Japanese is an amazing language. Being able to express one's ideas and enjoy the human experience in a different language is a goal that a lot of people in the world actually achieve. However, in countries like America where many people only speak one language, how exactly to acquire a second language is shrouded in mystery.
Like all other languages, Japanese is spoken by humans. So, not only is it important to figure out the grammar and words of Japanese, it's also important to understand how it is socially used among Japanese speakers and how Japanese culture itself shapes the language. Involvement in the culture goes hand in hand with language acquisition.
Culture is interwoven with language, but they are separable to a degree. After all, it is very rare that something is not translatable, and even though something may not have a direct equivalent in another language, anything thought by a human can be expressed in any language. Another point that suggests that culture and language aren't necessary inseparable is that people with language disabilities can often manage quite well in their environment. However, ignoring the role that culture plays in a language will only lead you to very unnatural speech. Even so, when you are not able to be a part of the culture directly, you can still acquire the language.
IMABI has been being built and organized based on the opinions and ideas from the people that use it. This site keeps in mind the important role interaction has in Japanese language acquisition. Though this site places heavy emphasis on grammar, it does not ignore the important role of culture has in learning Japanese.
This website continues to be upgraded and altered on this premise. Some lessons are lengthy, but even with a busy life, no lesson should take you more than a couple of days to finish.
You don't have to know linguistic lingo. Terms are defined for you and links often go back to when they were first mentioned. Don't like a definition? Still confused? This is where you can make a difference by contacting me.
In every lesson you will learn vocabulary, grammar concepts, culture info, see many example sentences (and sometimes dialogues). The main problem people have with Japanese, in my opinion, is not understanding crucial items like particles.
Some sections need to be reduced, simplified, moved, or expanded upon. Howbeit, I do know that students greatly desire not being told "well, we'll have to wait till...to talk about that". Connections get lost the longer you drag out things. This site limits this problem to a minimum.
As you go through the site, you should write down questions. You may find answers later on in the text. For those that you can't, regardless of whether you think they're stupid or not, you should send them in or ask on the forums. A lot of things have been added this way.
Using a journal can greatly assist you. You should accompany the site with a good dictionary source and places to listen. Talking to Japanese people is also great practice. Even if you can't find speakers, you may still find people online. Get others involved while you learn even if they're not learning it too. Don't take prolonged breaks. Most of all, don't be shy.
Japanese is Unique
The easiest thing about learning a similar language to that of your own is that you can often take in a lot of cognate words and verbal phrases. Culture is also often similar. English speakers can easily learn a Germanic language, and even Romance languages are easier because so much of English comes from Latin. There is no such luxury with Japanese. Although there are certainly many cognate loan word expressions that you can take in automatically, this is a little part of the Japanese lexicon. When learning Japanese, you have to start from the ground up.
I always try to make the examples interesting, and I hope you don't find it as boring as reading a dictionary. Language involves being able to comprehend basically anything that is thrown at you and responding to it correctly. It is not practical for someone to have to say "There's a moose in the helicopter", but you may just say that one day, and then you may ask yourself, "how do I say that in Japanese?".
Be creative in Japanese just as you are in your own native language. Now, language barriers may cause you to say something unintended, and you may accidentally abuse a verbal phrase here and there, but you will progressively get a better feel of the language.
Although you should realize what the most common way to say something is, you should be ready for anything. Language is too spontaneous, and you really learn from experience. Are you ever going to have to say something like "a deer drowned in a yellow whirlpool at midnight after being chased by a rhinoceros"?
This does sound very ridiculous, and it is. But, it is humorous. The grammar is sound, and you could make a children's book out of silly phrases like this. So, why limit your Japanese speech?
This stage of IMABI is not the Japanese I class so many are accustomed to. What is taught in this segment is not determined necessarily by difficult but by relevance.
There is plenty of reading, but you will definitely love the amount of examples. The exercises are meant to be easy as you have already done most of the work by that point. Each lesson is packed with information.
Advanced IMABI is not a walk in the park. No one should ignore a single lesson of this crucial segment. Interesting topics--grammatical and vocabulary--are introduced along with many hard to study topics. Many of the topics can't be found in most mainstream texts, but with these lessons in hand, you will have a more complete understanding of the language.