Subbers: How did you learn Japanese?

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Hello there subbers,

I have a special question for you: how did you learn Japanese to a level good enough to make your translations? Any particular method? How long did it take you, and how hard do you study the language/grammar/vocabulary?

I am learning Chinese and I'm getting better day after day, but I still need chinese subtitles to understand native movies/series (sometimes even kids cartoons) I was wondering how you guys could attain a good listening level (or 听力 as we say in Chinese)

I know subtitled japanese materials is widely available due to the anime and jpop culture, enabling you to progress quickly (while it's quite hard to find english subtitled chinese stuff) so that may be an answer?
My Mum taught me. :)
My high school offered it. I had an extra slot in my schedule senior year and decided I would study both French and Japanese. When I got to college, I made it my major. Thankfully I learned the writing system in high school bc my professors at college were all about listening comprehension and speaking authentically. They made us use romaji textbooks until the second year. I think that made a big difference. All we did was work on speaking naturally and vocabulary.

Out of school I'm struggling to find a way to turn it into a career here in the USA. I watch shows to keep the language fresh, but I'm really lacking in kanji. I have visited japan one time, for two weeks last year. It was a great experience and affirmed a lot of the studying I had been doing. Not only did I speak in a way that was understood, I was speaking in a way that made people not believe I had spent so little time in japan.

That's pretty much the story. I hope I can find a way to turn it into something useful.
I want to learn japanese, bur for some reason, I feel I would just waste my time (sometimes I get distracted easily lol)
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Kawaii~
VideogameDC wrote:
I want to learn japanese, bur for some reason, I feel I would just waste my time (sometimes I get distracted easily lol)


Same here. I feel it would be a waste of time to learn it just tot be able to watch Japanese shows... :D
Fengson wrote:
Same here. I feel it would be a waste of time to learn it just tot be able to watch Japanese shows... :D


I don't think it'd be a waste. If all you want to understand is the spoken word in TV shows and don't intend to visit Japan outside of a holiday trip or digest media that relies heavily on the written word (e.g. manga, dialogue in games, newspapers etc.) you might even have an easier time of it too since it's the written Kanji that's the toughest to learn. For the on-screen text in TV shows that has Kanji you can always look them up using http://jisho.org/kanji/radicals/ or by taking a screenshot and using http://capture2text.sourceforge.net/. Ejje is also useful for looking stuff up http://ejje.weblio.jp/
My cousin learned Japanese since 8 years ago. He says kanjis are very hard to learn, so he basically learned a level enough to help me translate some things that are not subbed :)
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Kawaii~
Thanks soudou! I think I'll be using the second site a lot for many things I don't understand :D
Image

Kawaii~
I watched anime with subtitles for few years, studied Japanese at my university for one and a half year, and after/during that I watched/listened to all sorts of things (owarai, web radios, seiyuu live events etc) without subtitles. I'm terrible at kanji and my vocabulary outside everyday conversations is pretty small, so a part of the subbing for me goes into searching for words. That being said, an even bigger part goes into figuring how to express things in English since it isn't my native language.

When it comes to learning a language, I'd say the most important thing is motivation. I studied both French and Swedish for five years (ages 11-16 and 13-18, respectively), but I have forgotten everything about them since I NEVER used them outside the lessons. On the other hand, I learned English very quickly since I spent all my free time on PC games and internet since very few games were translated/localized before Steam got popular. Even most Finnish share/freeware games from late 90's and early 00's were made in English.
KU・・・ KR・・・
Whilst looking something up via Google I somehow stumbled across this site. It tries to explain and translate English phrases into Japanese. I remember once trying to explain the "Gets on my nerves" phrase to someone from China :rofl: It's interesting since you never usually give common phrases in your own language much thought.
http://英会話例文.アメリカ生活.net/phrases/index.html (Japanese characters as the domain seems to break linkage, you'll have to copy-paste the link)
The other pages go on to explain American stuff for those interested in visiting. And like with the suggestions to watch Subbed J-Dramas to learn Japanese they suggest watching Japanese subbed US Dramas / Sitcoms to learn English.
Kinda random but I found it cool. :D
VideogameDC wrote:
I want to learn japanese, bur for some reason, I feel I would just waste my time (sometimes I get distracted easily lol)


I found it a bit easier than most I guess.

I used Rosetta stone, which is more formal way of saying things, some may find it repetitive but it is the best way to learn. You can learn Romanji style first, then easily go back again and try it all with Kanji.

Some get a bit confused by the layout of what the Japanese are saying because they may just be used to English so much (I think other language speakers learn Japanese a bit easier in that regard).

But one thing I had to get a bit used to was the difference between

o genki desu ka? and genki desu ka? and just genki?

The first is the formal polite way of asking someone "how are you?" which you should say always to strangers, or else you will get stern looks.
The 2nd is still a bit formal but only if you are more familiar with the person.
The 3rd is among friends, close friends and family.

So yeah, I think thats why Rosetta for me was better cause you learned all the formal ways first with it.

But for me personally the hardest part (and I don't speak Japanese fluently at all, I can make out most phrases and words on shows but sometimes im like huh) was the Kanji styles, especially the subtle differences in hiragana.

Example.

と = to
ど = do
こ = ko
ご = go
す = su
ず = zu

But they do get a bit more complex with multiple at a time in the same one. But once you get the idea it is not so bad.

Give it a shot, you only live once...
The marks are basically like accent/pronunciation marks, but I don't remember which goes with which either! This page seems to explain it:
http://www.drmoku.com/adding-ten-ten-ma ... syllables/
That's Hiragana though, Kanji is more complicated.
I am almost a year in studying Japanese at uni, i dont think that kanji is that hard at all! don't let people discourage you!! the more you practice kanji the more you feel compelled to use it! for example writing the date every day on the notes/homework. I thought the youbi (day) kanji was impossible, but now it is as simple as the hito(person) kanji to me. But what I have a hard time grasping is some of the grammar points, since japanese has a different syntactic structure (SOV) it took me awhile to get use to the order (e.g:i food eat) and all the "little particles"(ni,wa,ga,yo,ne,to,ya,etc). Japanese is not hard, in fact you can learn any language if you do the means. I was really grateful that I have been exposed to gaki and other japanese shows prior to taking this class. It is very unnatural for people to learn a language based on the writing system, language acquisition is more natural under "listening" environments. I mean that is how we all acquired our mother tongues,right? ;)
soudou wrote:
The marks are basically like accent/pronunciation marks, but I don't remember which goes with which either! This page seems to explain it:
http://www.drmoku.com/adding-ten-ten-ma ... syllables/
That's Hiragana though, Kanji is more complicated.


Yeah they are Hiragana sorry, I got a bit meh meh meh with my keyboard there, my head was thinking other things, but yeah Kanji was harder.

I didn't want to say the hiragana changes with ten-ten marks or else I would have gotten weird looks no doubt :)
DABhand wrote:
I didn't want to say the hiragana changes with ten-ten marks or else I would have gotten weird looks no doubt :)


Yeah I wouldn't of understood what that meant either heh. Anyway good on you on getting stuck in there. :)
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