Nukemarine's Suggested Guide for Beginners

Index » The Japanese language

 
Nukemarine Member
From: 神奈川 Registered: 2007-07-15 Posts: 2347

I'll be honest, this is more of a thread I can link to whenever anyone asks "how to begin or what next?". I figure it works better than retyping the same thing each time. Also, each of us has our own opinion on how to go about the self study route, and that's all this is: my opinion based on both my experience and feedback from this forum.

This roadmap is aimed at people involved in a career where one can only spare 1 to 2 hours a day for to study. In addition, it's for those that like a bit more systematic structure in their studying. Because of that, I've broken it down JLPT equivalent as that's an easy reference many that study Japanese can relate. In each of those, I break it down further subsections of Kanji, Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening/Speaking via subs2srs. You build up each area slowly over time.

I also don't offer any suggestions above JLPT N2, just due to that being my current level. Given that I'm learning JLPT N2 level, it's a bit of blind leading the blind to take my advice so buyer beware.

Here's the rough guide line:

Common Tools

Websites
Reviewing the Kanji
Anki
Tae Kim's Guide to Japanese Grammar

D-Addicts Large selection of Japanese Subtitles
Dramanote Large selection of scripts for Japanese Dramas

Videos
Remembering the Kana: Hiragana in 3 hours
Remembering the Kana: Katakana in 3 hours
Nukemarine's video series to using Dramas to learn Japanese

Spreadsheets/Documents
RTKana Spreadsheet based off Remembering the Kana
RTK Spreadsheet RTK 1 and 3 includes KO2k1 and Kanken numbers in addition to Yomi and Common terms
Tae Kim Grammar Spreadsheet There's a deck for this on Anki updated to include Clozed Delete
iKnow Core sorted aka Kore 2k/6k

Anki Shared Deck Names
Remembering the Kana
RTK 1 and 3 w/ Kanji Definition and Yomi
Tae Kim's Guide to Japanese Grammar (Clozed Delete)
Core 2k/6k Optimized Japanese Vocabulary

Core 2k/6k Image and Audio Files
Core 2k6k Vocabulary Audio Place in the Anki deck .media folder
Core 2k6k Sentence Audio Place in the Anki deck .media folder
Core 2k Sentence Image Place in the Anki deck .media folder (some images may not match up, sorry).


RevTK Threads
Subs2Srs Tool to Convert Dramas to Flashcards
Useful Google Documents
vix86's guide to import into Anki for pre-existing decks

*******************************
Beginner - JLPT N5 equivalent level

Kana using Remember the Kana; Hiragana and Katakana video series; an Anki Deck is available
RTK using 2001KO 1-555 Kanji; for Anki deck unsuspend KO2k1 field 001-555

Tae Kim - Basic; for Anki deck unsuspend Basic 1-149
Optimized Kore 2k/6k first 500 vocabulary words; for Anki Deck unsuspend 1-335 and 401-565

Roughly 80-100 hours of actual study/review time

********************************
Basic - JLPT N4 equivalent level
Tae Kim Essential (200 sentences); for Anki unsuspend Essential 1-200
Optimized Kore 2k/6k second 500 vocabulary words; for Anki unsuspend 566-1065
Subs2srs 1 hour of an easy drama/anime

Roughly 60-80 hours of actual study/review time

*************************
Lower Intermediate - JLPT N3 equivalent level

RTK using KO2k1 Book Two, for Anki unsuspend KO2k1 field 556-1110
Tae Kim Essential and Special (200 sentences); for Anki unsuspend essential 201-305 and special 1-95
Optimized Kore 2k/6k next 500 words; for Anki unsuspend 336-387 and 1065-1513
Subs2srs 1 hour of an easy drama/anime

Tae Kim Special (138 sentences); for Anki unsuspend special 96-233
Optimized Kore 2k/6k next 500 words; for Anki unsuspend 1514-1813 and 2001-2200
Subs2srs 1 hour of an easy drama/anime

