New Language Project: Learning Japanese
My name is Shannon Kennedy and I'm the language lover,…
We’re getting ready to start a new year, so I’m excited to share my new language learning project with you! In 2018 I plan to learn Japanese. Today I want to detail my plan on how I am going to go about this.
Getting Started with the Japanese Language
Earlier this year, I decided that I wanted to learn Japanese. I started learning the alphabets and put together a quick introduction, but didn’t get much further.
Because when I started the Fi3M Challenge back in September, I had to commit to just one language and for me, at that time, that was Croatian.
But the Fi3M Challenge is now over, so I’m ready to get back to Japanese. Since I didn’t get far enough into my studies to remember anything beyond konnichiwa and genki deska, this means I need to start over completely.
Tackling the Japanese Writing Systems
My first step will be to resume studying Hiragana and Katakana. Before my break, I had only studied Hiragana and was far from mastering it. I could recognize the letters/characters in the context of my flashcard app, but this wasn’t so much the case in other contexts. A review is certainly in order, followed by a thorough study of Katakana.
Kanji I’ll study on an as-needs basis. I already know many characters (thanks to Chinese), so it really comes down to associated a new sound with them (and perhaps, even sometimes, meaning).
The Conversational Approach
Compared to my past projects, I’m going to learn Japanese differently. And differently for me means conversationally. My primary goal is to chat with native speakers, so my usual methods won’t really make sense in this context. I’m notoriously a book learner. And I also want to know everything… Why this? Why that? Where can I find an extremely detailed breakdown of this aspect of the language’s grammar? It’s going to be hard work for me to turn that desire off and focus on just what I need.
Of course, learning a lot of vocabulary will be important to me, but I’m going to try to ignore the technical stuff until it gets in my way. But I will try not to get buried in grammar I don’t yet need like I did with Russian.
The Resources I Plan to Use
To start, I plan on using Memrise to work on the writing systems and to pick up new vocabulary. It’s my go-to resource for every language because I can customize my own decks (I add new words to my private deck after lessons) and study pre-made flashcards. I always have it with me since it’s loaded on my phone, so I can study anytime, anyplace.
From there, I plan on using Lingualift as my first course book and Pimsleur as my first audio program.
Eventually, I’ll add Assimil into the mix for both its book and its audio as well as JapanesePod101. And once I’m ready for it, I’ll begin lessons on iTalki.
To Sum Up
I have a few different resources I’m interested in trying out, but as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like to work with more than 3-5 language learning resources at any given time. It gets overwhelming and I find I’m not able to make as much progress when I study this why. I plan to make regular videos on Instagram and Youtube – so be sure to follow me there.
In the meantime, if you have any tips for me as a new Japanese language learner or if you have any resource recommendations that you couldn’t have lived without, please let me know in the comments below.
I look forward to hearing from you!
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My name is Shannon Kennedy and I'm the language lover, traveler, and foodie behind Eurolinguiste. I'm also the Resident Polyglot at Drops and the Head Coach of the Fluent in 3 Months Challenge.