Friday, July 25, 2014

Internet slang in Japanese

Many slang words are used on the internet.
Especially on Twitter, people often use them because of the limitation of number of characters.
(You can write much more in Japanese than English though!)

Here are some slang words I often see on the internet.

オタ (ota) / ヲタ (ota)

うp (upu)
to upload

ようつべ (youtsube)

オフ会 (ofukai)
off-line meeting

ググる (guguru)
to search something with Google

コピペ (kopipe)
copy and paste

ネタバレ (netabare)
*ネタがバレる (neta ga bareru) "the contents are exposed"

リア充 (riajuu)
A person who enjoys his/her "real life" (i.e. not only on the internet)
*リアルが充実 (riaru ga juujitsu) "the reality is fulfilling"

ヤフオク (yafuoku)
Yahoo auction

ディスる (disuru)
to disrespect

ポチる (pochiru)
to buy something on the internet
*ポチ is the sound of click

Have you seen any of them before?

Well, I'll try to make a sentence using some of those words.


(このまえ オフかい いったら ヲタっぽい おとこのこが かわいい Tシャツ きてたから、かえってから ググったら ヤフオクに でてて さっそく ポチっちゃった)

I went to an off-line meeting the other day and one otaku-looking guy were wearing a cute T-shirt there, so I Googled it at home, found it on Yahoo auction and I bought it immediately.

Slang is not used in a formal situation and some people don't really like using them. (I think the situation is same as slang in other languages.)
Actually I don't really use them by myself even with my friends either.
But I see so many slang words on the internet and I enjoy reading posts using slang.

For advanced Japanese learners, I highly recommend reading Japanese posts (Twitter,  FB, forums... whatever) written by ordinary people in addition to articles, novels etc.
The biggest point which is different from reading serious articles is that if you find a slang word you can't understand, you can just skip it.
That word/post shouldn't be so important.
You can choose some favorite/interesting posts, read them and ignore other posts.
On the internet, you can find short posts very easily and you don't need to "prepare" to read them unlike news articles or long novels.

If you are a Twitter user, Kazu deserves to follow.
His tweets are about politics, news, anime, TV, food, animals... anything and his writing style is not too formal but not too casual.
He doesn't use slang but I see many slang words in his RTs.
(His RTs are interesting, informative or just so funny, too.)
I know him only on Twitter but I enjoy his amusing tweets everyday!

Also for all levels learners, I recommend you post something on SNS in Japanese.
Even if it's a very short sentence, like おなかすいた。"I'm hungry", it must be different from just thinking by yourself.
Maybe you'll get response in Japanese and have a conversation in Japanese.
Maybe you made a small mistake there and will notice it.
Maybe you need to use a dictionary for posting it in Japanese.

For me, I don't really have a chance to use English... I mean I hardly ever have a conversation in English since basically I don't use English in my lesson and most of my non-Japanese friends speak Japanese.
So, having a conversation in English via FB/Twitter is important for me.
At first, I was nervous to post anything in English and shocked to know how low my English skills are.
There are some super bilingual people in my SNS world.
Also some people are very offensive and disrespect (ディスる!) my English/knowledge.
But it's often happened on the internet life anyway, right.
You shouldn't care too much about them if those were the reasons you hesitate to use Japanese there.

Having communication with different people... that must be one of the biggest goal of studying a language I think.
Make maximal use of internet life for communicating with people in Japanese!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Apps for studying Japanese

I've been interested in what kind of Apps are used among Japanese learners and asked a question on Twitter. 

"I'm making a list of Apps for learning Japanese. Does anyone have any recommended Apps for studying Japanese?" 

AND! I had so many response to my tweet. (Thank you very much, my Twitter friends!)
I checked all of those 27 Apps/websites on the internet. 
Some of them are only for iOS or Android. Some of them are not App but you can use them online. 

I was going to choose some popular ones, but I decided to put all of them here on my blog instead. 
Each person has each way of studying Japanese and I don't think there is any "best way" or "wrong way".
Every App/website looks very interesting and I imagined how people use/study each of them.

OK, here is a long list of "Apps for Japanese learners" and let me write how I think about studying using App. 

First, those three Apps look very famous, user-friendly and popular among my Twitter followers. 

(The descriptions are copied from each website, NOT my comments.) 

Imiwa? (iOS)
This application is a multilingual Japanese dictionary for iPhone and iPod touch devices. It offers dictionary/kanji and example sentences full offline use. The dictionary contains 170000+ japanese entries and corresponding english translations, almost 15000 are translated in french, 94000+ in german and 7000+ in russian. 

iKnow!/id417713473?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4 (iOS) (Android)
Study at any time, on a PC or mobile device. Bite-sized learning chunks personalized for you. Official courses are offered for studying Japanese, Chinese, and SAT English. The Japanese Core 6000 covers the 6,000 most commonly used words in Japanese, and the Chinese Core 2000 covers the 2,000 most commonly used words in Chinese. All words have sample sentences and audio. 

Midori (iOS) 
Midori is a Japanese-English, English-Japanese dictionary for iPhone and iPad. It's a comprehensive tool for studying Japanese, with 146,000 entries, 150,000 example sentences, and many advanced features for serious learners of Japanese. 
Review by Tofugu 

The following two Apps are online Japanese dictionaries.  I use the first one EOW a lot, too. 

EOW (英辞郎 on the web) (iOS) 
E-J J-E online dictionary 

大辞林 (iOS) 
Japanese dictionary. 「大辞林」は、App Store での販売が27万本を超えるiPhone用国語辞典のベストセラーです。 

This one is an App (quiz game) for advanced kanji learners. 