Roughly 150 hours of actual study/review time

************************
Upper Intermediate - JLPT N2 equivalent level

Part 1
RTK using KO2k1 Book Three, for Anki unsuspend KO2k1 field 1111-1555
Kanzen Master Two - 100 sentences (km thread link)
Optimized Kore 2k/6k next 500 words; for Anki unsuspend 2201-2700
Subs2srs 1 hours of easy/moderate drama

Kanzen Master Two - next 100 sentences (km thread link)
Optimized Kore 2k/6k next 500 words; for Anki unsuspend 2700-3200
Subs2srs 1 hours of easy/moderate drama

Part 2
RTK using KO2k1 Book Three, for Anki unsuspend KO2k1 field 1556-2001 (YAY!!!)
Kanzen Master Two - next 100 sentences (km thread link)
Optimized Kore 2k/6k next 500 words; for Anki unsuspend 388-400 and 1814-2000 and 3201-3500
Subs2srs 1 hours of easy/moderate drama

Kanzen Master Two - next 100 sentences (km thread link)
Optimized Kore 2k/6k next 500 words; for Anki unsuspend 3501-4000
Subs2srs 1 hours of easy/moderate drama

Part 3
*Optional* RTK3, for Anki unsuspend cards to 2500
Kanzen Master Two - next 100 sentences (km thread link)
Optimized Kore 2k/6k next 500 words; for Anki unsuspend 4001-4500
Subs2srs 1 hours of easy/moderate drama

Kanzen Master Two - next 100 sentences (km thread link)
Optimized Kore 2k/6k next 500 words; for Anki unsuspend 4501-5000
Subs2srs 1 hours of easy/moderate drama

Part 4
*Optional* RTK3, for Anki unsuspend cards to 3007 (Yay again!!!)
Kanzen Master Two - next 75 sentences (km thread link)
Optimized Kore 2k/6k next 500 words; for Anki unsuspend 4501-5000
Subs2srs 1 hours of easy/moderate drama

Kanzen Master Two - last 75 sentences (km thread link)
Optimized Kore 2k/6k next 500 words; for Anki unsuspend 5501-6000
Subs2srs 1 hours of easy/moderate drama

Each part should be roughly 75-100 hours

******Study/Review Tips********

Study/Review Tips Beginner Level
Link above discusses: AJATT Tips; Kanji/Kana; Note about the RTK Anki deck; Grammar; Vocabulary; subs2srs

Study/Review Tips Basic Level

To be added later

Study/Review Tips Intermediate Level

To be added later

Last edited by Nukemarine (2013 January 13, 2:51 am)

Amset Member
Registered: 2008-09-07 Posts: 94

While its laudable that you are writing so much to help other people, if a person needed this much guidance, I think they don't have what it takes to learn a language (and I think everyone has what it takes).

ta12121 Member
From: Canada Registered: 2009-06-02 Posts: 3190

This is helpful. I'm around JLPT level 2 or higher i think. Although i haven't done the core 2000 or core 6000 yet. I'm doing them now, pretty easy because i already know majority of the sentences. So i can finish the core2000 in a few days.
I'm currently doing reading-listening method for songs+drama's. To see if i can follow along with the subs.Basically same as subs2srs. Expect manually. Not using subs2srs because having trouble configuring it properly.

Last edited by ta12121 (2010 February 28, 7:57 pm)

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wccrawford Member
From: FL US Registered: 2008-03-28 Posts: 1551

Amset wrote:

While its laudable that you are writing so much to help other people, if a person needed this much guidance, I think they don't have what it takes to learn a language (and I think everyone has what it takes).

It's not about someone needing the entire guide.  It's about not knowing which piece of the guide each person will need.

I think it's a good guide and will help steer people in the right direction when they lose their way.

Nukemarine Member
From: 神奈川 Registered: 2007-07-15 Posts: 2347

Amset,

Like Wcccrawford points out, this is just a collection of advice I've been giving when someone asks a question. In fact, I hope others that offer up advice frequently do the same with a thread of their own. It'll save the whole wall of replies that happens when someone asks: How should I do vocabulary? Then it's a matter of the user just going with the advice that fits their own perceived needs.

