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message 1: by Eric (new)

Eric (ericnmurphy) To be honest, I never really got into manga until I started studying Japanese. Now that I'm at the point where I can understand simple manga (thank god for yotsuba!), I've started reading a lot of manga. Is anybody else here learning Japanese?

message 2: by Eric (new)

Eric Compean (randomcityink) | 3 comments I am, although I'm studying the romanji form for pronunciation, and hiragana and kanji for the written form. I started reading manga first and slowly became enthralled in the japanese culture.

message 3: by Nina (new)

Nina My love for anime mostly is what motivated me to start learning Japanese, a couple of months ago.Now I am trying to read and understand manga but it is still a challenge for me..It is also very exciting :)

message 4: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Same here, I started learning Japanese because I really wanna be able to read original manga's. It's not going to be easy but I won't give up.

message 5: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie (maopyon) | 8 comments Been studying Japanese for 4 years already. Still suck at it. (Lol) The fact that i already started to read a children's novel and creating a blog using only japanese.

message 6: by Samantha (new)

Samantha (heartofoddities) | 5 comments My live for anime/manga came first, but I'm incredibly interested in learning Japanese!

How is everyone else learning? My school offers it as a language course but unfortunately it has filled up incredibly fast (I'm checking the seats constantly hoping someone may drop it so I may quickly pick it up haha). So I'm just wondering if anyone has attempted to teach themselves with some form of success? It would be so fun to have the capacity to read original manga!

message 7: by Samantha (new)

Samantha (heartofoddities) | 5 comments *love

My /love/ for anime/manga. I'm on my mom's Kindle and, unfortunately, am still unfamiliar with the typing hahaha. My apologies, I absolutely hate glazing over typos before submitting my posts. ;~;

message 8: by Ellen (new)

Ellen hi Samantha, well i'm going to order the book 'Japanese from zero ' really soon, I've heard some good things about it. Unfortunately my school doesn't has it as a course, so i'll just have to learn it by myself. There are also a lot of useful websites with hiragana and kanji drills :)

message 9: by Samantha (new)

Samantha (heartofoddities) | 5 comments Oh awesome! Thanks a bunch for the book suggestion, I just added it to my Amazon wish list! :*

Do you know any of the websites off hand which could help me better learn? I'll probably google and search around a bunch after work tonight but I'd love to hear some of your suggestions, if any! :)

message 10: by Ellen (last edited Jun 30, 2013 06:45AM) (new)

Ellen this website is really good for hiragana and kanji:
and this one is good to learn vocabulary and how to say things in everyday life :
I hope I helped a bit ^_^

message 11: by Eric (new)

Eric (ericnmurphy) I am self-studying Japanese, I use and to look up words I don't know and spend most of my time learning new words from manga and books. It's a lot of fun. :)

If you're looking for a good website for beginners, I'd recommend reading I've written a few articles there as well, so I am a little biased. :) It has a "walkthrough" which is great if you're not sure where to go next.

message 12: by Katelyn (new)

Katelyn Shaver (wayako) | 2 comments I have been learning Japanese as well! Although, I did not have the option of taking Japanese in school, so most, if not all, of my Japanese has been self-taught. I have found using a combination of programs (like Rosetta Stone), books, free websites, immersing myself in Japanese media (audio and written both) and talking with actual Japanese people to be most effective. (an online game I play has a large Japanese player base and a mixed-country server, making it a nice place to snag pen pals from)

Thank you for posting the websites above- I will have to check them out sometime. I would like to add a website of my own to the list:

This website has a drag and drop game for learning the various forms of Kana and the Kanji lessons are helpful. It even has flashcards that can be printed out. :)

As far as programs for learning Japanese go, I have tried both Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone was by far the best of the two and I would highly recommend it and the online access addition, if you can afford it.

As for books...If you are trying to learn Kanji or just want a really good Kanji dictionary, I would recommend: New Japanese-English Character Dictionary. As far as grammar goes, this is one of the better books I have found so far: Japanese Grammar

If I stumble upon any other noteworthy resources I will be sure to share them. And リゼット I feel the same way as you do, about studying for an extended period of time and yet still having a long ways to go. But you know...neither of us is likely as bad as we imagine we are. Progress is a somewhat relative thing, ne? As long as we know more than when we started it can be considered a victory, of sorts. :P

message 13: by Aera_millenia (new)

Aera_millenia | 26 comments I self learn Japanese as well. I wish it was taught at my school,but at the same time don't because I seem to have some sort of condition that makes me hate languages taught at school,except english. so far I've had to learn Arabic,Hindi and French and I hated all of them,even though it should have been interesting lol.

