Since the debacle and destruction of the Second World War, the island nation of Japan has rebuilt and forged itself into one of the leading economic powers in the world. Spread across more than 6,500 islands, Japan boasts of being home to industry leaders, such as Toyota, Honda, Canon, Panasonic, Sony, and Nintendo.
Investment in research plays an important role in many areas - including robotics - in which Japan is one of the most advanced countries in the world.
Not surprisingly, the Japanese language is extremely popular among learners in recent years. Learning Japanese allows people to explore one of the richest and most mysterious cultures of the modern East. Japanese learning courses are usually designed with the purpose of inculcating an understanding of the Japanese way of thinking and view of the world through learning the Japanese language.
Japanese learning courses - beginners or advanced learning - use learning materials for Japanese grammar, vocabulary, phonetics, writing systems, and communication. These courses empower students to:
- Read simple texts in Japanese and write using the hiragana and katakana scripts as well as the kanji characters.
- Understand basic vocabulary in speech and use it in everyday communicative situations.
- Form their own sentences using the provided grammar material.
Learning Japanese: The First Steps
Do the following things:
- Start with the basics first.
- Keep a notebook for Japanese Grammar
- Set yourself a goal
- Find Japanese classes near you. The best way to learn a language is through Japanese sessions, it helps in better pronunciations.
- Communicate as much as possible. Read Japanese books/novels/Mangas
- Read, watch, listen, and LEARN.
There are a number of great ways to learn Japanese, and depending on your learning style, time constraints, and even budget, there is a method out there for you. A lot of people find that the ability to learn Japanese online fits all three.
Most online Japanese language courses focus on Nihongo, the form of Japanese learned by beginners as a second language. Depending on the course you choose, you can develop a conversational level focused on Japanese vocabulary and greetings, or a more advanced level that focuses on grammatical structures in order to prepare you for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).
Find an Online Japanese Class
When you start your Japanese learning adventure, you will come across a number of different terms. Generally speaking, these refer to the complex Japanese writing system which is composed of syllabic kana and logographic kanji. Kana has two syllabaries; hiragana and katakana. Japanese kanji is based on borrowed Chinese characters.
Any online course is likely to start with an introduction to the ways to pronounce different sounds and recognize the 4 forms of writing:
- Hiragana (ひ ら が な)
- Katakana (カ タ カ ナ)
- Kanji (漢字) = Chinese characters
- Roumaji (romaji)
The Tofugu site gives you a chance to learn the Japanese alphabet. You will also find an "art and history" tab to learn more about Japanese culture.
Did you know, for example, that a geisha is a refined lady and that the art of being one is an ancestral art? It is quite far from its role as a prostitute, as portrayed in Hollywood movies!
If you are a fan of gourmet meals, you will also learn all about what makes up Japanese cuisine (sushi, sashimi, yakitori, maki, sake...), as well as the origin of these dishes, how to cook them, and where to eat them!
Busuu is one of the largest online learning communities for languages. It offers 12 different language courses over the web as well as mobile apps. Interested learners can sign up for free. There is also a Premium subscription for those willing to move on to more advanced levels of learning, such as advanced grammar lessons, Offline Mode, McGraw-Hill Education certification, or the adaptive Vocabulary Trainer.
Japanese language learners can choose from exciting courses designed for:
- Hiragana and Katakana: Build a foundation in the Japanese alphabet with the Busuu app’s Hiragana and Katakana courses. Learn to read in Japanese and write letters in the Hiragana and Katakana alphabets. This is a basic course that lays the foundation for the Complete Japanese course.
- Complete Japanese: Learn to write, read, and speak the language with the Complete Japanese course. Master everything from basic Japanese vocabulary to Japanese grammar.
- Japanese for Travel: For those interested in traveling or moving to Japan for work or higher studies, try the Japanese for Travel course. Learn all the basic Japanese phrases you’ll need to get by as a traveler – from asking for directions to ordering food.
This website is ideally suited for beginners with or no knowledge of the Japanese language. The website does not require learners to possess knowledge of hiragana or katakana since romaji is used. What's more, the price of learning is absolutely free!
Japanese-Lesson.com offers 10 completely free lessons that cover essential Japanese words and phrases for complete beginners. Each lesson also comes equipped with audio files for key terms. Look for grammatical and cultural explanations under the “Tips” section. Cement your knowledge of Japanese with different 'drill' exercises.
Suitable for beginners, as well as intermediate and advanced learners, Rosetta Stone offers a short, free trial for new members. Thereafter, the price of lessons varies. Students can opt for full 12-month or 24-month courses, or download each level individually.
Rosetta Stone is one of the few online courses for individual learning that monitors and helps you improve your accent and intonation, something that can often be overlooked when studying without a physical, human teacher.
Rosetta Stone allows learners to learn Japanese just the way they learned their own, native language - by associating pictures with words and introducing grammar later on. This makes learning Japanese with Rosetta Stone a whole lot of fun!
Learning Japanese Online with Superprof
We obviously recommend that you learn Japanese by finding a teacher on the Superprof website! You can find Japanese courses in any Indian city, such as Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, or Bengaluru.
The advanced search engine on Superprof allows students to type in the course they are looking for (for example, "Japanese language online") and enter the desired address in order to find Japanese classes near me!
The advantage is that you can choose your tutor, and he or she will come to your home or give you Japanese lessons via webcam. Using the Superprof platform is free and ensures the highest quality of private Japanese tutors!
Discover Japanese Culture Through Language Learning
When you learn a language, it is important to also learn a little bit about the culture of the language. Online learning platforms for the Japanese language also offer advice for travelers, life tips, a brief history of Japan, and a bit on customs like the "matsuri"--traditional folk festivals.
If you are looking to travel to Japan, it is essential to know some keywords and phrases, along with the Japanese pronunciation, to help you get by. It may also be wise to learn the habits and customs of the country as well as its geography.
Japan has a very rich history and culture. This means you will almost certainly leave the land of the rising sun with a unique cultural perspective on things. But before visiting Japan, it would be worth finding out the answers to some important questions in order to make the most of your trip:
- What is the most popular religion in Japan?
- When can one see the cherry blossoms?
- What is the name of the current Emperor?
- Which temple and what sanctuary are the best places to visit?
- What is the history of the kimono?
- How did the country recover from the Second World War and the bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima?
- What does the future hold for Japan since the Fukushima nuclear disaster?
In Japan, cell phones are called keitai denwa (携帯電話), literally “portable telephones,” and are often known simply as keitai. When visiting Japan there are some particular cultural differences you should look out for. Japanese people have excellent phone manners in public.
In addition to being a tour guide, you can learn Japanese through the conversation guides available on the Kampai website. If you are passionate about cinema and animated films, we advise you to read the analyses of works such as The Castle in Cielou and Princess Mononoke. There are some good books to study Japanese which may be used to learn to speak Japanese on your own, or as a supplement for your language lessons.
To become a proficient speaker of the Japanese language, one doesn't need to be a Japanese native or study in a Japanese school. Signing up for an online Japanese class or enlisting the help of a private Japanese tutor allows you to learn at your own pace and focus on aspects that you want to - grammar, reading, writing kanji, or starting your own language exchange.