I'll probably should preface my advice that it's geared toward guys and gals that have about 1 to 2 hours of daily study time they want to dedicate, who likes a bit more structured approach to their learning style (pre-made lists, separated decks, etc.)

georgative Member
From: Santa Barbara Registered: 2009-05-26 Posts: 42

Hey, thanks for this guideline.

Btw. You're Tae Kim deck is absolutely amazing. I'd recommend it to everyone.

I'm just about at the Vocab part and I'm getting more and more confused as I keep trying to figure out what to do next. There are several decks already on Anki and I'm not sure which one is the right one.

I understand the Core2000-6000 business is what I should be looking at. Does that come with audio? And isn't Cangy's deck a vocab deck and not a sentence deck?

Your deck (the one that's already up) says something about additional media files which I dunno where to find, or how I would even "hook them up" to the deck.

Hashiriya Member
From: Georgia Registered: 2008-04-14 Posts: 1072

is there a premade Kanzen Master 2 deck around here somewhere?

Reply #8 - 2010 March 01, 1:07 am
ta12121 Member
From: Canada Registered: 2009-06-02 Posts: 3190

Can someone tell me what exactly is kanzen? Is it a test designed for natives? by natives? (Sorry if this is a dumb question)

Reply #9 - 2010 March 01, 1:48 am
Evil_Dragon Member
From: Germany Registered: 2008-08-21 Posts: 683

ta12121 wrote:

Can someone tell me what exactly is kanzen? Is it a test designed for natives? by natives? (Sorry if this is a dumb question)

As I understand it, Kanzen Master is a series of JLPT textbooks. You know, these things we used to buy back in the days. wink

Reply #10 - 2010 March 01, 2:12 am
rich_f Member
From: north carolina Registered: 2007-07-12 Posts: 1716

The Kanzen Master JLPT 3 grammar book is also full of win, BTW. It covers a wide range of basic-lower intermediate grammar topics. It has English help for those still transitioning to full JP->JP study. Dunno if anybody has "spreadsheeted" it yet, but that would be a good project.

The JLPT 2 grammar book does not offer any English help. You're on your own there. But by then, you should already know how to read the definitions.

In general, 3-A does a good job with its Japanese textbooks, grammar books, and drill books. (We need a good drill book thread.)

Reply #11 - 2010 March 01, 3:22 am
MeNoSavvy Member
Registered: 2008-05-24 Posts: 131

Good guide Nukemarine. I think you have proposed a solid strategy for learning japanese. Interesting that you seem to have abandoned the approach of learning keywords for all the kanji up front, instead breaking it down into more manageable chunks.

stupid question, but you talk about some decks you have already created such as "RTK using 2001KO 1-555 Kanji". Where might I find these decks?

Also you talk about some sorted decks such as "1st 800 of sorted Core 2k step 3-10". How exactly have you sorted them?

Thanks.

Reply #12 - 2010 March 01, 4:10 am
kame3 Member
From: Netherlands Registered: 2009-09-01 Posts: 133

Very good idea Nukemarine. I always wondered where you get the patience to write these long (helpful) replies to every beginner that comes around (not saying I'm not one of them). Compliments on all the helpful contributions you're making to this community.
If you put some more links to where people can find all the stuff you talk about (link to sub2srs thread etc.), this could be considered to become a sticky imho.

Last edited by kame3 (2010 March 01, 4:11 am)

Reply #13 - 2010 March 01, 5:11 am
HerrPetersen Member
From: Germany Registered: 2007-01-02 Posts: 238

Good list - Once I am satisfied with my Chinese I will use it as a guideline. Quick question:
What do you mean by RTK using KO? Is that a RTK-light-like version for the first xxx KO kanji?

