What is the best way to learn Japanese on your own?
Japanese belongs to the Japonic (or Japanese-Ryukyuan) language family. It is an East Asian language spoken by approximately 128 million people, a majority of whom live in Japan, where it is the national language. It is an agglutinative, mora-timed language with simple phonotactics, a pure vowel system, a phonemic vowel and consonant length, and a lexically significant pitch accent. Word order is normally subject–object–verb with particles marking the grammatical function of words, and sentence structure is a topic–comment. Sentence-final particles are used to add emotional or emphatic impact, or make questions. Along with kanji, the Japanese writing system primarily uses two syllabic (or moraic) scripts, hiragana (ひらがな or 平仮名) and katakana (カタカナ or 片仮名). Latin script is used in a limited fashion, such as for imported acronyms, and the numeral system uses mostly Arabic numerals alongside traditional Chinese numerals. Japanese’s relationship to other languages, such as Korean, is debatable.
To learn Japanese you must love, understand and see through the beauty of the language. I am mentioning a few pointers that will make you confident of your choice of Japanese, as a good language to pursue!
- Assess your need – The first step to learn any language is to be sure, that’s the one for you.
- Set realistic goals to your learning timeline so that you progress your learning without burning out or losing interest.
- Use the multiple tools available online to aid you in your learning such as Flashcards tools(Memrise, Anki), Conversation Partner Search Tools(Tandem, Italki, Hello talk etc)
- Keep the learning light and engaging.
- Watch a few movies, learn a few songs, read children’s books, read aloud to yourself in the mirror, to your pet, listen to podcasts while walking your dog, at the gym, on your way back from work, washing the car, read online fashion blogs, food blogs anything, just about anything, that takes you away from the monotonous way of learning.
- Take online classes and take your learning to the next level.
- Have a consistent schedule.
- Follow a strict regime but don’t reach burnout.
- Follow the Pomodoro technique to keep interested in the language.
- Write the phonetics of the foreign language words in your native language.
A few more for you!
- Seek feedback and be open to receive it. Don’t get offended if a native speaker corrects you.
- Language consists of slang, local dialects, the speed and rhythm with which it is spoken, abbreviations, and idioms that people use. Understanding all these dimensions of a language in addition to learning its vocabulary and speaking the right words is what learning a language means!
- Maintain a journal or a diary to capture day to day used phrases, that will help you hold your first conversation.
- Listen to as many relevant audio resources as you can hear to train your ear!
- Don’t feel embarrassed to make mistakes.
- Label objects with their names in the language you are learning.
- Practice the basic grammar rules from a grammar book.
- Keep a dictionary handy.
- Understand what will take you to learn Japanese. Condition and prepare your mind with Japanese grammar.
- If you don’t know any kanji, just practice using hiragana and katakana. It’s just as important to practice those, as they’re the foundation of written Japanese. Once you’ve fully mastered the easier first two alphabets, you’ll be fully ready to effectively tackle kanji.
Little is known of the language’s prehistory, or when it first appeared in Japan. Chinese documents from the 3rd century recorded a few Japanese words, but substantial texts did not appear until the 8th century. During the Heian period (794–1185), the Chinese had considerable influence on the vocabulary and phonology of Old Japanese. Late Middle Japanese (1185–1600) included changes in features that brought it closer to the modern language and the first appearance of European loanwords.While there are many dialects and accents in Japan, experts agree that the largely monolingual status that exists here is very unusual. While there are many dialects and accents in Japan, experts agree that the largely monolingual status that exists here is very unusual.
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