漢字力5000 (iOS) 
読みにくい漢字や、間違いやすい漢字の読み方を入力し、楽しみながら”漢字力”を身に付けることができる漢字クイズゲーム。 問題数は5000問、問題の種類は一般、植物、魚介類、動物、四字熟語、外国や日本の地名、超難問があります。 

And even more specific usage... App for searching Japanese years (!) 

元号 (iOS) 

and App for writing Japanese letter beautifully. 

Japan Penmanship (iOS) 
Japan Penmanship improve your Japanese writing. Japanese is interesting language that has meaning on a letter. Don't you want to write Japanese letter beautifully? 

Here are more Apps for studying Japanese.

JA Sensei (Android) 
Complete suite to Learn Japanese designed for phones AND tablets ! JA Sensei provides clear Japanese lessons and numerous interactive exercises to learn Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji, Japanese vocabulary, Japanese phrases for your trips, numbers, verbs, etc. Take audio, multichoice, self-validated or drawing quizzes (draw kanji to answer questions!) to memorize what you learn. Simply curious about Japanese, studying Japanese, or willing to take the JLPT, JA Sensei will become a priceless assistant. 

Japanese (iOS) 
More than a dictionary Look up words. Discover the language. Create vocabulary lists. Study using flashcards. 
Review by Tofugu 

Learning Japanese (Tae Kim’s app) (iOS) (Android) 
Here you will find a wealth of information that will help you learn Japanese, all for free. This site has two guides to aid you on your way to full Japanese fluency with no compromises.

iKanji touch - Japanese Kanji Study Tool (iOS) 
iKanji touch is a powerful kanji study and training tool covering over 2,000 JLPT and school grade jouyou kanji. 

KanjiSenpai (Android) 
Kanji Senpai will help you learn Japanese vocabulary and kanji. By using a spaced repetition system (SRS) you can memorize the different aspects of each vocabulary: meaning, pronunciation, reading, listening, writing, etc. Included it's the N5 level of the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) vocabulary list and you can download (for free!) all the levels (though N1). Ah! This app assumes you've already mastered hiragana and katakana. 

obenkyo (Android) 
Learn japanese hiragana, katakana and kanji, and test yourself by drawing, or multiple choice.

Anki (iOS) (Android) 
Anki is a program which makes remembering things easy. Because it's a lot more efficient than traditional study methods, you can either greatly decrease your time spent studying, or greatly increase the amount you learn. 

Memrise (iOS) (Android)
There are thousands of courses on Memrise - all free and all created by other members of the community. Courses are available in many languages, for many languages and other subjects. If we don't have what you want, join in and make your own! 

JED (Android) 
JED is an offline Japanese Dictionary. 

Ankidroid (Android) 
Memorize anything with AnkiDroid! AnkiDroid lets you learn flashcards very efficiently by showing them just before you will forget. 

kanji box 
http://kanjibox (iOS) 
KanjiBox is your one-stop iOS app to mastering Japanese. It provides a complete set of simple, yet powerful, drill-based exercises to help you improve and evaluate your skills in nearly all aspects of Japanese studies: kanji, vocabulary, reading, kana, grammar etc. 

Simple Kanji Flashcards (iOS) 
Learning kanji starting with 来, 週, 行 and 今? If so, this is the app for you. There are dozens of kanji apps, but most teach you in the order favoured by the Japanese education system - which is quite different to the one often used when teaching English speakers. Simple Kanji Flashcards groups the kanji in the order you'll recognise, starting with 来 and 週. 

Japanese Verbs Free (iOS)
 Learning Japanese? This app provides a simple way to learn the conjugation of essential verbs via on-screen flashcards. 

Quizlet (iOS) (Android) 
Study anything, anywhere. Flashcards familiarize you with new vocabulary (with fullscreen images and audio). Learn mode tests what you know and don't know. Match makes studying into a fun and competitive game. Take all of your study sets and your classes on the go with offline support (even for audio). 

Kanji LS (iOS) (Android)
practice all Kanji with system or handwriting font - strokeorder guidelines for all 5012 Kanji in the program’s database - 10.000 sample words (all have reading, english, german & french translation) 

jlpt study (iOS) 
This application will help you study the vocabulary for the Japanese Language Proficiency Tests (JLPT), level N5, N4, N3, N2 and N1 (N5 being the easiest and N1 the hardest). 

Next, these are not App but you can use them online. 

Lang-8 (website) 
Let our community of native speakers support your language learning. A new language learning platform where native speakers correct what you write. 

Real kana (website) 
Hiragana and Katakana Practice 

rikaichan (Firefox Add-ons) 
Japanese to English/German/French/Russian dictionary. Just hover the mouse on top of a word, and a popup appears. Automatically de-inflects verbs and adjectives. 

Denshi Jisho (website) 
Online Japanese dictionary 

Youtube review about iOS Apps by a British man Top iOS Apps for Learning Japanese.

Have you used any of those Apps/websites?
Or is there anything you want to try?

Some people believe writing (on a paper) practice is the most important for Japanese learners.
Very important for learning grammar, vocabulary in addition to remembering kana and kanji.
I still think writing is an important practice but I think using those Apps is very helpful and effective, too now.
I encourage my students to use their smartphones in my lessons, too.
The worst enemy of studying foreign language is "feeling stress" I think.
(Yes, I feel the same about my studying English!)
Let's look for a helpful Apps/websites, use them and I hope you will be less stressed.
Have fun studying Japanese!