Tips And Advice: Learning Japanese Language
<THIS ARTICLE IS WRITTEN BY A GUEST WRITER>
Japanese is among the most fascinating languages in the world to study as a non-native speaker. Its complexity, its openness to incorporating words from other languages (gairaigo), and its association with one of the world’s strongest economies makes it an ideal choice for foreign language study. Here are 5 tips for learning Japanese faster and with better retention.
Here are 5 tips for learning Japanese online.
1: Get a good online flashcard system: Flashcards are an indispensable tool for learning Japanese. You can find great software programs or online applications that allow you to easily store and then test yourself on key words. Some even use pictures to really help you remember words faster.
2: Read at least one online newspaper article daily: Reading an online newspaper article every day – even as a beginner who has to look up each and every word in a dictionary – is a great way to study Japanese. Trick: try leaving an online dictionary open in a separate browser window (see Tip #4) while reading so that it is easy to copy-and-paste unknown kanji into that online dictionary. Toggling back and forth between the two is quick and this makes for faster reading.
3: Watch Japanese videos on YouTube: One of the most important parts of learning a foreign language is developing your listening skills. Do a search on YouTube or Google Videos daily for Japanese videos. To find videos this way, here is a trick: do a search for the word for video (bideo) using katakana in either of these sites and tons of Japanese language videos will pop up. If your computer does not type in Japanese, just go to an online dictionary that allows you to type in a romaji word and returns the katakana equivalent. Then, cut-and-paste the katakana word for video into your YouTube search box. Be sure to watch videos showing people of both sexes and all ages: everyone speaks a little bit differently and this is a great way to get exposed to different styles.
4: Use a good online kanji dictionary: Once you actually graduate from romaji and start using kana and kanji, I highly suggest switching to an online kanji dictionary as soon as possible. A great, no-frills and FREE one that I have been using for years is maintained by a gentleman called Jim Breen. You can find his current site by searching for “Jim Breen WWWJDIC” in Google.
5: Use Google to check your writing: Once you are at the stage where you are writing in Japanese on your computer, a great way to check your phrase usage for correctness is to search for it in Google. Be sure to use quotations so that you get an exact match. Tens or hundreds of thousands of search results returned for your phrase usually indicates that it is correct. Caution: Japanese people make mistakes, too, so do not just assume that if you get a handful of search results your phrase is correct; try an alternate phrase for comparison. This method is not foolproof, but I have found that it is ten times faster than trying to look it up in a book or asking someone. I use this method almost daily to check my Japanese grammar and syntax.
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I lived in Japan for many years and learning Japanese was a lot of fun! This article has some good tips on how to practice Japanese, but you can use them to practice English too!
- Use flashcards to help you remember new words
- Read an online newspaper. There are many good ones. Personally I read the Sydney Morning Herald.
- Watch videos on Youtube in English. Don’t only watch videos that TEACH English. Watch videos that are native speakers USING English!
- There are many good online dictionaries for learning English. One good one is: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/
- Use Google to check your grammar and spelling. This is also a good suggestion!
Well, I want to thank our first guest writer! Some good tips!
Please tell me what you think!
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