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10 January 2014 @ 03:57 pm
Useful sites for learning Japanese  
I am by no means fluent (it's painfully obvious, I know), and I don't even plan on being super conversational in Japanese until I get to finally go there (two more years! wee!). BUT, I have had a few friends ask me how I've been teaching myself Japanese over the years, so I decided I'd share a my top 5 online resources for people to check out who are interested in learning some Japanese. :)

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01. Rikkaikun
This is my #1 favorite tool for learning Japanese EVERRR. This is an extension for Google Chrome. You can pretty much hover over almost any Japanese word you don't know, and it will give you the definition, along with the hiragana. This is ridiculously useful for me; I find myself using it EVERY SINGLE DAY when I'm online, and it has helped me learn countless Japanese words, including slang and sayings. Really useful. I think there is also one for Firefox? Or Internet Explorer? Not entirely sure.

02. Tae Kim's Guide To Learning Japanese
This is a full-length online learning guide for understand basic Japanese grammar structure, along with a bunch of useful vocabulary. It can be read online or you can download the PDF! I found myself using this quite often. It's super useful to beginners and intermediate learners. :)

03. Tanoshii Japanese
Like Rikkaikun, for a while I found myself using this site every day. It has the same dictionary as Rikkaikun, but I found myself using it more for its stroke order diagrams. It gives tons of lessons on how to properly write hiragana, katakana, and SOOO MUUCHHH KANJIII.

04. Tangorin
This is another great online dictionary. What's so different and wonderful about Tangorin, however, is they provide lots of example sentences. For example, if I wanted to read some example sentences for the word "book" ("hon" in Japanese), I would only have to type "hon" into the search bar and up pops so many pretty little sentences! These really helped me understand how certain sentences are constructed.

05. Lang-8
Finally, a great way to practice your Japanese is on Lang-8, a community where different language speakers get together and help one another improve. All you gotta do is blog something in Japanese, and a Native Japanese speaker will read over it and correct it for you! Considering I live in a tiny town in the South, it's practically impossible to find any other Japanese speakers. This site gives people the opportunity to connect and study with others who understand the language. :)
shupagirl_uk: JYJshupagirl_uk on February 18th, 2014 04:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you for these tips. I need to learn Katakana, Hiragana and kanji. What did you use to help you with this and how long did it roughly take you to remember?
Kelana: ff8pinknives on February 18th, 2014 06:04 pm (UTC)
Believe it or not, I only started studying hiragana & katakana FOUR YEARS after I started getting into/learning Japanese! Haha. So, for me, I had already been looking at the characters for a long time and my mind was subconsciously taking them in. So it was pretty easy for me to memorize them once I started actually trying to learn them. I would say it only took me a few days - 1 week to fully learn hiragana. A few months to learn katakana. Kanji I'm still horrible at! haha

But I used Tanoshii Japanese (one of the links above) to learn how to write hiragana, katakana, and kanji with the proper stroke order. :) If you have an Android phone, I also used the apps "Hiragana Learn" and "Katakana Learn" to help keep my mind sharp on remembering each one. Hope this is helpful! :D
Kelana: ff8pinknives on February 18th, 2014 06:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, and definitely start with hiragana! then move on to katakana, and lastly tackle kanji.

With your knowledge of hiragana, it'll make it much easier to learn a kanji that you don't know (with the aid of furigana).
shupagirl_uk: JYJshupagirl_uk on February 18th, 2014 07:20 pm (UTC)
Ok will do. :)
shupagirl_uk: JYJshupagirl_uk on February 18th, 2014 07:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm actually getting a new android phone soon, so will hoepfully be able to use those apps.
I know that for me it will probably take me quite some time to get to grips with Hiragana and Katakana.
I want to do it but for some reason can't take the first step on the ladder. I just need to push myself. XD
Kelana: ff8pinknives on February 18th, 2014 10:50 pm (UTC)
aww, I wish you luck! :) Haha, I think once you start getting into it you'll get addicted!

After I learned all my hiragana, I was scribbling it down in my notebooks during class eeeevery day. :P
shupagirl_uk: JYJshupagirl_uk on February 18th, 2014 11:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you. ^_^