If you love all things kawaii, then chances are you are probably thinking about learning Japanese. Well, you are in for a long and difficult journey.
Japanese is a Category-5 language, meaning that you will need approximately 2,200 hours of intense study to achieve everyday competency. By comparison, you only need about 600 hours of practice to learn French.
The problem with Japanese is that it’s a very complex language. There are three lexical systems: katakana, hiragana, and kanji. Moreover, the tenses differ depending on the level or formality. Not to mention, Japanese is also highly contextual, which can make communication rather difficult.
Yes, learning Japanese is no easy task, but we have some tips and tricks that will help you along the way.
Check Out Online Resources
The Internet is the land of all possibilities when it comes to learning a new skill. So you can be sure to find numerous ways of learning and practicing your language skills online. Apps, websites, online courses and study groups – you name it, and you’ll find it.
For example, on platforms like Preply.com, you can work with a native speaker and have them help you with your grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary. Just go to preply.com/en/skype/Japanese-tutors, and you will surely find someone that meets your needs.
Integrate It into Your Daily Life
As with any language, studying from books will only get you so far. Instead, try to put yourself in circumstances that will allow you to test your skills.
Whether you play Japanese video games, watch Japanese anime, movies or documentaries, read manga, or listen to Japanese music or podcasts, there are endless possibilities to include this language in your everyday life. You will also have a lot of fun while doing it, so you’re killing two birds with one stone.
Maybe you have a natural gift for languages and are thinking that if you watch enough movies or read enough books, you will surely pick up Japanese. In reality, it is a challenging language – one of the most challenging, actually – and you will need to approach it in a very organized manner if you want to see any results.
If you have the time and can afford it, studying at a language school is definitely the best option, but if not, even shorter courses can help you. Worst-case scenario, you buy some good text books, craft a study plan and try to learn it by yourself. You will need a solid basis to build up on, so a great tip is to buy books for the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test).
Find a Conversation Partner
Oral skills are always hard to work on, and without a real live conversation partner, chances are the books aren’t going to help you much. Talking will force you to think in the language you’re speaking and to correct your pronunciation, which you definitely can’t do only with a written course.
Finding someone who is willing to be your language buddy shouldn’t be so difficult – you just need to know where to look. If you don’t have any personal Japanese-speaking acquaintances, you can always look online for people willing to do this with you. Usually, people like to trade favors, so you will most likely find many Japanese people that would be up for it in exchange for you helping them practice their English.
So if you want to be able to communicate in Japanese, rather than just passively participating in discussions, or if you want to impress your native friends with your new skills, try these tips above and take your knowledge to the next level.