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cokbgSunday 13th of February 2005 07:19:18 AM
Want to learn Japanese quick way - Hello, guys! I am here to post a new message - sorta need advice. I am starting to study Japanese language self-study. That is, I am not enrolling in any language course. I buy books and borrow some. After that, it is this. I would appreciate any help that yo could give on this topic. I would appreciate - particularly - a sort of lesson plan. I only know of studying first hiragana, then katakana, lastly kanji.

In return, I would be happy to assist anyone trying to learn English or Tagalog. I have made a post in the Tagalog discuss for such queries: Tagalog: Q & A

Thanks for this site and the people!
kuzzywuzzySunday 13th of February 2005 07:45:23 AM
- Hey cokbg,

Welcome! There is no truly quick way to learn ;) Tomoka-san has posted some good lessons in her lesson thread, you can start there. As you have said, I would definitely recommend learning Hiragana as soon as possible. It will help keep you from forming some bad habits.

After that, I would focus on learning some common phrases that you can use throughout the day and get used to speaking in Japanese. Then I would go on to making simple sentences with simple grammatical structure. While doing all of this, you could be working on learning Katakana, but it's not as important as knowing Hiragana at this point. And once you finish Katakana, you would move on to Kanji like you said. It will take you a while to learn the 2,500-3,000 common Kanji though, so no rush ;)

Once you know some good general phrases, work on memorizing some basic vocabulary as well. Common adjectives, common nouns, common verbs. A few words a day, or however much suits you. And immersing yourself in the language will help immensely. The more you hear it and use it, the more natural it will become for you.

Good luck, and keep us updated with your progress and any questions you may have! :D
tomokaSunday 13th of February 2005 02:11:23 PM
- konnichiwa cokbg-san,

As kuzzywuzzy-san said, there is no truly quick way to learn,
if there is no specific aim
like 'for a travel' or 'for a business'...
if you'd like to learn only speaking japanese, maybe
there is an easy way but if you want to
learn writing, reading, speaking, listening...
it would take some time...

There are many Japanese learners here, so we can
exchange our knowledge. of course, I'll help you
as long as I can.
Please be patient and have fun to learn ;)

cokbgMonday 14th of February 2005 12:29:16 AM
- Thanks for all your advice. I do appreciate them. I studied Spanish, but studying Japanese is different - greatly, I think. You have to study - something like three "alphabets" - I do not think they should be considered alphabets. I guess studying Spanish is easy to associate with English because the alphabet and units of writing are generally similar. Japanese is different.

I would like to ask questions on pronunciation - what are the "things" which are not pronounced in Japanese language? I am a bit perplexed on syllables which are not supposed to be pronounced, like the in desu?

I do take your advice with immersing myself in the language. I listen to music and watch anime, but it is difficult. I hope I could get to the point where I could read a Japanese character as a Japanese character, and not as a graphic equivalent of an English morpheme.

Thanks a lot! Can't express my gratefulness in any other way!
kuzzywuzzyMonday 14th of February 2005 09:17:57 AM
- Yes, I would not call them alphabets. Hiragana and Katakana are syllabaries, as they only represent sounds and the indivudual characters have no actual inherent meanings. And Kanji is a script of both logograms and ideograms. The syllabaries are fairly easy to tackle, while Kanji is quite a bit more complex ;)

I'll let Tomoka-san expand on suppressed sounds, because I only know word to word from experience saying/hearing them. I'm not sure of the actual rules. Will be good to learn! :D

And yes, music and anime will only take you so far, but they will definitely help! Good luck!
tomokaMonday 14th of February 2005 08:41:30 PM
- about the question:
what are the "things" which are not pronounced in Japanese language?

I mentioned a little about it at the end of the lesson:
Japanese lesson 1

The Vowels a, i, u, e, o, they are pronounced but
it sounds very short or like a whisper when they put at
the end of the word.

