Articles on the Process of Learning Japanese

Can Anybody Learn To Speak Japanese?

You don’t have to be born in Japan to learn how to speak Japanese. The truth is anybody can learn to speak this intricate, beautiful language. You may never rid yourself totally of your accent, but anyone who puts in the time and effort can become fluent. Understanding and speaking a foreign (even exotic!) language like Japanese is an amazing experience.  The pool of resources, knowledge, books, movies, music, etc for you to enjoy doubles.  It is an asset that may become quite useful to you in travel, for business, or just singing karaoke or watching anime. 

If you think you’re ready to learn Japanese, here are a few things to consider during your first few weeks. Your early studies will include hiragana and katakana, basic Japanese grammar, understanding Japanese sentence structure, and learning common Japanese phrases. All of these are important components for the beginning student of the Japanese language.

Once you are able to read the Japanese kana (hiragana and katakana) and have a sound grasp of Japanese grammar and sentence structure, you can begin creating sentences yourself. If you have friends who speak Japanese, try bouncing off a few of your creations on them.  If not, join our forums and try writing a few sentences for others to review.  Above all, read whenever possible.

One crucial aspect in knowing how to speak Japanese is mastering the five vowel sounds.  All other sounds in Japanese (except n) are based on the five vowel sounds. For those familiar with Spanish, this may be fairly easy since the sounds are very similar if not identical.

Because Japanese uses syllabaries—a single character is usually a syllable like a consonant and a vowel in the English alphabet—and not alphabets, it has many fewer sounds than the English language. This makes pronouncing Japanese fairly easy although there are a few difficult sounds not found in English.

Japanese also has different degrees of politeness. With a slight change in conjugation a sentence can be formal, normal, or rude. It is key to learn the difference between these degrees of politeness so that you do not mistakenly insult another individual. Most textbooks will teach everyday polite language.  It is best to stick with that until you have mastered the basics and can recognize when it is appropriate to speak otherwise.

Learning to speak this language is just like learning any other. It takes time, patience, and practice. There are many excellent Japanese textbooks out there (see here for a list of a few), and as a supplement, websites like ours help learners learn Japanese online and connect people with other learners. Every student is different, but when you soundly grasp basic vocabulary and grammar of the language, you will be able to learn to speak it much faster. Textbooks are an essential way to do this in a logical and step-by-step way.  Japanese may seem difficult to learn, but once you get started you will see that it is no different than learning any other language. Before you know it, you’ll be able to speak the language and interact with other individuals who can speak it as well.

Can You Really Learn Japanese Online?

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 online schools to make that investment worthwhile.

Go online and see what you can find.

The Pimsleur Japanese Course is One of the Best On the Market

The Pimsleur Japanese Course is One of the Best On the Market

If you are interested in learning Japanese, the Pimsleur course is considered to be one of the best language courses on the market. The Pimsleur language institute has been around for over 40 years. It is so effective that even members of the FBI, CIA and other investigative departments have used their services. Business professionals all over the country have also used Pimsleur programs to help develop their foreign language skills.

One of the many aspects or methods of the Pimsleur Japanese course is to explore the intricacies of language by listening and repeating. The program also claims that you will be able to learn Japanese relatively quickly, which is important for those individuals who do not have a lot of time to spare.

Dr. Pimsleur, who dedicated his life to studying the basic building blocks of language, developed the Pimsleur program. His studies demonstrated that there are basically 2,500 popular phrases and words that every individual uses on a regular basis. If you can grasp these distinct words and phrases then you will be able to speak--or at least "get around in"--any language. With Dr. Pimsleur’s program, each lesson of the program is designed to teach you those 2,500 words and phrases. Therefore, you will learn to speak as much Japanese as you need to in order to carry on a conversation. The limited, but useful scope is why you will not have to invest as much time in the Pimsleur program as you would with other language programs.

The Pimsleur program is an effective Japanese language course because it uses real world resources. Dr. Pimsleur had the experience and knowledge necessary in order to develop a language program that actually works. He dedicated his life to developing language programs for adults that are quick, easy, and fun. The basic principal is that you will build on what you have previously learned. The result will be your ability to speak Japanese naturally with others. You won’t have to base your learning ability on memorization of vocabulary and grammar. Instead, you will learn to speak Japanese through repetitive sounds and practice. Based on oral history, which has been around since the beginning of man, this Japanese language program will have you speaking the language quicker than you ever thought possible. With a money-back guarantee, what do you have to lose? Check out the Pimsleur Japanese language program, and you may discover it as a great introduction to spoken Japanese.

Click here to learn more about Pimsleur.

Which Japanese Language Course Is The Best?

Which Japanese Language Course is The Best?

The short answer is... there is no "best" one-size-fits-all course for everyone.

Everybody learns differently, and some people learn quicker than others. There are many different Japanese language course options available--do the research to find out what will fit your personal needs.
Learning Japanese can be difficult for some people. It can also be easier for others. That is why there are so many different language courses to choose from. No two language courses are the same. If you are ready to learn Japanese, evaluate whether or not you would like to attend a language school, learn online, or order a language program you can do by yourself in the comfort of your own home.

For example, for those who learn by hearing the best, the Pimsleur all-audio Japanese language program offers a money-back guarantee if you have not learned to speak Japanese to some degree within 30 days. This is a language program that you can do by yourself.

A language school that requires your attendance is different. You may have to pay a larger tuition fee, but you will also have the benefit of interacting with other students and learning the Japanese language directly from a trained instructor.

Whatever study plan you choose, it must help YOU do two things: 1) keep up motivation and 2) keep up exposure to the language.

These two points will enable you to learning anything.

There are many effective Japanese language programs available. Do a little research before you purchase any language program or pay a tuition fee at a language school. You do not want to waste your time and money. Review the curriculum and lessons to decide if they will work for you or not. Once you have researched a particular program thoroughly, you can then decide which one is the best.

You Need a Proven System In Order To Learn Japanese

Some language programs are ineffective because they do not offer a proven system in order for you to learn Japanese. Japanese is a complex language because it not only incorporates sounds and syllabaries (not “alphabets” but syllabaries: hiragana and katakana), but it also involves the use of symbols (kanji). If you do not have a proven study system, you will not be able to learn Japanese as efficiently as you would like.