Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rosetta Stone - A good way to start?

This time, ill be writing about Rosetta Stone, a program that probably everybody who's starting to learn a new language discovers sooner or later.

When studying with Rosetta Stone, you basically see images and choose out of some the one that shows what's being said, or vice-versa.
Another nice feature is training your speaking abilities using voice recognition. Apart from getting you better at speaking, it can also stop you from becoming a image-clicking machine, which would otherwise be pretty likely if you tend to be inattentive.

And because everybody, including me, is lazy nowadays, ill just list the pros and cons:


- You get a feeling for the structure of the language, what goes where in a sentence, stuff like that.
- No need for studying grammar and remembering things, it's basically work-less learning.


- Sometimes, the lack of any documentation or explanation whatsoever leaves you not understanding anything anymore, but a quick Google search should be able to fix that as well.

- The speed you're teached not only to speak at but also to listen to. I can understand that beginners cant speak as fast as natives at their first time, but seriously? Its waaay to slow.


While Rosetta Stone may have some weak spots, I'd still consider it a good way to start learning Japanese.
Getting to know the basic system of a language is always good, and your speaking abilities improve as well.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A first overview

And in order to escape the awkward situation of having only a single post, here is a little overview of the Japanese language, especially grammar, in general:

First of all, English and Japanese really differ a lot: While it's usually easy to tell what an English sentence expresses, the meaning of a Japanese phrase depends so much on the context that it can be hard or even impossible to understand it without knowing who said it to whom in which situation.
As an example of this, the following Japanese verb: "wakaru" ( 分かる) 
It has several meanings, all of which have their own word in English: It can for example mean "to know", "to understand" (a language, a statement ...) and many others, all depending on the context.

The second big difference is that, while in English the form and position in the sentence of a word mark its role, in Japanese there are small markers for this task that are placed behind the parts of a sentence, also called "particles".
The most common particles are "wa" and "o", but there are many others.
Consider the following sentence: "Watashi wa prezento o kaimasu", which translates to "I'm buying a present".
When trying to literally translate it, it would look something like this: "I [the actor of the sentence] present [the subject] buy".
The Information in the brackets is in this case transmitted trough the particles.

If you want to read more about those topics, try checking out the following sites:

Japanese Word order

Hey everybody!

As its name already suggests, this blog will be mainly about learning Japanese.

I wont actually try to teach anybody here, but I'm rather going to tell you about ways to learn it on your own, for example by using applications, books or audio courses.

Since I already started learning Japanese several month ago, I'll also be able to give you my opinion on the different approaches to doing so, which as I hope will be at least somewhat helpful.