Reply #14 - 2010 March 01, 6:34 am
cangy Member
From: 平安京 Registered: 2006-12-13 Posts: 372 Website

georgative wrote:

I understand the Core2000-6000 business is what I should be looking at. Does that come with audio? And isn't Cangy's deck a vocab deck and not a sentence deck?

the import file has links for local audio if you want to download the files, and remote audio if you just want to stream from last.fm.  it has vocab and sentences as separate fields in the same fact, so you can make vocab or sentence cards, a combination of both, or migrate from one to the other

Reply #15 - 2010 March 01, 6:53 am
Womacks23 Member
From: 恵比寿 Registered: 2008-01-10 Posts: 596

Good list but you should make it more newbie friendly. I don't think most people fresh on the Japanese boat even knows what those materials on the list are.

Reply #16 - 2010 March 01, 6:57 am
Asriel Member
From: 東京 Registered: 2008-02-26 Posts: 1343

agreed about the newbie thing.
adding links or something might be helpful.

currently on my phone so i dont know, but isnt there a koohii.com wiki?

Reply #17 - 2010 March 01, 10:07 am
Nukemarine Member
From: 神奈川 Registered: 2007-07-15 Posts: 2347

Funny thing: My internet connection still bites, and tomorrow after I sell my wi-fi antenna it'll be non-existent for the most part. So, upgrading this post will take a bit of time. After I get back to the US next week this will change.

Some feedback:

1. I will be adding links to spreadsheets (already on the google spreadsheet thread), where to get audio/image files for Core decks (in the iKnow thread), and others.

3. I will be making "non-modified" (ie not changed up by me) decks that follow the above format. For example, I tended to kanjify basic words in Core 2k which made the sentences seem more complicated when sorted with Cangy's program.

4. There is not a pre-made Kanzen Master deck (well, not publicly available), but I will show the format I'll be using to import from the spreadsheet.

5. Kanzen Master is in Japanese, however there's a website that offers English translations of the book in addition to one (vice three) sample sentence. I'll post the links to this.

6. Kanzen Master 3 is like Tae Kim Essential and Special sections. Problem though is no one has put Kanzen Master 3 into a spreadsheet format. It is a good book though.

7. The vocabulary decks I sort by using Cangy's sorted file with numbers showing order, then I sort by Core 2k/6k order, then resort back into Cangy's order by sections. This gives three blocks of basic (Core 2k step 1 and 2), basic/intermediate (Core 2k step 3-8) and intermediate (Core 6k). Now I'm "assuming" that it's better to learn all the basics first even if it's using a more complicated kanji that you'll find in early intermediate words.

8. There is a koohii wiki, and this might migrate there after a bit more polishing. Now, what will be cool is if lots of guys offer up their own roadmap and suggestions based on their own methods and situations (live in Japan, during college, stay at home mom, as an ALT, etc.)

9. For JLPT 2, I really have to add that to take my advice will be a bit of the blind leading the blind. I would barely count as being 1/4 into this.

Reply #18 - 2010 March 01, 11:42 am
Hashiriya Member
From: Georgia Registered: 2008-04-14 Posts: 1072

sounds great Nuke, I'll be looking forward to it... there are so many resources to study Japanese from now that I often get confused on which path I should take next with my studies... i've gone through the Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar recently and I am currently in the middle of the Intermediate one. I study a vocab deck of the KO2001 on the side. Do you think if I complete the Advanced Dictionary of Japanese Grammar that it will include everything from the Kanzen Master 2?

Last edited by Hashiriya (2010 March 01, 11:43 am)

Reply #19 - 2010 March 01, 12:07 pm
spleenlol Member
From: Michigan Registered: 2009-07-07 Posts: 154

Do you have any advice for me because I'm not really planning on taking the JLPT instead I want to take the kanken. Or do you recommend that I study for the JLPT and just not take it and take kanken instead?

Reply #20 - 2010 March 01, 12:31 pm
ta12121 Member
From: Canada Registered: 2009-06-02 Posts: 3190

rich_f wrote:

The Kanzen Master JLPT 3 grammar book is also full of win, BTW. It covers a wide range of basic-lower intermediate grammar topics. It has English help for those still transitioning to full JP->JP study. Dunno if anybody has "spreadsheeted" it yet, but that would be a good project.

