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Author Topic: Anyone speak Japanese?
Mini Geek
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Icon 5 posted December 03, 2005 22:52      Profile for Wick     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I started teaching myself japanese last year using pimsleur's Comprehensive Japanese. It seems like a good prog to use. I didn't get to learn much because of some things in life that caused me to stray from it.

Now that things are calming down I want to focus on it again. I have a few questions that maybe someone can answer who has learned the language.

1.) What materials and methods were used when learing? Books, Videos, Progs, etc.

2.) I want to learn to speak before I learn to write. Is this the way to go? It seems more natual to approach it like that.

3.) What problems can I look forward to? How long can I expect to work at it?

If anyone has any answers that would be great. Thanks.

-= "There comes a time in a man's life when he must roll the dice and except the outcome" =-

Posts: 80 | From: OH | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
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Icon 1 posted December 04, 2005 07:06      Profile for magefile     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have no experience with Japanese, but I do speak a bit of German and some ASL, and I'm currently learning cued speech (yes, it's not a language, but there are some similarities in the learning curve, even if it's a much easier curve) so here's my two cents.

-Pimsleur is good because it's auditory. Mumsy (or whatever those cartoons are) might also be good, even if they're written for a young audience. I'd avoid anime and J-Rock until you're pretty good at the language, for obvious reasons, although films in Japanese might not be a bad idea.
-No idea. I'd guess that once you can speak it, learning romaji would not be difficult, but I have no idea how easily you could transfer that knowledge to hiragana. Katakana is a whole different story, though.
-You can expect to work on it for the rest of your life. You will never be done learning things about Japanese language and culture if you stick with it. The biggest problem you'll run into is not having a native speaker around (and no, Herr Pimsleur and Company do not count). If you can spend a few weeks to a few months in Japan, that's great. If not, try to spend at least a few days there every so often, or maybe try and find a Japanese Skype user to talk to. The point is, find a native speaker, and break out of the pre-ordained dialogues of the language learning method you're using. Regardless, you can't really call yourself fluent until you've spent a lot of time talking to native speakers. One more point here: restaurants tend to be a good place to find native speakers (i.e., try talking to the staff - greetings, ordering, thanking them for the meal, small talk - and they'll often answer your questions about the language), but this is very location dependent. At least in the Chicagoland area, most sushi houses are actually owned by Chinese. You may have better luck elsewhere, particularly on the west coast.
-As a continuation on that, make up your own dialogues. As you go through the day, try to talk about what you're doing in Japanese. Best to do this out loud, or at least mumble, but do it internally if you feel uncomfortable talking to yourself in public. This gives you practice outside of the small set of dialogues in Pimsleur.

Posts: 743 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Geek Larva
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Icon 1 posted December 04, 2005 07:52      Profile for xStrangedayx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
i wish i could. [cry baby]

xTairrie B.Is.Lovex

Posts: 23 | From: yorkshire,england | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
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Icon 1 posted December 04, 2005 13:58      Profile for i_need_a_pillow     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
From what I've heard (I started learning some time ago but haven't had the time to continue), learn to speak and write at the same time; most people I've heard who learned with romaji end up struggling a lot more when they decide to learn kana and kanji. The advice I've always heard is to learn at least to read kana while you're learning to speak.

The Guide is definitive. Reality is frequently inaccurate.

Posts: 104 | From: I'm here. Where else? | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
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Icon 1 posted December 05, 2005 14:10      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Basically, I know several phrases, adjectives, and nouns (from living in Okinawa for a while), but my Japanese grammar skills are very weak. I learned to recognize the kanji for menu items, places, and a few other things.

The primary reason to use anime for learning is that it gives you a feel for "when to use very common expressions." Subtitled anime to watch: "Inuyasha", "Lupin the Third", "Cowboy Bebop", etc. (basically "PG-13/adult themes"). Copy the "disciplined" characters rather than the "out of control" ones.

Using only a dictionary can result in not "saying it like typical Japanese" because the first dictionary entry may not be what they're most comfortable with.

Using anime will help you sound like you've spent more time in Japan (to a Japanese listener).

The other study programs will help you actually understand Japanese to the point of listening to news or accurately communicating with ordinary Japanese people. Phrases and a good dictionary will get you a long way if you're a "tourist." The "r_" sounds and where you accent syllables will give you the most trouble typically.

Once a proud programmer of Apple II's, he now spends his days and nights in cheap dives fraternizing with exotic dancers....

Posts: 1035 | From: Third rock from sun. | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mini Geek
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Icon 1 posted December 07, 2005 23:58      Profile for Wick     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have been curious. How much english is used in everyday Japanese life? It seems when I see japanese movies, anime, or pictures they always have quite a bit of english entwined with the japanese.

Another thing I have been wondering is what is the cost of living in Japan? I'm sure Okinawa is pretty costly, along with Tokyo.

-= "There comes a time in a man's life when he must roll the dice and except the outcome" =-

Posts: 80 | From: OH | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged

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