How to learn Japanese: for Beginners


Japanese is a widely spoken language in East Asia with more than 128 million speakers worldwide. It is the national language of Japan, but is also spoken in Korea, the United States, and Brazil, largely due to significant immigrant communities. Is it difficult to learn Japanese? Many language learners believe that learning Japanese is significantly more difficult than learning any other language. In fact, any language learning journey requires a lot of effort and hard work on your part.

But if you take Japanese classes and use the helpful tools and resources in this article, you will surely achieve your goal of becoming fluent in Japanese.

To make rapid progress with your Japanese, focus on the basic building blocks of language learning. This includes learning the basics, establishing a regular study routine, and (the fun part) immersing yourself in the culture.

Check out easy ways to get those basics covered and start your Japanese learning journey:

Learn the Japanese Alphabet

The best way to learn Japanese is to start with the basics. There are 3 basic writing systems you need to learn to read Japanese: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji.

Hiragana: Being able to read hiragana is essential for any beginner.Used primarily for native Japanese words, hiragana consists of 46 characters, or 51 phonetic characters. Since most characters have only one pronunciation, hiragana is fairly easy to learn . Without a doubt, once you learn hiragana, you will lay the solid foundation needed for a native-sounding accent.

Katakana: Compared to hiragana, katakana is used for non-Japanese or loan words: a word borrowed from a foreign language that includes technical and scientific terms and the names of some plants and animals. Katakana can cause you more trouble than Hiragana because it is not used as often, especially early on in your language learning journey. As your level increases, Katakana will appear more frequently. However, for a beginner, just being able to read katakana is enough.

Kanji: Many students believe that learning kanji is the most difficult part of the process. On the other hand, it is one of the most critical aspects of learning Japanese. If you know very basic kanji, you can understand, speak and write basic Japanese. Kanji is made up of thousands of Chinese symbols that represent words, ideas, or entire sentences. Kanji has many complexities as English meanings cannot always be directly translated from Japanese words. Because of this, there can be many correct English meanings for a single kanji word. We never said learning Japanese would be easy, but learning kanji will give you a wealth of ways to express yourself

Grammar Practice

How do you learn Japanese grammar? If you want to master them perfectly, you should forget everything you know about English grammar, as it differs drastically. Unlike many Romance languages, Japanese has only two tenses: past and non-past, present and future). However, there are two options: polite and simple. The latter is used for casual speech.

We recommend that you learn Japanese grammar with the help of textbooks. The best books for learning Japanese grammar are:

It’s also important to mention that Japanese has a completely different writing system: right-to-left, top-to-bottom. In these textbooks you will find many practical lessons to help you get a feel for Japanese writing.

Learn a few key phrases

How to learn Japanese fast?Start with the list of the most common words and phrases. Know basic phrases like “hello”, “how are you? and with Nice to meet you, you can start speaking Japanese and quickly join conversations with native speakers. Check out the 100+ most important Japanese words. You will find it extremely useful if you ever decide to visit Japan or need a base if you decide to move there.

Set 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 will make to improve your level of Japanese. The truth is, you need to practice every day to see rapid progress! There are hundreds of helpful apps and study strategies to help you plan daily lessons and find a study pace that works for you. Ready to start a learning process with hourly lessons? Cheer! Can you spare just 15 minutes a day? are you learning japanese No problem! Just make the most of this time.

Use apps to get started

Language learning apps are very helpful when you start learning Japanese. Duolingo, Memrise or Rosetta Stone are very simple apps for beginners to learn basic Japanese vocabulary and phrases. With apps like these, you can learn where and when you want. If you want to learn more about useful language learning apps, check out our review of one of the most popular apps out there: Babbel Review: How it can help you learn a language.

However, most language learning apps are great for improving your Japanese skills quickly. But they shouldn’t be the only resource you use. If you learn an app for just 10 minutes a day, you won’t make rapid progress.

Pay attention to flashcards

Flashcards are great for language learners. It’s a card with information you need to remember. To memorize a specific word in Japanese, you can use an index card that has that word on it. If you turn the card over, you will see a translation into your native language. If you’ve never tried flashcards, consider making them a part of your learning journey. With flashcards you can:

  • Label items in your home with their Japanese names so you can see them every day.
  • Repeat new words regularly and test yourself.
  • Ask a friend to test you to see if you remember the words correctly.

The best thing about flashcards is that you can buy them online or even make them yourself. Whether you’re proficient in hiragana, katakana, or kanji, flashcards can be a great way to strengthen your vocabulary in all three systems.

Chat online with native speakers or other learners

The best way to learn Japanese and to reinforce what you’ve already learned is to practice regularly with others. Even if you don’t have a native Japanese friend, nowadays you have several options to put your knowledge into practice.

For example, you can opt for 1 to 1 video chats to find a Japanese speaking partner. You can speak or type with native speakers online using your smartphone or computer or students from all over the world. Here are some tools you can try:

  • HelloTalk is a language exchange app that helps students quickly find and chat with native speakers;
  • LextTalk is the first chat and social networking app built for language exchange.
  • MyLanguageExchange is a platform that allows users to find interlocutors and improve their speaking skills with native speakers and language learners.

Read Manga

It’s time to immerse yourself in Japanese culture!In addition to 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 known outside the country.

Manga are art in the form of comics or graphic novels and can be particularly useful for language learners. These comics are packed with contextual clues so you can easily understand the meaning of the words written. Sailor Moon would be a great starting point for a beginner.

Watch Anime

If you want to be entertained while you study, try learning Japanese with Anime! Anime is a unique style of Japanese animation, and anime was only produced by Japan for decades. Today it has become an international phenomenon, which attracts millions of fans. By spending your free time watching anime, you’ll learn many new words, including slang, and improve your listening skills. You will not only find animes, but also Japanese films and series on Crunchyroll, Asian Crush, Netflix.

Listen to Podcasts

If you’re interested in learning Japanese, podcasts are a great way to add extra listening practice to your everyday life and learn more about Japanese culture. Here are two podcasts that are great for beginners:

  • Learn podcasts in Japanese: Several episodes cover everything, from travel tips to drinking tiels in Japan. Each episode contains the script in Japanese and a translated transcript.
  • NHK: Every episode of this beginner podcast tells a story. From Anna, a fictional figure that comes to Japan to learn Japanese. The short lessons provide scripts with English translation.

Don’t be afraid to make errors

When you begin to exercise Japanese, you’re usually going to make errors. But in case you don’t placed a foot wrong, you won’t grow! Making errors and receiving remarks from others is the handiest manner to analyze a language. However, preserve in thoughts that local Japanese audio system won’t need to accurate you out of respect, so make it clean that you’d respect a few guidance.

Recommended channel for Japanese Language Learning



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