Kaldath’s Corner: Teaching Myself Japanese!

japanese-hiragana-chart

Hello my name is Kaldath and I am here to let everyone know that I am an Otaku! Now like every good Otaku out there I have been interested in learning Japanese for a long time now and I have made some very small headway in that direction however my efforts have all been half hearted at best to be honest.  Japanese is a very hard language for a native English speaker to learn especially without the aid of an instructor or a native Japanese speaking individual to help you out!

Now all my past efforts to this point have enabled me to learn a fair number of "survival phrases" things like introducing myself, greeting people, ordering food, getting directions, asking where the bathroom is etc. So my command of the language is good enough to allow me to visit the country survive as a tourist but that is about it. I want more then that! I want to be able to have a conversation in Japanese, I want to be able to watch my Anime raw, as in no dubbing or subtitles. I want to list to my favorite Japanese groups, like Scandal, Babymetal, Stereopony, One Ok Rock; and be able to understand the lyrics and be able to sing along!

With this goal in mind I have decided to take another stab at the task of learning Japanese and decided to share my experience with you all.One of the reasons I have chosen this time to have another go, is due to my work situation. About six months ago I left a very physically demanding job and took a position as a Security Guard at a gated community on the overnight shift. As you may well know if you are a long time member of this community that I have a history of painful injuries over the years that results in my living in pain almost constantly. So this change of Jobs has been very good for me for my health and physical well being, it does tend to get very boring as you might well imagine!

Now I have all this free time on my hands that I tend to fill up with watching anime on my computer which I bring with me every night, but after watching for so long even that gets to be boring and so I have begun using this time to study.

I have not been at it very long however I find the two best tools thus far that I have used to aid me in my efforts are  1) the Google Translate app, which allows me to practice the words and phrases I have learned since I do not have anyone in my life to speak Japanese with at this point and 2) Japanesepod101.com, both the website and the IOS app. Japanesepod101 is a subscription service but it has tons of lessons there ranging from Absolute beginner all the way up to expert level! Recently (as in yesterday ) I have also begun learning to read Japanese. spent almost my entire shift at work last night learning Hiragama which thought it looks intimidating is actually rather easy to remember.

I read that learning to read the language will help you in learning to speak it and I can see how that can be true. When trying to speak Japanese using Romaji  ( Using Roman letters ie the english alphabet to spell out japanese words ) you tend to fall back on the english rules for pronunciation which doesn't work so well, but seeing the Japanese symbols instead of the english letters allows your mind to remember the sound of that symbol more clearly if that makes sense to anyone other then me!  Once I have Hiragana down pat, I will start learning Katakana which looks to be about as easy as Hiragana. I do dread learning Kanji however **Shudders at the thought**

Anyway if I haven't bored you all to tears by now, I just want to close by say this. If any of you out there are struggling to learn Japanese or any other language I encourage you to keep at it. Though it can be extremely frustrating at timesI do feel a sense of pride each time I learn something new to say or when I am watching an anime, or listening to Japanese music and am able to pick out words I know.  If you need someone to help practice with ( Japanese ) let me know and maybe we can figure out a way to help each other out!

Anyway that is about all I have to say on the matter. I know this was a rather long post to read filled with my ramblings but If  there is  any kind of interest in the topic perhaps I will update you all  time to time on how my efforts are going!

But until then

Jaa ne !!

Kaldath

About Kaldath

EMAIL ADDRESS: Kaldath@HeroMachine.com ---------- TWITTER HANDLE: @Kaldath ---------- YOU CAN FIND ME ON GOOGLE+: https://plus.google.com/+HarryCreter/about ---------- FIND ME ON DEVIANTART: http://kaldath.deviantart.com/ ----------

3 Responses to Kaldath’s Corner: Teaching Myself Japanese!

  1. Thundersong

    Heyla Kaldath,

    I am interested in following your progress, it also lends an air of accountability in assisting you towards your goal. lol. I attempted to learn Japanese, being as I am Japanese, but being third generation, we did not grow up speaking it and besides with subtitles on all the Japanese shows, it didn’t seem like we really needed to learn.

    I too, use an online translator, especially when running across Youtube videos written in Japanese. The only thing I found is the translation for the the characters. I ran across a video which I knew the song, but not the artist singing, so I went to the translator and the title of the song was different. “Where the Boys Are” turned into “Boy Hunt”. Big difference in translation, LOL.

    頑張って (がんばって)

    Thundersong

  2. Thundersong:
    Heyla Kaldath,

    I am interested in following your progress, it also lends an air of accountability in assisting you towards your goal.lol.I attempted to learn Japanese, being as I am Japanese, but being third generation, we did not grow up speaking it and besides with subtitles on all the Japanese shows, it didn’t seem like we really needed to learn.

    I too, use an online translator, especially when running across Youtube videos written in Japanese.The only thing I found is the translation for the the characters.I ran across a video which I knew the song, but not the artist singing, so I went to the translator and the title of the song was different.“Where the Boys Are” turned into “Boy Hunt”.Big difference in translation, LOL.

    頑張って (がんばって)

    Thundersong

    I like the Google Translate app, have it onboth my iphone and my Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. The App version will actually translate the speach as well as text so I can speak into my phone or tablet and get instant feed back on weather I said the words correctly, or at least correctly enough to be understood to mean what I want to say.

  3. The Atomic Punk

    Teaching oneself a language is extremely difficult even with modern tools such as e-Learning and self-study. I studied Japanese for a year in high school. It is a fun and easy language. Still can read and write hirigana and katakana. Can count to 100, know the words for colors, and a few basic phrases.

    My favorite things about Japanese are particles and enunciation. Particles structure sentences so it is easier to recognize nouns and verbs. Every sound is pronounced in the language. No silent letters. No vocalizations or inflections that might change the meaning of a word.

    Kaldath, you are wise to forgo learning Japanese in romanji and learn to read hirigana and katakana. It does make Japanese easier to learn. Kanji is not so mysterious. The problem with kanji is that it is taught as some sort of pictogram or random pattern designated as a word. Which is not true.

    Kanji begins with base forms. Words change as you add to the characters. Just as with letters in the Roman alphabet. Except there are more base forms in kanji than there are letters of the alphabet. I always quote Bob Marley as my example:

    Like a lion in iron in Zion

    With only slight strokes of a pen (well, keyboard), I wrote four separate words with four different pronunciations and four different meanings in the same sentence: an animal (“lion”), a preposition (“in”), an element from the Periodic Table (“iron”), and an idea (“Zion”). All dissimilar yet created by using a base form (the letters “in”).

    Most importantly, when learning any language, have fun!