Those who pursue learning Japanese are notorious for picking up and dropping their new language. All you need is an appropriate start. Learning a language includes four primary domains: listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Once you pass the initial hurdle of learning a new language, it’ll get effortless for you to grasp advanced concepts.
In this post, we’ll show you six beneficial tips that will help you in your quest to learn Japanese. I hope that these tips would help make your learning experience more productive and less tedious.
1. Setting a clear goal
This one is pretty obvious. Before you start anything, you should have a clear goal and an objective. If you aren’t sure what your goal is, simply ask yourself “why do I want to study Japanese?”
The answer can be anything ranging from being able to read your favourite manga to be able to converse in it as you are Japan on a vacation. Some might even pursue it for professional reasons.
Having a clear goal avoids wasting time studying stuff you don’t need knowledge. For example, if your goal is to visit Japan for a week on holiday, then you should just be studying simple phrases for asking directions, asking for tickets. You don’t need to waste your time studying 2500 kanji from a sophisticated textbook for that.
2. Learn Hiragana and Katakana before advancing to Kanji
When you are just getting started with the language, try to learn Hiragana and Katakana as quickly as you can. For beginners, Kanji can be quite confusing due to its vast array of characters. Moreover, being able to read Hiragana and Katakana helps a little with pronunciation as it forces you to speak using the basic sounds of Japanese.
You won’t remember them well at first, but during the exercises, you’ll get the hang of it. Continue by learning some nouns and verbs, as well as some particles. Alongside the exercises, you should gradually be introduced to some basic kanji characters.
These include words such as moon (月), sun (日), now (今), etc. Try placing them in words you know how to read, so you can get used to seeing them there and associate them with those words.
3. Practice writing in Japanese
Once you get accustomed to the basic nouns and verbs, you should start practicing your writing skills. It is best to use a journal, study notebook, or flashcards to kick start your new habit of writing in Japanese. While it may be challenging for you at first, the more you practice writing these characters, the better you will be.
I would suggest you to start writing about topics that are conversation-like. For example, contacting a friend to ask about their wellbeing is not only great writing practice but also becomes an opportunity to perfect your speaking skills as well.
4. Spending time reading Japanese
After learning to write in Japanese, the next logical step for you is to start learning how to read it. Once you start reading the Japanese text, you’ll find the process to be rather slow and tedious. However, this is momentary as once you start recognizing more characters, you’ll be able to pick up the pace with your reading.
You can use the Internet to discover several different libraries with short Japanese stories. These often contain spaces, translations, and hiragana over any kanji characters that might be unfamiliar. Reading official news reports and intermediate grammar books would also help you develop your formal grammar skills.
Consider buying a solid dictionary that has kanji, the hiragana for each kanji and an English definition for it.
5. Increasing your vocabulary by listening to Japanese media
Japanese learning podcasts are a great source for increasing your vocabulary and getting listening practice. Apart from that, try checking out some YouTube channels, listening to the weather forecast on NHK news.
It’s vital to find something that you find interesting and can engage in to increase the chances you will keep listening to it.
You can find a ton of Japanese-language films and shows on sites like Netflix and Hulu, and find a vast array of Japanese anime library on Crunchyroll. With the huge amount of Japanese media out there on the internet, your language learning experience can be a whole lot more fun!
6. Taking part in domestic immersion programs
If you are willing to pursue Japanese at a professional level, you should consider participating in domestic immersion programs. By being present in the country and interacting with its people would help bridge the gap in your fluency efficiently.
Within India, there are organizations such as Japan Foundation in New Delhi which allow you to have Japanese education overseas, but look before you leap. Some programs will not allow you to communicate in English and try to force you to speak Japanese no matter what your language level is.
Once you’re situated overseas, take in the culture, speak with the locals, and do all you can to use Japanese whenever possible. This final step should help you in successfully mastering several key pronunciations and make you more adept in the language.
While there is no quick and easy way to learn the Japanese language, there are certain methods that are more efficient than others. Be sure to keep these six tips in mind as you begin your Japanese language learning journey.