Japanese is a complex language. Despite being fascinating and unique, the language initially seems incomprehensible due to its own rules and nuances. Still and all, learning Japanese can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can ever have. It’s the ninth most spoken language in the world, after all. But learning a new language requires more than just memorization of vocabulary or grammar. It also necessitates interaction with native speakers and the use of one’s own creativity to acquire new language skills.
The key to learning Japanese is how much you discover new information and how long you can maintain your motivation. Many students always want to know how to speak Japanese well. Whereas, what they actually need is a little passion. Who wants to remain stuck with only empty words? After reading our list of the best ways to learn Japanese, you may well be motivated to learn this fascinating language.
The whole idea of this article is to explore different learning methods, like books and online courses, etc., for learning Japanese. By the end, you’ll be able to find a good fit for your learning style, whether it be reading or listening. Here we’ve put together the 10 best ways to learn Japanese as a beginner:
1. Join a Japanese Language Class or Online Course
If you’re looking for a way to learn Japanese and want to find a place that can help you do so, there are several options. The first major option is finding an online course, and the second option is joining a physical language class. This can be done through your local library or online sites like Udemy, Coursera, and EdX. You’ll need to look at their curriculum and see which suits your learning style best. The things which must be considered before signing up for a Japanese language class are:
- Does it focus on grammar?
- How much time will it take?
- Do they teach conversational practice (in person) or self-study (online)?
Once you’ve chosen the right course(s), make sure they’re affordable! There’s nothing worse than spending money on something just because it’s cheap but not effective. The course must help you progress towards fluency in the Japanese language. Moreover, look for programs that have been proven effective by research studies or testimonials from other students who have used them before. This will ensure success every time!
2. Use a Japanese Thesaurus to Learn Grammar and Vocabulary
To learn Japanese, it’s important that you understand the grammar and vocabulary. To do this, you may consult a Japanese thesaurus. A thesaurus contains a list of words followed by their synonyms. This way, you can see how each word fits into its own category. You can also begin differentiating common phrases that are used daily (e.g., “I am going out” vs “I will leave”).
A Japanese thesaurus lists Japanese words grouped by meaning as well as English equivalents. It can help learners practice their reading skills while also expanding their vocabulary. A Japanese thesaurus provides you with exposure to new words and their meanings, which you may not have been exposed to before.
3. Learn to Write Hiragana, Kanji, and Katakana
As a beginner, learning to write the Japanese alphabet is the basic step to starting The Japanese alphabet comprises three writing systems that work together. These are Hiragana, Kanji, and Katakana. Hiragana is the easiest of the three scripts to learn. Next comes Katakana, which is used to write foreign words. Both these systems are important to master before you learn the modern system, Kanji.
Hiragana and Katakana are frequently used to explain the meaning or pronunciation of a Kanji character. Kanji is a complex system of characters that has been adapted over time to fit into Japanese grammar. The best way to learn Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji is by practicing through writing—and not just once!
4. Listen to Japanese Podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to learn a language. They’re easy to access from the internet and can be used in any situation where you have time to listen. If you’re interested in learning Japanese, there are plenty of podcasts available on Spotify that focus on the language itself!
You might be wondering if it’s best to listen to these podcasts in Japanese when you don’t know the language yet—the answer is yes! The content will still be accessible even if you don’t understand everything that’s being said in each episode (which isn’t always possible). Podcasts are also free, which means anyone can listen to one easily on their smartphones at home. There’s no special equipment needed besides an internet connection.
5. Read Manga and Children Story Books
Manga is the name used to describe Japanese comic books. They are interesting to read and are quite popular in Japan. Reading manga and children’s storybooks is a great way to learn Japanese because they have many pictures, which makes it easier for you to understand what the characters are saying.
Usually, all children’s story books and manga are written in Furigana, so they are easy to learn. Furigana is a Japanese reading aid that consists of small Hiragana or Katakana characters written next to each Kanji character. It helps the reader with pronunciation, so you can easily learn common Kanji characters.
6. Watch Japanese Movies or Anime With Local-language Subtitles
Watching Japanese movies and anime is another interesting option to learn Japanese. They must be subtitled in your native language; which will help you understand what’s going on. Subtitles will not only help you enhance your vocabulary but will also tell you how to pronounce the words correctly.
For example, if you were watching an episode of Death Note with English subtitles and you didn’t speak Japanese at all, then it would be very difficult for you to follow along with what was happening in this particular episode. Because there were so many words that didn’t make sense to you! This can lead learners down a path where they might quit trying altogether because they feel like their progress isn’t being made fast or fruitful enough. This problem can be quickly resolved by turning on the subtitles.
7. Use Flashcards
Flashcards are also a great way to learn new vocabulary, build memory, and absorb information. They can also be used for practicing reading and writing. But making flashcards takes a lot of time, especially if you are a beginner. Fortunately, there are a lot of flashcard apps that employ spaced repetition technology to make learning Japanese even simpler.
Flashcards are especially useful for learning Kanji since you’ll need it in order to read other people’s writings on the internet! Japanese flashcard apps are excellent for improving your understanding of Japanese grammar as well as for learning Japanese vocabulary in a fun, interactive way. The following are some of the top flashcard apps you may use to practice Japanese:
8. Use Language Learning Apps
There are many apps that can help you learn Japanese. Learning through apps is always fun and engaging. They are easy to use, provide feedback, have a wide range of vocabulary, and allow you to practice conversation with native speakers. You can find different Japanese learning apps on the Play Store. Some focus on grammar or vocabulary; others discuss culture or entertainment topics, and still, others teach common phrases used by native speakers.
Some popular apps that are used to learn Japanese are:
9. Interact With Native Speakers
Being able to communicate in Japanese requires more than just the memorization of vocabulary words and phrases. There are various methods you can practice speaking Japanese without investing in a course to help you with pronunciation and fluency. Engaging with native speakers is one way of enhancing your language abilities.
You can attend local or online meetups to interact with the Japanese community. We use the website meetup.com to interact with foreign people and learn about their interests. You can also find a Japanese friend on social media and ask them if they’d be willing to communicate with you in Japanese. This can help reinforce learning new words while also giving learners confidence in their own communication abilities!
10. Use Mnemonics to Memorize Vocabulary
You might have heard about mnemonics before, which are memory techniques that help you remember words better. They help you remember things by associating them with something that you already know. In other words, they make the new information easier to remember and recall.
You can use a picture or word to associate with a Japanese character that you find hard to remember. So, when you see any of these pictures or words written down anywhere, it will instantly remind you which word goes along with it (and this process works even better if there’s something funny happening at the same time).
“What is the best way to learn Japanese?” is a broad question that can be answered in different ways. Everyone thinks differently, so the best way for you is the one that works best for you and your learning style. As we’ve seen, there are many ways to learn Japanese. Some of them are more effective than others, depending on your level of proficiency and goals. In order to get the most out of your study plan, make sure that you take time each day to do something meaningful and productive with language learning. We think reading manga or watching Japanese TV shows can be great ways to start practicing speaking skills while learning vocabulary as well.