The General Japanese Learning Thread

Over the last two weeks I have bought some books!

Japanese for Busy People: Kana Workbook
Japanese for Busy People: Kana Textbook (although I bought this several years ago, it's now been updated with pictures and an audio CD).
Minna no Nihongo I: Textbook

I'm going to work my way through Let's Learn Hiragana and Let's Learn Katakana books first before I jump into the main learning!

Does anyone have any recommendations for good Japanese dictionaries?

Also, is there any paticular way to learn Kanji while going through the beginner textbooks?
 

ilmaestro

State Alchemist
I'm not sure what you mean by "particular way" (if you mean method or order, for instance), but flash cards are always a good start. If you're also learning to write kanji, the benefits of repetition can't be stressed enough.

As for good Japanese dictionaries, I'm not sure what physical ones are recommended these days, but if you have an iOS device a friend of mine has an app that I can recommend while you decide if you want to save up for a proper electronic dictionary or not:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/japanese ... 13047?mt=8
 

20thCenturyBoy

Thousand Master
There was a deal on Groupon yesterday for a years subscription to Learn Direct for £19 (worth £280) with the option of a European pack or an Asian pack. Decided I'd take up the offer and got the Asian pack, I'm going to give it a go and see how it goes. Anyone used Learn Direct before?
 
ilmaestro said:
I'm not sure what you mean by "particular way" (if you mean method or order, for instance), but flash cards are always a good start. If you're also learning to write kanji, the benefits of repetition can't be stressed enough.

As for good Japanese dictionaries, I'm not sure what physical ones are recommended these days, but if you have an iOS device a friend of mine has an app that I can recommend while you decide if you want to save up for a proper electronic dictionary or not:

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/japanese ... 13047?mt=8
Thanks! Well I bought a cheap mini-dictionary to begin with and will get a 'proper' one once I begin to get better at the language and I've also got some Kanji books - so I guess it's best to start drilling as they say!

Will check out the app as well :D

20thcenturyboy said:
Anyone used Learn Direct before?
No, but at the price you got lessons for - it should be good! Tell us how you get on with them. :)
 

Kaede

Adventurer
Hey everyone,

Sorry I've not been around lately. Got my JLPT N5 result today....passed!!

Genkina Hito, I've got a Hana Bi on DVD. Gonna watch it this week!
 
Kaede said:
Hey everyone,

Sorry I've not been around lately. Got my JLPT N5 result today....passed!!

Genkina Hito, I've got a Hana Bi on DVD. Gonna watch it this week!
Congrats! Or should I say: おめでとうございます :) Onto N4 next?

I'm on my katakana now and have learned my first ten kanji which are:
日、月、山、川、木、人、車、田、門、口

Slowly making progress but might be ready for N5 in July next year!
 

Genkina Hito

映画男!!!
AUKN Staff
Kaede said:
Hey everyone,

Sorry I've not been around lately. Got my JLPT N5 result today....passed!!

Genkina Hito, I've got a Hana Bi on DVD. Gonna watch it this week!
Congratulations, dear fellow! Pretty awesome result. Let me know what you think about Hana Bi!
 

Kaede

Adventurer
Congratulations, dear fellow! Pretty awesome result. Let me know what you think about Hana Bi!
Hey Genkina Hito. I sent you a tweet regarding Hana-Bi, but then I relaised you might not know it was from me!

こんいちは、ジエイソンさん。元気ですか。昨日花火を見たんです。素晴らしい映画ですね。でも見るとかなしく成りました。この映画を教えることはありがとう!

Hana-bi was a fantastic film, I liked the way he crossed the typcial cop/gangster flick with drama. The ending was incredibly sad but also beautiful. The girl left on the beach is gonna be pretty messed up after seeing that though!

Gonna check out some more Takeshi Kitano films now.
 
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Genkina Hito

映画男!!!
AUKN Staff
Kaede said:
Congratulations, dear fellow! Pretty awesome result. Let me know what you think about Hana Bi!
Hey Genkina Hito. I sent you a tweet regarding Hana-Bi, but then I relaised you might not know it was from me!

こんいちは、ジエイソンさん。元気ですか。昨日花火を見たんです。素晴らしい映画ですね。でも見るとかなしく成りました。この映画を教えることはありがとう!

Hana-bi was a fantastic film, I liked the way he crossed the typcial cop/gangster flick with drama. The ending was incredibly sad but also beautiful. The girl left on the beach is gonna be pretty messed up after seeing that though!

Gonna check out some more Takeshi Kitano films now.
Thanks for the tweet! I got it but I didn't realise it was from you until I read it properly a couple of days ago. すむません。 I was planning on tweeting back but I have been incredibly busy recently so I haven't had time to do much beyond blogging and activities surrounding a Japanese horror film season. I'm glad you liked the film! Kitano makes brilliant surreal gangster films like <i>Sonatine</i> and <i>Boiling Point</i>. You should try <i>Kikujiro</i> as well. I should be less busy over the coming weeks so I'll start tweeting some films to you (in Japanese).
 
