A self study plan for learning Japanese

This is a booklist (mostly) for learning the Japanese language.
Before embarking on this plan - learn Hiragana and Katakana. Just memorize them, it took me a day or two.




0. Learn to Speak and Understand Japanese with Pimsleur

These are languages cds - yes they're very expensive, so I suggest borrowing them from a library. They aren't the most exciting material - but they will ensure your Japanese pronunciation is correct. They also provide basic listening and speaking skills.


1. Remembering the Kanji I: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters

This book will teach you to write all the commonly used kanji. You won't know the readings but you will understand kanji and it takes a massive stumbling block out of your way. I recommend it's use in conjuction with the Reviewing the Kanji website.



2. Understanding Basic Japanese Grammar

This is an excellent book - it's grammar explanations are terse but it has a lot of example sentences. I find the best way to learn is through examples. This book also manages to cover quite a lot of grammar for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test - I've heard just over JLPT 3.


3. Smart.fm

This is a free website and a great way to bulk up vocabulary. (Here's how I use it with anki)


4. どんな時どう使う 日本語表現文型辞典

The slow move to Japanese only text. This book contains the most important parts of the Japanese grammar. If you're interested in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (aka the JLPT )- well this book contains all the grammar points tested, for all four levels. It has explanations in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean. It's a reference not a text book but if understood, this book will help unlock most Japanese.

Final notes

I think after using these resources the reader will have an excellent handle on Japanese and easily be able to tackle "Japanese in the wild" with the minimum of fuss. It also leads quite nicely into studying for the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test). For the JLPT the preparation books for the exam should be purchased too.

This is the meat of what I'm using to learn Japanese - though I have plenty of other books I also use. I'll save my thoughts on them for another post.) I'm currently using smart.fm and どんな時どう使う 日本語表現文型辞典 - as well other textbooks, manga and normal Japanese books to study.

I'd like to hear other people's lists and suggestions. I think I'm missing something like Kanji Odyssey - that would help in guessing the readings of new words. (Though I've had some luck guessing word readings just from large amounts of exposure to words via smart.fm)
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