さあ(saa) = I don't know, it sounds like 'sa'
おはよう(ohayou) = good morning, it sounds like 'ohayo'
かなしい(kanashii) = sad, it sounds like 'kanash'
そう(sou) = yes, (it's right), it sounds like 'so'

(If I could, I'll put some audio files later here)

It often happenes in a casual situation.
We try to talk clear in a formal situation,
but among friends or family, we tend to talk fast.
As the result, you can't hear the vowels.
I'm sure it's striking in amine or songs.


cokbgMonday 14th of February 2005 11:29:09 PM
- Konnichiwa Tomoka-san and kuzzywuzzy-san (How do you greet two people in Japanese?),

Thanks for your great advice. I'm taking them seriously. As of my study, I'm taking a sort of 3-pronged activity for learning the Japanese. I practice (and memorize) a Hiragana character everyday. "a" is my first character, and it is so hard to write! I mean, for it to look like a Japanese Hiragana character. My writing sucks big time. I remember the frustration I have in elementary education, trying to write letter A in longhand. It is harder in Japanese, and I do not write often. My hands are sorta tied to keyboard of PC. Do you have any advice on this (practicing and enhancing writing of Japanese characters)?

While learning individual characters, I learn Japanese phrases, like the "Konichiwa/Konnichiwa" and "Arigatou/Arigatuo". Which spellings are correct? I study phrases for conversation and spoken part of language.

Third prong, I study grammar. It is a bit mixed with my learning of conversational phrases - to help me apply the grammatical principles to the phrases that I memorize.

I take about an hour every day, after work, to study the language. Honestly, it is emotionally challenging, studying from books and no reinforcement. But I motivate myself with my purpose in deciding to learn the language in the first place.

I would like to learn the Japanese chess that I see in animes. I see in cartoons that they have Japanese characters. Do they mean anything that could help me connect the characters to Japanese alphabets, maybe? Or characters so that I could help me remember? Something like Red Cross means medicine in English context, which came from Switzerland, which has a white cross in red background flag (I'm sorry for the faulty comparison)?

Lastly, do you know a site wherein I could write English characters and it would translate it to Japanese characters? You see, I see characters in this discuss but I could not write them. The computer's OS is Windows 2000, and I cannot install Japanese language pack(?) in the PC.

Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu!

kuzzywuzzyTuesday 15th of February 2005 02:57:14 AM
- こんにちはCOKBGさん!
Konnichiwa, cokbg-san!

I would just say konnichiwa Tomoka-san, Kuzzy-san (putting a pause between the two), but perhaps Tomoka-san can give you a more natural response. There is also みんなさん (minna-san), which means "everyone".

It sounds like you have a pretty good plan of attack for your studies. As for writing in Japanese, it will get easier with practice. Since you're often at the keyboard, I would suggest "drawing" with your fingers. For instance, if there is a clear space on the desk in front of you, use your finger to trace the strokes of the character on the desk. You can just do it in the air, too. This should help you remember the stroke sequences. On that note, make sure you are learning proper stroke order! This is important in writing correctly.

Your confusion with spelling is exactly why it is good to learn Hiragana immediately. There are a number of different types of romanization, and they can cause these unsureties. こんにちは consists of "ko-n-ni-chi-ha", but is usually written "konnichiwa". The reason "ha" is used is because it is the particle "wa", which is represented by the hiragana "ha". This is an idiomatic phrase. ありがとう consists of "a-ri-ga-to-u", and is usually written likewise depending on the method of romanization. The う at the end lengthens the お sound in と, so that pronunciation is something like ah-ri-ga-too. Technically speaking, the lengthened vowel takes twice as long to speak as the single vowel.

You can get your reinforcement here, of course! :D

The Japanese chess you speak of is called 将棋(しょうぎ), usually written as Shogi. The characters on the tiles are Kanji, and yes, they have meanings. I'm not too familiar with Shogi (I prefer Go ;)), so I'll let Tomoka-san expand on that. Here's a page that shows the tiles and gives a quick overview:

Here is a site that shows you how to install Japanese language support in Windows 2000:

And some info regarding Internet Explorer, with links at the bottom about viewing and entering Japanese text:

Let us know if that works for you! If you do not have the Win2k CDs or cannot install the support for some reason, NJStar Communicator is an alternative:

Good luck!
cokbgTuesday 15th of February 2005 07:09:01 AM
- Thanks for your patience with me. I would post other questions, and I am going to other discusss to learn. For now, I have to go home.

Thanks again. (When I learn more of Japanese, I hope I would be able to converse better!)
kuzzywuzzyTuesday 15th of February 2005 07:48:32 AM
- My pleasure! :D

Ask all the questions that you want. As long as you have questions, I will try to answer. I'm sure others will as well :D

Keep us updated on your progress!