Japanese 101....totally confused

I’ve just started the Japanese language learning and I’m totally confused by the lesson format

What am I supposed to be looking at or listening to?

I’ve watched the video, but the format for english to spanish is much different than the english to japanese page

I see the audio bar on the right side, but what is the significance of the text in hirigana on the left, if it doesn’t correspond to the audio portion?

Wouldn’t it make sense for the text portion to mirror the audio part?

Or perhaps have the english meaning (and pronunciation) of the hiragana appear with mouse-over?

Why use hirigana for the very first lesson if there is no way for the learner to see the pronuciation or meaning of all that text…


There are a lot of romaji lessons here. Please, check this link: http://www.lingq.com/learn/ja/store/search/?type=194


I know nothing about Japanese 101, but I guess it must look like ChinesePod (language learning podcasts are all alike anyway).
If you’re serious about learning japanese, learn the hiragana first and NEVER rely on romanization. It’s gonna take you about a week to learn, it’s not that bad since it’s only 50 characters or so. Here’s a link: Hiragana - Wikipedia.
Also, from my experience learning Chinese, don’t listen to the entire podcasts; just listen to the dialogues as you read the translations and transcriptions and listen to it many times. Import most interesting material on LingQ as private lessons and create many lingQs. Learn Kanjis as you come across them, too. And, as Cakypa pointed out, there’s plenty of material lingQ.

Oh! and one last thing: welcome to LingQ!

Hajimemashite! Sakura-san and sigma_20xx-san

Thank you both for your assistance!

I apologize for being such a slow learner but
hope to do better in future…

I think I’ve figured out part of the problem, after listening to the audio part many times, I am able to identify some of the hiragana on the left

domo-arigato gozaimasu ども ありがとうございます

also I really liked Emma’s “Hiragana Drill” collection

I am teribly sorry, I will try to make romaji versions of the same contents next time.

We have to remember that LingQ, and especially the LingQ library, is like a self-service restaurant. You can bring your own ketchup, soya sauce and wine if you want. You can find additional resources elsewhere to help with grammar or hiragana or kanji. The learner has to explore and discover what is most useful for him at LingQ. Every contribution to our libraries is welcome and valuble.

Please refer to Zhuangzi’s parable of the crooked tree from my book.

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Library Home » The Linguist: A personal guide to language learning » 01. Introduction. Zhuangzi’s Crooked Tree

  1. Introduction. Zhuangzi’s Crooked Tree

Huizi said to Zhuangzi, “This old tree is so crooked and rough that it is useless for lumber. In the same way, your teachings have no practical use.”

Zhuangzi replied, “This tree may be useless as lumber, but you could rest in the gentle shade of its big branches or admire its rustic character. It only seems useless to you because you want to turn it into something else and don’t know how to appreciate it for what it is. My teachings are like this.”

Zhuangzi, the Taoist philosopher, is supposed to have lived in China over 2,300 years ago. He encouraged people to achieve their potential through effortlessness, by not resisting their own natures.

His famous story about the crooked tree appeals to me for many reasons. Being in the forest industry, I know that a crooked tree is not suitable for making standard commodity lumber products, but it can make high quality decorative products which feature its natural beauty and individuality.

Such a tree has grown to a ripe old age by adapting itself to its environment. Whereas the trees in the industrial forest are straight and look alike, the crooked tree grew alone, or with a mixture of other trees of different ages and species. This kind of tree will resist wind and disease better than the more uniform trees of the plantation forest.

And so it is with people who follow their natures and pursue their own path to self-fulfillment. They are more independent and more secure. A true language learner must be like this crooked tree of Zhuangzi.

Thank you all for your kind support… it is much appreciated

wow Zhuangzi’s Crooked Tree = awesome

Thank you Steve and others for helping me to understand this a bit better

I was expecting a more or less linear progression from basic to advanced, in the style of Berlitz / Rosetta Stone (which I’ve never had much success with BTW)

So, I have to admit that I was VERY intimidated (and frustrated) when I started this lesson as there wasn’t anything basic about it… on one hand, there is a wall of hiragana and on the other side an audio recording, neither of which have any references or translations into my native language

It was kind of like, handing me a Japanese newspaper and turning on a Japanese radio program and telling me to translate them into English…

That is, assuming that I was ONLY allowed to use the resources on the lesson page
it would be nearly impossible to do.

After a certain amount of head banging, I finally got the hint that this is NOT a classroom environment…it is real life (whatever that is) and that if I was an immigrant to Japan, I would use every experience and every opportunity to interpret my surroundings, a bit at a time, with mistaken assumptions and embarassing gaffes along the way…

Learning in a classroom is neat, uniform and tidy (and frequently useless) like the industrial forest in Steve’s analogy

Learning in real life is messy and flawed and sometimes painful, but ultimately creates results in the areas that are most important, like Zhuangzi’s Crooked Tree

After getting all frustrated at not being able to understand what the lesson meant, I found a site that taught me to recognize hiragana and the associated sounds

Using this, I assigned the sound of the first character to each word and then listened to the audio, which allowed me to match MOST of the written words/phrases to the spoken part

Not perfect by any means, but it IS the natural way that we learn if we are thrown into an immersive environment (and getting mad for me, is a powerful motivator)

Thanks again to Steve et al for your patience, I think I understand how this restaurant works now, I just hope that I get the correct washroom door :slight_smile:


PS Dilemme, please don’t apologize, now that I understand how this works, I realize that adding the Romaji would dilute the learning value of the lesson… if you were to add something, I suggest hinting at the process that I eventually stumbled upon, so that new learners don’t use their native language as a crutch

oh, here was another useful practice site that I used

Ichigo_kun, konnichiwa.

As a Japanese native, I’m glad that you have just started Japanese language learning. I understand how you feel when you take only hiragana lessons in the library. I know hiragana, katakana and kanji are very tough ones for non-Japanese. I’m glad you find some web sites to learn hiragana. Yes, LingQ is not only place to learn Japanese. However, LingQ is the good place to get some advice to learn language and the better your Japanese the more comfortable here in LingQ. As you know, there are many Japanese members here at LingQ. We are willing to help you.

Here is a good message thread which posted last year. I posted some good websites and same as others. I hope it helps you.

Ganbatte kudasai

がんばります !

ども ありがと うございます