This article contains useful information for students of the Japanese language who wish to learn Japanese from viewing anime. The more generalized article Learning Japanese from media contains equally useful information common to all media including anime.
- Main article: Learning Japanese from media -- Pitfalls
There are important pitfalls to know about when learning Japanese from anime. Be sure to read the main article.
Prerequisite language ability
The more you know of existing grammar and language concepts, the more you'll pick up from the dialogue. However even with minimal knowledge of Japanese, it's possible to pick up on words and expressions using the "listen then learn" strategy below.
Listen then learn
This strategy is an iteration of two steps:
- 1: Listen and identify recurring words or expressions.
- 2: Figure out what the word or expression means.
Effectively this reverses the traditional order of: learning what something means then repeating it in order to memorize. Instead step 1 has you effectively memorizing the expression through listening for its recurrence followed by step 2 of learning the meaning.
When listening, it's important to listen intently. If you zone out the spoken language in favor of reading the subtitles, you can watch all the anime exported from Japan and not learn much. You'll find that when looking beyond the apparent gibberish there are tons of words and expressions that will start to pop out of the woodwork. When they do, figure out what they mean via the English subtitles or the context.
Some words and expressions are harder than others to pick out. Common words that occur in the midst of long sentences are an example, as compared to stand alone short expressions. For this reason this strategy isn't an efficient strategy by itself for getting to high levels of proficiency. Supplementing with formal language studies is recommended.
This strategy is particularly outstanding for preparing oneself to read manga.
With subtitles or transcript
Using Japanese subtitles or a script transcript can be an effective strategy. In this case the strategies for reading manga apply.