Learn to write in Japanese with Lang-8!

Not so fast kids! Don’t let the title mislead you! This is for anyone who is learning Japanese, comfortable with their hiragana and katakana, and a bit past the newbie stage. The site may be a bit intimidating since it’s not really tailored to the beginner student. But if I can benefit… so can you! 

Being a J-Noob can be frightening sometimes! You’re learning to decipher all these crazy looking symbols and then you’re told that it is just the beginning. One thing is reading and understanding this “jibberish”… but do you think you’ll ever actually be communicating with other human beings?

Once you get to a certain level, you’re more comfortable with reciting certain lines that are part of basic conversations. You know a lot of vocabulary and are able to pick it up from conversations. You’re learning your grammar. Nice. As far as writing goes, using worksheets and doodling in your notebook will only get you so far. What about using your knowledge out in the real world? This is where Lang-8 comes in.

Basic Overview: Lang-8 is a site for language learners to practice their skills by writing journals on anything they wish and getting them corrected almost instantly by native speakers of the target language.

Cost: FREE!!!! Optional Premium membership… good for avid users, not necessary.

The Catch?: Give back to the site by correcting journals for people who are learning your native language.

So this site is usually recommended to Intermediate/Advanced users, which is why I stayed away from it for so long. I made an account way back when and did a little browsing. I was so intimidated after seeing journals from Japanese natives who were learning English and were very advanced. But I’m glad I was able to get over this fear.

I’m not gonna lie… it’s not going to be a walk in the park for my fellow J-noobs. Google Translate and Jisho.org are my best friends when I’m writing my journals. I try to stick with vocabulary I already know, but in the beginning looking words up is inevitable. And you’re going to be putting yourself out there. When I translate my sentences from Japanese into English, I sound like a 5 year old.  And I’ll make stupid mistakes from time to time. I am well past knowing the difference between ”いる” and “ある”, but I still mix them up every once in awhile.

Print screen of my latest journal entry on Lang-8

As embarrassing as some of my posts may be, they have definitely helped me improve immensely. I learn so much about the language through my friends’ suggestions. Looking back at my first post is humiliating, but rewarding when I think of how far I’ve come in only 6 posts! Lang-8 is best when used frequently, so I am trying to write more often.

So beginners… as long as you know your kana and are familiar with a little grammar you’ll be ok (just be sure to mention you won’t be using much kanji or you’ll get tons of kanji corrections!) Remember to be kind to your fellow language learners as well… help them out a little! You will get so much more in return and will have fun learning about their culture through their journals. It’s just a win-win-win with this site!

Visit Lang-8

またね!

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About L

Interested in Japanese language and culture, J-Pop, K-Pop and Asian Dramas.
This entry was posted in Japanese Study, Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Learn to write in Japanese with Lang-8!

  1. ssu says:

    I’ve been using lang-8 for a year or so now and their community really is a great resource. Tons of encouragement and never an unkind word.

    During the semester I would upload my rough drafts for essays and before I handed them into class hehe. That was a HUGE help.

  2. Char says:

    Hi L.
    This is a great post. I have a lang-8 account and I really do not take advantage of it. It really is a good way to learn and it does help with speaking because you write more often in articles the phrases you already know. I would say that it probably is best to not go for allot of friends, but try to get quality friends on Lang-8. That way you wont feel overwhelmed with obligation to respond to everyone. But it is the best resource I think out there to connect and write with native Japanese speakers.

    • lvsanchez115 says:

      Thank you, Char! Yes, quality is best when using Lang-8. I have even found a friend who not only corrects all of my entries, but goes and checks corrections made by others and gives them points for good corrections. I really have to start using it more often as well.

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