Guide to Self-Studying Japanese
A large proportion of Japanese learners self-study. Finding places to learn Japanese in a classroom environment can be difficult and expensive. Here’s a guide on how you can learn Japanese for free and from the comfort of your sofa.
When learning Japanese, the most important step is to learn Hiragana and Katakana, the writing alphabets of Japanese.
The best way I’ve found to do that is to make flashcards. Make sure you practice writing as well as recognizing them, this will not only be a great skill to have but will also reinforce the shapes in your mind.
[Hiragana 42], the best guide I’ve found to learn the Hiragana (in a day!)
[Hiranana and Katakana Quiz Site]
[Kana Invaders Game]
[Anki] An amazing program that will make sure you never forget any Kana….
The next step is to start learning vocabulary. Where can you find what to learn? Use a site like Memrise to find word lists (for example, there is a word list for all the vocabulary in starter textbooks like Genki), and use the amazing interface to learn them and keep them in your long term memory.
While encountering vocabulary, you’re likely to be coming across super-complicated-looking Kanji. You can learn Kanji through Memrise as above, but there are some other websites that may be of interest.
[Kanji Damage] A great site where you can learn Kanji through mnemonics.
[WaniKani] by the same people who make TextFugu can help you learn Kanji from scratch.
[Anki] An amazing program that will make sure you never forget any Kanji….
The next step is to apply that new vocabulary to grammar points and start making sentences.
If you can’t get your hands on textbooks like Genki, don’t fear! There are a lot of great online grammar resources.
[TextFugu] a highly rated ‘online textbook’ which will guide you right from the beginning of learning Japanese.
[Guide to Japanese] another online textbook with a lot of grammar points and excellent explanations.
So you probably started to learn Japanese because you have some interest in Japanese media. Time to start using it to your advantage!
Aside from the obvious watching Anime, J-dramas and films, why not try Reading Japanese News? Watching Japanese TV? Just make sure you are making these activities productive - note down new vocabulary, add them to Anki, and keep learning! It’s much easier to learn things you’re interested in.
The most important but difficult part of self-studying Japanese is getting your own compositions checked. Utilize all that grammar and vocabulary and write a short piece, it could be a diary entry or a short essay. Get it recorded for you by a native on RhinoSpike, and checked for grammar and consistencies on Lang-8.These sites also give you the chance to connect with Japanese natives, and perhaps start up some language exchanges!
For more resources, take a look at my Ultimate Resources List
Any more tips? Please submit them here!