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Shirayuri

Shinigami
えぇ、久しぶりだよね!
日本語を勉強してる人はまだいる?
みんな、日本語の勉強はどう?上手になってるよね?( ´ ▽ ` )ノ

最近、日本のご飯を食べてみたー めっちゃ美味しかった( ̄▽ ̄) 日本のカレーが好きだよ (笑) ( ̄▽ ̄)

僕もそろそろ上手になってるよ!でも、まだ練習しなくちゃ! (しないとダメ)

またね!
 

Kaede

Adventurer
こんにちは、シラユリさん!。はい、しばらくですね。

ええ、私はまだ勉強しているんです。だから、さいきんは忙しかったから、あまり勉強していません。今日は4時間勉強しました。

えっ!日本のカレーを食べたいんですよ!レシピを教えてくれませんか?



(Shirayuri, I'm always impressed how you seem to have picked up plain form Japanese. It's the most difficult bit for me!!)
 

Shirayuri

Shinigami
あぁ!さんってじゃなくてもいいよ!ここで皆は友達でしょう?(=´∀`)人(´∀`=)

まだ勉強してる?良かった!ここ日本語でチャットはあんまりないよね?だから、心配してた!( ̄▽ ̄) 笑

ところで、カエデの勉強は何?テクストブークを使ってる?

えぇ?俺の日本語が好き?良かったね!( ̄▽ ̄) 今まで勉強したことないけど!(`_´)ゞ スカイプで日本人と話してたから、そろそろ良くなったと思う!(^-^)/ あと、いつも日本のテレビを見てるなら、いつも英語字幕がないよ!始めて見る時、全然分からないでしょう!でも、そろそろ分かるよ!♪(´ε` )

日本語の勉強は楽しいなら、全部は大丈夫になるよ!だから、楽しんでね!( ̄▽ ̄) あと、助けて欲しいなら (if you want me to help you)、それは全然大丈夫だよ!いつぉでもいいよ!(=´∀`)人(´∀`=)

あぁー日本のカレーのレシピはめっちゃ簡単だ!肉や野菜やちょっとチョコだよ!あと、もちろん、日本のカレーキューブを要るよ!(⌒▽⌒)
 

Kaede

Adventurer
こんにちは、シラユリさん!へんじはありがとうございました。

さいきんあまりポストをしたんです。すみません。これからもっとポストをするようにしているんですよ!

日本語の勉強することはテクストブークを使って、「みんなの日本語Ⅱ」と言う本です。それから、毎週先生と会います。

もしかして、何時かスカイプでそうだんしましょうか?

日本のテレビをもっと見ようとおもっていますね。。。いいサイトをしているんですか?

シラユリさん、カレーにチョコを入りますか?!可笑しいね!だから、インディアのカレーをしか食べません。。。
 

Shirayuri

Shinigami
えぇ、全然大丈夫だよ!(`_´)ゞ 今はクリスマスだからカエデは忙しいでしょう!

みんなの日本語?なるほどね~ 俺はテクストブークが好きじゃないから使わないけど-!(`_´)ゞ

うん、絶対テレビを見た方がいいよ!

テレビのゲームが好き?好きなら、してみた方がいいよ!( ´ ▽ ` )ノ

あと、日本のテレビのサイトを見つけたいなら、ググるで探せばいいと思う!( ´ ▽ ` )ノ


あとね、インボクスをチェックしてください!
 

ayase

State Alchemist

So I thought it might be time to revive this thread. Perhaps I can revive my passion for learning, though it's been a while. A couple of things made me think about this, one was the always interesting insights of @Neil.T into the Japanese language vs. English subs and dubs over in the simulwatch threads, the other was the fact I've become a bit obsessed with watching the lovely NHK World Japanology series of late, and happened to stumble upon a Japanese learning series also on their website (the titles and accompanying pictures of some of which are hilarious - Particularly #22 "I'll give you one"). So I started going through them and am surprised at how much is coming back to me, but it has made me realize how frustrating I find certain aspects of language learning.

For instance, in the second video we find the phrase "Ie, Ueno ja arimasen" which is translated into English as "The next station is not Ueno" Now, I might just be a complete weirdo, but I'd much rather that sentence was described in English as: "No, Ueno it isn't" because that helps me understand both the literal meaning of what's being said, the situations the phrase can be used in (certainly not just to describe upcoming stations) and the way Japanese should be structured. Hell, the words "next" and "station" don't even appear in the Japanese phrase, that's simply down to situational context.

