Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Studying Japanese?

I confess.  I am a self-proclaimed nerd.  I love school.  I excelled in my class work.  I thrived in that type of learning environment. 

Now I am trying desperately to learn Japanese, but primarily by self-study.  And it is totally different ball game. I miss having the structure of a classroom with deadlines to be met and exams for which to study.

Spending two weeks at Yamasa Institute this past August was like a throw back to college.  I loved it.  It improved my Japanese to the point at which I finally feel more comfortable self-studying.  I no longer feel like I am completely floundering…wondering if I am going in the right direction.

I have also recently come across some really incredible study materials.  Let me share them with you:

1.  Download the “Anki” flashcard program.  There is a wealth of resources in the form of flashcard decks all ready for you to download.  The program is specifically designed to help you retain the information you are trying to learn.

2.  Are you trying to learn the Kanji characters?  It’s a pretty daunting task.  I recently discovered a book called “Heisig’s Remember the Kanji.”  Book one covers how to write the kanji as well as the English meaning while book two gets into the readings for the kanji.  There is also a book three, but I don’t know much about it.  This approach to learning Kanji works really well for some people’s learning styles, but not all.

3.  Podcasts.  If you have an iPod or any other way of accessing podcasts, search for Japanese language learning podcasts.  There are lots of them.  The one I primarily listen too is called “Learn Japanese Pod.”  They are fun to listen too and also other cultural notes in addition to just language points. Trying to learn the kana?  Play this!

Do you have any tried and true way of studying languages?  If so, do tell!

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