Is it possible to learn Japanese without teachers?
Japanese is a national language of Japan spoken by more than 124 million people, which is the 6th largest speaking population in the world. Other than Japan, some states in the Republic of Palau speak Japanese as a common language, and people in some parts of Brazil use Japanese due to the migration from Japan. The phonology of Japanese has a strong personality of an open syllable language that ends with a vowel. Also, many dialects, including the common language, have a mora. Accent is pitch accent. Japanese consists of the word order of “subject-modifier-predicate”.
After the introduction of Chinese characters (Kanji), the Japanese started to use Kanji with Japanese terms represented by characters used for their meanings and not their sound. During the 7th century, the Chinese-sounding phoneme principle was started to be used to write pure Japanese poetry and prose. However, some Japanese words were still written with characters for their meaning and not the original Chinese sound. This is when the history of Japanese as a written language begins.
In this blog, we’ll discuss how one can learn Japanese without taking the help from teachers/tutors:
- Learn Japanese Grammar: Most people go into a textbook with zero knowledge and wind up spending a large chunk of their time looking up words they don’t know. How much of a sentence is vocabulary? Depending on the length, it’s easy to answer “more than 80%.” So when you’re learning grammar with a textbook, coming into it with prior vocabulary knowledge brings you to that 80%. Leaving you just the grammar, which you can then point your laser-like focus towards. Instead of constantly flipping to the index to look up a word or kanji and deal with context switching when you finally get back to the lesson, all you have to worry about is learning the grammar and nothing else.
- Make your smartphone your best friend: Switch the language settings to Japanese. You can do this on your computer, too. If that’s too hard for you to do at this level now, that’s okay! Download Japanese language apps, games, etc., so you’re exposed to it. Facebook is a great app for the initial switch because it’s still easy to navigate while having bilingual exposure.
- Vocabulary Game-strong: Once you’ve found some words that you want to learn you need to collect them. How you do this doesn’t matter as much as actually doing it. Put them in a spreadsheet, a tool like Evernote or OneNote, or just write them down on a piece of paper. Make sure wherever you put these new words is easily accessible and make a trigger for yourself that essentially says “if I see a vocabulary word I want to learn, then I add it to my list.”
- Strengthen your grasp on the writing systems: If reading and writing is important to your understanding of Japanese, it is crucial to spend time studying all four of the Japanese written systems. Hiragana and katakana can be learned in as little as a few weeks, and you can use them to write anything you want in Japanese. Kanji will take much longer to learn, but it is also important. Begin practising Kanji as well.
The most difficult thing about learning Japanese is kanji. At least, that’s what people say. But trying to save it or brush it off until later isn’t going to help you learn Japanese. Almost everything uses kanji, making it one of the most important aspects of learning this language. Your learning quality of life will drop drastically if you choose to ignore it.
If you still feel that a tutor will help you more than anyone then try a demo class with us. We’re for you 24*7!