https://www.duolingo.com/hujackus

I'm learning Japanese by taking ’English for Japanese’ lessons. Anyone else?

So far so good. I've been having success using the Duolingo English for Japanese speakers to help me learn Japanese. I've had to learn how to write, type, and pronounce hiragana and katakana on the side; use Google Translate and romajidesu.com to identify kanji I haven't seen; and keep my own notes and vocabulary. It's taken a while to get used to the site as most of it is written in Japanese I can't read (except for loanwords), but it's paying off. If anyone else is giving this a try, I'd like to ask a few questions.

How should I go about learning verb conjugation? How to use/distinguish formal and informal speech? Duolingo seems to prefer polite forms over others and I end up writing 私はステーキが好きです。 instead of writing what I would like to say 僕はステーキが好き!

Is there a better kana to speech website out there? I can't use the English lessons to improve my listening comprehension so this last question is important. After all, I'm learning Japanese because I enjoy watching anime subs, but not the subs per se.

4年前

27コメント


https://www.duolingo.com/aarin95

I dont have much trouble since i already know quite a bit of the language but i would suggest getting rikaikun (or rikaichan) for chrome it will make things 1000 times easier because you get a direct translation of the japanese word just by hovering over the word in question. (:

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/velan
velan
  • 11
  • 7
  • 7
  • 7
  • 3
  • 2

Yeah I started the tree as well while waiting for the reverse course. I have weekly classes and have been learning kanji on the side on https://www.wanikani.com. But I definitely helps to do a little bit of Duolingo every day. I'll admit that the lessons on conjunctions and prepositions sent me straight to grammatical hell. :D

It's very enjoyable though, I feel that the way Japanese is taught focuses on grammatical points at the expense of being able to convey notions that seem rather simple but that need non-trivial grammar in Japanese. So "learning" how to say simple stuff in English forces me to research a lot of Japanese grammar with very immediate applications.

http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar and http://www.imabi.net are my got to free resources to clarify grammatical points.

How should I go about learning verb conjugation?

Conjugation is very important in Japanese, to convey a lot of ideas you'll need to conjugate verbs rather than use some specific vocabulary as in English. Identifying verbs is easy as they're at the end of a sentence. If you see a form you're not familiar with, research it!

How to use/distinguish formal and informal speech?

Formal speech uses です and the ます to conjugate verbs. I'd say it's the easier route if you've not been immersed in spoken Japanese. Vocabulary can change as well depending on the speech. The formal/informal form is often determined but the last verb of a compound sentence, as a lot of grammar involves using the informal form of a verb.

Exemples

食事を食べる前に、料理した。(informal)

食事を食べる前に、料理しました。(formal)

Literally, "Before (I) ate the meal, I cooked"

日本に来た後で、和食を食べる。(informal)

日本に来た後で、和食を食べます。(formal)

Literally, "After (I) come to Japan, (I) will eat Japanese food.

Although the two verbs in the first part of the sentence are informal, since it's a compound sentence, it's the conjugated form of the last verb that determines the level of politeness. It happens that you won't know if a sentence is formal or informal until the very end.

Duolingo seems to prefer polite forms over others and I end up writing 私はステーキが好きです。 instead of writing what I would like to say 僕はステーキが好き!

Well the course is still in beta, and there are a lot of ways to say an english sentence in Japanese. I believe all of them must be entered manually by the team maintaining the course. So if you believe your answer is correct, you can send a feedback.

P.S: Apologies if I made mistakes, I'm still a beginner!

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/hujackus

Thank you for the links. Your point about conjugating the last verb is very helpful. I have been experimenting with the phrases I know to see how much I can change a sentence before the meaning changes.

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
Mod
  • 25
  • 19
  • 18
  • 14
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 26

I just started learning the 5Base method. I am not sure what the learning process for someone previously unfamiliar with Japanese verb conjugation, but as someone who has studied Japanaese, struggled mightily with conjugation and momentarily grasped it before forgetting, this Method is amazing. It took me a 20 minutes to relearn informal negative, conjunctive, dictionary form (of course), conditional, imperative, and volitional.

The book I'm using is called "The Handbook of Japanese Verbs" by Taeko Kamiya

Update: I showed the book to my Japanese friend who said the Imperative forms it was teaching was outdated and sounded like Samurai. I don't know if it was all of them or just the example for Suru. :P There were also a couple of things they simply got wrong. So, It is a cool chart and helped me with some stuff. But, it has some problems. There were other aspects to the book that I really liked though. So, it wasn't a complete waste. :)

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/RaizinM
RaizinM
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 6
  • 6
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3

If there's any intermediate or advanced Japanese learners reading this, I would really like to recommend goo辞書 at http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/. It's a dictionary site made for Japanese users, so even with a mouseover dictionary add-on like Rikaikun you will need a firm grasp of the basics of Japanese before it will really be useful. But to me it is the most useful free resource for Japanese I have seen on the whole internet.