I can't believe there was a time I'd only watch anime if it was dubbed,ugh,but now its the opposite,I prefer watching subs.Now I can understand just about anything when I HEAR it,I still suck at reading but I know most of the kanji that are frequently seen,hiragana and katakana are very simple.

Instead of reading original manga,I play Japanese video games that are fully Japanese,so I have double the fun learning Japanese,and a lot of good games are fully voiced too,so it makes it easier for me.

It started with the Summon Night series,two of the oldest were in English,and I realized how much I enjoyed it,but also found out nothing else from the series was translated (in fact,after the fifth installment the company shut down ;-;)
So I started learning Japanese and yes,one of my life goals to complete the series has been accomplished! There are so many interesting games that are never localised,so I play them myself,though fantasy is my favourite genre its also the hardest to understand because of all those terms that don't exist in real life.

I use this app on android simply called Japanese (by spacehamster) and if I hear the word,I get its Romaji which I type in,and it gives me the translation.
I still don't know how to find kanji using radicles,does anyone else know? I'd appreciate it if you could explain it to me.

message 14: by Aleece (new)

Aleece | 2 comments I really want to learn to read, speak and write Japanese as well but I feel like I just don't know where to start. A lot of books and websites that have been suggested look really great but what should I focus on first when starting to learn. It has been a while since I have tried anything like this and I want to start off on the right foot. Any suggestions? All are greatly appreciated!


message 15: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Aera_millenia wrote: "I self learn Japanese as well. I wish it was taught at my school,but at the same time don't because I seem to have some sort of condition that makes me hate languages taught at school,except englis..."

I don't know how to look up radicals in the android app that you're using, but a dictionary will have a list of radicals (a simpler character that is a component of a more complex character; for example, mouth, kuchi, 口) and under each radical will be a list of characters that use that radical. thanks for asking, because you forced me to look at my dictionary and I found a few other interesting ways they index kanji.

message 16: by Alex (last edited Oct 12, 2014 10:23PM) (new)

Alex (asato) Thanks everyone for cluing me into these resources. I took 2 semesters of Japanese way, way back in college and am trying to refresh my learning and help my daughter learn too.

beyond the basic grammar, i would definitely memorize hiragana and katakana first b/c a lot of anime/manga targeted at kids will have the hiragana alongside the kanji.

I can't speak to grammar, but Kodansha's kana workbooks are really great because not only do they show the correct stroke order, but they also have flashcards. My daughter and I play the "memory" game with them. Here's the amazon link:

message 17: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 3 comments Hi I'm learning Japanese as well and I find the best way to learn the language is immersion, but since I don't live in Japan, watching anime/jdrama and listening to dramaCDs is the next best way of hearing what native speakers sound like. As for learning how to read, buy a manga in Japanese (preferably one that uses Furigana, Hiragana next to the Kanji). Then use a dictionary to look up any words you don't know. Don't bother trying to translate the particles (を、で、と、は、が、に) yet. I use Imawa on my ipad/iphone since I don't need internet once the app is downloaded. You can also use Denshi Jisho online, but it might not necessarily have some common phrases. Next, write out a sentence from the manga. Below it, write out the words you translated. It'll probably look odd if you're an English speaker since the Japanese have their verbs at the end of the sentence and we have ours towards the beginning. Look up the particles at this point if you can't rearrange the words to make the sentence make sense. Usually, the picture in the manga will direct you as to how the sentence should be. Finally, find the same translated manga online to check and see if you've translated it correctly. Example below:

俺はオタクじゃないんだって!! <--original text
I otaku not is/am I say <-- translated words
I said I'm not an otaku!! <-- translated sentence

A couple of caveats to learning via manga:
1. Manga is mostly speech bubbles and first person perspective so the grammar may be bastardized. Meaning, don't freak if a sentence doesn't seem grammatically correct and don't try to LITERALLY translate word for word. You'll be in for a lot of hurt if you do. Example:

どこはここ? <--original text
where here <--translated words
As for where, here ? <--literal translation
Where am I? <--correctly translated

2. Just like how we tend to cut off words in English, the Japanese do, too. So unless you know what the original word is, you won't be able to look it up in a dictionary. This one just takes experience in seeing certain words/phrases used a lot. One word that is used a lot that you won't find in a dictionary is てる(teru). It's actually two words "te" is the end of a verb and "ru" is short for "iru."

I only took one semester of Japanese in college a long, long time ago and the only thing I took from it was knowing Hiragana and Katakana. 12 years later, I picked up a Japanese manga and have learned more about the language by translating it then any one traditional classroom. I am now able to translate Japanese manga on my own (slowly, but I still can do it!), but don't ask me to speak the language. That's for another lesson...

