Thursday, October 23, 2008

Learning Japanese: A few methods [pic heavy post]


One of my planned entries was to share my methods of learning Japanese. It is by know means the best way and might not suit everyone but, I find it to be a good approach. If this is able to help you in some way, then I have achieved my goal!
Do excuse the pic layout, I'll be updating my layout soon and that should help pic posting in future m(_ _)m

Writing sytems:
Of the available writing sytems in Japanese, the commo approach would be Hiragana first and then Katakana.
Hiragana is the lower level of the two as children at primary school level is taught it first, it is also used to aide pronounciation in Kanji.
Katakana is used for English loanwords, neologisms, foreign names and company names.

A table featuring both Hiragana and Katakana, this will be your friend XD

Once you're able to read a fair amount of either Hiragana or Katakana, you shold find yourself recognising letters in very different places.
Here are to examples that stand out:

The 'A' of Azumanaga Daioh is a recurring idea that appears during the eyecatch. In the case of Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, the layout and style of the text is different and it catches one eye due to that.

Once your character recognition grows, you should be able to draw parallels between two words in different situations.

The first logo is from Hidamari Skerch and the second is from a Touhou doujinshi by circle Sekitou.
The same chacters are used and by this stage, you should be able to read both, despite their different styles.

Reading matter:
Since you're able to recognise characters well enough by now, reading is one way to strengthen your skills. Here are some examples of reading matter that can help you:

The first instance could be raw manga or doujinshi. The pic displayed is a Touhou doujinshi by circle Stripe Pattern named, Battle Cry. It is best to pic something that you enjoy as this allows you to enjoy the process of reading in a new language.
The second image is Mikatan's (
Good Smile Company) blog. I read that one pretty often, even though I can't understand the Kanji.. I do try ^^;
Lastly, the third image is the blog of Fumikane Shimada. He is most famous for his Mecha Musume images and ideas. This is also a blog that I frequent.

Probably the most famous common source of learning, anime. Although you won't be able to read the the Japanese text, anime helps the viewer to hear that language and interpretate. Watching raws and then the subs is a great help.

Radio Drama & J-music:
There are many radio dramas released or aired on company websites. There aren't alwasy translation of it available but, at least it's another way to enhance you Japanese.

Listening to Japanese is quite a plus as the videos or PV's are often subbed or translated lyrics of the songs are easier to come across.
Playing games of guessing the words and their spelling is a fun method that I use.

Visual Novels or Eroge:
I've saved the best for last! Personally, I find this to be one of the best methods as most aspects of learning is used. Reading, listening and interpretation are all used when playing these types of games. Although writing and speaking don't fit in, you still have the advantage of growing three skills through one medium.

That ends this post, I do hope that this was informative in some way.
'Til we next meet,

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