I have decided to invest some money in my education and have signed up for a beginner’s course of Japanese. I’ve already had two lessons (of ten) and it’s been very interesting so far.
It’s interesting to learn a language that is so far removed from the languages I’m familiar with. It seems when I had my first Spanish class, they gave us a text to read, gave us a few pointers on how to pronounce things, and then had us pick the text apart and explain what it was about. This is easy for a language where continent (German: der Kontinent) is el continente or where to compare is comparar.
In Japanese, everything’s different, beginning with the fact that they start reading from the back to the front, top to bottom, right to left. They have hiragana, katakana, kanji, which at the beginning all look like weird squiggles. While in German, you can be friends with someone for years and barely ever say their name, apparently you have to use a person’s name constantly in Japanese. They have two words for four, but don’t use one of it because it sounds like their word for death.
We have so far had learned some random things by heart (how to introduce ourselves, the numbers, how to say please and thank you and “This is a pen.”) and I’m now eagerly waiting to find out some of the rules of the language (like, what’s up with all the -asen and -asu).
I’m happy to report that I’m motivated and still enjoy studying a lot, and I’ve found several tools to help me, which I’d like to recommend to any Japanese learners out there:
- AnyMemo for Android to study words with. I put them in the day after we learn them and then study every day. Also available for PC for free.
- Hiragana Learn Experiment for Android to learn to identify and write Hiragana. Very good!
- Katakana Learn Experiment for Android, same thing as above but for Katakana.
- Kana Battle Survivor, a little game a co-worker made that has lots of suggestions on how to remember the hiragana/katakana.