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New! Any Advice?

Hello everyone!

This will be my first time studying the Japanese language. Are there any suggestions of what books, vocabularies, or flash-cards can be used for beginners or has worked for you? Preferably if the books are college orientated and or contain interactive-CD's with them.

Also, which is the best vocabulary to start learning Japanese between Hirigana, Katakana and Kanji?
posted by ToastyOx

Comments 1

  • shairn
    It goes without saying that the first syllabary you will study will be hiragana. You'll see it everywhere so you should get used to it as fast as possible. It shouldn't take long before you're comfortable with it, around one week is a good time, but don't despair if it takes longer. Not everybody learns at the same pace. Afterwards, you'll want to do the same with Katakana. The kana section of this site should be just right for learning both at your rhythm.

    Kanji is another world. Since there are so many, all of which have a handful of readings, you shouldn't expect to know all ~2000 general-use kanji anytime soon. I personally recommend picking up James Heisig's "remembering the kanji" and going through it once. You won't learn any readings, and you most probably won't remember all of them, but you will be well-equipped to remember and recognize kanji in the future. While the 2nd book does give you readings, it's very tedious and not actually all that productive so I personally suggest working on here or, for a lot more content, using Anki, a SRS-based flashcard program. You have access to a -lot- of different decks of varying purposes and sizes, so you can actually use it for kanji, vocabulary, and even the kana if you want.

    As for grammar, you can visit Tae Kim's website at www.guidetojapanese.com for a free resource that covers most parts of japanese grammar. I personally chose to order the genki series of textbooks, which allowed me to study while on the bus. I also prefer their way of explaining and their examples, since they use the grammar in actual dialogs and provide practice exercises. I would recommend them if you're willing to spend a fair amount of money(Should be around 35$ for each 2nd edition book). They also include MP3 CDs in each book with around 6h of listening material on each.


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