Over the years, Suwako Watanabe saw how anime and video games could generate interest in learning Japanese, inspiring students to explore new topics such as cultural linguistics, poetry, and drama.
“I think that studying about the Japanese language, culture and society helps learners develop sensitivity to different ways of thinking and how to do things, whether it is business, human relations or art,” Japanese Says Wannabe, a professor of. Institute of Asian Studies at Portland State University.
Whatever brings you to the language – Japan’s pop culture, history or status as a global business player – you don’t have to live in the country to start learning. Read some tips for how to start your Japanese language journey.
Learning to read and write in Japanese begins with understanding its three letters: hiragana, katakana and kanji.
Hiragana and katakana are phonetic, meaning they are spelled the way they sound. Both letters have fewer than 50 letters and cover the same group with sounds. Katakana is often used to write foreign words that make their way into the Japanese language. Since native English speakers will recognize some words written in katakana, the alphabet itself can be easy to learn.
On the other hand, Kanji is derived from Chinese, with each Kanji character representing a concept. There are about 60,000 Kanji characters, but only about 2,000 are often used in writing.
My advice is that I start reading and writing hiragana and katakana. Kanji will be there when you are ready to take your Japanese to the next level.
Next, practice, practice, practice. Repetition is the key. Children’s books are a great resource for learning to read Japanese. The phrases are simple, and it is fun to see the stories in a different cultural context. A quick Google search will produce online Japanese children’s books and other methods for reading practice.
Also check out online hiragana and katakana quizzes, charts and workbooks so you can practice writing. You can also find or make flashcards to practice learning the letters. Start with individual characters and make short sentences.
Ideally, you will learn to speak Japanese with a native speaker, but this is not always realistic.
Learning Japanese online does not necessarily put you at a disadvantage, says Momoyo Kubo Lodermilk, a lecturer at Stanford University’s Stanford Language Center. Today, the Internet can be considered a comprehensive experience that can connect you with teachers and fellow learners.
“It’s very important to keep your motivation high,” Kubo Lodermilk says. “To do this, you must become a member of a community of learners so that you are not the only one who is studying Japanese. Many others are studying Japanese and trying to be good at it.”
Once you become a member of a larger community, others will share their knowledge and tools they find useful. Kubo Lowdermilk states that not every online community is the same, so whether you are a teenager or an adult learner, it is best for you to find the place you feel is for your benefit.
Here are his suggestions for learning to speak Japanese:
- Build a community. If you can, take a class locally. If you can’t, find a class online, and build your community from there.
- Listen and practice. Practice short, basic sentences you learned in class when you listen to a speaker or watch a Japanese program, such as Anime, which is Japanese animation. (But be warned, the anime may use very advanced grammar and be difficult to follow.)
- Watch YouTube and Netflix. Kubo Lowdermilk says his students follow their favorite Japanese plays on YouTube and Netflix, and there are Chrome extensions for Netflix that allow you to control subtitles. One technique popular with its students is to watch for the first time with English subtitles, with Japanese subtitles and the third time without subtitles.
Truth: Japanese is Challenging. With its many characters and complex kanji characters, it is not surprising that the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute categorizes Japanese is one of the most difficult languages for English speakers.
Watanabe says that some language complexities can make it difficult for beginner students. Korean And sugar, By comparison, there is only one writing system. The Japanese use honor-respect, adding suffixes and other adjustments to address or speak to the person, something English speakers can easily go wrong. A Kanji character can be used by itself, Watanabe says. But they can be read by combining two or more characters.
At the same time, Japanese does not usually make nouns masculine or feminine like other languages, such as the Spanish. In addition, the Japanese pronunciation is relatively simple and consistent.
The FSI estimates that it takes 88 weeks for Japanese to learn at the level of “professional working efficiency”, based on the average diplomatic learner experience.
But the time it takes depends on which language you’re using, Kubo Lodermilk says. A smartphone app can help you pick up basic terminology quickly enough to get you through a trip to Japan, but you will need more time if you want to go more in-depth.
Hence, Gunbutte (It means something between “Wait there” and “You’ve got it”. Instead of focusing on learning Japanese fast, focus on learning it well. Before you know it, you The Japanese will be on the path of flow.
Here are some resources to help you learn Japanese:
Online learning community. Online communities, such as Reddit’s R / LearnJapanese, Are great for learning Japanese, Kubo Lodermilk says. free.
I will touch you a language. This site offers beginners and intermediate Japanese courses and a Japanese education Podcast. Learners can subscribe to receive personalized email suggestions. Classes cost between $ 97 and $ 397.
Duolingo. The application calls the Japanese “bite size” each day to build user skills. Basic for Duolingo Plus or $ 6.99 per month free after a free trial.
Japan Society. New York City-based nonprofits include online and in-person programs and classes related to Japanese culture, history, and language. Some activities are free, while others charge a fee.
Japan Foundation. Headquartered in Tokyo with offices around the world, the Japan Foundation has a wealth of resources on language learning, arts and culture, and Japanese studies. Many resources are available for free.
Japan Exchange and Learning Program. The JET program employs English speakers in schools across Japan as teachers and cultural ambassadors. JET program participants receive a salary and benefits.
community organization. Beginner’s language classes are often organized by arts centers, the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club of America, and similar private and non-profit groups.
Japanese Language Tutor. Check with Career Services offices, message boards and language departments at local colleges for Japanese language tuition contacts.