some useful expressions on there and it's quite neat for adding words to your vocab. Also, I'm a big fan of Jisho.org that helps you look up a word if you need to do that.

As for listening to Japanese, I follow a bunch of Youtube channels - That Japanese Man Yuta, Ask Japanese, Asian Boss, Learn Japanese With JapanesePod101.com, etc. They put English subtitles and the topics range from interviewing people in the streets to explaining grammar and vocab too. Also, I watch a lot of anime...

Do you have any neat tips for me? :D
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Tiskar
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Re: Resources for learning Japanese

Postby Tiskar » 01 Mar 2017, 22:46

Thank you so much for all these resources, I have also been short-listed and they are going to be very useful if I finally get to be elected :D
I am currently studying japanese using a book written by a spanish guy for spanish speakers, so it's not going to be very useful for you :?
By the way, I am interested in the books you say you have in pdf form, can you please PM me with them? :mrgreen:
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Fredy
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Re: Resources for learning Japanese

Postby Fredy » 02 Mar 2017, 10:47

Same here, if you can PM me those books that would be perfect.

I personally don´t know any japanese yet. My plan was to wait if I will be shortlisted and if so, start learning by myself, so currently I am reading through one book to help me boost my memory and after that I am going for Hiragana and Katakana.

I also heard that Genki 1 and 2 are very good for learning and they are all over the internet in pdf.
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Re: Resources for learning Japanese

Postby Aceldama » 02 Mar 2017, 17:38

Fredy wrote:I also heard that Genki 1 and 2 are very good for learning and they are all over the internet in pdf.


I've been studying with these books and they are very good if you want to learn every day Japanese. However, sometimes they tend to teach quite informal Japanese. For example, it teaches un/uun for yes/no, which is apparently mostly used by children but there they incorporate it in adult conversations.
Another negative is the chronology of how kanji are introduced: There are a few complicated kanji in the first few lessons and then super easy every day kanji only start to appear in the second book which is a bit weird.

But I think it's a great series to get a feel for the language and it teaches up to the JLPT N4 level if you study with both books. The workbooks are also really good though if you're studying alone it is really hard to find answer keys online. There's only a bad photocopy of it floating around and it's really annoying to check your answers that way.

Oh, and they also have android apps for their specific vocabulary and kanjis, though it is a bit unintuitive to use and both cost money. I recommend KanjiSenpai as an app for learning kanji because you have to actually draw them. You can also customize the kanjis you want to learn and it can be also used to study normal vocabulary :)

Hope I could help :)
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Re: Resources for learning Japanese

Postby comotovi » 02 Mar 2017, 18:01

Hey guys - I've sent the pdfs your way now!
Ah, thanks for the tip - might check those out, seems like it could add something :D
zaragui
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Re: Resources for learning Japanese

Postby zaragui » 06 Mar 2017, 10:14

Hi guys, first of all I think it's great you're already starting with japanese (you'll see it'll be incredibly useful when you get there!)

In case you're interested, the books that are used at the japanese language school are "Minna no Nihongo" - the books give you a very strong grammar basis, so use those as well if you feel like it (the pdf can be found online I believe).

On another topic,

Aceldama wrote:I've been studying with these books and they are very good if you want to learn every day Japanese. However, sometimes they tend to teach quite informal Japanese. For example, it teaches un/uun for yes/no, which is apparently mostly used by children but there they incorporate it in adult conversations.


Japanese is a highly volatile language - by this I mean that it keeps on changing (new katakana words are added regularly, as well as shifts in "trendy" words), and also there are language diferences between groups of people. The spoken language you'll hear in Roppongi, Harajuku, Shinjuku and Akihabara will sometimes have relevant differences.
Having this said, for the un/uun case, you definitely will not hear it in a business meeting, but 99% of girls aged 18-25 use it all the time (and probably 80% of all the female population for that matter). I don't know the examples provided in the book, but always keep in mind that there isn't a fixed rule :) Also, on the informal japanese topic: definitely study it. At school you will only study formal language, and you'll need to be informal to make friends! :D
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Aceldama
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Re: Resources for learning Japanese

Postby Aceldama » 06 Mar 2017, 11:03

zaragui wrote:Having this said, for the un/uun case, you definitely will not hear it in a business meeting, but 99% of girls aged 18-25 use it all the time (and probably 80% of all the female population for that matter). I don't know the examples provided in the book, but always keep in mind that there isn't a fixed rule :) Also, on the informal japanese topic: definitely study it. At school you will only study formal language, and you'll need to be informal to make friends! :D


I just repeated what my Japanese teacher told me ;)

Of course, informal language is important! I guess my point was that the book tends to lean on the informal side which is just something to keep in mind when studying with it. I personally think that that's great for beginners :)
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Re: Resources for learning Japanese

Postby yez » 06 Mar 2017, 11:47

Aceldama wrote:I just repeated what my Japanese teacher told me ;)

Of course, informal language is important! I guess my point was that the book tends to lean on the informal side which is just something to keep in mind when studying with it. I personally think that that's great for beginners :)


Since zaragui didnt study with us peasants at school and only took the N1/professional/business classes at Naganuma, I can shed some light on the beginner side.
At Naganuma, they mostly taught us semi-formal Japanese (masu-desu) in the beginner classes. We had like one class on informal Japanese (over the whole four months) - and there they taught un/unn. As zaragui said, we used minna no nihongo. It teaches mostly masu/desu for the shokyu-level. So, its not really informal what it teaches.

On simple empirical evidence based conclusion: Since I am not really good at languages, I really struggled in the beginning to switch to informal when talking to people outside school. so when they would start talking informal (i would always begin formally), and I responded formally, but I felt more comfortable with it. And concerning the original topic... most girls I talked to used un/unn, even some guys do. So if you get the chance to go to japan, its handy to know ;).


Well...for self-study. SRS applications were very popular for us to retain vocab/kanji. So anki, memrise etc.. I have personally become a big fan of wanikani.com for learning kanji. while the system itself (technology-wise) could be fully replaced by anki, they offer nice mnemonics to help learning. Monthly costs though (Use "CRAB YORI GATOR" for 50% discount). But ofc, you can be sneaky and write scraper to get all the data, or look on the internet for copies and use anki. Also there is skritter (monthly costs, expensive) - if you belong to the visual and haptic learning type, this might be for you.
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Aceldama
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Re: Resources for learning Japanese

Postby Aceldama » 06 Mar 2017, 14:49

Thanks for shedding more light on the Japanese language course! :)

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