How do you know what you are reading in Japanese?

How do understand what you are reading in Japanese? I’m able to read hiragana, katakana and I’m learning kanji, however when I read a sentence I don’t know what it means. For example I can read this: ようこそいらっしゃいました。, but I don’t know what its saying. Do you guys know of any website or a book that teaches you the meaning?

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A lot of practice, a lot of lessons, a lot of reading…

Try break it down word for word. Perhaps you know the word but you don’t recognise it in the sentence, or maybe you don’t know the word, in which case you should figure out what it means.

I mean, you can always just use google translate/deepl to get an idea of what it’s saying. Otherwise if you’re actually asking for beginner books there’s genki/minna no nihongo and probs a whole bunch of others I don’t know. Someone more knowledgable than me can advise you on that area. If you’re interested you can take a look at the resources thread the community has compiled. That might help give you a better idea of what’s available The Ultimate Additional Japanese Resources List!

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It sounds like you’re able to pronounce the alphabet, essentially, but don’t understand words nor grammatical structure. So studying a textbook (Genki, Minna no Nihongo) or some online resource (imabi, Tae Kim’s Guide) for grammar would be a great idea. Tofugu has a great, simple guide on how to learn Japanese (it is also wonderfully illustrated).

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ああそうだね。日本語の文ぽは本当に難しいだから、わかることがある時々時間だけで。ようつべで勉強していますか?

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Knowing how to read doesn’t mean you’re going to know what words magically mean. Think about it in your native language, when you come accross a word you don’t know, don’t you still know how to read it? It’s the same with Japanese, you have to learn what everything means (which is why you learn how to read, yay!) So like rever said, it’s a lot of practice.

I’d suggest getting Anki and finding a 6k deck, which has 6000 most frequently used words. Anki is just an SRS system by the way.

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Hiragana and katakana are great, but being able to read kanji really help differentiate words vs verb endings vs particles, etc. I started out listening to JapanesePod101. They teach a lot of basic phrases that are a little harder to translate literally. It would help you to learn the basic parts of a sentence, since Japanese has some funky stuff like particles, but once you are familiar with them, you’ll really be able to break town sentences. As other people have mentioned earler, Tae Kim’s guide is great for at least getting familiar with the grammar.

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Similar to @rever4217’s response, it really just comes down to practice, but it’s not as hard as you might think. The trick is learning to separate words, since the words contain the meaning of the sentence. From there you just piece the individual meanings into a larger picture of the whole sentence.

The sentence you posted is particularly tricky, because it’s what’s known as a “set phrase.” Set phrases are confusing because you can know the meaning of each word, but that might not help you understand the meaning of the phrase as a whole. For example, you know the words “What,” “is,” and “up,” but the phrase “What’s up?” has a completely different meaning than the individual words. For set phrases like these, it’s best to learn them as one complete block of linguistic meaning.

ようこそいらっしゃいました is used to welcome customers coming into shops or other businesses. It will also help to know that ようこそ is a common word on it’s own, and it’s a lot like saying “Welcome!” in English.

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Whaaaa when did Deepl get japanese?? :open_mouth:

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Somewhere in March I believe, it works amazingly well (way better than Google translate, but that’s not too hard :stuck_out_tongue:)

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This is GREAT

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A good site tool to have bookmarked is ichi.moe. Drop a sentence in, and it splits it into individual words and particles, along with their English meanings. (It doesn’t always parse perfectly, but it should do well more often than not.)

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Not that I can read very much, but I’m hoping to step it up over summer break. I’ve been using kamesame, which is somewhat similar to how wanikani works to learn common vocab, it’s a super well developed site by a wanikani user.

I’m going through genki I and supplementing with tae kim to get a more complete picture of the grammar. Yotsuba is a good intro book, there is also a genki deck and translation of every word available (if you’re interested I can find it if you can’t)
But try to remember learning English/your native language - we started with parents reading picture books to us :slight_smile:

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