Aside from Japanese-English and English-Japanese dictionaries it has a Japanese-Japanese (or 国語) dictionary, as well as a synonym (類語) dictionary that explains the differences in nuance and usage between similar words very well. Usually when I find a new word I look it up in Perapera-kun (a Firefox alternative to Rikaikun), as well as Goo's Japanese-English and Japanese-Japanese dictionaries. Perapera-kun (and Rikaichan) is way quicker and easier to use, but Goo usually lists example sentences, and in some cases full definitions are a lot more useful than straight up translations.

Another site that's very useful but not beginner friendly is Alc (http://www.alc.co.jp), once again made for Japanese users learning English. It has a huge database of all kinds of English and Japanese words, phrases and sentences, with translations between the two languages provided for each entry. It's especially useful for looking up phrases or the way certain words are used, which are often hard to find in dictionaries.

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/caspero

Why Perapera over Rikaichan? (is it that it looks better and has the Names Dictionary?)

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/RaizinM
RaizinM
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 6
  • 6
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3

It used to be because it had more features, but now I have no idea which is better and I just use Perapera-kun because I'm used to picking it over Rikaichan.

Years ago Perapera-kun also had a Chinese dictionary and you could switch between the two languages. I found that the add-on combined with the little knowledge of Chinese grammar I had from the way kanji work in Japanese was often enough to make sense of simple Chinese texts. Which I thought was pretty cool, and was impossible with Rikaichan. But ever since Chinese Perapera-kun split off into its own add-on I have never bothered downloading it.

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/caspero

Ah, cool so I'm not missing out on too much!

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/bartninja

me too, I am learning Japanese by taking ’English for Japanese’ lessons. I am having a problem with the questions that we have to choose the words, often the correct words are not listed or some of the choices are signals of these type: " / " or " ˜ ". I don not know the meaning of these signals. Duolingo did not give me these information. And more, when the correct answer is displayed, often some words do not appear in the list, for example "I am a boy", the correct answer should be: "私は男の子です", but sometimes a word is missing, for example "す" is missing, and I can not complete de phrase appropriately. This makes my answer be incorrect. I would like to attach a sample picture, but I do not why. Then how can we respond correctly if this happens?

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
Mod
  • 25
  • 19
  • 18
  • 14
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 26

I signed up and suggested some alternative translations. But, I started forgetting the Spanish so I decided to just focus on the Spanish until the English for Japanese course is out. But, it sure was fun getting the alternative sentence translation acceptance emails. :D Courses in beta are great for that.

As for verb conjugation, I highly recommend 501 Spanish verbs (Book), Midori (iPad app), and Genki 1 (textbook. Is spendy but also has grammar helps. The latest edition is an honest to goodness improvement on the previous one. But, if you get the previous edition you can save a lot of money on alibris.com and possibly on amazon.com. I'd check alibris first though). Google is also a good place to start if you don't have room in your budget for buying books and apps.

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/cananroad

I am !but it's really not easy and i finally turn to use Chinese to study English cause both of Japanese and English i need to develope.

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/socoral

I also started doing this and been using google translate to help me with the kanji I couldn't break through on my own. However, I wanted to go back into practicing my Italian (it was pretty difficult navigating my way back to my english home page from japanese, so I guess i still have a long way to go, haha!) Also, like Usagiboy7 mentions, some of those other tools are super helpful! I've had to use the Genki textbook in a beginners Japanese course I took two years ago and it has many good exercises! I really hope Duolingo gets an English to Japanese course in the future :c

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/hujackus

Yes. Switching the interface language back and forth is difficult, but I can understand why.

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/silvigarvelas

Me too!! but I don't speak English (I speak Spanish), I'd like speak Japanese but I can't find people who speak Japanese to practice, if someone speaks Japanese and he wants learn Spanish please talk to mi for practise. Sorry for my bad English :)

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/Nitram.
Nitram.
  • 25
  • 16
  • 16
  • 11
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5

(日本語で/In Japanese)

私もここで勉強する。日本語のコースは難しいだと思いますが、楽しいね。今のところ私はコースの70ー75%を完了するから、終わりは遠くない。^^ 私は理解訓を使う。理解訓とはクロームのアプリだ。便利ね。

(英語で/In English)

I learn it here too. The Japanese course is very difficult I think, but it is fun. So far, as I have completed about 70-75% of the course, the end is not far. :) I use Rikaikun. Rikaikun is an extension for Chrome, it's very useful.


I strongly recommend you to use other sites as well, like this site or this one because you'll soon find it way too difficult to complete. I've had several points during the course where I got stuck for weeks or so, but never gave it up. So, 頑張りなさい!

