Level 60! and what I recommend NOT to do

I couldn’t agree more and is one of the things that I think formal Japanese language classes and schools do not emphasize enough. What I think they don’t really tell you at the start is that kanji is essential to unpacking sentence structure.

I do really wish I had known this during my first attempt to learn Japanese many, many years ago.

No, I don’t think it’s ideal to start with kana immediately. I would rather have new learners start out by learning how to make and understand simple sentences, so they have some kind of context to put further learning in, and nearly all beginner guides for English-speaking learners will let you do that with romaji (and it’s an easier entry to the language). When they start learning kana, they’ll have those words that they can recognize by pronunciation, so they can connect reading and saying those words with the new symbols and it’s not just an arbitrary matching game.

If you are doing WK, you will get plenty of hiragana practice by the time you hit the teens and dive back into grammar.

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To a beginner, kanji looks like a huge time sink that won’t help them speak or understand speech, which is really what most of them want to do (because they’re into anime or dorama or have Japanese social connections or something). So of course they want to skip it - not understanding that it’s like a secret system for understanding Japanese better, or that it helps make sense of Japanese’s crazy number of homophones, or that you’re gonna need it to get beyond a beginner level because you don’t have 24/7 immersion, constant feedback, and neuroplasticity like Japanese children do.

Also, beginners underestimate how long it will take to learn Japanese. Why spend years memorizing 2000 Chinese symbols when you can just, you know, start understanding Japanese speech after like six months of practice or whatever? (lol)

Classes have to cater to what beginners think they want in order to attract students, so they go heavy on grammar, vocab, and speaking practice, and introduce kanji slowly if they introduce it at all.

I was that guy 20 years ago. It seemed smart to skip kanji at the time. It was not.

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Well yes but it’s not quite that cynical - they also want to teach something immediately useful. That’s why many of them teach -masu form first, and then try to retrofit dictionary form later. That’s a terrible (as in much harder) way to learn it, but it does allow you to go out and start speaking the limited things you do know from day 1.

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i didn’t even know there where scripts…lol…but now i know i won’t be using them either, cause i kinda feel it defeats the purpose of how the website is set up.

congrats on reaching 60, i just started a few weeks back, i do a lot of childrens books reading and listening to Japanese people talking on youtube to get the hang of pitch accent and fluency, but i need to get a good site that explains grammar in detail, do you know of any good resources for that ?

Thank you for this. :slight_smile:

A lot of people advise that around the Lvl 13 mark or that kind of area one should start to learn to read. It’s said that there is probably sufficient Kanji enough to read alongside the grammar.

What’s your view on that so far?

Cure Dolly!

Thanks Nada-san !!

I would say start reading when you have sufficient grammar knowledge (maybe around N4), not kanji. No matter how much kanji you know, if you have never touched grammar before you will have a hard time understanding even the simplest sentence. Obviously kanji knowledge will help because you don’t need to open a dictionary very often.

Graded readers didn’t require high kanji knowledge so you could start with those, or Crystal Hunters manga (manga created for Japanese learners). Both come with furigana so you could look up words easily.

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I disagree with this personally. It only took me 4 days to learn almost all hiragana and katakana. It seems rather silly to put off it off. While learning your native language in school you would never learn grammar before learning the alphabet, you know? If learning kana was some kind of huge obstacle I would agree with your point of view more. I suppose it doesn’t matter as long as it’s working for the person learning though.

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I dunno, it seems silly to me to start by learning an alphabet for a language you don’t know anything about yet. Maybe if romaji didn’t exist, but it does and most beginner guides will use it…

Most kids have basic grammar and over a thousand vocabulary words by the time they’re learning to read.

Very true. It’s because we learn how to speak first. You could do that with japanese too but I think it’s very hard if you don’t live there. That’s why at least in terms of reading I think it’s good to start with the alphabet for those of us who can’t/don’t immerse to that level.

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Let me participate in the derailing. At school as for foreign language classes, the first thing I was taught was indeed the alphabet.

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Hiragana takes 2 hours to learn, skipping it won’t save that much time and it’ll lock you to romaji only resources

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I don’t know how you missed it, but most of us already have an alphabet. :wink:

I mean, part of learning the kana is learning what the possible sounds in Japanese are and how to correctly (well, to some degree) say them. Romaji is not specific enough to necessarily get you even correctly understanding what any of those sounds are meant to be. You could go learn those sounds as its own exercise, before the kana… but why? I learned hiragana on day 1 and katakana on day 2. I see the idea you’re going for of having a base of words to map the kana to, but the opposite is fine too – when you start learning words, it helps to reinforce the kana and proper pronunciation you put in a few days work for. Either way this should be a relatively small period so it’s not a big deal I suppose, but doing it this way, you are always interacting with Japanese how it’s actually written which certainly has its own advantages.

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How is life after level 60?

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Here’s a giant list of resources.
Tae Kim’s guide and Genki seems to be the most popular. I’ve been using Imabi

I’d agree with that and what was said earlier in this thread. Go as fast as you’d like for the first 10-20 levels or so, and then slow down and start getting some grammar and maybe listening comprehension and stuff into your routine.

Edit: I misread your question. I’m not sure about when to start reading. As soon as possible, as soon as you feel comfortable with it. If you read super beginner level stuff but feel like you have to lookup kanji TOO much, then you could postpone it. It’s really up to you.

Thanks for the list !

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