ありがと Hellstorm-san! Great post.
[quote=“Hellstorm”]Btw, 魚翅 is Chinese You must not select 「で始まる」 (starts with), but 「に一致する」 (one to one match). If you then enter 魚, you can select the pronounciation at the right side. 魚 is originally pronounced うお, but nowadays さかな is far more common (I think, the reading さかな came from some drinking bar or so… quite funny. Ah, it actually explains the reading: 「酒菜(さかな)」で酒のおかずの意」: It comes from the meaning of a side dish to alcohol called sakana ). You also get いお, but I don』t know when that is used. You also have うを in brackets, which is the same as うお, but is old orthography. There are other readings, as well. You have to select them according to use (well, that』s the same as in Chinese). E.g. you save 魚市場 （うおいちば） for fishmarket, not ぎょしじょう (what it would be in ON reading) nor さかないちば.
Different readings are the most horrible thing in Japanese, but also the funniest.[/quote]
Is there a way to gauge which reading is most common?
About motivation; if I’m to continue into a PhD program back home, I’ll need to be able to read Japanese at least as well as students who have finished three years of course work. (I’m not saying I’ll go into a PhD program, but I want the option for three/four years down the road.) Since I’ll be studying it, I might as well learn how to speak it, too.
About pronunciation; I like learning about pronunciation systems. Paying attention to distinctions in pitch, vowel length, and segmental stuff will keep me interested.
About courses; I don’t trust Taiwanese language teachers and I don’t like language courses. Self study is more effective for me. Having a teacher is important, though (otherwise how would I know 魚翅 is Chinese and らぃ doesn’t exist ) I’m going to find a tutor once I get in the thick of it.
About grammar; verb/adj inflection will be a bit tricky and I’ve heard there are a lot of particles, but I should be able to figure it out and whatever else I encounter with the help of a tutor.
Thanks for the book recommendations