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/RaizinM
RaizinM
  • 11
  • 10
  • 10
  • 6
  • 6
  • 3
  • 3
  • 3

If I may give you a few pointers with your Japanese, I have four things I would like the explain. And sorry for the giant intimidating wall of text, I tend to be very thorough when I explain stuff to strangers on the internet.

1: ~て+いる In the first sentence you should use している instead of する, and in 理解訓を使う that should be 使っている. The ~て+いる construction (~て+います for formal Japanese) is used for actions that are still going on (今選択している, I am doing the laundry right now), that are being done regularly (毎日勉強している, I study every day), or a change whose effects are still in effect. (結婚している, I am married, or more literally, I became married and still am) When you don't use this construction for actions it often implies a future tense. For example, John asks if someone can help him carry boxes. Fred offers his help and picks up a box. In that case you can say 私も手伝う (I will help too) because the action has not yet started. Then if someone sees John carrying a box and offers help, but John says "You don't have to, Fred is already helping me," you could add 私も手伝っている (I am helping too) because the action has been going on for a little while, and still is. And actually, when you say コースの70ー75%を完了する, that should also be している instead of する. It's part of the third usage I mentioned, with the married example. Using している here implies "I have finished 70-75% of the course, and I am still at that point."

2: ね Twice you're using ね to make a statement ("it's fun" and "it's useful"), which is incorrect. Although ね has a few more uses, in its base meaning it's used to ask if the listener agrees with you. 便利ね means "isn't it useful?" or "don't you think it's useful too?" "It's very useful" would be とても便利です or すごく便利です.

3: i-adjectives have a built-in verb. You probably already know there are two kinds of adjectives in Japanese. So-called i-adjectives like 赤い, かわいい, 難しい, 美しい, and na-adjectives like 便利, きれい, 元気, 静か. The former act more like verbs, while the latter act more like nouns. You can even conjugate i-adjectives like verbs. To do the same with na-adjectives you need to add the copula (だ) and conjugate that. E.g. 便利な本 (useful book) -> 便利だった本 (the/a book that was useful). (In fact, most people don't know this, but this な particle used to be a form of the verb だ) Because na-adjectives don't have a built in verb you can't end a sentence with it (e.g. あの少女はきれい is wong, あの少女はきれだ is correct). However, with i-adjectives the opposite is true. あの少女は美しい is a correct sentence, while あの少女は美しいだ is incorrect because the だ is redundant. For the same reason "難しいだと思います" in your text is incorrect. It should be "難しいと思います". However, to make things more complicated, in formal language you do not end your sentences with i-adjectives, but you add です. In informal language あの本は赤くない is correct and あの本は赤くないだ is incorrect, but in formal language あの本は赤くない is incorrect and あの本は赤くないです is correct. Which brings me to:

4: formal vs. informal. You keep mixing them up. ;) Formal sentences almost always end in a form of です or ます. Also, beginners often don't know this but the が in と思いますが is formal, and けど (often picked up in anime) is informal and used exactly the same way. (と思いますが -> と思うけど) Also, 私 is formal, although it can also be used informally by women and girls. However, boys and men should use 僕 (boku) in informal language. (or the very informal 俺 (ore)) Girls can also use あたし instead of 私 in informal language, but that's considered very girly. In other words, middle-aged women and tomboys usually do not to use it. (I once read about someone whose Japanese friends told her they thought it was strange she used あたし because she never wore skirts.)

bonus: Rikaikun would be spelled 理解くん or 理解君, not 理解訓. However, because it's a name (albeit of a product/application) you would usually not translate it (although you can if you want to). The same is true for Chrome. For example: RikaikunとはChromeのアプリだ。 (理解君とはクロームのアプリだ is also correct, but in the modern age of internationalization it's less and less common to translate names of products, companies, etc.)

For comparison, when you apply my corrections your text would read: (formal) 私もここで勉強しています。日本語のコースは難しいと思いますが、楽しいです。今のところ私はコースの70ー75%を完了しているから、終わりは遠くないです。^^ 私はRikaikunを使っています。RikaikunとはChromeのアプリです。すごく便利です。 (informal male) 僕もここで勉強している。日本語のコースは難しいと思うけど、楽しい。今のところ僕はコースの70ー75%を完了しているから、終わりは遠くない。^^ 僕はRikaikunを使っている。RikaikunとはChromeのアプリだ。すごく便利だ。

You probably already knew some of the stuff I explained, but I hope it was useful! ^^ Feel free to ask if there's parts you don't entirely understand.

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/Kaylejoy

Wow, I learned a lot from your post!!

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/Nitram.
Nitram.
  • 25
  • 16
  • 16
  • 11
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5

I don't really understand て forms and don't think I'll ever understand them (like 90% of Japanese anyway...), so only the first point was new (and strange) for me, I already knew the rest of them (except that な used to be a form of だ that was something really interesting to read).

