The Austin Japanese Culture and Language Meetup Group Message Board › Sharing Learning Resources
Chiang Mai, TH
I wanted to create a thread where we can share knowledge about methods and such for Japanese proficiency.
The first and most important "method" would likely be your purpose, your goal. There's a great motivational gap between hobby and say, trying to get a job in Japan, for example. For any language, a good amount of commitment and love is required. This is only multiplied when it comes to Japanese. Thankfully the culture is quite deep and can be wonderfully engrossing.
Here are some things that can be rather useful:
White Rabbit Press makes probably the best flashcards for kana and kanji.
Heisig's Remembering the Kanji
Well touted as the best method to remembering the meaning of kanji. I'm trying this out now. I've learned about 1000 kanji, but am already beginning to forget some of the ones I previously studied. While the Heisig method is not about pronunciation, it is supposed to be top notch for remembering meaning, which is really what's most important. Pronunciation is upheld through discourse, anyway, for the most part.
Anki is a flashcard creator for your computer and/or iPhone/Android. It is deeply customizable, including allowing various graphics and audio, and works on a intelligent spacing method where basically the more you know it, the less you see the card and vice-versa. There are also many pre made decks to download, particularly Japanese learning decks as the creator had this in mind when making the program. Anki 「暗記」is after all Japanese for "memorize" or "learn by heart".
Lots of discussion here about how to level up your Japanese quickly, and lots of links to useful stuff. Furthermore, they have created a type of learning game where you level yourself up like an RPG character. Methods and charts are provided so you can join in and start gaining ranks. While yeah, okay, meaningless in itself, it does provide a fun way for you to measure your growth - an objective way to measure diligence in a sense. Anyway, aside from that, there is a lot of great study information here. I recommend it highly just for that, even if you're not interested in their game.
I haven't looked at this site too much, but they seem to have created a leveling/ranking setup like Jalup (above) that is largely based around the tons of vocab/kanji tests they have on their site. If you like flashcards, it seems like a really cool way to be a part of a 'net group learning Japanese together. They even post a daily Top 20 learners.
AJATT - All Japanese All The Time
This guy has a reputation in the online Japanese learning world for being both very informative and both バラバラ/scatterbrained and somewhat vulgar. From what I've read, he used to have his site better organized in the past. Regardless, he's put a lot of thought into language learning, and other sites often draw from what he has to say to come up with their "own" ideas. Essentially, what he talks about works.
Kanji Damage is by the AJATT guy, and draws largely on the Heisig method. There are interesting bits about particles here that you may not have noticed before. I have yet to really explore this site, however.
Read More or Die is the rough name of this site, but what it is about really is a Japanese reading competition that you can join via Twitter. A Twitter bot has been created for anyone interested that regularly does competitions and gives updates, etc. There is a simple system where you join and update the bot with your own personal reading. Rules about reading and points are on the website.
An often overlooked resource is Skype. The Japanese people that want to connect with you are myriad. Many of them want a simple language exchange, but many also simply want someone different to talk with. This is the perfect way to exercise your speaking and listening, and it can also help to generate contacts and friends in Japan if you're interested in going there. To find Skypers, you can create accounts on Mixi and Ameba. I'm sure there are other ways, as well. Ideas?
Japanese Pen Pal - a great way to practice reading and writing, and to make friends. I used this actually before I moved to Japan to make friends so that when I landed I wouldn't be Mr. Loner.
Simple setup - you correct other people's written English, and they correct your written Japanese. It's a good idea to put out lots of feelers, to put out various small things to get corrected so you can find those who are sincere about helping you learn. Friend them on the site and go quid pro quo. Everybody wins.
A cute and really big social site to make Japanese friends. It can be quite daunting, and is quite an educator unto itself, but if you can crack that shell, you'll find a huge world opening up to you. Keyword being Huge.
Find lots of subbed anime. Unfortunately it's always subbed English.
A neat little site that compares different ways of speaking in Japanese.
Old Japanese stories to read.
NHK's reading site for foreigners - Newsweb Easy
A great place to order Japanese movies, manga, anime, etc.
A Good Teacher
Learning is really up to you, but there is no substitute for a good guide. A teacher makes it his/her job to pay attention to your progress and your understanding, to actively correct your mistakes, and show you things you would't have found on your own. A good teacher is invaluable.
Whew! I think that's enough for now! :)
Edited by Mike 門想 on Jul 18, 2013 10:31 PM
This is wonderful! Thank you, Mike!