Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Japanese Dictionaries

Yesterday, I listed a number of Japanese study tools I feel are very helpful for learning the Japanese language. Today I figured I would follow that up by another very important list, Japanese dictionaries.

Since we all spend so much time online, all the dictionaries I have listed are online dictionaries. My personal favorite is Denshi Jisho because of it's easy interface, and it's ability to look up words, sentences, and kanji. It is can also easily be accessed from cell phones.

For my non-online dictionary I use Kiten. Kiten is a free dictionary designed to run on linux and works excellent. However, I usually find myself going to Denshi Jisho to look up words.

Here is the list

  • Denshi Jisho- If I had to choose one dictionary, this would be it.
  • WWW.JDIC- Similar to Denshi Jisho, but a different interface.
  • ALC- Site in Japanese. Has some additional options.
  • Goo- Different dictionaries depending on what you are looking for.
  • Weblio- Another dictionary with a lot of search options.
Give them all a try and see which one works best for you. Sometimes, if you can't find a word in one, it will come up in another.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Helpful Tools for Learning Japanese Words

If you are learning Japanese then you need to know a certain amount of Japanese Words in order to communicate. The more words you know the easier and more fluent you will be able to speak Japanese (practicing using them is also important).

Learning all these words can seem like a difficult and never ending task. The problem with standard methods (flash cards, note books, words lists in books) of learning is that you will spend too much time reviewing words you already know and not enough for ones you don't. This not only slows down your progress, but limits the number of Japanese words you can study.

The tools I have listed below, help you learn faster and make studying easier by showing you the appropriate Japanese words or phrases at the appropriate times. They make studying Japanese easier and funner.

  • Anki- A flash card program designed specifically for Japanese that tracks which cards you know and shows you the right ones at the right time.
  • Smart FM- Similar to Anki, but with a more advanced algorithm and more pre-made materials available. Can only be used online.
  • Mnemosyne- A flash card program similar to Anki, but with a slightly different algorithm and interface (I personally perfer Anki).
  • Reviewing the Kanji- An website set up specifically to help you learn the kanji using Heisig's Remembering the Kanji book.
  • Read the Kanji- A website that helps you learn to read and type kanji. Since each kanji or word is in a sentence you will also learn grammar as well.
  • JapanesePod101- Learn Japanese words through actual conversation.