My text perfectly shows what a stupid and useless waste of time to learn Japanese through this course T_T I've been doing it since March and still making such horrible mistakes... very discouraging. Japanese is the most confusing thing ever created by man.

Anyways, thanks for taking the time and writing down all this.

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/sandrythebear
sandrythebear
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

The Genki text books should help with verb conjugation and other grammar points. If you poke around, you should be able to find pdfs of the books and workbooks for practice. A good site for looking up words and kanji is jisho.org. That site has saved me so many times. I would advise using jisho.org over Google translate for Japanese in general because Google is hilariously bad. Jisho.org is an online dictionary so you can look up any word and it will give you a list words. Very useful. Kanjidamage.com is a good website for learning kanji. It gives you lookalike kanji so you are aware they exist and don't get them confused. I believe the reason it wouldn't take 僕はステーキが好き!may be because of 僕. I use informal conjugations in all my responses and haven't had any problems. However, I have had problems every time I used anything other than 私 for I. So it may just not be entered in since the course is in beta.

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/hujackus

Yes, Google Translate is hilarious sometimes. I don't trust it for sentences longer than a few words, but it is convenient to convert Japanese text to speech/romanji. I'll check out http://jisho.org/ to see how it compares to other dictionary sites I know.

As for the steak example, Duolingo has accepted most of my responses whether informal or not. It's just that it's leading me to only think in a specific formal way because it can't display more than two alternate suggestions.

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/sandrythebear
sandrythebear
  • 11
  • 8
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 5
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Well with Japanese you need to use formal at least when you first meet people, so it's not necessarily a bad thing to be comfortable with formal. When you are coming up with your responses, try thinking about how you would end it in informal versus formal and input the informal, which will allow you to see if it is correct as well as checking the formal conjugations. That may help you get out of thinking in a formal way. And yes, that's what I meant by duolingo accepting informal responses-that it does take the informal responses. Perhaps I misunderstood your original statement because to me it read more like it wouldn't take the informal version at all. But it appears that's not what you meant.

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/hujackus

I think we're on the same page. To understand most anime, I will need to learn the whole spectrum of speech patterns. The path would be more clear if I could learn the formal way first, but the broad approach I'm taking now seems to be the most rewarding.

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/stanha6X5A6

Yes im trying to do this as well to help me in my year 11 studies for Japanese! It is hard but helping heaps! glad im not the only one doing this!

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/CoffeeStack
CoffeeStack
  • 25
  • 18
  • 14
  • 11
  • 9

I just tried to do that today, and it seems pretty good. I've been doing Japanese for 14 months or so and words are easy enough to memorize but are lacking context since I don't have a chance to practice grammar and syntax. It seems like the course will give me a chance to test those out.

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/abaobao

I'm doing that! I have done a year of Japanese language at my university, and am about to start year 2, so luckily I had the hiragana and katakana under my belt already. Kanji is where it's tricky, because I know fewer than 100, so Google translate has been helping me with that. Hopefully I'll learn enough kanji over the next year for this to not be an issue. The hardest thing I've encountered so far is the sentence structure needed for the conjunction section. I had to do that section probably 10 times or more before barely passing Dx Hopefully we learn more about that in class haha.

Our class uses the Genki textbooks, and I really like them :) They come with discs for listening comprehension practice, so that's a plus.

The differences between formal and informal speech will be a snap once you've got the conjugation rules down. We've learned formal, short, casual and て conjugation so far. It sounds like a lot, but the rules are pretty easy to follow. As other people have said, Genki is great for that, and I haven't come across any conjugation I'm unfamiliar with on Duolingo yet. I'm actually itching to get to the past tense...

Anyway, and word on when the reverse of these lessons will be put into beta?

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
Mod
  • 25
  • 19
  • 18
  • 14
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 26

If you have an Ipad, my highest recommendation is to invest in the Midori app. I once bought a 250$ electronic translator and then spent a few dollars on Midori shortly after. The translator sits unused while I used Midori through a year of tutoring first year university Japanese language students. Google is ok for Spanish but it is the last place I would recommend students of Japanese go. Midori lets you draw the kanji with your finger, gives you step by step stroke order as well as a video of the kanji being drawn. It will give you several example sentences as well. Ive never found better. Im not sure if it's available for other platforms, but it might be. :)

Also no estimate on beta for Jpn for Eng speakers yet.

I LOVE the て form song xD




- って




- んで


- いて


- いで


- して

:D

4年前

https://www.duolingo.com/hujackus

Thanks for the optimism in regards to verb conjugation. I'm looking forward to it.

4年前
英語を無料で学ぼう。1日5分ゲーム感覚で学習できます。