Advice for a beginner in Japanese I've already committed hirigana, katakana, and a handful of very basic Kanji to memory, and I can somewhat comfortably read things in kana, albeit pretty slowly, so far. I've also started learning some basic grammar and vocabulary, but I'm wondering if I'm focusing on the right stuff at the moment. I also just picked up a book from "Tuttle" called "Basic Japanese" and while I find it helpful, I feel like I need a better understanding of more basic vocabulary before I can make very effecient use of it. Does anyone know any good resources for learning the most important Japanese vocabulary? Or if there's something else that I should be giving more focus to at the moment? Maybe I should just stick with what the book has to teach for the time being despite not understanding much of the dialogs? Advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance! 
Apr 12, 2019 5:06 AM
Comments · 5

I have found Wanikani great for teaching me vocabulary at a super fast rate (way faster than I've been able to do myself with textbooks and flashcards), but it is primarily a kanji teaching app, so the order the vocabulary is presented is according to the simplicity of the kanji rather than the frequency of the words.

Tofugu describes the teaching strategy here, which gives their suggested order of learning things.


Keep in mind, most textbooks and courses (especially the "learn a language in 3 seconds kind") take the opposite approach where you slowly learn small handfuls of vocab with the grammar lessons.

April 12, 2019

Building Vocabulary Fast:

Get yourself a frequency dictionary. (<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Frequency-Dictionary-Japanese-Routledge-Dictionaries/dp/0415610125/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+frequency+dictionary+of+japanese&qid=1555831713&s=gateway&sr=8-1" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">https://www.amazon.com/Frequency-Dictionary-Japanese-Routledge-Dictionaries/dp/0415610125/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=a+frequency+dictionary+of+japanese&qid=1555831713&s=gateway&sr=8-1</a>;) <---this is the one I use, get the cheapest edition possible. I love this one because it uses each word in an example sentence. Knowing just the first 1,000 words is enough to get me through weekly conversations with the Japanese exchange students my school in a wide variety of topics. The 5,000 words cover like 90-something% of daily speech.

Here's a free one, but it only surveys online content, and not spoken Japanese: <a href="http://www.manythings.org/japanese/words/leeds/" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">http://www.manythings.org/japanese/words/leeds/</a>;

Input these words into Anki with pictures and sound (from forvo.com) and you should be able to learn them very quickly.

Building Vocabulary Effectively:

There are essential vocabulary lists out there (I use this one, but cut the ones I don't care for at first <a href="https://blog.fluent-forever.com/base-vocabulary-list/" style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">https://blog.fluent-forever.com/base-vocabulary-list/</a>;), so learn those first, then after that, pick subjects that you like to talk about, and learn all of the words that come up the most in that subject. For example, I know a lot of adjectives for food/cooking, and a lot about music/math, but I can't say much about politics, for instance.

Message me if you want to talk more about this, I'm always game!

April 21, 2019
I used to focusing on remember a lot of vocabulary, grammars, and idioms instead of speaking English. I can't speak English fluently yet even though I've studied English since I was twelve years old.

Why I can't do it?  What about Japanese babies? Then I realized that babies listen their mother tangue a lot, then they became to be able to speak gradually. I should copy it. 

Japanese kanji has more than two pronunciation and meanings, so really difficult. 

We usually repeat greetings and useful expressions every day, so I recommend remembering Japanese you need to say in daily conversation in English. 
April 20, 2019
One word, Anki. Download it, load it with words, learn them, use them. The last point is of course essential but it makes learning vocabulary waaay easier.

Also, use iTalky to write simple sentences and get them corrected by natives who will tell you the right way to express yourself, not the academic and unnatural way. Hope that'll help you mate. Good luck!

April 12, 2019
Hallo. Well, i would recommend you checking reddit's sub "Learn Japanese" or simply r/LearnJapanese. There's a bunch of resources carefully listed in their wiki. See ya.
April 12, 2019