Favourite Learning Materials

I’ve been asked a few times which textbooks I’ve used while learning Japanese and given those answers, but there tends to be a lot of disagreement over what makes a ‘good’ textbook. Some of my favourites, my friends have hated, and some of the ones recommended to us here I found borderline useless. So instead, I thought I’d make a short list of my favourite extra materials that I use to help further my learning. I hope everyone else finds them as useful as I do!

Online:

  • Jisho.org - the best online dictionary I’ve found. Although it’s not perfect, like any other dictionary, it’s very useful and offers example sentences for a lot of words.
  • Japanese Verb Conjugator - Super useful for those of us who have a nasty habit of forgetting certain conjugations.
  • Lang8 - An interactive website that allows speakers of Japanese and other languages to write in their learned language and be corrected by native speakers. Valuable if you can stick to it, which a lot of people apparently have trouble doing.
  • Renshuu.org - As someone who is terrible at remembering words and kanji, Renshuu is my saviour. It’s a study website that lets you test yourself on words and kanji (in various different ways) from the most widely used textbooks and from the JLPT levels, and you can get extra features from paying for a pro account, like full access to the grammar section.
  • Rikaichan - An app for Firefox, plus Rikaikun for Chrome, that when turned on allows you to hover over Japanese words and see the definition. Great for those of us who struggle with kanji, but it’s better to avoid falling into the trap of using it all the time.

Books:
  • Dictionary of Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced Japanese Grammar (Seiichi Makino & Michio Tsutsui) - These cost a fortune but have been invaluable tools. They have pretty much any and all bits and bobs of grammar and explain them clearly and reliably with plenty of examples and comparisons. They were highly recommended by my lecturers back home and are probably the best thing that I spent money on for my course.


If any other learners out there have any personal recommendations of their own, feel free to send an ask or submit them and share.



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