Japan – the land of Tokyo National Museum, The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the Shinto religion, the kimono (costume), Sumo wrestling (sport), sushi and miso (Japanese cuisine), Japanese snow macaques, mandarin duck, Japanese sea nettle (wildlife in Japan), its biggest success in the corporate sphere (SONY), etc.!
This country is truly unique, it has a long history of war tragedies, natural disasters, man-made disasters, and much more, and yet it stands tall in the world in terms of progress, development, and success. It has an equally long trail of its rich cultural heritage, its contribution to the world, its significance to the success of many other economies, etc., which has always helped it stay at the forefront of the map of the world’s most advanced or developed nations.
Most of the non-native speakers of the Japanese language face many challenges while learning the language. Let us take a look at some of those challenges.
Challenges in Japanese language
The Complex Writing System
The hiragana, the katakana, and the kanji are not very easy for a non-native Japanese learner to master. It takes a considerably long period of time to understand the complex Japanese writing system.
The same amount of emphasis on each Japanese syllable
Irrespective of the position of a syllable in a word in the Japanese language, the stress or the amount of emphasis given on the syllable is the same. Whether a syllable is positioned at the beginning of a word, or in the middle, or in the end, that particular syllable or character is pronounced in the same pitch, or using the same tonality.
There are some sounds, such as the sound of ‘R’, and ‘tsu’ in the Japanese language, which are particularly difficult for non-native speakers, or for the learners who are not acquainted with any of the languages of the group of languages to which Japanese belongs to.
Rules of Japanese grammar are not quite the same as those of English grammar. There are many major differences in the grammar concepts. There is no number to the subject. This means that there are no concepts such as singular and plural. Moreover, the rules of the conjugation of verbs are totally different. The verb forms do not change or differ like they do in English. One needs to understand them as per the context.
Levels of politeness
In Japanese, levels of politeness to be used while speaking differ with the age, gender, status, the relationship of the person. For example, in the English language, the pronoun ‘you’ remains the same irrespective of the age, gender, status, etc. of the addressee. In Japanese, the case is very different.
Japanese is, indeed, considered to be a language very vague in nature. For a novice in Japanese language learning, it is very difficult to understand the concepts clearly. He or she, definitely, takes longer to learn Japanese as compared to the time required for learning any of the European languages such as English, French, Spanish, German, etc. as a second or third language or as a foreign language.
There are, but, ways in which one can attain fluency or proficiency in the Japanese language. Instead of relying on self-learning, which might take a learner an eternity to master the language, one can enroll in a proper, well-designed Japanese training program. Such language learning courses can also be taken online, from the comfort and safety of one’s home, without having to commute or travel to any place to attend classroom training in any conventional language training institute. The required material is only a laptop or a mobile phone, decent network connectivity, and enthusiasm to learn Japanese! Such online Japanese courses conducted over edtech platforms facilitate real-time interaction between a student and an instructor. Even the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test, or JLPT, which is a standardized criterion-referenced test to evaluate and certify the Japanese language proficiency of non-native speakers, is prepared for, by these edtech platforms during the online Japanese learning sessions.