Step-8: Remembering the Hiragana & Katakana
There are two key components to learning the kana:
1 – Practice, practice, practice.
In other words: repetition, repetition, repetition.
2 – An immersion environment.
In other words: mindless free learning.
Practice gives us repetition which is crucial to learn any new language. That much is obvious to almost everyone. However the real magic in the learning process is an immersion environment, which enables constant and mindless exposure to a new language, which translates into “mindless” or “thoughtless” learning!
Basically that means that an immersion environment is both practice and repetition all one one!
Combine an immersion environment with repetition, and you have a learning system that’s simply intuitive! I’m going to devote an entire article to immersion environments, with an extra article for audio input! In this article the main focus point is repetition.
The key to effective repetition that promises fast progress (if used properly) lies in the use a SRS program.
SRS: a Spaced Repition System
Two programs you can use are Anki and SuperMemo.
The one I’ve been using for years and strongly recommend is Anki — and it’s free (because it’s shareware)! Anki works on Windows, Mac OSX, Linux and FreeBSD operating systems.
“Anki” is a Japanese word that means “memorizing” — written in kanji, it looks like this: 暗記. One of the interesting features of this software is that you can include sounds in your deck of cards, or download decks that contain sounds!
As you can see by the snapshot above, the program also has tons of free decks for you to download, and you can even add your own to the list! To top it off, the program isn’t just for people learning Japanese; there are tons of free Anki decks for countless languages such as Russian, Spanish, French, Mandarin, German and so much more! When you download this shareware, remember to install the latest version! Have fun learning!
As for the language immersion environment, it takes care of the “daily repetition” without you even having to do anything at all! In this article, I cover ideas on how to build your own unique immersion environment!