The JLPT 2 grammar book does not offer any English help. You're on your own there. But by then, you should already know how to read the definitions.

In general, 3-A does a good job with its Japanese textbooks, grammar books, and drill books. (We need a good drill book thread.)

Yea i might buy a load of JLPT books as well as j-novels,and mangas soon. Need more of those, i don't have much in terms of japanese. Even study guides for JLPT. I only use the internet majority of the time for japanese.

Last edited by ta12121 (2010 March 01, 12:32 pm)

Reply #21 - 2010 March 01, 12:33 pm
Nukemarine Member
From: 神奈川 Registered: 2007-07-15 Posts: 2347

Hashiriya, I haven't look at the Dictionaries of Japanese Grammar, but I get the feeling Intermediate will cover Kanzen Master 2. Someone else will have to answer that.

Spleenlol, I'll be honest I have no clue. I'm using JLPT as a term that people can relate. This not about studying for the test itself, and is something I've not done myself.

That said, Jarvik or Yudan offered up advice something like this: Study/know Japanese to the level that you can pass either real or practice tests of JLPT 2, JLPT 1, Kanken 5 and Kanken 3. I might be remembering that wrong, but it seems reasonable.

Reply #22 - 2010 March 01, 2:41 pm
pm215 Member
From: UK Registered: 2008-01-26 Posts: 1354

Nukemarine wrote:

Hashiriya, I haven't look at the Dictionaries of Japanese Grammar, but I get the feeling Intermediate will cover Kanzen Master 2. Someone else will have to answer that.

It's a bit variable. Generally the bits that are harder to figure out will be covered, but some of the simpler JLPT2 material (the bits that are more like 'sentence patterns' than grammar) isn't there. But I think that if you've studied everything in DIJG (and by 'study' I mean more than just "put all the examples into anki") you'll find anything in KM2 that's not covered to be pretty straightforward.

Reply #23 - 2010 March 01, 5:21 pm
jcdietz03 Member
From: Boston Registered: 2008-12-19 Posts: 324 Website

NukeMarine, you should make your own advice website smile

What does it mean to "process" a show?  Is it something like:
1) Transcribe / type / time the script if no subtitle is available
2) Look up / add to deck unknown words/sentences
Anything else?

Whoops!  You say all this stuff above.

Where do you get help w/ these things b/c inevitably at least some parts of any show I pick are too hard?

Last edited by jcdietz03 (2010 March 01, 5:29 pm)

Reply #24 - 2010 March 01, 5:28 pm
wccrawford Member
From: FL US Registered: 2008-03-28 Posts: 1551

jcdietz03 wrote:

NukeMarine, you should make your own advice website smile

What does it mean to "process" a show?  Is it something like:
1) Transcribe / type / time the script if no subtitle is available
2) Look up / add to deck unknown words/sentences

Anything else?  Where do you get help w/ these things b/c inevitably at least some parts of any show I pick are too hard?

Subs2SRS is a program for 'processing' a show into SRS'able pieces.

Reply #25 - 2010 March 01, 6:33 pm
jcdietz03 Member
From: Boston Registered: 2008-12-19 Posts: 324 Website

It goes without saying that you learn kana first.  I learned hiragana first; I don't think it really matters though.  And this step of learning kana will take about five hours.  And there are many free resources for this; I used the TheJapanesePage.com lessons on the topic.  I am into JRPGs so after this I looked at some Japanese magazine scans hosted at English language RPG sites to see if I could pick out katakana words and character names.  Maybe this is bad advice since it isn't systematized.

This is sort of taking a textbook approach.
1) Learn some words
2) Learn some grammar
3) Learn some kanji
4) Let's have a look at some examples
a) dialogue examples (anime / drama)
b) reading examples (KO at first and later sentences)
There are no reading passages (sentences only), but I don't think that's very important.