This is something that's far from unique to learning Japanese though. For instance in French the phrase "Je ne parle pas bien le Francais" is literally "I speak not good the French". Even though that's awful grammar in English, the grammar in English doesn't matter because I'm trying to learn how to speak French, not how to translate French into grammatically correct English. But that's how language always seems to be taught, as if the intention of learning it was to become a translator rather than simply to use the language. Do I just have a "special" brain, or might there not be a better way of doing this?

Also is it just me who finds the voiceless U's in romanisation endlessly irritating? Romanisation's only use is informing speakers of languages that use the Latin alphabet how to pronounce Japanese. Why on earth does it include voiceless characters?
 
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Neil.T

Guild Member
Wow, I didn't even know this thread existed. 😯

Bless you, @ayase; I'm truly pleased that those insights are of value to you. I very much like the Japanese language, so it's very easy to want to share.

You make a very good point about voiceless consonants in Romanisation and how they can play havoc with pronunciation. I guess the intent behind it is standardisation of format, something that we'll never really achieve, in all honesty. Like, the nasal consonant n changes its sound depending on the following one, but do you chose to represent this in the Romanisation? Is it best to type senpai or sempai? Should it be conpyuutaa or compyuutaa for "computer"?

It's the same with long vowel sounds. Is it best to represent them with a bar above the letter, or by doubling up the letter itself? In other words, do you respond more to seeing yūki or yuuki? Better acknowledge the extended vowel sound either way, because otherwise you change "courage" into "snow"!

But going back to unvoiced consonants, I remember the first time I saw Isao Takahata's Little Norse Prince on Film4. Throughout the film, the main character's name was being rendered as Horus in the subtitles. The translator had heard the pronunciation of it, "Horusu", and removed that rogue voiceless "u" on the end and run with that.

But it's wrong. In this case, the "ru" was standing in for our "L" sound, so it should actually be Hols. Converting something like an obscure name like Hols into Japanese phonetics is a trivial matter; converting it back into its original form and trying to figure out how it should be rendered, on the other hand, is not always so easy.

I know that the "u" in "ru" is voiced, so that moved somewhat off-topic part of the way through there, but... a bit of trivia and insight nonetheless, I hope. 🙂

I totally take your point, ayase, about how destroying the grammar of the target language could actually potentially aid in getting to grips with the source, and there's indeed a lot to be said for that. I think, perhaps, that that's actually a bit more of an advanced-level technique — suitable for people who have already been able to get their head around how the syntax of Japanese sentences is different from English (subject<>object–verb as opposed to subject–verb–object) and who are comfortable with deconstructing those separate parts.

That deconstruction is very suited to Japanese, actually. There's a part of Hayao Miyazaki's film The Wind Rises where the main character breaks down his sentences into their natural sections to aid the understanding of a non-native speaker. This is much more possible in Japanese than it is in English, to my mind, so I think that if you're already willing and able to dismantle and rearrange the components, then that's a good sign.

Forgive me for going on for so long here, but it's a fascinating subject, and enthusiasm might've gotten the better of me!

Extra points for the Altered Beast clip, btw. 😉
 
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Adam-M

Stand User
Hell, the words "next" and "station" don't even appear in the Japanese phrase, that's simply down to situational context.
That's my problem with the Japanese language. I don't understand the context of a conversation in English half the time so I'm buggered in Japanese o_O
 

Neil.T

Guild Member
I pinched this from the current simulwatch thread:
Omae wa mo Shindeiru
This is another case of long vs short vowels.

❌ Omae wa mo shinde iru

✔ Omae wa mou shinde iru
= "You're as good as dead"

There is a form that uses mo, but it has a different meaning:

Omae mo shinde iru
= "You're dead, too"


Mou is an interesting word in Japanese, and is one I used to struggle to pin down a universal definition for. But then I started to think of it as being the opposite of mada.

Mada imparts that there is no change in the situation being communicated by the speaker. For example:

Gohan wa mada dekite inai
= "Dinner isn't ready yet"

But when that situation changes:

Gohan wa mou dekita
= "Dinner is now ready"

Basically, mada indicates there is no change in the situation, while mou indicates that a change has occurred. The ending of the verb dekiru "to be prepared" [in the sense of making something] also changed from the negative to the positive in the above examples, and this too is quite characteristic of the usage of mada/mou.

It's not 100% guaranteed, though. Let's go back to the phrase that began this post, Omae wa mou shinde iru.

I used a more colloquial translation earlier, but its literal translation is:

Omae wa mou shinde iru
= "You're dead now"

But you could also have the opposite:

Omae wa mou shinde inai
= "You're no longer dead"

The change in situation in that previous one there would make no sense in real life, but it's certainly possible in fiction! 😆

Now let's try those again but switch mou to mada to indicate "no change":

Omae wa mada shinde iru
= "You're still dead"

Omae wa mada shinde inai
= "You're not dead yet"

Again, both make perfect grammatical sense, even if the first one is within the realms of fiction. 👍

So, to sum up the whole thing:

mou = change
mada = no change

Simple when you know how. 🙂
 
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