Rosetta Stone, Kana and I’m lost!

Q:  Hi, my name is jonathan and I wound up stumbling upon your site when i was searching on pointers on how to learn japanese. I found the katakana voice chart extremely useful to start and i got a copy of rosetta stone japanese but when i started playing around in a sense i found that the japanese tend to swap back and forth in between all forms instantly. I provided a link to show what im talking about, my goal is to one day read these menus but im not sure on what to do, they go from katakana, to english, to kanji, to hiragana in one  sentence, im so lost!

A: Hi Jonathan,

Thank you very much for getting in touch.

The first thing to do is to not panic, and just relax while learning for a little while.  Eventually everything will fall in to place piece by piece.

With regards the mix of kana, kanji etc. that’s just how it’s written. I guess it’s like a Japanese learner saying
“in English they switch between upper case and lower case letters all the time”.

As you learn more vocab and structures, and especially as you learn to hear and speak more Japanese you’ll soon see how it works.  Again, just relax and go with the flow for a little while longer!

Q: I have rosetta stone, i made the alphabet for katakana and hiragana into note cards to study when im on the go, but  even then i feel lost as to where to go. Even in rosetta stone they go from onnanoko to onnanohito with out saying what to is (which obviously is and) or in hiragana form there is no explanation at all

A; This is probably the only thing about the Rosetta Stone that I don’t like. They probably could do with explaining things a little more.  But if you do the listening parts before the writing parts then it is a lot easier and eventually you do figure out which is which.  The theory is that if you work out which is which on your own it sticks with you, whereas if you are just told which is which you’ll probably get them confused!

But yeah, when I was using it to learn Thai this was something that confused me no end in the beginning.

Q:  nor are their spaces to make と stand out as and and not part of a word, also when you reach larger sentences they don’t explain what each smaller word means or break it down.

It’s just how Japanese is written.  Again it’s a case of learning lots of little bits as you go along and you’ll be able to pick out and separate the bits you do know.  This is one reason why kanji is so useful because it
breaks up the kana!

Q If you could help explain or point me in the right direction in any way i would greatly appreciated. Thank you very much your your site and your help =)

A; As I say, just relax and don’t worry about it.  You wouldn’t expect a Japanese person to jump straight into Shakespere and understand everything straight away, so just keep at it a piece at a time and every couple of
weeks or so something will just click and it will all become clear!  You have the right tools and the confidence so just keep going, you’ll get there pretty soon.

Be genki,


One Response to “Rosetta Stone, Kana and I’m lost!”

  1. Valentino says:

    Hi I am interested in getting the Japanese Rosetta Stone, because I saw my friend really liked it, but we both agreed that since Japanese can be translated to English, then why not have the choice to switch between English phonetics and Kana? or is there already an option embedded in the program to make the switch



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