learning japanese script

J.sharp j.sharp at hpo.net
Tue Aug 14 11:16:37 EDT 2007

Hi Emma,

Good look on taking the plunge. Yes, the three scripts do all occur in the
same sentence on many occasions!
I'll just add that as someone who started learning fairly recently (about 6
years ago) and counts himself as a far better reader than a speaker, I found
Japanese For Busy People very limited in their usefulness. The fact that
they use only romaji and hiragana up a fairly high level, without really
introducing kanji at all, indicates that they werent designed by a Japanese

There's a school of though that says you should learn how to speak first and
learn kanji later. I personally disagree - I think they are too seperate
skills which can be learn in tandem without any detriment to each other, and
in fact facillitate the learning of each other. As you'll have noticed,
Japanese vocab, esepcially at a more abstract level, doesnt bare much
relationship to any European language, and i found it a lot easier to
remember how to pronounce a word if you can visualise its kanji.

So I would suggest keeping Japanese For Busy People on the backburner or as
supplmentary material, and use the brilliant Minna no Nihongo books, which
is what any Japanese teacher in Japan would use.
I am not sure if these books are easy to get on line, as I bought mine in
Japan, but here's a starting place for your search:

The books are great because they introduce the simple kanji, for example,
'hito' or 'ue', as you come across them. You can get up to a good 100
serviceable characters in a very short time.

Another great resource for kanji that I used which explains how it works was
a Tuttle publication called something like How to Learn Kanji. It only
introduces a few simple ones, but it explains how they work conceptually. I
remember when I first moved to Japan sitting on the Odakyu line every day
looking at the signs with this book in my hands and gradually working out
that places like Machida  meant "town-field" and Yokohama meant "next to the
beach" etc, and it soon flowed from there.

I've also got a great book, A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters,
which lists about 1800 kanji and explains their derivations - its very
intimidating at first, but very useful in the long run.

So there's my tips - Minna no nihongo!


Midnight Eye: The Latest and Best in Japanese Cinema


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--------- Original Message --------
From: KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
To: kinejapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu <kinejapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu>
Subject: learning japanese script
Date: 14/08/07 05:03

> Hello all.
> I have just embarked upon the long path of learning to read and write
> Japanese. I am using the 'Japanese for busy people' workbooks, and have
> sailing through learning hiragana, but much to my dismay when i went to
> out my new skill on www.amazon.jp i find all the sentences to be
> of hirigana, kanji and katakana. I realise to all you who know how to read
> japanese this is very obvious, but it there anyone out there to whom
> japanese is not their first language who can instill me with some
> that it is possible to learn it all -  and why are there 3 forms within
> sentence!
> Emma Newbery BA (hons), MA, PGCE
> Programme Leader
> BTEC National Diploma in Media Productions
> Blackpool and the Fylde College
> _________________________________________________________________
> The next generation of Hotmail is here!  http://www.newhotmail.co.uk

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