Occasionally, you may hear of books, websites, or snake oil salesman claiming you can learn Japanese online painlessly and in a short time. But is it true? Can you really learn Japanese online?
The answer is, yes and no.
The Internet has a mixture of good and bad information. Finding quality sites with accurate information is a must. Many websites like this one are great for supplementing your textbook or studies under a teacher. But these sites should only be just that --- a supplement. There are also paid websites that act as an online textbook and tutor. The key for learning online is to find quality and accurate information that works for you.
Everyone is different and everyone learns in different ways. Thankfully, the Internet has a large variety of different types of learning resources to choose from. Blogs, podcasts, videos on YouTube, sites with audio, instant messaging, e-mail penpals, videoconferencing, lesson sites, and online schools are just the tip of the iceberg.
And there are powerful tools available to. For example, Firefox has an add-on called Rikai-chan that allows you to mouse over any Japanese to get an instant translation. Spend time exploring these tools. A tool, even made specifically for the job set before you, is useless without the knowledge of how to use it.
Regardless of which online program you choose, you will need to learn the basics of the Japanese language. This includes basic vocabulary, the Japanese writing system such as hiragana and katakana, grammatical phrases, and sounds. Most programs will teach you these basic language principles. However, some other programs will jump right into the lessons using these basic language principles.
Online language programs are also beneficial because you have the option to learn from the comfort of your own home. You do not have to commute to a classroom and interact with an instructor. You have the ability to learn at your own pace, which has obvious advantages but requires self discipline.
Some paid online language programs provide a one-on-one learning atmosphere through webcams, AOL Instant Messenger, Skype and even YouTube. If you are considering finding a one on one teacher ask around in the forums for recommendations.
Learning Japanese online is a viable option for you. Take some time to explore the many different online programs that are available to you. Make sure that the programs cover the basics such as sentence structure, Japanese symbols, numbers, days of the week, grammar, phrases and vocabulary, etc.
Preview future lessons ahead of time. This will help you get a sense of how the program is going to be structured. Find out if each lesson is designed to meet your particular level of ability and your style of learning.
Learning a language is an investment. Spend time researching available programs, sites, and onli