How about now?
I already had some Japanese knowledge from first year uni study many years ago, but the way I was taught wasn’t ideal and ended up in me using “-desu” and “-masu” forms all the time. As of last night I’ve started the Cure Dolly video series on youtube and finding it good. I think it helps to know some basic nouns, verbs and adjectives though, so that you can practice making sentences. As long as you know a few animals, clothing, colours, vehicles, activities etc, it will help. But you can look those up as well, so why not start now?
The Tofugu guide suggests starting at around level 10, since by then you will know most of the kanji used in grammar textbooks.
However, I highly recommend starting right away. Beginner textbooks don’t really expect you to know the kanji anyway, so they always have furigana. Grammar is (obviously) necessary to start reading, and there’s no better way to cement your kanji knowledge than to start reading.
Also, reading a grammar textbooks is a nice way to start seeing all the kanji you are learning in action. Once you get to reading, there’s a nice synergy between learning kanji here, reading about grammar structures, and seeing them work together in an actual japanese text.
Start right away. It’s never too early to begin.
Seconding what others have said; it’s never too early to start learning some basic grammar
Early on, it is probably best to focus the bulk of your energy in kanji+vocab, but taking a grammar point per week or going through LingoDeer Japanese 1 should be quite manageable.
You could also combine grammar and listening practice, by going through something like NHK Easy Japanese (I prefer the 2015 version over the new one, but that may be in part because I’ve “outgrown” it).
yea that’s a pretty good idea
is there any grammar textbooks that you recommend for beginners?
Is LingoDeer better than Duolingo?
Do you know any good grammar textbooks?
The most recommended ones are Genki, Minna no Nihongo and Japanese from Zero, I believe.
If you want a free alternative, Tae-Kim’s grammar guide is the one I used mostly at the beginning, and it does a pretty decent job at teaching you the basics, though it’s a bit lacking in exercises.
If you are interested in reading manga in particular, Japanese the Manga Way is considered to be quite good too.
Here’s a comprehensive list of resource, including grammar and other aspects of japanese:
For Japanese, definitely. LingoDeer was built specifically to teach Japanese, Chinese and Korean, whereas Duolingo was built around languages like German, Spanish, English and French. It has tooltips with grammar explanations, exercises geared towards Japanese learning (like choosing the right particles) and significantly better audio (not sure if it’s recorded by a native speaker or just uses a better text-to-speech engine). It also allows you to set your writing system preferences, for example if you want furigana.
I do still like Duolingo, though; it’s useful for vocabulary practice, and also just for the sheer number of example sentences it provides.
Thanks so much. Guess I’ll get started on that.
I started the same time I started WK - without prior knowledge of Japanese aside from the poor few that I gather from anime. I use Duolingo and Lingodeer for grammar. I recommend them for beginners, but Lingodeer > Duo. Both introduce kanji right away, with translations and furigana if you don’t know the word. Once all three click together, it’s nice. I recommend learning grammar now rather than later.
I would agree with this. Yesterday I got upgraded to L4 on WaniKani, and I just started the Genki textbook this week. I’ve had a bit of previous exposure to Japanese grammar in various ways—a couple of trips to Japan over the last two years, a couple of months of DuoLingo, the Japan Foundation’s Let’s Learn Japanese! series (on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB3F2C5D8B5F81F34), Tofugu articles, and some of the book English Grammar for Students of Japanese—and glancing over Genki I feel pretty comfortable I can tackle it. I think it will be slower going than if I waited until L10 on WaniKani, but I also feel like I can handle both at this point. YMMV.
I’ll second the advice from everyone else to start grammar sooner rather than later but I will suggest using Graded Readers to start putting the grammar you’re learning into practice.
Since Graded Readers are meant for foreign learners of Japanese they use controlled language and grammar so that the difficulty gradually builds as you go up the levels, meaning you shouldn’t feel out of your depth with them the way you can with native material.
There’s also a graded readers ‘book club’ thread you can check out.
Cool, I’ll check that out.
I really like Japanese From Zero! Not only are there books, but they also have a website, YesJapan.com, to go along with the books. The site has videos for each chapter in the book which are entertaining and very informative. There are games, quizzes, etc. It’s $99 a year, but very well worth it.
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