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This site will teach you how to speak and read Japanese. All material is to be used for self study since, obviously, this is not a formal classroom atmosphere and there are no pop quizzes or exams to worry about. However, you could say this is homework to a certain degree.
Material will be organized in a manner, I believe, that will give one a quick yet comprehensive understanding of the Japanese language. You need not follow the suggested study plan but, use this tool in a manner that suits your study habits and interests.
Some of you may only be interested in learning to speak Japanese or just learn some basic phrases for when you are at a Sushi-bar. There is a lesson that will cover "Eating Out." However, if you are out at the Sushi-bar, your Japanese skills may be tested. Wouldn't it be great to converse with the Sushi chef and impress your friends. To do so, you will need to go through more of the lessons that we have here. Try to take a well rounded approach to learning the Japanese language.
This means learning to read and write while learning to speak. Since the written language is completely different from English and all other European languages, one should completely immerse themselves into this learning process. As you learn a new word, think about what it would look like written out.
Most of you have probably seen Japanese writing or possibly Chinese which you have mistaken for Japanese. Mistaking Chinese for Japanese is very easy since the Japanese adopted the Chinese writing system for themselves along with a few modifications. As you learn more about written and spoken Japanese you will see the link to Chinese.
Due to the complexity of the written language, we will not attempt to give instruction on the proper methods of writing the Japanese language. One can learn to write Japanese from our lessons but to learn the correct way to write Japanese characters is a whole other area of instruction that is too complex for us to show here. If you would like to learn the proper stroke orders for writing Japanese, the "Joyo96" and "Japanese Writing" web sites have gone into great detail on how to write Japanese. I suggest these sites be used in conjunction with our site here. An alternative is to pick-up a Kanji dictionary from a local book store that offers books on foreign languages.
If you do not have a local book store with materials on learning Japanese and you are very interested in learning the language, be sure to visit our Book Store and we can assist you in purchasing some materials. The JA Connection Book Store is run in asscoiation with Amazon, the biggest on-line seller of books. We have chosen a small number of books to help you in narrowing down your many choices. Be sure to check it out!
Please recall the page on System Requirements as you choose a lesson to start with. You have the option to use the pages configured for use by persons with Systems and Browsers that are capable of displaying Japanese characters OR pages that use many graphics files to display the Japanese characters on any system.
If you have a Japanese system, use the lessons under the "Japanese" heading. If you have a system incapable of displaying Japanese characters, use the lessons under the "English" heading.
Vocabulary will be introduced as part of the lessons and in some cases will be introduced as a complete lesson.
English to Japanese and Japanese to English vocabulary summary pages are also available through the use of the Lesson Navigator Bar, described in a section below.
This is the main page for navigation through the lessons. Once into the lessons it will rarely be used since navigation can then be accomplished by the Lesson Navigator Bar, described in the following section.
Each lesson will have a Lesson Navigator Bar as shown below. This bar will help you navigate your way through the lessons.
Some lessons have more than one page. Choose the single arrow (forward or backward) button to change to the next or previous page in the current lesson.
Choose the double arrow (forward or backward) button to change to the next or previous lesson when applicable. There is no previous lesson to the first lesson nor a next lesson to the last lesson. This will be represented by a blank button.
If you would like to go to the main Lesson Navigation Page, press the button labeled "MAIN."
If the current lesson has an accompanying quiz, you will see a "QUIZ" button. Simply press this button to go to the quiz. To return to the lesson page, press the single back arrow button.
To make it easier to look up words in English or Japanese, a summarized listing is available for all vocabulary used in this site. To find an English word in Japanese, select the "E-J" button on the navigator bar. To find an Japanese word in English, select the "J-E" button on the navigator bar.
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