Japanese is one of the hardest languages for English-speakers to learn, along with Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin and Korean. That is according to FSI, (Foreign Service Institute). Also, unlike the English and Roman language system, Japanese language has three verbal and written systems to juggle, namely hiragana, katakana and kanji. That’s aside from the different levels of informality and humbleness. In short, Japanese is very contextual, as it revolves around in subtle hints more than direct communication. If you’re interested to learn this amazing and interesting language, then here are seven things to learn Japanese more effectively.
1. Study and Learn with Supervision
Though it can be easy for you to memorize hiragana and katakana characters, writing in Japanese requires an essential order of stroke. There’s a big difference between a swoosh and finishing pen strokes with sudden stops. Stroke order is very basic but important skill for learning the third lexical system – kanji. Thus, don’t skip this step.
2. Invest In High Quality Learning Materials
If you’re taking a formal class or you’re learning the language in school, you will be provided with a textbook. Textbooks offers good start for learning, as they teach with guidelines. However, poorly written and outdated textbooks can hinder your learning. Luckily for you, there are tons of options out there, both in physical and digital form. Invest in these materials and start learning from great sources.
Also, invest in a good Japanese dictionary that includes kanji, the hiragana for the kanji, and their English definition. There are also books for culture Japanese culture dictionaries, slang, pop culture, etc. Read the easy stuff, especially on things you are interested in.
3. Get Yourself an Electronic Dictionary
You may wake up in the middle of the night wondering how to say “Why am I even learning this language?” Having an electronic dictionary will give you quick answer and provide a lot of convenience as you wade your way through learning.
4. Watch Japanese Shows, Movies, Anime, Drama, Etc.
The dialogues may sound too fast, but it doesn’t really matter if you don’t understand everything they say. The more you immerse yourself with this kind of information, the better it will be for you to catch up. The idea is to train your ears to list to the nuances of the language.
5. Talk to the Mirror and Practice
Practice makes perfect, and the more you practice Japanese language, the more comfortable you get speaking it. Yes, it’s not easy to find a learning partner who can participate in odd hours. But you can practice lines and phrases on your own or to an imaginary friend (an anime character, etc.)
6. Write a Diary in Japanese
Just like speaking in front of the mirror for the sake of practicing how to speak Japanese, you can practice your writing skills right in your diary. You can talk about mundane things or anything you can think of. Writing it in Japanese will train your brain to think Japanese, a very efficient way to learn the language.
7. Learn the Kanji
Hiragana and Katakana are pretty easy and straightforward to learn. The hard part of learning Japanese is the Kanji, and it is the building block of the Japanese language. Learning to recognize, read and write kanji is a great way to improve your vocabulary.
These steps are about learning Japanese on your own. For more efficient learning of course, you can always take classes. It will give you a schedule and syllabus to follow for a step-by-step learning, and of course, the opportunity to practice. With the right materials and smart learning methods, learning Japanese is actually easier than you think.