Do you want to learn to speak Japanese? There are plenty of ways of going about it and not all involve a lot of expense. You’ll find some great ideas here.
Japanese is a fascinating and very rewarding language to study. Here are ten top tips as to the best way to learn it.
Go and live in or visit Japan and spend a lot of time there. The best way to learn any language is to live it ‘24x7’ though of course, for most students,going to spend a lot of time in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto (etc.) is probably not likely to be a practical option.
Enrol in Japanese language classes. Yes, it sounds obvious but it is a great way to learn. Don’t think this by definition involves long boring lectures and staring at a whiteboard! Modern language study has changed a lot and involves things like technology and above all, fun!
Find a Japanese teacher and have 1-to1 tuition. This is another great way to learn and you’ll progress at your speed rather than that of the fastest or slowest learner in a bigger class. On the downside, this might prove to be an expensive option – it depends on who you find.
Join (or form) a Japanese language club. This can be great fun and a fantastic way to learn and improve your Japanese. However, do make sure you have a native Japanese speaker or someone who speaks fluent Japanese.
Take some online Japanese tutorials. These can be excellent value for money and very similar to having your own Japanese tutor dedicated to you alone. On the downside, it can be slightly ‘lonely’ as a learning experience, particularly if you’re naturally sociable.
Buy some teach-yourself-Japanese language manuals. Some of these are very good, particularly when accompanied by audio and video units. Worth keeping in mind though is that this method is best supplemented by some of the other approaches above.
Watch Japanese movies and TV Serials. This is a fantastic way to learn a language – at least the spoken language. It’s also cheap or even free, though not everyone learns easily by just listening so practicing and participation is important. Remember also that when watching historical films, if they’re realistic, the actors maybe using archaic forms of Japanese that are rarely used today. It’s a little like learning English by watching films of Shakespeare’s plays!
Read Japanese books. This obviously only applies if you’re trying to learn to read the language. Modern Japanese books usingRomaji (written using Latin characters) are available. Hiragana materials (using largely modern Japanese characters) are also widely available. Full written Japanese can also use Kanji (Chinese characters), which may be a difficult place to start for beginners.
Get a Japanese pen-friend. In the days of Social Media, this has never been easier and is a fantastic way to learn the day-to-day language.
Read Manga! This may sound strange but this Japanese art form is often written largely using Hiragana albeit with some Kanji. It’s a great way to read and learn simplified Japanese script.
As almost any Japanese teacher will admit, Japanese is widely regarded as being a difficult language to learn. In fact, the basic structure of the language is relatively simple when compared to others though unwritten conventions and rules are numerous and they can be more difficult to pick-up. It’s a beautiful language though and it’s well-worth making the effort!