Learning Japanese by yourself: Comprehensive Guide
Japanese is a wide-spread East Asian language with more than 128 million speakers around the world. It’s the national language of Japan, but it’s also spoken in Korea, the US, and Brazil primarily because of the significant immigrant communities.
How hard is it to learn Japanese? Many language learners believe that learning Japanese is significantly more difficult than learning any other language. In fact, every language learning journey takes a lot of effort and hard work on your part. But it doesn’t mean that you have to give up mastering your skills as learning a new language opens up opportunities for both your personal and professional growth. And learning Japanese is not an exception.
In this article, we’re going to provide you with some helpful tools and resources that will definitely help you learn Japanese in a fun and effective way. Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll surely reach your goal of Japanese fluency.
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Learn the Japanese alphabet
The best way to learn Japanese is to start with the basics: learning the alphabet. There are 3 basic writing systems you need to learn to be able to read Japanese: Higarana, Katakana, and Kanji.
How do you learn Japanese grammar? If you want to master it perfectly, you have to forget everything you know about English grammar as they differ dramatically. Unlike many romance languages, Japanese has only two tenses: past and non-past (present and future). However, there are two forms: polite and plain. The last one is used for casual speech.
t’s also important to mention that Japanese has an entirely different writing system: from right to left, from top to bottom. In these textbooks, you’ll find a lot of practical lessons that will help you get a sense of Japanese writing.
Learn some key phrases
How to learn Japanese fast? Start with the list of the most common words and expressions. Knowing basic phrases like “Hello”, “How do you do?”, and “Nice to meet you” allows you to begin speaking Japanese and quickly join conversations with native speakers. Take a look at the 100+ most important Japanese words — this will be extremely helpful if you ever decide to visit Japan, or if you need a starting point if you decide to relocate there.
Set up a schedule
How long does it take to learn Japanese? It’s probably one of the most popular questions many people have about this language. The truth is that it depends on the efforts you’re going to make to boost your level of Japanese.
The truth is, to see fast progress you need to start practicing every day! There are hundreds of useful apps and learning strategies to help you schedule daily lessons and find a learning pace that suits them. Ready to kick start a learning process with hourly lessons? Go for it! Can you only spend 15 minutes a day learning Japanese? No problem! Just make the most of this time.
Use apps to get started
Language learning applications will come in very handy when you start learning Japanese. Duolingo, Memrise, or Rosetta Stone are very simple apps for beginners to start learning basic Japanese phrases and vocabulary. Apps like these allow you to study wherever and whenever you want. If you want to find out more about useful language learning apps, check out our review of one of the most popular apps on the market. However, most language-learning apps are great for a quick boost to your Japanese language skills. But they shouldn’t be the only resource that you use. If you’re only studying an app for 10 minutes a day, you won’t experience quick progress. No app is a substitute for real-world interaction! Instead, try to find a language learning partner or online tutor to help you speak on a regular basis. We have tutors that cost as little as $5 an hour—take a look at our expert Japanese tutors here.
Pay attention to flashcards
Flashcards are perfect for language learners. It’s a card with information on it that you need to remember. To memorize a particular word in Japanese, you can use a flashcard with this word on it. When you flip the card over, you’ll see a translation into your native language.
Chat online with native speakers or other learners
The best way to learn to speak Japanese and strengthen what you’ve already learned is to practice regularly with others. Even if you don’t have a native Japanese friend, you have various options to put your knowledge into practice these days.
It’s time to start immersing yourself in Japanese culture! Apart from Japanese books and newspapers, learn to read Japanese with manga. Manga is a crucial part of Japanese culture with a long history. Today, it’s at the heart of Japanese pop culture and is also widely known outside of the country.
If you want to be entertained while you study, try to learn Japanese with anime!. Anime is a unique style of Japanese animation, and for decades, anime was produced only by Japan. Today, it has become an international phenomenon, attracting millions of fans.
Listen to podcasts
If you want to learn Japanese, podcasts are an excellent way to add some extra listening practice to your daily routine and find out more about Japanese culture.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
When you start to practice Japanese, you are always going to make mistakes. But if you don’t put a foot wrong, you won’t grow! Making mistakes and receiving feedback from others is the most effective way to learn a language. However, keep in mind that native Japanese speakers may not want to correct you out of respect, so make it clear that you’d appreciate some guidance.