Just a short (or shorter than usual) post today. Today’s resource is The Japanese Page. This is a community website for people learning Japanese. There is a variety of lessons, cultural information, and of course the community.
I started teaching myself Japanese a while back, but then I stopped after a while. I’m not sure why, I was probably too busy. Of course, I generally practise my language knowledge by reading, and Japanese is difficult to read if you don’t know the Kanji. They have a syllabic alphabet writing system consisting of about 50 characters (if I remember correctly) – actually there are two versions of this same set of syllables, which basically just doubles the number of characters you have to learn, but they use the different versions for different purposes.
Then there is the Kanji, which is the same as the chinese characters – each of them has a specific meaning and there are thousands of them. Unfortunately, Japanese combines the two systems of writing. The Kanji character is used for the root of a word, and modifiers are added in Kana (the syllabic system).
I am speaking from my limited knowledge, but I do know that even in manga you will come across plenty of Kanji. If you are going to tackle the Kanji, good on you! Ganbatte! In fact, they have downloads of lists of Kanji by level based on the standard testing system – as far as I know ‘level 4’ is where you start and ‘level 1’ is the top.
The Japanese Page is not a structured system of lessons; as I said, it is community based, so I would use it as an additional resource to a structured course. As such, it seems very interesting and useful.