Best of luck to you!

message 18: by Aera_millenia (new)

Aera_millenia | 26 comments @Alex,thanks for explaining the radicals,I'll try it out.
Rosmarie,your explanation was really good,thanks!
Do you have any technique to find what a kanji sounds like if theres no furigana? I have a really hard time figuring out words the protagonist in my games are saying cos most of the time they are unvoiced.

message 19: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie | 3 comments Hi Aera, the best book I've found for learning Kanji is called "Remembering the Kanji 1" by James W. Heisig. He takes an alternative approach to learning Kanji that even native Japanese don't use. You learn Kanji by coming up with stories that describe each character so that in the future, if you come to a character that even has part of another Kanji you are familiar with, you can figure out what it basically means. The book shows you how to write each Kanji telling you how to write each radical in the correct order (very important!!). Once you've memorized the radicals (there's not more than 130 or so and even though it seems like a lot, most radicals build on previous ones so it's no big deal), learning Kanji and looking it up are infinitely easier. Example:

語 (pronounced "go" means "language" or "word").
It's made up of 3 radicals (言、五、口)
言 means "say" (7 strokes)
五 means "five" (4 strokes)
口 means "mouth" (3 strokes)

I remember it because the many(five) things I say with my mouth are words and language. Stupid story, I know, but I can remember the Kanji because of it!

Which takes me to how you look up Kanji in a dictionary through radicals. Once you know a good many radicals, look at the Kanji you want to look up pick one of the radicals and note how many strokes it takes to create the radical (that's why I told you stroke # in the above example). The radical chart in the dictionary is broken apart by how many strokes a radical has. If a radical has 3 strokes, go to the section of radicals after the #3 and click on the radical. A bunch of other radicals should automatically be greyed out. Those that are not greyed out, are what this radical can be paired with to make a Kanji character. You should be able to find the Kanji you are looking for this way.

There is no way of knowing what a Kanji sounds like without knowing if/what it's paired with. For instance:

今日 (usually pronounced "kyou") means today. Sometimes, it's pronounced "konchi" or "konjitsu", but they all mean "today."
今 (usually pronounced "ima") means now. Sometimes, its pronounced "kon" which means today's... or it could mean "this."

Oh, and don't get me started with the Kansai dialect. That's whole other can of worms...

That's the problem with Japanese. It's a very "indirect" language where it's easy to mistranslate/misunderstand what is actually being said. Then again, I believe many manga/otome games have their basic story lines because of this misunderstanding.

One last thing about radicals. It's very important to know the correct order because a lot of "handwritten" kanji in manga is very hard to read and unless you know the radical order, you won't be able to figure out what the Kanji is to even look it up. Trust me, I know. I've killed myself over trying to figure out some handwritten Kanji.

message 20: by k.c.(Kthinker) (new)

k.c.(Kthinker) | 83 comments I want to learn Japanese but I want to focus on my general education first plus my school only has German and Spanish classes but I learn Japanese words when ever I can

message 21: by Aleece (new)

Aleece | 2 comments Wow! Thanks so much for all of the tips, tricks and sources. This should keep me quite busy and I can't wait to start learning. I know it's going to be hard but I am still excited. Thanks again for the book sources I am going to have to narrow it down but I can't wait to get a few workbooks to start.

message 22: by k.c.(Kthinker) (new)

k.c.(Kthinker) | 83 comments knowledge is power and the more you know the better off you shall be

message 23: by Mike, Librarian (new)

Mike | 52 comments Mod
Here's something a little different for a lighter learning tool: a card game designed to teach basics by having players form sentences from drawn cards.

message 24: by k.c.(Kthinker) (new)

k.c.(Kthinker) | 83 comments I know one word unko here is an example of the context it would be used in " Holy unko" I'm sure you can figure it out from there. By the way I am a little crazy

message 25: by Lára (last edited Apr 30, 2015 12:23PM) (new)

Lára Eric wrote: "To be honest, I never really got into manga until I started studying Japanese. Now that I'm at the point where I can understand simple manga (thank god for yotsuba!), I've started reading a lot o..."

Yeah, it´s one of the university courses I´ve taken (have chinese and sanskrit, too). Such an interesting language, but I still need dictionary and grammar book when reading something other than manga :)
I´m not even near fluent in it, still have a lot to learn but it´s fun

message 26: by k.c.(Kthinker) (new)

k.c.(Kthinker) | 83 comments watching anime would help with the pronunciation of the names

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